FWS Drops Appeal of Ruling Delisting Lesser Prairie Chicken
Washington, D.C. (May 12th, 2016) –Yesterday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service announced that it is dropping its appeal against the Texas Court ruling that removed the threatened designation of the lesser prairie chicken. The court cited that local conservation efforts and plans were ignored when the listing decision was made.
Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Cynthia Lummis (WY-At large), Chairman Emeritus Steve Pearce (NM-02), and caucus member U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) issued the following statements in response:
“This is a victory not just for local businesses and landowners who would have needlessly suffered under an extended court battle, but for the lesser prairie chicken as well,” said Chairman Lummis. “The original ruling and now the decision to drop the appeal means that state and local plans focused on boots-on-the-ground, cooperative conservation will prevail as they should. I hope local conservation will be able to work for even more species going forward. I am pleased the Fish and Wildlife Service finally recognized the true value of local stewardship in the prairie chicken range, and encourage them to recognize other grassroots conservation efforts across the American West.”
“This is a huge win for New Mexico,” said Chairman Emeritus Pearce. “In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the species as threatened which was unnecessary and economically harmful. The agency blatantly ignored the already successful conservation efforts carried out by local governments and stakeholders – listing the species anyway. While I am happy with the Administration’s decision today, it is disappointing the Administration took this long to realize how successful private landowners and states are at managing the species. I hope in the future they take local conservation efforts into meaningful consideration prior to any listing decision.”
“The private sector has done a tremendous job allocating resources to conserve lesser prairie chicken habitat. I am glad to see that that administration has finally recognized these efforts,” said Rep. Markwayne Mullin. “The federal government should not be overstepping states and local communities when it comes to determining if a species is threatened or endangered. This decision sets an important precedent for future state and local conservation efforts that support the best interest of local habitats, as well as economic activities.”