TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. House has taken steps to remove federal protections for the lesser prairie chicken.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1HnbyoR ) House members voted 229-190 to approve an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would prohibit listing the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened or endangered species until 2021.
Opponents of listing the bird as threatened say it places unfair restrictions on farmers, ranchers and oil companies.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said last year the birds warranted protection because of a nearly 50 percent population decline between 2012 and 2013. Lesser prairie chickens are found in five Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska and New Mexico. All four members of Kansas' House delegation voted in favor of the measure.
The measure now heads to the Senate.
Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com