Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Obama administration drops effort to list lesser prairie chicken as threatened

The Obama administration has dropped its effort to list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species, handing a victory to oil companies, farmers and landowners in Oklahoma and four other states who fought the federal habitat protection for years. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week decided not to appeal the decision of a federal judge in Texas, who overturned the administration's 2014 listing of the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species. An agency spokesperson said Wednesday, "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service intends to reassess the status of the species based on the court's ruling and the best available scientific data. "The USFWS will continue working with states, other federal agencies and partners on efforts to conserve the lesser prairie-chicken across its range." Critics of the administration's 2014 listing said it was unnecessary because private landowners and states had been cooperating for years on various measures to protect the bird, whose habitat includes Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Kansas...more

Pearce Statement on Administration’s Decision Not to Appeal De-Listing of Lesser Prairie Chicken

Washington, DC (May 11, 2016)  Congressman Pearce issued the following statement after the Obama Administration announced it would not appeal a federal court’s decision to de-list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act:

This is a huge win for New Mexico.  In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the species as threatened which was unnecessary and economically harmful.  The agency blatantly ignored the already successful conservation efforts carried out by local governments and stakeholders – listing the species anyway.  While I am happy with the Administration’s decision today, it is disappointing the Administration took this long  to realize how successful private landowners and states are at managing the species.  I hope in the future they take local conservation efforts into meaningful consideration prior to any listing decision,” said Congressman Pearce.

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