LUBBOCK, TX -- On Thursday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service updated its regulations and listed the Lesser Prairie Chicken as "threatened".
The Lubbock Chamber of Commerce said in a statement that they were "disappointed" in the listing because it could potentially impact the economy of West Texas and Eastern New Mexico.
"Although the listing process for wildlife species is not required to include economic impact, the Lubbock Chamber reminds federal officials that listings such as that issued today do have an impact on jobs and economic growth for local economies," Chamber Chairwoman Alona Beesing said.
David Festa, a representative from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, said in a statement that while the new listing was unfortunate, it was also an opportunity for innovation in species conservation.
"By sharing the responsibility for species protection with the states and private landowners, the Service has increased the potential for recovery of the lesser prairie-chicken. This is a big evolution in how the Act gets implemented," Festa said.
Congressman Randy Neugebauer said in a statement that this listing was "unnecessary."
“The timing of this decision is being driven by activist lawsuits, instead of what’s best for the species and the communities near its habitat. This listing is a blow to West Texas and every state that has Lesser Prairie Chicken habitat," Neugebauer said.
Along with the listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken, four new "Common Sense Bills" were created.
The new bills are the 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act, The Endangered Species Recovery Transparency Act, the State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act, and the Endangered Species Litigation Reasonablenes Act.
These new regulations, if approved, will focus on transparency and limits on attorney fees.
For more information on the status of the Lesser Prairie Chicken and the "Common Sense Bills" visit www.fws.gov/