GARDEN CITY, Kansas – Listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken as “threatened” has set up a battle between the Federal Government and Governor Sam Brownback.
“We’re getting too much Federal Government taking away the rights of the people, and we’ve got to start down the road somewhere to get our freedoms back,” said Kansas State Senator Larry Powell.
The law Brownback signed on Friday says that the state, not the US government, has the right to regulate the species.
“[We need] to convey a message to the Federal Government that we wish to regulate ourselves to the greatest extent possible,” said Representative Russ Jennings, District 122.
Because the Prairie Chicken is a threatened species the US Fish and Wildlife Services can regulate what cities, businesses, and farmers do near their habitats and that could lead to fees for drilling, installing wind turbines, planting crops, or building a road. The bill says they don’t have the right to do that though. So, if a Kansan were ever written a mitigation fee for something they did against a Prairie Chicken, it could mean a County Attorney taking the Federal Agency to court.
“It’ll be an opportunity to really test the laws and see, to what extent, our sovereignty exists,” Jennings said.
There is still a little uncertainty about how the state law that challenges the federal government will play out.
“This is the way we resolve our disputes, is to bring them to the courts. It will end up there one way or another I’m sure,” Jennings said.
“We’ll just have to find out, I hope it has good effects,” said Powell.