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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) action today to formally remove the lesser prairie chicken (LPC) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.

“The lesser prairie chicken’s formal removal from the threatened species list brings a sigh of relief for farmers, ranchers, energy developers and other stakeholders in the region,” Sen. Moran said. “It’s critical that we do not let our guard down and allow the USFWS to restart the listing process. I will continue advocating for policies to conserve the species through locally-driven efforts to avoid additional and unnecessary federal mandates.” 

In an attempt to avoid the bird’s listing under the Endangered Species Act, farmers, ranchers, energy developers and other stakeholders in the region came together to develop a local, voluntary conservation plan. However, the plan was not given the opportunity to prove its effectiveness because the USFWS chose to list the bird as a threatened species in March 2014.  

The Obama Administration dropped the appeal of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in May 2016, which vacated the USFWS listing of the LPC as a threatened species. Following the dropped appeal, Sen. Moran sent a letter to USFWS and they responded that they are “reassessing the overall status of the species” to determine what future actions to take, including whether the species should be a candidate for listing.

Since the listing, Sen. Moran has led the effort in Congress to reverse this misguided decision. His provision included in the FY2017 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill would provide certainty for stakeholders by prohibiting the use of funds to restart the listing process. In January 2015, Sen. Moran also successfully secured a vote on a similar LPC amendment to Keystone XL pipeline legislation (S.1), which received the support of a bipartisan majority of senators.


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