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Key-Vote Alert: Yes on Amendment #73
Vote s35-2015

This week the Senate will vote on amendment #73 by Senator Moran to S. 1, the Keystone XL Pipeline Act, which would delist the Lesser Prairie Chicken as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Since the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973, it has been used to list over 2,000 species, while it has only successfully delisted a little over 50. This amounts to roughly a 1 percent success rate. If the goal of the ESA is to recover species by making them less endangered, the ESA is doing a poor job at best.

Given the poor track record of the ESA at recovering endangered species, it is questionable how much of the focus of ESA enforcement is about protecting species, but rather on regulating land use, including domestic energy production. The ESA is in dire need of reform so that it works to recover species by enlisting landowners as partners, instead of as an excuse for the federal government to trample private property rights.

The story of the Lesser Prairie Chicken is yet another example of overreach by the federal government. Last year, when the Obama administration announced that it was listing the species as threatened, the Attorneys General of Oklahoma and Kansas sued the federal government arguing that the federal government failed to include proper state input. This action has far-reaching consequences for the species itself and for the landowners in Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and New Mexico.

Almost all lesser prairie chickens live on private land, but the ratio of improving to declining species on private land is 9 to 1. Private landowners are key to the flourishing of the lesser prairie chicken, but the ESA does not treat landowners as partners, but instead the federal government dictates what actions landowners can take. This provides no incentives for landowners to work with the federal government or to proactively conserve species.

Given the history of the ESA, the federal government needs to enlist landowners to help recover the lesser prairie chicken, not treat landowners as the enemy. Until the ESA can be reformed so it protects people and actually works to recover species, the listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken should be stopped.

The American Energy Alliance supports this amendment and it will be included in our American Energy Scorecard. YES IS THE PRO-WILDLIFE, PRO-ENERGY, PRO-PRIVATE PROPERTY, AND PRO-HUMAN FLOURISHING VOTE.

AEA Position: Yes

Vote result on 2015-01-28

Amendment Rejected

(54 to 44)

  • Voted Yes
  • Voted No
  • Did Not Vote