2016 News Releases

Kansas joins lawsuit challenging expanded definition of ‘critical habitat’ for endangered species

Release Date: Nov 29, 2016

TOPEKA – (November 29, 2016) – Kansas has filed a federal lawsuit challenging overreaching new federal rules that broadly expand the definition of a “critical habitat” for endangered and threatened species, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.

The new rules effectively declare that any area currently unoccupied by an endangered species, but which could potentially host an endangered species, could be classified as critical habitat subject to stringent regulations. The multi-state lawsuit charges that the rules would allow the federal government “to designate areas as occupied critical habitat, containing the physical and biological features essential to conservation, even when those areas are neither occupied nor contain those features.”

The lawsuit states that under the expanded rules, the federal government “could designate entire States or even multiple States as habitat for certain species.”

“This is yet another example of a federal agency regulating without regard to the interests of states and landowners,” Schmidt said. “Even as the current presidential administration winds down, we remain vigilant for new, illegal regulations that continue to pour out of Washington.”

In addition to Kansas, the 17 other states joining this filing included Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. All states are represented by their attorneys general except New Mexico, which is represented by its Department of Game and Fish.

The case is State of Alabama, et al. v. National Marine Fisheries Service, et al., in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, Case No. 1:16-cv-593.

A copy of the filing can be found at http://bit.ly/2gGqUty.

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News releases issued prior to 2011 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.