Greater Sage Grouse | KNKX

Greater Sage Grouse

Jeannie Stafford / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Interior Department says the greater sage grouse does not need federal protections across its 11-state Western range after some limits were put on energy development and other activities.

Tuesday's announcement signals that the Obama administration believes it has struck a balance to save the widespread, ground-dwelling birds from extinction without crippling the West's economy. It follows a costly conservation effort, and could help defuse a potential political liability for Democrats heading into the 2016 election.