According to a Greenwire report citing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the average cost of listing a single species is $85,000 and the average cost of designating critical habitat is $515,000 per species. Thus, the approximate cost to the American taxpayer of listing the 2,058 species currently listed is $174,930,00; the approximate cost of designating critical habitat for those species is in excess of $1 billion.
The Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, in partnership with state conservation agencies and other business groups in Oklahoma, is working to form a voluntary conservation plan that will play a significant role in conserving lesser prairie chicken habitat.
Those efforts, borne from collaborative work between the state and private industry taking a balanced approach, will improve the lesser prairie chicken's habitat without depressing the economic development needs of the habitat area, including agriculture, oil and natural gas development and transportation.
Federal intrusion through the Endangered Species Act has a limited success rate. It's costly to American taxpayers and it's unnecessary. Oklahoma's environment should be and is being protected by Oklahomans, not the federal bureaucracy.
Terry is president of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association.