Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) released the following statement today in response to 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.
"It's encouraging that after a year of review the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is finally endorsing a voluntary five-state conservation plan for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken. Encouraging state and local conservation efforts is one of the best ways to protect species and help keep them off the endangered species list. That's why I am still deeply troubled by the Obama Administration's decision to leave open the possibility of listing the Lesser Prairie-Chicken under the Endangered Species Act. This is further evidence that the Interior Department is still more interested in meeting court-extended deadlines and crafting closed-door settlements with litigious groups than in fostering the actual recovery of this species. Instead of threatening states, jobs, and private property owners with the potential future regulation of millions of acres, the Obama Administration should be allowing states, agriculture, property owners, and job-producing industries to continue working on conserving the Lesser Prairie-Chicken while simultaneously allowing for multiple use of private lands in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas, and Colorado."