Nearly every time that oil and gas operators have applied for exemptions measures aimed at protecting the endangered lesser prairie chicken, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Carlsbad Field Office has granted those requests, according to information gathered by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
The lesser prairie chicken faces a variety of threats, including habitat fragmentation. The advocacy group says that the BLM’s actions are contributing to that habitat loss. This includes granting exemptions to timing stipulations, buffer requirements and other measures.
The data PEER gathered stretches from January 2020 to April 2023, which is primarily before the lesser prairie chicken was listed as endangered. Opponents of the listing argued that industry groups were being good stewards and had reached a compromise to keep the bird off of the endangered species list.