Kansas groups sue Fish and Wildlife Service to stop protection of lesser prairie-chicken

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service was sued this week by some Kansas farm groups in a challenge of the agency’s move to enact Endangered Species Act protective regulations for the lesser prairie-chicken.
The Pacific Legal Foundation filed the suit on behalf of Cameron Edwards who is a Logan County landowner, a group of Kansas agricultural producers and the Kansas Natural Resource Coalition. It contends the actions of the Fish & Wildlife Service would dramatically restrict land use across millions of acres.
“The Endangered Species Act requires the government to balance conservation efforts with the economic impacts of regulations,” said Charles Yates, an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation. “The Fish & Wildlife Service plainly failed to do that in this case. It violates the constitutional separation of powers whenever an agency ignores the limitations placed on it by Congress.”
The rules proposed by the federal agency would apply to land in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and other states where the prairie-chicken is found. Edwards, the individual cited in the lawsuit, has a farming and ranching operation near Oakley in Logan county in northwest Kansas. A spokesman for the lawfirm that filed the suit said his family and operations “have been severely impacted by the lesser prairie-chicken 4(d) rule.”

Logan County, Kansas - Wikipedia

The Fish & Wildlife Service’s rule would put agricultural producers in a bind: They must either make costly changes to their land use, which could destroy their livelihoods, or keep using their land freely and productively and hope that the government doesn’t punish them.
It also jeopardizes essential local government services, including the building and maintenance of roads, utility poles, and emergency radio towers. Something as simple as erecting a tower to ensure citizens are notified of a tornado warning is now regulated, and possibly prohibited by the rule.
When adopting its rule for the lesser prairie-chicken, the Fish & Wildlife Service failed to consider the economic impact of the rule and its impact on small businesses — violations of the Endangered Species Act, Administrative Procedure Act, and Regulatory Flexibility Act.
“KNRC is proud to take a stand in defense of our member counties and their constituents,” said Commissioner Gary Hayzlett, President of The Kansas Natural Resource Coalition and Chairman of the Board of Kearny County Commissioners. “This rule heavily regulates numerous essential public services, will regulate virtually anything many landowners might wish to do on their property, and will have significant negative impact on individual livelihoods. The rule should be struck down.”
KNRC is an association of 30 Kansas county governments. KNRC is joined in the lawsuit by several Kansas farmers and ranchers, including Cameron Edwards, Lone Butte Farms, Schilling Land, and JDC Farms.
The case is Kansas Natural Resource Coalition v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service , filed in United States District Court for the District of Kansas.
Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans, pro-bono, threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. PLF now has 17 victories out of 19 cases litigated at the nation’s highest court.
Source: Pacific Legal release