Leaders reintroduce legislation to keep lesser prairie chicken off threatened list

Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 1:51 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Leaders from Kansas and surrounding midwestern states have reintroduced bicameral legislation that would keep the lesser prairie chicken off the threatened species list.

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) says he and U.S. Congressman Tracy Mann (R-KS) reintroduced their Congressional Review Act Resolution of disapproval which would prevent the lesser prairie chicken from being listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. He said the bicameral legislation follows the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s delay of the listing until late March.

“Placing the lesser prairie chicken on the endangered species list should not be happening in the first place. Farmers, ranchers, and others in Kansas and the region have been instrumental in the recovery of the species to this point while the climate activists demanding this rule have no understanding of the threat it poses to Kansas’s economy, especially the energy and ag industries. With inflation for food and gas prices still high and volatile, there is no room for a destabilizing federal policy like this,” said Sen. Marshall. “I will not back down on working towards having this rule eliminated in its entirety, and I encourage Secretary Haaland to permanently halt this listing.”

On Jan. 23, Fish and Wildlife announced the extension of the effective date of the final rule to list the species until March 27. The announcement followed a letter penned by Marshall and colleagues in December 2022.

“I refuse to sit idly by while the United States Fish and Wildlife Service imposes burdensome regulations on producers with no input from Congress,” said Mann. “The designation of the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species in places like Kansas is unacceptable. This resolution calls for an absolute refusal of this rule, which should have no force or effect until Congress is consulted. At a time when inflation is running rampant and families are struggling to fuel their cars while keeping food on their tables, we should be working to eliminate barriers for the agriculture and energy sectors, not hamstringing hardworking Americans with government overreach. Since this rule threatens the livelihoods of the men and women who feed, fuel and clothe us all, I hope that all my colleagues in Congress will join me in refusing to accept it.”

In early January, Marshall said he led a group of officials to write a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland requesting an extension to delay the final rule and members suggested a new April 1 deadline.

“The decision to list the lesser prairie chicken under the Endangered Species Act will harm our state’s farmers, ranchers, energy producers and rural communities,” said Moran. “Kansas and surrounding states have invested millions of public and private dollars to conserve the lesser prairie chicken’s habitat area, resulting in the bird’s population more than doubling. Listing the lesser prairie-chicken as threatened despite these locally-driven efforts eliminates any further similar efforts and will result in less wildlife conservation in the future, not more.”

On Dec. 21, Marshall said he and colleagues from both the House and Senate to introduce a Congressional Review Act joint resolution of disapproval to strike down the listing of the species. The resolution would prevent the listing from having any effect.

The Senator noted that this CRA is part of a multi-pronged approach to stop the listing announced in December.