The U.S. Senate has rejected an amendment by Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas that would have removed the lesser prairie chicken from the federal government’s threatened species act.
Moran’s amendment to a bill intended to expedite construction of the Keystone XL pipeline fell short of the 60 votes needed to be added to the measure.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last year designated the lesser prairie chicken as threatened, which is one step below endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
Moran says federal officials underestimated the bird’s population after a historic drought hit its habitat, and that its numbers have risen since then.
The lesser prairie chicken resides mainly in Kansas, but also is in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Colorado.