Brownback: Lesser prairie chicken listing harmful to economy

Gov. Sam Brownback’s letter to Don Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, dated Jan. 30, 2014

Dear Director Ashe:

Gov. Sam Brownback

Gov. Sam Brownback

The state of Kansas has much at stake in the Service’s decision regarding the lesser prairie chicken. The listing of the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species is not justified at this time, and doing so would negatively impact the state’s agriculture and energy sectors in ways that can be avoided consistent with the interests of conservation and protection of the species. For those reasons, Kansas will be a strong advocate for independent judicial review of any decision to list the lesser prairie chicken.

Over half of the lesser prairie chicken population is typically located in Kansas, which also provides half of the occupied range of the species. Indeed, as recently as 2006, the Kansas population was at optimal levels. As is well known, Kansas and the other four states that are home to the lesser prairie chicken have experienced three consecutive years of severe drought. The recent decline in bird numbers is no doubt directly linked to this unique weather event.

With continued abatement of the drought, bird numbers are likely to recover. In addition, Kansas and the other states in the range have developed a multi-state Range-wide Conservation Plan, which facilitates recovery strategies as a substitute to the listing of the species. Additional Kansas stakeholder groups have proposed further strategies such as the Habitat Exchange Program, and multiple voluntary strategies and options like these will promote species recovery.

In short, the recent drought conditions should not serve as a basis for species listing. A return to normal weather and precipitation conditions, along with the ongoing and proposed conservation efforts, should mitigate any perceived need to list the species. In contrast, listing of the species and the accompanying protections would directly impact and jeopardize Kansas’ largest industries — agriculture and energy. The interests of conservation and protection of the species can be furthered without the heavy-handed measures that could accompany a federal listing.

While I am hopeful that you will agree that the criteria for listing are not satisfied here, Kansas stands ready to make the case in judicial review proceedings to oppose and challenge any listing. Thank you for your consideration.

Sam Brownback
Governor of the state of Kansas

Commenting Disclaimer
  • Be respectful. 
  • Do not use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Do not make accusations or personal attacks
  • Comments considered to be 'trolling' or for the sole purpose of angering others will be removed.
  • Chief59

    Keep fighting for those prairie chickens, all while leaving thousands without the opportunity for Medicaid. Keep up the good work, governor.

    • passin_threw

      Did you read the article? He isn’t fighting for them at all. All the compassion you show for people yet so much blind hatred for him that you comment without informing yourself. Such a shame

      • Chief59

        You are correct, I misspoke. Even after the third or fourth article on this subject I still typed the wrong thing. Keep fighting for the fight to kill the prairie chickens would be what was intended.

        • passin_threw

          So now that waffle59 has read the article he has switched sides for the prairie chicken…..how ironic is that

          • Chief59

            Call it what you want. I’ve read all 3 or four different articles on this same subject, but when I went to post my head went to a different place. I can own up to my mistakes when I make them. The point still stands though. Our governor is more interested in trivial items, instead of the well-being of his constituents. I cannot imagine how prairie chicken hunting can impact the economy of Kansas more than his policies. Also, did you catch his slight to climate change in there?

          • passin_threw

            His stance has absolutely nothing to do with hunting the bird. It has to do with the economic impact the regulations would have on the agriculture community which happens to be rather important to our state. Are you sure you’ve read and understood any of the articles?

          • Chief59

            I have. I know hunting was listed in one of them. Perhaps my memory is starting to fail me. We’ll go ahead and give this round to you passin.

  • The weakest link

    Perhaps Kansas should diversify its economic portfolio if a Prairie Chicken can derail the whole system.

  • ChrisG

    I find Brownback’s resolve to not hurt the economy inconsistent with his banning of wind turbines in the entire area where the best wind potential is closest to the states highest population. It doesn’t seem very consistent with this theme of government not interfering with business either.

  • ChrisG

    What abatement is he talking about?


  • ChrisG

    Where is Brownback getting his information? Our own water office says something entirely different. http://www.kwo.org/reports_publications/Drought.htm

Recent Comments

No Recent Comments Found