Paxton threatens to sue Biden Administration over federal infringement of Texans’ property rights

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is threatening legal action over how the Biden Administration is classifying the Lesser Prairie Chicken.

The bird has now been classified as “threatened” in the northern part of its range and “endangered” in the southern part of its range, both of which cover expansive regions within Texas.

But Attorney General Paxton has a problem with the way things have come about, and he also says the Biden Administration has not met the necessary requirements to do so.

“I will not tolerate the Biden Administration’s efforts to run roughshod over the property rights of Texans and to stop our conservation efforts aimed at protecting Texas wildlife,” said Attorney General Paxton. “This rule was a targeted attempt to implement an unlawful, top-down federal approach aimed at advancing a radical environmentalist agenda, which would crush the type of economic development that aids in providing funds for conservation. This isn’t going to fly in Texas.”

A required Notice of Intent has been issued to the Biden Administration which would include lawsuits against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Attorney General Paxton says the classification changes made to the Lesser Prairie Chicken burden Texas property owners with onerous new regulations wherever the birds are present and were made with inadequate consideration of ongoing conservation measures and in violation of several federal laws.

The Endangered Species Act requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to consider certain factors before a species can be classified as “endangered” or “threatened.” Similarly, if the federal agencies’ actions will significantly affect the quality of the human environment, as they would here, the National Environmental Policy Act requires the agencies to conduct an impact analysis. These federal requirements were not met in this case.

Additionally, Attorney General Paxton says the new rule puts at risk the considerable conservation efforts that the State of Texas, other states, industry groups, private landowners, and conservation organizations have already implemented to protect the Lesser Prairie Chicken.

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