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Thu Sep 3, 2015, 02:04 AM

Ruling strikes down lesser prairie-chicken's 'threatened' listing

AP FILE PHOTO A July report by Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies showed an aerial survey found a 25 percent increase in lesser prairie-chicken population.

A federal judge on Tuesday ruled the lesser prairie-chicken’s listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act went too far.

Judge Robert Junell granted the motion of Permian Basin Petroleum Association, which filed the suit along with Chaves, Eddy, Lea and Roosevelt counties in New Mexico, to declare the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s listing as unlawful and to set aside the listing, according to court documents.

“FWS failed to properly apply (its standards) to its evaluation of the (rangewide conservation plan), resulting in material error,” Junell wrote in his ruling. “This caused FWS to arbitrarily and capriciously list the (lesser prairie-chicken) as a threatened species.”

He called the FWS analysis of the situation “neither rigorous nor valid.”

Read more: http://amarillo.com/news/latest-news/2015-09-02/ruling-strikes-down-lesser-prairie-chickens-threatened-listing

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