The Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association is holding its 77th annual KIOGA Convention in Wichita this week. The event is attended each year by Kansas business owners who work in the oil and gas industry. This year’s spotlight has turned to the Lesser Prairie Chicken.
Monday morning’s agenda at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel included a panel discussion with Kansas’ congressional delegation. They fielded questions about federal legislation and the oil and gas industries.
The conversation eventually made its way to the Lesser Prairie Chicken, a bird recently named a threatened species after more than a 50 percent decline in population in the last few years. U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo says conservation should be dealt with on the state level, and that current restrictions are hurting energy companies in Kansas.
“It impacts the consumer when they’re trying to heat and cool their home with natural gas, it impacts the producers and all of the jobs that come with it, [it impacts] the local communities that benefited from that activity as well,” Pompeo says. “They are all restricted because we’ve got a ruling, that again, no one can point to any science to support the levels they’re seeking.”
Pompeo says the decline in population is due to recent droughts, not oil and gas activity.
Oil and gas companies face restrictions on when and where they can operate.
Kansas has joined a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the Lesser Prairie Chicken from the threatened species list.