Governor Sam Brownback recently outlined the next steps he will take to protect Kansas landowners and businesses from the negative effects of the Lesser Prairie Chicken’s listing as a threatened species.
Joined by Jackie McClaskey, Kansas Secretary of Agriculture and J. Michael Vess, Chairman and managing owner of Vess Oil Corporation, Governor Brownback called on the Obama administration to take several actions, including suspending current regulatory actions pending review of all plans that might be available to Kansans.
“The federal government is operating at cross purposes with itself,” said Governor Brownback. “On one hand, the Department of the Agriculture has reduced its Conservation Reserve Program by 25 percent since 2008 diminishing the range of the chicken and then U.S. Fish & Wildlife lists the bird as ‘threatened,’ based at least in part on circumstances the government itself created.”
Among the steps the Governor announced today were a formal request to Sally Jewel, Secretary of the Interior and Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture to suspend current regulatory actions until all proposed plans are reviewed and considered so Kansans may make a choice of the plan that best meets their needs; to recognize the important role drought has played historically in the ebb and flow of the Lesser Prairie Chicken population; and to address current program opportunities available through the Conservation Range Program or Environmental Quality Incentives Program to show good faith that recovery of the species is the mission.
Kansas also is expanding its participation in the Oklahoma law suit asking for an injunction to give Kansans time to consider all their options, including those plans that remain in the pipeline for governmental approval.
“The listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken is just one more example of the federal government disregarding state’s rights,” said Governor Brownback. “We will protect the rights of Kansas landowners and businesses. We can do that and protect the Lesser Prairie Chicken at the same time.”