Calling the move “yet another example of unnecessary intrusion into private lives and businesses by the federal government,” Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran this week introduced an amendment that would reverse the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department’s decision to list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
Moran, a Republican, said the federal protections carry regulations that adversely affect how residents and businesses in rural Kansas manage their land and resources. Those regulations infringe on private property rights and economic development, Moran said.
“A number of industries – farming, ranching, oil and gas development, transportation and wind energy – are already feeling the effects of the listing,” Moran said in a news release announcing his amendment.
“I am confident there are ways to conserve the species without hindering economic development in rural communities. Listing the bird as a threatened species is not the answer.”
Moran acknowledged that the population of the lesser prairie chicken – a species found mainly in western Kansas and less sparsely in Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas – decreased during the recent drought that severely impacted much of the bird’s habitat. But Moran and others contend that surveys in 2013 and 2014 showed the lesser prairie chicken numbers on the rise as a result of increased rainfall closer to historical norms.
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