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States File Suit Against FWS for Lesser Prairie Chicken ESA Designation

  Kansas, Oklahoma and North Dakota attorney generals oppose FWS designation of lesser prairie chicken as 'threatened.'

Kansas and North Dakota are the latest states to join a three-state lawsuit brought by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt challenging the process by which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to list the lesser prairie chicken as threatened.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt formally filed papers for Kansas to join the suit last week; North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has also joined.

Schmidt says the suit challenges the use of a process often called "sue and settle," by which private interest groups can sue federal agencies and then enter into consent decrees that compel the agencies the take certain actions.

One of those so-called "citizen suits" led to the federal court order that ultimately forced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make the March 27 decision that listed the lesser prairie chicken as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, Schmidt claims.

To read more about the lawsuit, click here.


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