Environmental groups have filed a federal lawsuit that argues the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is not doing enough to protect the lesser prairie chicken.
In March, the agency listed the bird as a threatened species. But the three environmental groups contend the lesser prairie chicken should be listed instead as “endangered,” which would prompt stronger conservation measures.
Governor Sam Brownback and other Kansas officials object to the species even being listed as threatened, arguing the designation will mean restrictions and expensive conservation fees for farmers, ranchers and energy producers.
Gov. Brownback says the lawsuit is an attempt to shut down agriculture and energy production in western Kansas and that it could lead to economic devastation.