Posted on September 10, 2015
The Washington Post
male lesser prairie chicken, New Mexico
A U.S. District Court Judge threw out the Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) decision to list the lesser prairie chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) as a threatened species last Tuesday. The March 2014 decision to list this species throughout its range in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado coincided with a habitat conservation plan set up by these states which aimed to keep the species from being listed. This was done to fend off any land use restrictions for operations such as oil and gas extraction that may result from a listing. The judge in this case ruled FWS failed to consider the potential positive impacts of the habitat conservation plan in determining whether listing the species was necessary. FWS has not stated if they will appeal the ruling.