OKLAHOMA CITY (April 12, 2023) – Attorney General Gentner Drummond and attorneys general from neighboring states joined in a lawsuit today against the Biden administration over a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) rule that designates the lesser prairie chicken as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
The rule, which took effect last week, places burdensome restrictions on Oklahoma ranchers who graze livestock and unnecessarily impedes the development of energy pipelines, oil drilling, wind farms and roads.
“I will not allow the Biden administration to punish Oklahoma farmers, ranchers and energy producers with this blatant overreach of the federal government,” Drummond said. “This rule truly presents an existential threat for cattle grazing, energy production and other vital aspects of Western Oklahoma’s economy.”
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Texas by Drummond, Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Drummond noted that his office is uniquely equipped to fight federal overreach due to the steadfast resolve of legislative leaders who have appropriated funds for the sole purpose of defending Oklahoma’s sovereignty.
“The State of Oklahoma has a constitutional right to defend its sovereignty against unwarranted federal overreach, and I am proud to lead that fight,” he said. “I am thankful to the legislative leaders who have appropriated funds to the Attorney General’s office to fight back against an intrusive federal bureaucracy that seeks to subjugate Oklahoma farmers, ranchers and energy producers.”
In a letter earlier this year to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and USFW Director Martha Williams, Drummond noted that the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) has worked closely with federal agencies, industry leaders, private landowners, conservation groups and other stakeholders to protect the lesser prairie chicken and its habitat. That letter provided a 60-day notice of the intent to file litigation for failing to follow necessary requirements of the Endangered Species Act regarding the Final Rule the USFW issued Nov. 25, 2022.