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Judge orders sage grouse decision

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The oil and gas, livestock and wind energy industries all have a stake in an upcoming U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision whether to protect the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act.

An Idaho judge has ordered a decision by Friday in a case brought by an environmental group.

The bird is found in 11 western states, inhabiting large portions of Wyoming, Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Idaho.

An endangered listing would have a profound effect in Wyoming, which is believed to have half of North America's sage grouse.

The state is a major producer of natural gas and has huge potential for wind energy.

A deputy chief of staff to Gov. Dave Freudenthal, Ryan Lance, says an endangered listing would be "absolutely devastating" to Wyoming's economy.