Kansas leaders want no change to bird species’ status

Lesser Prairie Chicken (KSN File Photo)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Three top Kansas officials are asking the federal government not to list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened or endangered species.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Department of Agriculture Secretary Jackie McClaskey made the request in a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.

The Hutchinson News reports the officials argue that relisting the species as threatened or endangered would hurt Kansas’ economy and agricultural industry. They also said it would impede Kansas’ right to control how its land is used.

The species was removed from the endangered species list in July 2016. Later that year, the service began to reassess the species’ status after three environmental groups filed a new listing petition. That assessment is expected to be completed this summer.