Representative Tim Huelskamp (KS-1) expresses his reserved support for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) endorsement of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-Wide Conservation Plan. Congressman Huelskamp believes this decision is moving in the right direction to provide support to Kansas’ farms, ranches, and businesses:
“The USFWS endorsement of the range-wide conservation plan is a step in the right direction. I appreciate their recognition that voluntary conservation efforts of private individuals, as well as state and local agencies, are the most effective tool to protect the Lesser Prairie Chicken. Even so, I remain concerned that the proposal was not seen as adequate to prevent the bird from being listed as an endangered species. The lack of specific targets, for population numbers or for protected habitat, remains a significant concern; without them, there is no guarantee that any conservation efforts will ever be enough to prevent a listing or to delist the bird later.
Rather than considering the potentially devastating impacts a listing may have farms, ranches, the oil and gas industry, and electrical transmission development and the overall economic growth of rural America, USFWS continues to be focused on crafting settlements with litigious environmental groups that cannot achieve their agenda with the support of the American people. A listing threatens jobs, families, and the very way of life enjoyed by millions living in rural America. I encourage the administration to allow the range-wide conservation plan to do its work, to not list the bird, and allow the voluntary efforts of private individuals, state and local agencies to do their work in protecting the Lesser Prairie Chicken.”