Pending Legislative Bills Will Jeopardize Conservation Efforts in Kansas
Four bills are moving through the Kansas Legislature that will undermine conservation efforts in Kansas.
Topeka, Kansas | March 24, 2014
Four proposed new laws are moving through the Kansas Legislature, each of which threatens the precious wild and scenic treasures of our state.
Senate Bill 323 would prevent conservation organizations, particularly land trusts like the Conservancy, from receiving voluntarily granted perpetual conservation easements from private landowners who want to see the natural, aesthetic and productive values of their lands forever protected. This bill would essentially end the use of conservation easements by organizations like the Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, the Ranchland Trust of Kansas, the Kansas Land Trust, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
House Bill 2118 would repeal the 1975 Kansas Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act, undermining funding, conservation authority and other protections for all of the state’s non-hunted and rarest wild species and their habitats.
Senate Bill 276 would make it illegal for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to work on behalf of threatened or endangered non-migratory wildlife in Kansas. The bill specifically mentions prairie chickens, but could also affect conservation of numerous other non-migratory and rare animals.
House Bill 2538 would seriously erode the fundamental principle that all wildlife is owned and managed in trust for all Kansans. By granting landowners possession of any illegally taken wildlife, it makes those animals private assets and begins to remove citizen ownership of, and access to, our state’s wild resources.
Weigh in on these issues with your legislator. You can identify and contact your local senator and representative by pasting this web link into your browser bar: http://openkansas.org/.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at www.nature.org. To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit www.nature.org/global. To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.