Last week Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Richard Ranzau testified in Topeka in favor of pulling the spotted skunk off the state’s list of threatened species, not because the skunks are known to be plentiful but because the delisting would serve the county legislative platform’s goal of “reducing the cost and regulatory burden of public works projects.” On Thursday a Senate committee will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 268, a Ranzau-backed measure about disregarding the Kansas Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act concerning stream maintenance and obstruction requirements. Zack Pistora, state lobbyist for the Kansas Sierra Club, said in an e-mail to wildlife advocates that “this bill would not only impact the eastern spotted skunk, but all stream-dwelling creatures including threatened fish, amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates.” Deciding when and whether wildlife should be protected in Kansas is a job for species and habitat experts, not county commissioners and legislators. – Rhonda Holman
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