Jim Sipes - Stanton County, KS
The listing of the lesser prairie chicken as a “threatened” species will impact our county governments, our communities, our farms and ranches, and our energy development in the historic range of the lesser prairie chicken. This range is about 20 million acres, affecting 85 counties in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.
We are already seeing impacts from the “threatened” listing. We have seen wind generator projects leave the area. We have seen oil and gas companies pull out of the area. We have seen seismograph crews stopping seismograph work, and we are seeing effects on farms and ranches through the amount of grazing we are able to do. We are really concerned about what will happen if the species becomes listed as “endangered.” If that occurs, the exemptions that we currently have for farm and ranching to occur, and for energy development to occur, will cease.
We are concerned that the lesser prairie chicken may become an “endangered” listing because of the result of lawsuits that are now pending. If it does become listed as “endangered” it will severely affect crop production and energy development. To move forward with regular cropping practices in an “endangered” listing we will see that we will have to apply for permits.
One of the concerns that we have with the listing of the lesser prairie chicken as a “threatened” species is the impact that this will have on energy development, primarily oil and gas development. We rely very heavily on that for our tax base in our rural communities in the area of the lesser prairie chicken. If we see reduction in the amount of energy development, we will see a reduction in our tax base. This will be a huge impact on our counties and eventually on our property taxes. We are also concerned because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would like to see several, as many as six, 40,000 to 50,000 acre permanent habitat easements for the lesser prairie chicken. All of these permanent habitats will be removed from the tax base, which will eventually affect all of our property taxes.
I’ve been working for the last year and a half trying to find a resolution for the lesser prairie chicken listing. I have spent 42 days away from my family farm because this issue will dramatically affect the way we do business if this species is listed as an “endangered” species. We will have to apply for permits to do things that we would normally do. Those permits will take time and additional money. Farming and ranching is difficult in this area and we don’t need any more things to make it even more difficult.
Stanton County, KS
The listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken as a "threatened" species will impact our county governments, our communities, our farms and ranches, and our energy...
Grant County, KS
Farmers and ranchers depend on being able to raise a crop in order to patronize the restaurants, hair salons, local clothing stores...Hear More...
Gray County, KS
We have a real concern because the lesser prairie chicken has been put on the list as a "threatened" species, and that brings a lot of guidelines...Hear More...
Hodgeman County, KS
We have a grave concern about how this Endangered Species Act and the lesser prairie chicken is going to affect our communities in this area...Hear More...