Committee to Repeal a Law that Protects Animals

Endangered animals in Kansas could lose some protection if a state law is repealed.

We first told you yesterday about a Kansas senate committee’s effort to end a nearly 40-year-old law.

Kansas First News reporter Vanessa Martinas talked to state wildlife officials who aren’t happy about the legislative effort.

“That was a surprise to us and we don’t think that was a responsible move to make,” Ron Kaufman said.

Ron Kaufman is the director of communications for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

He says that the red belly snake and the smooth earth snake are animals that are of no danger to the public, but the public is a danger to them.

“These are completely harmless snakes, they’re non-venomous, you’d have to be trying very hard to get one to try to bite you,” he said.

The snakes spend much of their time underground.

The senate energy and environment committee claims the destruction of their habitat has halted an economic development project in Johnson County.

Most of the animals on the Kansas endangered list find homes in places like this one where it’s dark and they can find shelter.

In the case of Johnson County, those snakes find homes near the dirt where they can lay their eggs.

Senator Larry Powell of Garden City is supporting repealing the law on behalf of his district.

But wildlife officials say Johnson County developers are more concerned with cutting costs than they are with protecting and preserving wildlife.

“What happens is that can add some cost to a project, in this case probably less than 100,000 dollars for a multimillion dollar project,” Kaufman said.

After the committee passed an amendment repealing the law, Chairman Powell then placed the contents of the amended bill into an unrelated measure that has already passed the house.

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