An editorial in today’s Odessa American laments that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service went ahead and listed the lesser prairie chicken. The editorial notes that the plan was unable to accomplish its goal of preventing the prairie chicken’s listing; even though it has significant support (five oil and gas companies–Continental Resources, Devon Energy, Apache Corp., Occidental Oil and Gas Corporation, and Samson Resources–along with the five state fish and wildlife agencies in the bird’s range (Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, led by their trade association, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Associations) and raised $21 million and enrolled nearly 4 million acres. Unfortunately, now these companies have committed themselves to this very expensive plan, which will cost an estimated quarter-billion dollars over just the next ten years. Yet there is another plan, known as the Stakeholder Conservation Strategy, that is much cheaper but is still waiting for Fish & Wildlife approval. Stay posted, this is going to be an interesting story as it unfolds.
Brian Seasholes is a former research fellow with Reason Foundation.