U.S. Energy industry vs. the Lesser Prairie Chicken

Lesser Prairie Chicken, photo by: Greg Kramos / USFWS
Lesser Prairie Chicken, photo by: Greg Kramos / USFWS

Here’s some more information from The Texas Tribune about the upcoming battle between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and  the American Energy Industry over the survival of the lesser prairie chicken.

As I wrote in this post, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service may list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species. This would result in serious repercussions for the energy industries in the midwest.

Texas Energy Industry Could be Stymied by Small Grouse

“In a few months, a grouse known as the lesser prairie chicken will emerge from its West Texas winter hideaway. Males will do a loud and elaborate mating dance, delighting females — and birdwatchers.

But there is less dancing now because the chickens’ numbers have declined. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, acting under the Endangered Species Act, will decide by the end of September whether to put the birds on its list of threatened species. Such a move could have serious repercussions for wind farms, as well as oil and gas drilling, conceivably halting activity in some areas. Those industries are fighting to keep them off the list…”

You can read all the post here.

Are you ready to say goodbye to the Lesser prairie-chicken…

A male lesser prairie chicken (Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. | Tom Harvey)
A male lesser prairie chicken (Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. | Tom Harvey)

The Lesser prairie-chicken is a bird that’s in trouble. Like a lot of wild game, it used to be prevalent throughout the American great plains. But in the last 150 years, Lesser prairie-chicken populations have fallen by approximately 92%.

Today, the bird’s numbers are still crashing and now the Lesser prairie-chicken is only found in pockets of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. To stabilize the bird’s population and save the species, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has proposed listing the Lesser prairie-chicken as Threatened.

But according to this piece in The Denver Post, the Governor’s of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas are saying no way. Why? Because a Threatened listing may jeopardize energy projects and farming practices in those states.

Instead, these Governors believe that their state’s own conservation efforts, along with “commitments” from industry leaders and landowners, will be enough to save these birds (yeah, right).

To find out more about this issue, visit the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Resource Center.

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