Legislation Restricts Future Efforts to Re-list Lesser Prairie Chicken, Blocks Implementation of WOTUS Rule
Jun 16 2016
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today supported the fiscal year 2017 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, which includes provisions to protect Kansans from government overreach. One provision, secured in the legislation by Sen. Moran, would restrict funds for future efforts by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to re-list the lesser prairie chicken (LPC) under the Endangered Species Act. Another would block the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal that would expand the agency’s regulatory jurisdiction over significant amounts of land and water across the country.
“Kansas farmers and ranchers have dealt with the impacts of the Obama Administration’s repeated attempts to regulate their land for too long,” said Sen. Moran. “Efforts to add the lesser prairie chicken to the endangered species list have caused uncertainty for agriculture producers, oil and gas developers, and electric cooperatives in Kansas and states across the habitat area. The USFWS’s move to drop the appeal of the Fifth Circuit’s decision to vacate the listing is encouraging, but it is now clear they would like to start the listing process again.”
Following the March 2014 decision by the Obama Administration to list the LPC as a threatened species, Sen. Moran has led the effort in Congress to reverse the misguided decision and block future attempts to list the bird. A federal court vacated the listing due to the failure of the federal government to adequately take into account the local, voluntary conservation efforts that were put in place to preserve the bird. In response to calls from Sen. Moran to state its future intentions, the USFWS claims the decision to drop the appeal of the court case does not rule out future efforts to re-list the bird. Sen. Moran’s provision in the appropriations bill would prohibit such efforts by the USFWS.
“The provisions in this bill to block the WOTUS rule will protect Kansans from layers of bureaucracy, red tape and government overreach,” continued Sen. Moran. “We all share the goal of providing a clean and safe water supply, but pushing harmful regulations isn’t the right way to achieve that goal. This rule would make it more difficult for our ag community to produce food and fiber for the nation, keep their businesses afloat, and pass their family operations down to future generations. I will continue fighting to block this damaging, costly rule from implementation.”
The WOTUS rule issued by the EPA expands the agency’s regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act to include land and water far removed from traditional navigable waters. The WOTUS rule infringes on private property rights and threatens agriculture producers and small businesses with potential fines and lawsuits unless they abide by burdensome, unnecessary regulations when performing every day functions on their operations. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals placed a nationwide stay on the rule. The appropriations bill supported by Sen. Moran would prohibit the EPA from implementing the regulation if the stay is lifted or overturned.
The appropriations bill passed the full committee and now has the opportunity to be debated by the full U.S. Senate.