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AG Kris Kobach sues Biden White House over lesser prairie chicken listing

Release Date: Apr 12, 2023

TOPEKA – (April 12, 2023) - Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach today joined the states of Texas and Oklahoma in bringing a lawsuit against the Biden administration. The states argue that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service broke the law by designating the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species in Kansas under the Endangered Species Act.

“These DC bureaucrats have probably never even stepped foot in the state of Kansas, let alone seen a prairie chicken. Yet there they sit in their offices 1,000 miles away making decisions that will directly affect Kansans’ lives. This listing will make drilling new oil wells in western Kansas almost impossible. It will force ranchers to get approval from federally designated agencies to graze cattle on their own property. It will have devastating impacts on Kansas ranchers, Kansas oil producers and even Kansas wind farms. And on top of that, it’s illegal,” Kobach said.

According to the lawsuit, the listing fails to adequately consider pre-existing and ongoing voluntary measures to protect the lesser prairie chickens, as well as the fact that rainfall amounts are the dominant factor in prairie chicken populations.  It also restricts the personal property rights of Kansas landowners. And, the suit argues, it is unconstitutional.

 “Lesser prairie chicken numbers are substantially driven by rainfall,” Kobach said. “Historically, their numbers decline when there is a drought, but they rebound dramatically once the rain returns.”

Kansas joined Texas and Oklahoma in the lesser prairie chicken lawsuit by filing an amended complaint. The full complaint can be viewed at

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News releases issued prior to 2023 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.