Lucas Measure to Repeal Controversial Endangered Species Listing Passes House
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed an amendment introduced by Congressman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) to effectively remove the Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC) from the Endangered Species List (ESL) for a period of five years. The proposal, which passed by a vote of 229-190, amends the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to address concerns that the LPC’s “threatened” listing by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could needlessly impact American defense readiness by hindering development of new facilities and training exercises. The recent listing has also generated concern among agriculture and energy producers in the five state region of the LPC.
“Despite strong conservation efforts in Oklahoma and other range states, the Lesser Prairie Chicken remains on the Endangered Species List. Its listing has not only created yet another layer of costs and bureaucracy for farmers and ranchers, but it could also force American military bases to tip toe around a set of dubious regulations.
“This amendment ensures our military may continue to operate on its own schedule, rather than waiting on approval from an agency bureaucrat,” said Congressman Lucas.
In addition to de-listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken – whose populations actually increased in 2014 – Lucas’ amendment also de-lists the American Burying Beetle which has been on the ESL since the early 1980’s despite the fact that its observed populations today are well above goals set by the Fish and Wildlife Services in 1991. There are numerous military bases in the Lesser Prairie Chicken’s range and dozens more in the very large estimated range of the American Burying Beetle.
The amendment is supported by the National Rural Electric Co-operatives Association (NRECA), Farm Bureau, the National Association of Homebuilders, and the Chamber of Commerce.