The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is on a collision course with another federal agency by proposing to list more than 100 square miles in Utah and Colorado as critical habitat for a pair of desert wildflowers, threatening oil production in an energy-rich area.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has authorized the same public lands for development of oil shale, a greasy rock that contains fossilized algae. Petroleum companies are trying to extract this primitive form of oil.
The two plants, Graham’s beardtongue and the White River beardtongue, thrive on oil-shale outcrops, which are rich in calcium carbonate, a plant nutrient.