Opinion Columns & Blogs

Ruling on bird renews focus on conservation plan

Tuesday’s decision in a Texas federal court vacating the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s listing of the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species could be just one win for oil and gas in a longer war with environmentalists. But it’s worth hoping that the court’s view prevails. It properly renews the focus on the affected five states’ conservation plan and efforts, and on the scientific assessment of the bird’s rebounding population numbers in the wake of drought conditions. The fight over the lesser prairie chicken’s status – including lawsuits and multiple attempts by Kansas’ congressional delegation to delist the grouse – has demonstrated that species management is not a job well-suited to politicians. – Rhonda Holman