Service Approves Lesser Prairie-Chicken Habitat Conservation Plan for Oil and Gas Development in the Great Plains

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved LPC Conservation LLC’s habitat conservation plan (HCP) and associated incidental take permit. The HCP is designed to allow for the responsible development of oil and gas in the Great Plains while also contributing to the conservation of the lesser prairie-chicken.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires all incidental take permits (ITPs) to include HCPs that describe the anticipated effects of a proposed taking and how those impacts will be minimized or mitigated.

The HCP will cover oil and gas development across the lesser prairie-chicken’s range in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. LPC Conservation LLC’s HCP will fully offset impacts from enrolled projects while providing regulatory certainty for oil and gas development across its range, should the lesser prairie-chicken become listed under the ESA in the future.

Along with the final HCP, the Service is publishing a final Environmental Assessment (EA) that evaluates the effects of issuing the ITP and addresses comments received during the public comment period. Full implementation of the HCP is expected to potentially affect 500,000 acres of suitable lesser prairie-chicken habitat. Under the plan, industry participants will work with LPC Conservation LLC to ensure projects minimize impacts to the lesser prairie-chicken and mitigation is in place to voluntarily offset their project’s impacts to the species and its habitat. The HCP and ITP will be in effect for 30 years.

Earlier this year, the Service approved LPC Conservation LLC’s HCP and associated incidental take permit for renewable energy development in the Great Plains.

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