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Federal Agency Mum On New Kansas Law

Associated Press - May 13, 2014 6:47 am

Governor Sam Brownback says a federal lawsuit by environmental groups over the lesser prairie chicken is an attempt to shut down agriculture and energy production in western Kansas.

Governor Sam Brownback says a federal lawsuit by environmental groups over the lesser prairie chicken is an attempt to shut down agriculture and energy production in western Kansas.

The federal agency that listed the lesser prairie chicken as threatened isn’t responding publicly to a new Kansas law declaring that only the state can regulate the grouse within its borders.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Claire Cassel said Monday the agency declined comment.

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

The law is a protest against possible restrictions on farming, ranching and oil and natural gas production.

The measure 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.

The Fish and Wildlife Service said in March that a steep decline in lesser prairie chicken numbers justified the listing.

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