TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators are preparing to consider a bill declaring that the federal government has no authority to regulate prairie chickens in the state.
The measure up for debate in both chambers Friday is a response to the federal government's listing in March of the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species. The action allows federal oversight of state conservation efforts.
The bill covers the lesser prairie chicken and the larger, darker and more abundant greater prairie chicken. It allows the attorney general to file lawsuits to block federal attempts to regulate the birds and their habitats.
State officials fear that the federal government will restrict farming, ranching and oil and natural gas producers. Environmentalists say the state should concentrate on increasing the bird's population instead of protesting.