Groups File Lawsuit To Protect Lesser Prairie Chicken

June 17, 2014 6:09 PM

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Groups File Lawsuit To Protect Lesser Prairie Chicken

Three conservation groups filed a legal challenge today over the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s failure to adequately protect thousands of imperiled lesser prairie chickens from being killed or harmed by oil and gas drilling, grazing and other human activities. Although the bird’s population declined an estimated 50 percent last year, in April the Service designated the bird as “threatened” rather than “endangered,” a distinction that allowed the agency to authorize ongoing “incidental take” of prairie chickens under a series of unproven, voluntary conservation agreements.

“Habitat destruction and drought are continuing to devastate the small remaining population of this magnificent grassland bird,” said Jay Lininger, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “These unenforceable pro-industry agreements fail to ensure the level of protection require...

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