The U.S. government has announced it is removing the lesser prairie chicken from a federal protection list under the Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday the move follows recent court rulings in Texas that stripped the lesser prairie chicken of federal protection. However, federal officials say the removal didn’t mean authorities had concluded the lesser prairie chicken didn’t warrant federal protection for biological reasons.
The rulings found that Fish and Wildlife failed to make a proper evaluation of a multistate conservation plan when it listed the lesser prairie chicken as threatened.
Oil and gas groups had strongly opposed the threatened listing, saying it would cost companies millions.
The lesser prairie chicken lives in Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Colorado.