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Moran introduces legislation to address lesser prairie chickens

7/31/2014

Special to The Hays Daily News

Special to The Hays Daily News

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Jerry Moran, R-Kan., recently introduced legislation, S.2623, to protect producers from the consequences of the lesser prairie chicken listing as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

The legislation would prohibit the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of the Interior from altering any land management practices based on the lesser prairie chicken listing. This would provide certainty for landowners and assure them the rules in place today will not be arbitrarily changed by the federal government tomorrow.

 “I am confident there are ways to address conserving the species while not hampering economic growth and farming and ranching activities,” Moran said. “The lesser prairie chicken listing has already resulted in real consequences for a number of Kansas industries including agriculture, oil and gas development, ranching, transportation and wind energy. I am committed to making certain the measures implemented are based on sound science and common sense, as well as represent the best interest of producers.”

Moran has worked to avoid the lesser prairie chicken’s listing. On June 13, 2013, he sent a bipartisan letter requesting a six-month delay to the lesser prairie chicken listing decision in order to provide the maximum amount of time to consider the lesser prairie chicken listing allowed under federal law. That letter was a follow-up to a letter  Feb. 20, 2013, requesting an extension to the comment period for the proposed threatened listing, which U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Director Dan Ashe agreed to provide within a week of the request.

Moran is a co-sponsor of legislation, S.2677, to remove the lesser prairie chicken from the threatened species list for a five-year period to allow state-based conservation plans to take affect before re-evaluating the listing, and also legislation, S.2635, requiring the data used as the basis for each listing determination under the Endangered Species Act to be made publicly available.