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Federal Judge Keeps Prairie Chicken Lawsuit In Tulsa

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A U.S. district judge has ruled that a lawsuit over the status of a threatened chicken species will stay in Tulsa.

Oklahoma's attorney general, along with the attorneys general of North Dakota and Kansas, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They claim the federal agency improperly reclassified the lesser prairie chicken. In doing so, the state lawyers say it increased the environmental burden on oil and gas producers, agricultural operations and the states.

The Oklahoma Farm Bureau and the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance are also plaintiffs in the suit.

The Tulsa World reports federal officials had sought to have the lawsuit moved to Washington, D.C.

“It’s not surprising the federal government sought to have this lawsuit moved to Washington,” said Aaron Cooper, Pruitt’s spokesman, in a written statement. “We appreciate the judge’s decision that keeps the lawsuit in Oklahoma. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service engaged in ‘sue-and-settle’ tactics and violated federal law in listing the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species,” Cooper said. “We look forward to proceeding with this lawsuit that seeks to hold the FWS accountable to the law.”

A message seeking comment was left with a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday.

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