Sen. Marshall Statement on Biden Admin Proposal to List the Lesser Prairie Chicken
(Washington, D.C., May 26, 2021) – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. issued the following statement after President Biden’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced they are proposing to list the Lessor Prairie-chicken as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in the northern population segment that impacts Kansas.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement is disappointing and a reminder that this Administration favors government overreach and heavy handed regulation over cooperation with those who have been working to protect the Lesser Prairie Chicken’s habitat and growing the bird’s population across the Midwest,” said Senator Marshall. “Instead of working with landowners to promote continued voluntary efforts the service is instead implementing a listing that limits Landowner autonomy and opportunity. Today’s announcement will hurt our state’s economy, hinder our oil and gas independence, increase utility costs, and prevent the development of renewable energy in prime Western Kansas locations.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s listing of the Lessor Prairie-chicken followed Senator Marshall sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland urging her not to list the bird under the Endangered Species Act. The Service is considering an exception that would allow for routine agricultural practices and prescribed fire to continue in Kansas.
In part the letter read: “… It would be imprudent and harmful to ongoing and unprecedented conservation efforts in our states for the Service to issue what would amount to a premature ESA listing proposal for the LPC… A premature listing sends the wrong message to the private partners who have invested important resources and adopted conservation practices to protect the LPC and prevent a listing. A premature listing would undermine the confidence of the private sector in the Service and their willingness to maintain ongoing conservation activity related to the LPC or any other species under ESA consideration in the future. Instead, the Service should recognize, respect, and reward the private sector for their conservation efforts.” You may click HERE to read the full text of the letter.
The lesser prairie-chicken became a candidate for listing under the ESA in 1998 and was listed as a threatened species in 2014. The listing was vacated in 2015 following a lawsuit. In September 2016, the Service received a new petition to list the lesser prairie-chicken as endangered, and in November 2016 made a substantial 90-day petition finding that listing may be warranted. Today’s announcement follows a 12-month finding by the USFWS.