Discussing Effects of the Lesser Prairie Chicken in the Permian Basin

Discussing Effects of the Lesser Prairie Chicken in the Permian Basin

Discussions of the lesser prairie chicken brought together government officials, oil and gas industry leaders and ranchers in the Permian Basin Tuesday.
Discussions of the lesser prairie chicken brought together government officials, oil and gas industry leaders and ranchers in the Permian Basin Tuesday.

The round table discussion was organized by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), who wanted to get the public’s input on what placing the bird on the endangered species list will do to the area.

“The sand dune lizard and the lesser prairie chicken are just the tip of the iceberg,” Cornyn said.

Oil and gas industry leaders have been fighting to have the bird removed from threatened species list.

“We are uniformed in our concern about these endangered species impacts whether it be ranchers, oil and gas guys, county official, road, etc.,” said Ben Shepperd, President of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association.

And now the bird is not only affecting the oil and gas industry. It could also have an effect on the approval of the spaceport coming to Midland.

As part of the application process, it must be proven that the flights will have no significant impact of the lesser prairie chicken.

“As we move forward with the monitoring of the lesser prairie chicken during our launches to ensure that some of the sonic boom doesn’t affect negatively the lesser prairie chicken,” said Marvin Esterly, the Director of Airports for the city of Midland.

During the round-table discussion, participants said they hope to get new and accurate scientific information about the bird.

A Texas Fish and Wildlife representative said he expects the number of the birds to increase this year thanks to some of the rain received throughout the year.

Cornyn said his goal for the visit the Permian Basin is to hear from the people who are directly affected.

“We want to make these decisions with the maximum degree of local input from the stakeholders because this is where the impact is going to be most directly felt.”

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