MIDLAND, Texas (AP) - A federal court in Texas has vacated Endangered Species Act protections for the lesser prairie chicken.
The ruling is a victory for Texas oil and gas companies that argued the conservation efforts are working. The Permian Basin Petroleum Association said regulations would impede operations and cost hundreds of millions of dollars in oil and gas development in one of the country's most prolific basins.
The nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity said Wednesday that the lesser prairie chicken has lost 85 percent of its habitat.
But the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies says the population increased by 25 percent this year to 29,000 birds.