We'd better stop drilling to save this bird

Elections aside, things have been looking fairly bright for the future of American energy production. As we’ve reported here in the past, the US is on the verge of becoming the biggest oil and natural gas producer in the world, possibly leading to a new “golden age” for the United States. So now we just need to get down to business, developing these resources, creating tens of thousands of jobs and building the infrastructure we’ll need for…

I’m sorry… what was that? We need to stop again? Why? To save a… a… chicken?

A move by U.S. authorities to consider placing a small grassland bird native to parts of the oil and gas belt on the Endangered Species List has drawn the ire of some Western lawmakers.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Friday announced a plan to consider having the lesser prairie chicken listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.

The lesser prairie chicken is a medium-sized, gray-brown grouse, smaller and paler than the greater prairie chicken, its close relative…

Lawmakers in major oil and gas producing districts immediately cried foul.

“A listing will have permanent economic consequences for the people of Texas who live and work in the Permian Basin and the Texas Panhandle,” said Representative Michael Conaway, a Republican.

I don’t know if this is going to work, or if the people in the affected areas will stand for it without this turning into a massive political debacle for Obama and the Democrats. It’s true that Barack Obama doesn’t have to win any more elections, but his party will already be facing an uphill slog during the 2014 mid-terms. Dangling this sort of a treat in front of the public and then snatching it away at the last minute to save the lesser prairie chicken may just be a bridge and a half too far.

But if the Fish and Wildlife Service really wants to act as a fifth column agent to promote an anti-energy agenda, there’s one proposal they could consider here. The name “lesser prairie chicken” just doesn’t work for an ad campaign or a bumper sticker. First of all, it’s got the word “lesser” right up front and that’s just bad marketing. Also, you’re calling it a “chicken” instead of a grouse, which would be more proper anyway. Nobody wants to save chickens. They want to eat them.

They need to re-brand this bird to build a more salable campaign around it. So what sort of name should they give it? Submit your suggestions to share with the group. Maybe we can even move a few up here. Speaking as somebody who has worked in marketing for quite a few years, I’ll get the ball rolling with one.

Prairie Chicken 2

I’m sure you can do better.