Kristina Baum (EPW) – 202.224.6176

Donelle Harder (EPW) – 202.224.4721

Inhofe Praises Federal Court’s Decision to Overturn the Lesser Prairie Chicken’s ESA Listing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, praised the action of Federal Judge Robert Junell of the U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas for overturning the listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC) from the Endangered Species Act.

"I applaud U.S. District Judge Junell of the Western District of Texas for overturning the listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endangered Species Act,” said Inhofe.  “Oklahoma and the four other states in the LPC’s range established non-federal conservation plans prior to the administration’s decision to list the species. The court's decision to vacate the listing demonstrates that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not adequately consider these conservation plans prior to the listing decision, which is a binding requirement. Across the LPC range, its population has grown by 25 percent since 2014. Not only has this region seen improved weather conditions, the LPC population has most notably benefited from effective conservation being conducted under the non-federal plans where industry has committed tens of millions of dollars towards preservation actions and landowners have conserved nearly 40,000 acres of habitat. The increase in LPC population shows that states, industry, and farmers have proven their ability to steward their land and successfully conserve the LPC population without the need for big government interference.  It is my hope that this ruling, along with language providing a temporary delisting of the LPC in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act, will enable states to effectively conserve species without all of the burdensome federal regulations that come with a listing under the ESA.”   

In the 113th Congress, Inhofe introduced the Lesser Prairie Chicken Voluntary Recovery Act of 2014 (S.2677) to remove the LPC from the list of threatened species under ESA for a period of five years to allow the state-driven conservation plans to take affect. Language similar to S. 2677 was included in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as Congressman Frank Lucas’ amendment #38, which was adopted 229-190.  The NDAA is now being conferenced between the two chambers.