Friday, June 04, 2021

Biden bid to save prairie chickens could spark oil-patch fight

A lesser prairie chicken
(USFWS photo by Greg Kramos)
"The Biden administration called for new protections under the Endangered Species Act for an iconic bird of the Great Plains on Wednesday, a move with major consequences for the oil and gas industry," Joshua Partlow and Juliet Eilperin report for The Washington Post.

"U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials proposed listing as endangered a portion of the lesser prairie chicken’s population living in Texas and New Mexico, whose range overlaps with the oil- and gas-rich Permian Basin," the Post reports. "The agency stopped short of awarding the same protections to the birds’ northern population, in Oklahoma and Kansas, on the grounds that their numbers had declined less drastically. The decision, one of nearly two dozen new conservation measures the administration has adopted in the past four months, underscores President Biden’s push to unravel his predecessor’s environmental policies."

The move echoes the years-long battle over the sage grouse, a similarly oddball-looking cousin of the lesser prairie chicken that also nests on prime drilling land.

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