Congressman Lucas, Colleagues Introduce Bicameral Legislation Nullifying Lesser Prairie-Chicken Listing

Dec 21, 2022
Agriculture
Press

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) U.S. Senators Roger Marshall, M.D., Jerry Moran (KS), James Inhofe (OK), and James Lankford (OK), along with U.S. Representatives Tracey Mann (KS-01), Jake LaTurner (KS-02), Ron Estes (KS-03), Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), and Stephanie Bice (OK-05) officially introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution of disapproval in their respective chambers to strike down the Biden Administration’s recent listing of the lesser prairie-chicken (LPC) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 

“I am extremely frustrated at the actions of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listing the Lesser Prairie-Chicken under the Endangered Species Act,” said Congressman Lucas. “The Fish and Wildlife Service’s listing of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken creates an unnecessary and burdensome layer of regulation on Oklahoma’s agriculture and oil and gas industry, despite strong conservation efforts by farmers, ranchers, and landowners in Oklahoma and other states. In fact, the extensive conservation measures that were developed by states, landowners, and industry stakeholders has benefited the Lesser Prairie-Chicken and the population of the species has increased by more than 50 percent since the Fish and Wildlife Service began their process. I’m proud to join my colleagues across Oklahoma and Kansas in introducing this legislation to strike down the Biden Administration’s illogical action’s listing the Lesser Prairie-Chicken under the Endangered Species Act.”

If the CRA resolution is enacted, the measure would prevent the listing from having any force or effect.

“The recent listing of the lesser prairie-chicken is terrible for Kansas’ economy but great for the climate activists who have way too much influence over President Biden. Private property in the LPC range might as well be federal lands if this egregious policy goes into effect,” said Senator Marshall. “While high inflation is the greatest challenge facing our nation, this listing will increase financial difficulties for the Kansans who raise cattle for your hamburgers and drill oil for your gasoline. This President says lowering costs is a priority, but yet again he is making decisions that will do the exact opposite.”

“The decision to list the lesser prairie-chicken as threatened will negatively impact crucial industries in our state and place unnecessary restrictions on farmers, ranchers and energy producers,” said Sen. Moran. “Kansas and surrounding states have contributed millions of public and private dollars to successfully conserve the habitat area and increase the population of the bird. Listing of the lesser prairie-chicken will harm our state’s wildlife conservation efforts in the future by removing any incentive for similar local efforts.”

“I was extremely disappointed to learn the Fish and Wildlife Service has decided to list the Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endangered Species Act (ESA),” Senator Inhofe said. “I have emphasized time and again the harm this listing will have on Americans, especially those in our agriculture and oil and gas industry. The reality is that this listing is also entirely unnecessary due to successful conservation efforts benefiting the LPC and its habitat. I am glad to join my colleagues in introducing a resolution that would overturn the unnecessary listing of the LPC under the ESA.”

“The Endangered Species Act is being used as a tool for a federal takeover of energy, agriculture, and commerce in my great state,” said Senator Lankford. “Oklahoma energy, agriculture, and construction companies have cooperated with the federal process to recover the Lesser Prairie Chicken and prevent its listing under the Endangered Species Act. Now Fish & Wildlife is moving to list the Chicken under the Act, which would create new requirements—no longer voluntary—for Oklahomans and other states. I remain opposed to listing the Chicken under the ESA, which is why I’m standing up with our neighbors in Kansas and elsewhere against this rule.” 

“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 Rep. 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 at a 40-year high 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.” 

“Agriculture and energy producers in Kansas are already suffering from the Biden Administration’s failed policies and burdensome government regulations,” said Rep. LaTurner. “The decision by Washington bureaucrats to designate the lesser prairie-chicken as an endangered species is completely unnecessary as landowner and state-level efforts to restore the LPC habitat have been successful. All this reckless listing will do is create additional red tape making it more difficult for hard-working Kansans to succeed.”

“Time and again we’ve seen the Biden administration assert their overreaching and burdensome regulations on the lives of hardworking Kansans. The recent classification of the lesser prairie-chicken is another example of using Washington bureaucrats to dictate how Kansans live and work. The farmers, ranchers and energy producers of the Midwest have made great strides in conserving our land and protecting our natural resources. Now it’s necessary for Congress to rein in these out-of-control regulators and restore the rights of Kansas ranchers and energy producers,” said Rep. Estes.

“Once again, the federal government is playing its 20-year back-and-forth game, re-listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act,” Rep. Mullin said. “I firmly believe that the radical environmentalists are doing all they can to hinder energy independence and production in Oklahoma. We do not need the federal government interfering in state business — this is not a one size fits all solution. Our farmers, ranchers, and domestic producers deserve better.”

On June 15, 2021, Congressman Lucas joined his colleagues in expressing deep concern regarding the U.S. Department of Interior’s actions proposing to list the Lesser Prairie-Chicken under the ESA. “The citizens of our states have long strived to protect wildlife and provide for livestock in the region. This area is still home to some of the most open and rural land in the country today. Pushing forward with relisting the LPC under the Endangered Species Act would adversely impact our constituents and their voluntary conservation efforts,” wrote the lawmakers.

On June 28, 2021, Congressman Lucas and Senator Inhofe led a group of their colleagues in requesting at least a six-month extension to the comment period for the proposed listing of the LPC. 

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