Christi Craddick Says USFW Listing of Lesser Prairie Chicken Infringes on States’ Rights and Private Property Rights

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AUSTIN –Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick said today the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Lesser Prairie Chicken as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act is a critical loss for states’ rights and for Texas private property rights.

“This kind of federal intrusion creates unworkable difficulties for Texas businesses and landowners,” Craddick said. “The result will undoubtedly impact Texas energy production in the chicken’s range area throughout the Panhandle and in the heart of the Permian Basin, with damaging effects on operators who produce more than one-third of this nation’s crude oil.

“While the listing allows for a rule intended by USFW to mitigate impacts to industry and landowners, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ five state, range-wide conservation plan developed under the rule comes with a cost,” Craddick said. “A company or landowner must enroll acreage and buy into the plan to benefit from the regulatory assurances the plan provides to members. Independent operators who have long been the lifeblood of the Texas energy industry and who are prominent in the chicken’s range area cannot afford the undue burden of costs and regulatory uncertainty that this listing brings.

“Currently, the approximately 4 million acres of land enrolled in this conservation plan across the five states is essentially under federal regulation and cannot be developed without approval from the USFW,” Craddick said.

“More than one hundred species in Texas are proposed for listing in the next three years. This listing is a part of the ongoing comprehensive assault on the oil and gas sector with federal attempts to impede on and add cost to energy development, Craddick said. “The aggregate cost of these attempts will ultimately be unbearable for our energy industry. We must fight this federal intrusion so that job creators and industry can continue to build a strong Texas economy.”