Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Lesser Prairie-
Chicken Removed From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are issuing a final
rule to comply with a court order that vacated the final rule listing
the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) as a threatened
species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act).
This final rule amends our regulations by removing the lesser prairie-
chicken from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and
by removing the rule issued under section 4(d) of the Act for the
lesser prairie-chicken.DATES: This rule is effective July 20, 2016.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Debra Bills, Field Supervisor,
Arlington Ecological Services Field Office, 2005 NE. Green Oaks Blvd.,
Suite 140, Arlington, TX 76006; by telephone 817-277-1100; or by
facsimile 817-277-1129. Persons who use a telecommunications device for
the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at
On April 10, 2014, we published in the Federal Register a final
rule (79 FR 19974) listing the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus
pallidicinctus) as a threatened species under the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531
et seq.) in part 17 of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (50
CFR 17.11(h)). On the same day, we published a final rule under section
4(d) of the Act (``4(d) rule'') for the lesser prairie-chicken (79 FR
20074) at 50 CFR 17.41(d). Please see the April 10, 2014, final listing
rule for a complete discussion of previous Federal actions.
On June 9, 2014, the Permian Basin Petroleum Association; Chaves
County, New Mexico; Roosevelt County, New Mexico; Eddy County, New
Mexico; and Lea County, New Mexico (plaintiffs) filed a lawsuit
challenging the Service's final rule to list the lesser prairie-chicken
as a threatened species under the Act. On September 1, 2015, the U.S.
District Court for the District of West Texas issued an order vacating
the final listing rule for the lesser prairie-chicken. By invalidating
the rule listing the species, the court decision also had the effect of
invalidating the 4(d) rule.
This rulemaking is necessary to comply with the September 1, 2015,
court order. Therefore, under these circumstances, the Director has
determined, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B), that prior notice and
opportunity for public comment are unnecessary. Because the court order
had legal effect immediately upon being filed on September 1, 2015, the
Director has further determined, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), that
the agency has good cause to make this rule effective immediately upon
Effects of the Rule
This rule is an administrative action to remove the lesser prairie-
chicken from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife at
50 CFR 17.11(h) to reflect the court's order to vacate the final rule
listing this species. Consequently, this rule also removes the
regulations specific to the lesser prairie-chicken at 50 CFR 17.41(d).
List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17
Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.
Accordingly, for the reasons given in the preamble, we amend part
17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal
Regulations, as set forth below.
PART 17--ENDANGERED AND THREATENED WILDLIFE AND PLANTS
1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 1531-1544; and 4201-4245,
unless otherwise noted.
Sec. 17.11 [Amended]
2. Amend Sec. 17.11(h) by removing the entry for ``Prairie-chicken,
lesser'' from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.
Sec. 17.41 [Amended]
3. Amend Sec. 17.41 by removing and reserving paragraph (d).
Dated: July 7, 2016.
Daniel M. Ashe,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-17149 Filed 7-19-16; 8:45 am]
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