PBPA v DOI Decision
September 2, 2015
U.S. District Court Finds for PBPA, Vacates Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing
(MIDLAND, TEXAS) Yesterday, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas granted summary judgment in favor of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association and vacated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rule listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In PBPA et al. v. Department of Interior et al, Senior U.S. District Judge Robert Junell concluded that the decision to list the LPC was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and that the agency failed to properly apply its Policy for Evaluation of Conservation Efforts When Making Listing Decisions (PECE Policy) to conservation efforts already undertaken on millions of acres across five states to improve habitat for and diminish threats to the LPC.
In response to the ruling, PBPA President, Ben Shepperd, issued the following statement: “The PBPA applauds Judge Junell’s decision in our suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of the Interior. This ruling serves as vindication of the unprecedented stakeholder participation across the Lesser Prairie Chicken range. Our members’ good faith efforts to conserve LPC habitat and recover the species through the Range-wide Plan began long before this listing decision was made and will continue unabated now that the court has thrown it out.”
Under the LPC Range-wide Conservation Plan, more than 180 oil and gas, pipeline, electric transmission and wind energy companies have enrolled in conservation agreements to avoid, minimize, or mitigate impacts to the LPC from their operations. In the process, they committed $45.9 Million in enrollment and impact fees to cover off-site mitigation actions for unavoidable impacts and contribute to habitat conservation. Earlier this year, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which oversees the conservation efforts under the Range-wide Plan, reported a 25 percent increase in the LPC’s population from 2014 to 2015, in part a result of industry’s conservation efforts.
About the Permian Basin Petroleum Association
Founded in 1961, the PBPA is the largest regional oil and natural gas association in the United States. The Association includes approximately 1,000 member companies that produce oil and gas in the Permian Basin of west Texas and eastern New Mexico. The Association advocates for the safe and responsible development of oil and gas resources. More information is available at www.pbpa.info.