US sued over lack of protection plan for rare grouse

Oct 25, 2022, 1:46 PM | Updated: 2:58 pm

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An environmental group is suing U.S. wildlife managers, saying they have failed to protect a rare grouse found in parts of the Midwest that include one of the country’s most prolific areas for oil and gas development.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday by the Center for Biological Diversity says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is nearly five months late in releasing a final rule outlining protections for the lesser prairie chicken.

Once listed as a threatened species, the prarie chicken’s habitat spans parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas — including a portion of the oil-rich Permian Basin that straddles the New Mexico-Texas state line.

Environmentalists have been pushing to reinstate federal protections for years. They consider the species severely threatened, citing lost and fragmented habitat as the result of oil and gas development, livestock grazing, farming and the building of roads and power lines.

The Fish and Wildlife Service in 2021 proposed listing the southern population in New Mexico and the southern reaches of the Texas Panhandle as endangered and those birds in the northern part of the species’ range as threatened. The agency had a deadline of June 1.

“The oil and gas industry has fought for decades against safeguards for the lesser prairie chicken, and the Fish and Wildlife Service is late issuing its final rule,” said Michael Robinson, a senior conservation advocate with the environment group. “The agency has slow-walked every step, and these imperiled birds keep losing more habitat.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday cited its policy for not commenting on pending litigation.

The species was once thought to number in the millions. Now, surveys show, the five-year average population across the entire range hovers around 30,000 individual birds.

Landowners and the oil and gas industry say they have had success with voluntary conservation programs aimed at protecting habitat and boosting the bird’s numbers. The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which oversees the conservation effort, has yet to report the results of the 2022 survey done earlier this year.

With a listing under the Endangered Species Act, officials have said that landowners and oil companies already participating in the voluntary conservation programs wouldn’t be affected because they already are taking steps to protect habitat. However, a listing would prevent any activities that result in the loss or degradation of existing habitat.

The species’ regulatory history dates to an initial petition for protection in 1995.

A little smaller and lighter in color than the greater prairie chicken, the lesser prairie chicken is known for spring courtship rituals that include flamboyant dances by the males and a cacophony of clucking.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A customer holds whale meat purchased from a vending machine at Kyodo Senpaku's unmanned store, Thu...
Associated Press

Japan firm opens whale meat vending machines to push sales

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — A Japanese whaling operator, after struggling for years to promote its products amid protests from conservationists, has found a new way to cultivate clientele and bolster sales: whale meat vending machines. The Kujira (Whale) Store, an unmanned outlet that recently opened in the port town of Yokohama near Tokyo, houses three […]
1 day ago
The Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06 passes the High Class Racing ORECA LMP2 07 in a turn during a p...
Associated Press

IMSA takes North American sports cars into hybrid era

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Cadillac growls, while the Porsche and BMW scream. The Acura sounds like an Indy car, and for fun, turn your back to the track and listen carefully as the cars roar around Daytona International Speedway in a new era of IMSA sports car racing. The top prototype class has […]
1 day ago
A new Jeep is delivered to a dealership in Pittsburgh on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. On Friday, the Comm...
Associated Press

US inflation and consumer spending cooled in December

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge eased further in December, and consumer spending fell — the latest evidence that the Fed’s series of interest rate hikes are slowing the economy. Friday’s report from the Commerce Department showed that prices rose 5% last month from a year earlier, down from a 5.5% year-over-year […]
1 day ago
Mass timber affordable home prototypes are shown at the Port of Portland in Portland, Ore. Friday, ...
Associated Press

Oregon pins hopes on mass timber to boost housing, jobs

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Inside a warehouse at the industrial Port of Portland lies what some believe could be the answer to Oregon’s housing crisis — a prototype of an affordable housing unit made from mass timber. Once mass-produced at the factory being planned at the port, the units ranging from 426 square feet (40 […]
1 day ago
FILE - The seal of the Board of Governors of the United States Federal Reserve System is displayed ...
Associated Press

Wyoming crypto bank’s Federal Reserve application denied

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Federal Reserve Board has denied a Wyoming cryptocurrency bank’s application for Federal Reserve System membership, officials announced Friday, dealing a setback to the crypto industry’s attempts to build acceptance in mainstream U.S. banking. Many in crypto have been looking to Cheyenne-based Custodia Bank’s more than 2-year-old application as a bellwether […]
1 day ago
In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, Senior Airmen Andrew Whitener and Tyler Glodgett 341s...
Associated Press

Nuclear strike chief seeks cancer review of launch officers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Air Force general in charge of the nation’s air- and ground-launched nuclear missiles has requested an official investigation into the number of officers who are reporting blood cancer diagnoses after serving at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. The illnesses became publicly known this week after The Associated Press obtained […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
...
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
US sued over lack of protection plan for rare grouse