A move by U.S. authorities to consider placing a small grassland bird native to parts of the oil and gas belt on the Endangered Species List has drawn the ire of some Western lawmakers.
Lawmakers in major oil and gas producing districts immediately cried foul.
“A listing will have permanent economic consequences for the people of Texas who live and work in the Permian Basin and the Texas Panhandle,” said Representative Michael Conaway.
Conaway’s West Texas district produces much of the state’s oil and about one-quarter of its gas.
Protecting the lesser prairie-chicken “could drive ranching families and energy producers out of business,” said Representative Randy Neugebauer, whose district in East-Central Texas is a large agricultural area.