U.S. Senator John Cornyn Visits Permian Basin to Discuss Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing

U.S. Senator John Cornyn Visits Permian Basin to Discuss Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing

By Alexa Williams

NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - U.S. Senator John Cornyn was in the Permian Basin on Tuesday afternoon. The Senator had a lot to say about the controversial Lesser Prairie Chicken.

"The most recent threat is not only to agriculture, but to transportation, to energy development and the terms to govern ourselves is the listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken as threatened," Cornyn, said. Cornyn said by keeping the species labeled as threatened, the Department of Fish and Wildlife is hurting West Texas.

"What we're trying to do is figure out how can we keep the federal government mainly the Fish and Wildlife Service from throwing a wet blanket on what is a very good thing in terms of job creation, economic development and growth of the economy here in the Permian Basin," Cornyn said.

Stakeholders who attended the meeting all seemed to agree.

"I'm tired of the government deciding that an animal is going to be over a human being," Andrews County Judge, Richard Dolenger, said.

Cornyn also added that he believes that species are improperly being listed as threatened.

"Decisions are being based on political agendas and not sound science. How do we make sure that we make the best decisions we can, make in a way that doesn't harm the economy and job creation but at the same time is based on sound science. We are willing to do that but that's not what's happening now," Cornyn said.

Of course, many people are still wondering how the Lesser Prairie Chicken listing will affect the future of a possible spaceport license coming to Midland. The Midland International Airport said they've worked out an agreement and were still currently moving forward. 

"It's going to put Midland on the map, there is already interest worldwide in what we've done out here in Midland," Marv Esterly with the Midland International Airport, said. 

If Midland does get a spaceport license, it would be the first airport in the nation to offer commercial and spaceflight from our runways.