Lesser prairie chicken decision is applauded

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) president Richard Thorpe has endorsed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) decision to formally delist the lesser prairie-chicken (LPC) as a “threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

“For far too long, many ranchers and landowners have operated under burdensome federal regulations due to the threatened listing of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken,” said Thorpe. “TSCRA is pleased the LPC has officially been removed from the Endangered Species list to provide relief for those affected by these unnecessary regulations.

This final action comes 10 months after U.S. District Judge Robert A. Junell, of Midland, Texas, determined USFWS had illegally listed the bird as a “threatened” species. USFWS appealed this court decision but dropped their appeal on May 11, 2016.

“This fight is not over. The USFWS already announced they are “undertaking a thorough re-evaluation of the bird’s status.” We encourage the USFWS to remember that ranchers and landowners have already voluntarily implemented successful conservation practices which were largely responsible for the court’s decision to delist the LPC in the first place. These practices have worked to conserve the LPC’s habitat for a long time and more government regulations are not the answer. TSCRA will continue to aggressively monitor future listings and encourages USFWS to keep the LPC off the Endangered Species list,” Thorpe concluded.