Prairie Chicken vs. Texas Battle Ends in Surprising But Meek Victory for Prairie Chicken

Categories: Environment

prairiechick.jpg
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Texas doesn't necessarily want the lesser prairie chicken to die, but Texas is vehemently opposed to doing anything that might prevent the bird from dying.

Late last year Texas was vowing to fight any efforts by the feds to place the dying bird on an endangered list, but the state has just been just hit with a minor setback. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is planning to give some extra protections to the bird anyway.

Texas is pissed. The fowl are now enjoying a reputation as menacing creatures that will wreak havoc on the all-powerful energy industry. Good for you, lesser prairie chicken.

The lesser prairie chicken is a bird celebrated by wildlife enthusiasts for its fun courtship ritual (From the US Fish & Wildlife Service: "They inflated their yellow air sacs and emitted a strange, booming sound across a sea of grasses.")

Sure, sounds cute, except it's kind of in the way of a bunch of other stuff people would like to use the land for. Their habitat has already taken a beating thanks to industrial activity like oil and extraction, agriculture, electric transmitters and wind turbines. The chickens have been on the waiting list to become officially "endangered' since 1998.

Finally, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week that the lesser prairie chicken will be going on a list of threatened species, starting May 1. Not endangered, like environmentalists wanted, which would place tougher restrictions on businesses and landowners under the Endangered Species Act, but a step below that.

"The lesser prairie chicken is in dire straits," FWS Director Daniel M. Ashe said in a statement.

Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter dismissed the "threatened" designation as part of Obama's war on fossil fuels. "It appears the federal agency has been influenced heavily by the environmentalist agenda, which has very little to do with preservation of this species and more with the eradication of the oil and gas industry," he told the Houston Business Journal.

Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick sounds even more outraged: "This kind of federal intrusion creates unworkable difficulties for Texas businesses and landowners," she said. "The result will undoubtedly impact Texas energy production in the chicken's range area throughout the Panhandle and in the heart of the Permian Basin, with damaging effects on operators who produce more than one-third of this nation's crude oil."

But from the Texas regulators' melodramatic announcements, you'd never know that the oil industry and other businesses actually got a pretty good deal out of this whole threatened thing. The birds' new "threatened" label comes with a special little exemption that the feds agreed to in December.The exemption allows landowners and businesses to protect themselves from getting in trouble by signing a form called a Candidate Conservation Agreement. As long as you're just accidentally killing or harming the lesser prairie chicken during a "routine business operation," you're cool.

The Center for Biological Diversity is horrified, but for the opposite reasons from why Texas is horrified.

"The Fish and Wildlife Service turned its back and relied on voluntary conservation plans that only amount to a wink and a nod with no accountability," Jay Lininger, senior scientist with CBD, says in a press release.

Memo to lesser prairie chickens: enjoy this badass business-destroying reputation before we kill you all.


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27 comments
BigTex
BigTex

Loss of Habitat and Native Texas Prairie open space equals Loss of Species in this case the very threatened Atwater's Prairie Chicken.

pak152
pak152

ever noticed how those offshore oil rigs serve as artificial reefs?

pak152
pak152

lets' see the current administration has not say over o&g exploration and production in Texas. the administration has essentially killed off O&G exploration and production on federal lands and the only way they can effectively kill exploration and production in Texas is via backdoor means such as putting this bird on the endangered species list.

pak152
pak152

"Texas is vehemently opposed to doing anything that might prevent the bird from dying."

nooooo Texas is vehemently opposed to over regulation by the government which will result in killing the O&G business

lecterman
lecterman

Didn't Little Feat sing about the Prairie Chicken...or something like that?

dingo
dingo

The state of Kansas (as announced 3/28/14) has joined Oklahoma in a lawsuit challenging the process used by the federal government to list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species. 

You won't find that reality mentioned in this article because it would lend credence to the State's position if other like-minded states were revealed.

I do not know one way or the other which side should prevail on this but one would think that a federal lawsuit regarding the issue would be newsworthy.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

As long as we are trying to get rid of these damn birds, this seems a great time to reveal my plan for invasive species in waterways, such as those jumping carp, zebra mussels and the like.

First, start an off-site breeding program of desirable fish, turtles, etc. then, electrocute the hell out of every living thing in the affected waterways, then re-stock when it's clear that the undesirables are truly gone.

Someone should pay me for this shit.

MetroPlexual
MetroPlexual

Sorry, 

I couldn't get through this article becase of your aggressive audio interruption - advertisements.  Your content is not worth putting up with what I find disturbing and it is not convenient to find the offending ad to close or mute.  Bye Bye.

I'll try you in a month or so and see if content and user experience has improved.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Like the rabbit, the lesser P chicken is a highly sought after carb injector.  Every predator that sneaks, slinks, slithers or runs in packs along the fruited plain finds the venerable yard bird an irresistible morsel to huff.

Unfortunately the Lesser bird doesn't fuck like rabbits.

The only way the rabbit stays out in front of the masses.

And yes, it is not beyond the scope of what the Radical Left, who is presently driving the President's regulatory agencies, is capable of which is to use the IRS and OSHA, to go after their political enemies.  In this case, the U.S. Fish et al is the maneuver element for the EPA.

leftocenter
leftocenter

I think it's hilarious that the Texas Railroad Commish thinks Obama has so much free time on his hands, what with Ukraine, Syria, etc., to micro-manage the EPA.  I don't think the Lesser Prairie Chicken keeps POTUS up at night...or very many other people for that matter.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

We certainly wouldn't want this magnificent fowl to go the way of the caribou, would we?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@pak152

Yes, and what happens when they are dismantled or relocated?

Homeless fish!

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@lecterman

Something about promoting inter-species love in the South, as I recall.

The Baptists got it yanked from the airwaves, because goats.

pak152
pak152

@dingo what? you really expect the DO to report fully on a story? silly fellow

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@holmantx

I dunno, the combination of Executive Action, the Commerce Clause, and selective non-enforcement of law has kinda made the reliance on un-elected apparatchiks to legislate our Own Private Venezuela into existence almost unnecessary.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@leftofcenter

I've long held that the sole enemy of the American left - which is primarily concerned with domestic issues such as Social Justice, equity, sexual freedoms and the like - has only one true Enemy of America, and that's the American Right Wing.

Shit like women's rights in the Arab world, Russian takeover of Europe, Chinese control of Africa or external threats to the country and the like are the problems of the right wing, that's why Obama.

pak152
pak152

@TheRuddSkiactually they are retired in place. Environmentalists wanted the rigs dismantled, but the oil companies were able to show that that wasn't a good idea, and fishers said it would destroy their business.

more information here
https://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/water/habitats/artificial_reef/overview.phtml

"The Louisiana Artificial Reef Program was established in 1986 to take advantage of obsolete oil and gas platforms which were recognized as providing habitat important to many of Louisiana's coastal fishes. Federal law and international treaty require these platforms to be removed one year after production ceases. The removal of these platforms results in a loss of reef habitat."
http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/artificial-reef-program

so you can see that it was federal law and treaties that would create homeless fish

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@pak152

Why should the DO be any different than ABCNBCCBS et al?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk

I'm not getting the problem he cites, but if the audio is "get back to work!", I suspect the source is not UP.

Mervis_Earl
Mervis_Earl

@TheRuddSki "women's rights in the Arab world,.........are the problems of the right wing"

This may be the funniest thing I've ever read.

pak152
pak152

@TheRuddSkifirst of all environmentalists and their fellow travelers believe that big business types sit around a table deciding how to screw the environment. not true. second if they and the media honestly reported on things they would lose donations

as for the positive effect that offshore rigs have on the ocean this was first seen back in the late 40s with the first offshore rig. Jimmy Stewart did a movie about this
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046425/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_49 

have you ever seen a story in the MSM about how alt-energy sources (solar farms and wind farms) are killing birds in greater numbers than oil spills? no of course not because those are friendly energy sources.

and I get you didn't see very many stories about how an environmental group took many from a natural gas company to vilify the coal industry


TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@pak152

You have to admire the efficiency of the environmental propagandists. After all the words I and others have read on the evils of oil, all the discussions in minor and major media - this is the first time I've ever seen this addressed, or these facts you presented.

Maybe, in all the years (decades?) of vilifying Big Oil, this actually has been touted by NBCCBSABC, and I just happened to be in the shitter all those times,

Anyone got Lexis- nexus? I'd love to be proved wrong.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin

I've accessed the affected posts on iPad and droid DumbPhone, haven't had the prob. I feel discriminated against.

You probably shouldn't be reading about the cowboys anyway.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  there is a story on the main page of UP that is on Auto play and its really pissed me off the last 2 days.  Its the one about the fucking shitty cowboys no less

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Mervis_Earl

Yeah, I remember the left-wing concern for Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the liberation of women in Iraq and Afghanistan, all the Muslim girls now allowed in school.

In fact, the way our left celebrates the fact that 50,000,000 Muslims have a chance at that self-determination & voting thing is very touching.

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