Occidental enrolls nearly 2M acres into lesser prairie chicken program

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

HOUSTON – Occidental Petroleum Corporation announced this week it has enrolled nearly 1.8 million acres of its oil and gas interests in Texas, New Mexico, Kansas and Oklahoma, in programs designed to support conservation measures for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken. The majority of the acreage has been enrolled in the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-Wide Conservation Plan, a conservation strategy developed by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) and endorsed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Oxy’s remaining acreage in the LEPC habitat has been enrolled under an existing conservation agreement in New Mexico. The LEPC habitat covers nearly 40 million acres across Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Kansas.

One of the first oil and gas companies to enroll in the RWP, Oxy has committed approximately $12 million over a three-year period to fund LEPC conservation efforts. This funding, combined with that from enrollments by other energy companies, will enable WAFWA to pay landowners across five states to undertake approved conservation practices and habitat restoration measures. Oxy and other RWP enrollees are optimistic that USFWS can cite industry’s conservation commitment as justification for a decision to not list the LEPC as a threatened species. A final decision by USFWS on whether to list the LEPC as a threatened species is expected by March 30.

“The Range-Wide Plan represents an unprecedented collaboration between the USFWS and the states in protecting endangered species without adversely impacting our economy,” said Bill Albrecht, President, Oxy Oil and Gas, Americas. “Oxy’s enrollment under this state-managed agreement will ensure that the company can continue providing the jobs and producing the oil and natural gas important to the nation while also significantly supporting the conservation of this species.”