Kansas joins suit over lesser prairie chicken

Kansas has joined with Oklahoma to challenge a federal endangered species listing.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced that Kansas joined an Oklahoma lawsuit that challenges a process resulting in the lesser prairie chicken being named as a threatened species.
North Dakota also joined in the lawsuit.
A “citizen suit” led to a federal court order that ultimately led the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to decide to list the lesser prairie chicken as threatened under the endangered species act, according to the attorney general’s office.
Private interest groups may sue federal agencies and then enter into consent decrees that compel the agencies to take certain actions.
Oklahoma, Kansas and North Dakota are arguing that consent decrees cannot be used to circumvent provisions of federal statutory law. The states alleges that the Fish and Wildlife Service violated its statutory obligation to make endangered species listing decisions “solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available” and it alleges the agency failed to adhere to its own regulations and guidelines in the rulemaking process.

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