Senate votes to strike down ESA listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken; NCBA applauds the move
The Senate voted Wednesday night to strike down the Biden administration’s listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken as part of the Endangered Species Act. The measure passed by a vote of 50-48.
It was led by Senators Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), James Lankford (R-OK), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Katie Britt (R-AL). Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) broke ranks with his party to vote in favor of delisting.
Senator Marshall said listing the grouse places a burden on farmers, ranchers, and energy producers in rural communities. “When will this Administration learn that a one-size fits all model does not work in rural America?”, he said. “With a population that is on the rise and tens of millions of acres conserved, the evidence doesn’t support designating the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species. In fact, the Lesser Prairie Chicken is better protected now than ever, with a population that has been growing since 2014. The ESA is just another weaponized tool Biden is using to attack rural America. I am proud to have led this resolution of disapproval in the Senate and thankful for my colleagues who joined me in this fight to stand up for our farmers and ranchers.”
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association welcomed the passage of the resolution.
“The lesser prairie chicken listing will do little to benefit the bird, but it will succeed in shutting down the voluntary conservation work that is responsible for the species surviving today,” said NCBA Policy Division Chair Gene Copenhaver. “NCBA thanks Senator Marshall for his leadership on this issue, and we appreciate the support of those in the Senate who are listening to the concerns of farmers, ranchers and local officials. This resolution puts flexible, locally led conservation efforts back at the forefront. The Biden administration’s actions to list the bird, micromanage grazing operations on private lands, and implement a top-down approach will not benefit the bird or the land.”
NCBA is currently suing the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the listing. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in March. In addition to NCBA, the case is being brought by lead plaintiff Permian Basin Petroleum Association along with the Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Kansas Livestock Association, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, and New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association.
On January 23, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service extended the effective date of the final rule to list the lesser prairie chicken under the Endangered Species Act until March 27, 2023. This announcement came following a letter written by Senator Marshall and his colleagues to the USFWS in December of 2022.
In early January, Senator Marshall led a group of elected officials in a letter to Deb Haaland, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, requesting an extension to delay the final rule. The Members suggested April 1st be the new deadline, which is before the primary nesting season of the bird.
Rep. Tracey Mann (R-KS) is leading the companion House resolution. President Biden has promised to veto the measure if it passes the full Congress.
Sen. Marshall joined RFD-TV on Market Day Report to talk with Suzanne Alexander about what he hopes to see happen next.