A federal judge has overturned the decision to list the lesser prairie chicken as an endangered species. On September 1, 2015, a ruling by the United States District Court, Western District of Texas, Midland-Odessa Division granted a motion for summary judgment (dismissal) made by the Permian Basin Petroleum Association (“BPBA”) and four New Mexico counties to vacate (render void) the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“FWS”) decision that listed the lesser prairie chicken as an endangered species. The court accepted the PBPA argument that the FWS failed to follow their own rule for evaluating conservation efforts in making the listing decision.
“The PBPA did a great job in presenting a well reasoned and convincing case,” said Steve Henke, President of the New Mexico Oil & Gas Association (“NMOGA”). “This decision is a vindication for the numerous parties across the five state region that worked so diligently to provide real protections for the lesser prairie chicken.”