From: The Honorable Markwayne Mullin
Sent By: Michael.Stwarka@mail.house.gov
Support Lucas Amendment #119 to NDAA
Cosponsors: Cole, Mullin, Bridenstine, Russell, Huelskamp, Jenkins, Pompeo, Yoder, Pearce
You may or may not have heard about the Lesser Prairie Chicken over the course of this week and its possible inclusion in the NDAA. Regardless, I wanted to pass along some information regarding our amendment that may answer some of your questions. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you have more. We would appreciate your support!
The Lucas Amendment does the following:
immediately de-lists the Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC) from the “threatened species” list;
prevents the LPC from being listed as threatened or endangered for a period of five years;
requires the Secretary of the Interior to publish a determination that state conservation efforts have not worked after the five year period;
requires the Secretary to monitor these conservation efforts and submit an annual report to Congress; and
permanently de-lists the American Burying Beetle (ABB) as an endangered species.
Background and Justification
During its consideration of the NDAA, the Armed Services Committee inserted language into the bill regarding the sage grouse and the effect of sage grouse regulations on military installations. Fish and Wildlife’s (FWS) arbitrary listing of the LPC and the ABB has similar effects on military installations.
Under current law, those bases in the LPC’s and ABB’s range must ensure any new development or expansion of facilities does not infringe on habitat for these endangered species. The same is true for any training exercises that are planned on what FWS deems critical habitat. Thus, base officials must go through a consultation with FWS prior to any new activity on this land. This is highly inappropriate, as matters of national defense and readiness should not be subject to the schedule of an agency bureaucrat.
This doubly true when one considers the two species in question and the unnecessary federal regulation surrounding them. The ABB has been listed since the early 1980s, despite the fact that the observed populations today are well above what FWS had set as its conservation goals in a 1991 plan. The states, meanwhile, had set aside 15.6 million acres and $69.2 million for LPC conservation before March 2014. This effort was summarily ignored by FWS, who listed the LPC anyway while also ignoring the LPC’s population increase in 2014 due to increased rainfall.
It is wholly unnecessary to be listing these species as threatened or endangered, and passage of this amendment is critical to ensuring our military installations do not put the needs of animal species above those of national readiness.
*The amendment is supported by the National Rural Electric Co-operatives Association (NRECA) and the Permian Basin Petroleum Association.
Member of Congress