The Biden administration faces yet another legal challenge from states as it seeks to impose harsh, top-down measures without considering other implications.
The state of Texas is pushing back against the Biden White House’s latest conservation rule that would, in the eyes of the Texas lawsuit, negatively and disproportionately impact landowners, farmers, and energy producers. Five other states are wrapped up in the court filing.
The Biden rule specifically targeted the Lesser Prairie Chicken, which it deemed threatened, but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also wrote in his filing that the rule did not follow procedural law and added that regulations would become too burdensome for any owner of property in the states impacted.
Fox News provided an overview of the challenge brought forth by the state of Texas.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office filed a notice of intent with the Department of the Interior (DOI) and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) over a recent regulation protecting the Lesser Prairie-Chicken, a species the rule lists as threatened in some parts of Texas and endangered in other regions in the state. The attorney general alleged that the regulation violates federal law, fails to consider the state’s conservation measures and would prove to be onerous for state property owners.
“I will not tolerate the Biden Administration’s efforts to run roughshod over the property rights of Texans and to stop our conservation efforts aimed at protecting Texas wildlife,” Paxton’s statement said.
“This rule was a targeted attempt to implement an unlawful, top-down federal approach aimed at advancing a radical environmentalist agenda, which would crush the type of economic development that aids in providing funds for conservation,” it continued. “This isn’t going to fly in Texas.”
Fox described the failure on the part of Biden officials to follow the proper channels before establishing the rule. “FWS to take a series of steps, including conducting an impact study and considering a wide range of variables, before classifying a species as threatened or endangered,” the news outlet wrote.
In addition to the lack of procedural integrity, Paxton also cited the ruling’s disregard for efforts already undertaken to protect the species in question.
“Combining this disregard for federal law, the overly vague nature of the rule, and the failure to abide by the legally-required notice of proposed rulemaking, the new rule constitutes yet another example of the Biden Administration’s willingness to prioritize executive overreach over state-directed management and conservation of wildlife and natural resources,” Paxton’s office stated.
Texas is the latest state to file suit over the proposal to offer more stringent protections for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken. Just last week, the state of Kansas indicated it would also be suing on similar grounds. Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach called the policy illegal, for reasons already mentioned, and likewise cited the harm the ruling would have. Kobach said the riling would have a “devastating impact on Kansas ranchers, Kansas oil producers, and Kansas wind farms.”
This ordeal began last fall after the Fish and Wildlife Service, which operates as a subagency under the Department of the Interior, declared it would be looking into the chicken species and identifying it as threatened.
“The lesser prairie-chicken’s decline is a sign our native grasslands and prairies are in peril. These habitats support a diversity of wildlife and are valued for water quality, climate resilience, grazing, hunting and recreation,” a FWS director said in November.
Fox cited concerns raised immediately after that proclamation, as opponents of the measures said it ignored existing protections and would wreak havoc on individuals and companies, small and large alike.
The listing sparked concerns among lawmakers, farmers and energy developers that the listing — which effectively locks up millions of acres across five states to protect the species — could negatively impact business. The Texas-based Permian Basin Petroleum Association previously won a lawsuit against the FWS during the Obama administration arguing that a rule protecting the chicken didn’t properly factor in local conservation efforts.
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