OK Governor Responds To Prairie Chicken Listed As Threatened

Thursday, March 27th 2014, 5:12 pm
By: News 9

The Obama administration is placing the lesser prairie chicken on a list of threatened species.

The decision could affect oil and gas drilling, wind farms and other activities in five central and southwestern states.

The decision by the Fish and Wildlife Service is a step below "endangered" status and allows for more flexibility in how the protections for the bird will be carried out under the Endangered Species Act.

The announcement is expected Thursday. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the listing decision in advance.

The wildlife agency's director says he knows the decision will be unpopular with governors in the five affected states but that the bird is "in dire straits" and needs help.

The states are Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico.

Governor Mary Fallin commented on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to list the Lesser Prairie Chicken as a Threatened Species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

"The potential impact of this listing, without the Range Wide Plan, could have resulted in damaging hits to our state's economy, particularly our energy and agriculture industries. With a large amount of conservation already taking place, my administration will take all steps to continue to implement this plan and work with the Service to de-list this species as soon as possible. I am very excited to see industry and the states continue to work together on conserving this bird with our jointly developed conservation strategies," Fallin stated in a news release.