Kansas Attorney General plans to sue Biden administration over lesser prairie chicken rule

PICT 64J1 Male Lesser Prairie Chicken in Flight - CPW
Published Sunday, February 5, 2023
by Tom Joyce

(The Center Square) Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach plans to sue President Joe Biden's administration unless the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removes the lesser prairie chicken's threatened species status. 

Kobach sent the administration a written notice announcing his intent.

"The Biden administration's listing of this species will have a devastating impact on Kansas ranchers, Kansas oil producers, and Kansas wind farms. Moreover, it is illegal," Kobach said in a press release. "Kansas will lead the way in fighting against this overreach by the Biden administration."

The rule change will mean Kansas ranchers will have to seek the federal government's permission to move a cattle herd to a new field. Additionally, the rule will restrict energy pipelines, roads and oil drilling, according to Kobach's office.

In his letter to the administration, Kobach said the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) is working with federal agencies, regional organizations, nonprofit organizations, and private landowners to protect the lesser prairie chicken and its habitat. He said these efforts have helped stabilize Kansas's lesser prairie chicken population.

Kobach said that the Biden administration failed to properly consider the state's conservation efforts, including actions by private landowners. 


PICT 64J1 Male Female Lesser Prairie Chickens - CPW
Male lesser prairie chickens can be heard stomping their feet in a mating dance, and they boom by inflating a red sac on their neck and quickly releasing the air. They also make a cackling noise that can be heard as they engage in mock battles, flying into the air and confronting rivals on the breeding grounds. Courtesy CPW / Bill Vogrin.

Kobach sent U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Martha Williams a letter providing a 60-day notice of the intent to file a lawsuit for, "failing to follow Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act with regard to the Final Rule the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service," according to the release.

Under the Biden administration's decision, Kansas will be part of the "Northern Distinct Population Segment" where the lesser prairie chicken will be designated as a threatened species. In the "Southern Distinct Population Segment", the bird will be marked as an endangered species. 

The administration's rule will take effect March 27, 2023, and Kobach will sue to stop it from happening. 

A copy of the letter Kobach sent the Biden administration is available here.

KiowaCountyPress.net may earn an affiliate commission if you purchase products or services through links in an article. Prices, when displayed, are accurate at the time of publication but may change over time. Commissions do not influence editorial independence.

The Kiowa County Press is an independent newspaper published in Eads, Kiowa County, Colorado, and to the world at KiowaCountyPress.net.