Texas officials are blasting the Obama Administration after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared that the Lesser Prairie Chicken, which lies on the high plains of west Texas and New Mexico, is a 'threatened species' and steps are needed to preserve it, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"I am extremely disappointed in the decision," said David Porter, a Texas Railroad Commissioner. "It appears the federal agency has been influenced heavily by the environmentalist agenda, which has very little to do with preservation of this species and more with the eradication of the oil and gas industry."
The Lesser Prairie Chicken is a wild grouse which is best known by its colorful neck and head plumage. The Fish and Wildlife Service says much of the creature's habitat has been destroyed, and steps will need to be taken to make sure no more habitat is lost.
But Porter says it is more than coincidence that the Lesser Prairie Chicken lives largely in the Permian Basin, which is the home of some of the most productive oil fracking fields in the country.
"This is another prime example of how the Endangered Species Act is seldom used for its intended purposes, but is being used as a political toll in the Obama Administration’s war on fossil fuels.
Biologists do say that the biggest threat to the Lesser Prairie Chicken is hawks which nest on 'tall structures,' and it just so happens that oil drilling rigs are the tallest structures in the region.
There are also concerns that blasting and drilling may be limited o the grounds that the vibrations may damage the chicken's habitat.