Now some in the industry are challenging the classification in court.
"The Fish and Wildlife service did not properly consider all the evidence nor did they follow some of their administrative procedures in considering all the conservation efforts that we and others have undertaken," said Ben Shepperd, president of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association.
According to Shepperd, the PBPA, along with four New Mexico counties, have filed a lawsuit against the federal government Monday.
The lesser prairie chicken is a native animal to West Texas and surrounding states.
But the Fish and Wildlife Service stated back in March, the chicken's population was on a rapid and severe decline.
Shepperd disputes what's causing the decline.