Obama administration drops listing of lesser prairie chicken | TSLN.com

Obama administration drops listing of lesser prairie chicken

Obama administration drops listing of lesser prairie chicken

The Justice Department today dropped its appeal of a federal court ruling listing the lesser prairie chicken as threatened, McClatchy DC reported.

Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said increased rainfall and voluntary conservation efforts had contributed to a 50 percent increase in the bird's population.

"The decision today to drop the appeal highlights this administration's flawed approach to listing the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species in the first place," Moran said in a statement.

"I have said all along that with a little rain, we will see the lesser prairie chicken population bounce back," Roberts said in a statement. "As we have come to expect with the Obama administration, they never let common sense get in the way of an costly regulation."

In a statement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said they intend to reassess the status of the species based on the court's ruling and the best available scientific data.

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Executive director, National Cattlemen's Beef Association Federal Lands and Public Lands Council, Ethan Lane, said, "We are pleased that the Administration has elected not to proceed with their appeal of Judge Junell's substantive ruling vacating last year's unfounded listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endangered Species Act. Voluntary conservation efforts like the Range-Wide Plan are working to recover the species and must be given an opportunity to succeed without the unnecessary burden of a federal ESA listing."

The Agriculture Department's Natural Resources Conservation Service has had a multiyear effort to save the lesser prairie chicken's habitat and to avoid listing as endangered, which would have complicated the lives of the farmers and ranchers on which the bird is found.

–The Hagstrom Report and NCBA-Public Lands Council