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Energy and Environment

U.S. Fish And Wildlife Services Quiet Over Kansas' Lesser Prairie Chicken Regulation

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is not responding publicly to a new Kansas law that says only Kansas can regulate the lesser prairie chicken within its borders.

In March, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the prairie chicken as threatened because of a steep decline in the animal's numbers. The listing protected lesser prairie chickens in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico.

The agency’s spokeswoman Claire Cassel declined to comment on the law yesterday.

Governor Sam Brownback signed the Kansas prairie chicken measure late Friday. It takes effect this week.

The law is a protest against restrictions on farming, ranching and oil and natural gas production due to prairie chicken protection measures.

The new law covers the lesser prairie chicken and the larger, darker and more abundant greater prairie chicken. It authorizes the Kansas attorney general and county prosecutors to file lawsuits against federal conservation efforts.