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Kansas AG will sue federal agencies over listing of lesser prairie chickens

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach plans to sue federal agencies for listing the lesser prairie chicken as threatened.

Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach announced on Tuesday that he will file a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service unless it drops a rule listing the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species.

“The Biden administration’s listing of this species will have a devastating impact on Kansas ranchers, Kansas oil producers and Kansas wind farms. Plus, it’s illegal,” Kobach said. “Kansas will lead the way in the fight against this overacting by the Biden administration.”

AG Kobach indicated that the rule change would require ranchers to seek federal permission to move a herd of cattle to a new field. It would also create tighter restrictions on pipelines, roads and other developments, including oil drilling.

In her letter, Kobach noted the efforts of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks to work with federal agencies, regional organizations, non-profit organizations and private landowners to conserve the species and its habitat. He said the efforts have helped stabilize the population and range expansion of the lesser prairie fowl in the Sunflower State.

The AG also argued that the administration failed to consider the Kansans’ pre-existing and ongoing conservation and mitigation efforts. These include relationships established by the KDWP and private landowners and voluntary action to implement an area-wide conservation plan.

As required by law, Kobach said he sent a letter to US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and US Director of Fish and Wildlife Martha Williams giving 60 days notice of intent to initiate litigation. for failure to comply with Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act – in respect of the Final Rule the FWS issued on November 25th.

Kobach noted that Kansas is part of the “northern distinct population segment” in which the lesser prairie chicken is to be designated as a threatened species while birds in the southern segment will be considered endangered.

The AG has indicated that the Final Rule will take effect on March 27. If it is not withdrawn, he said he will file a case.

To read a full copy of the letter, click HERE.

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