Governor Sam Brownback has signed legislation declaring that the federal government has no authority to regulate prairie chickens in Kansas to protest U.S. officials' decision to list one species of the bird as threatened.
Brownback's office announced Saturday that he signed the bill late Friday. It takes effect next week. The new law says only Kansas can regulate prairie chickens or their habitats within the state's borders. It allows the attorney general or a county prosecutor to file lawsuits to block federal conservation efforts. The bill applies to the lesser prairie chicken and the larger, darker and more abundant greater prairie chicken. Only the lesser bird is considered threatened.
State officials fear the federal government will impose conservation efforts that will prove costly for farmers, ranchers and energy companies.