Something is terribly wrong with the system, at least as far as lesser prairie chickens are concerned.

I've long known that, but ironically, it took an Oklahoma writer to bring it all streaming back to me.

And just as ironically, Ed Godfrey, outdoors editor at the Oklahoman was voicing concern about the $4.9 million that Oklahoma Oil and Gas is giving up to counter effects its wind farm will have on lesser prairie chickens.

It's the second time Oklahoma has given up a huge chunk of change, the last time $3.75 million for building yet another wind farm.

Here in Kansas, it's a far cry from that amount, although we're talking a power line here.

No matter, to be blunt, the power line will pass through -- and likely destroy -- two lesser prairie chicken leks that have been described as perhaps the largest tourist attraction in Rush County.

For its destruction, power line builder ITC Great Plains will pay to clear cedar trees from 1,280 acres.

Even at the top-end cost of $300 an acre, that's only $384,000, and the work doesn't even have to be done in lesser prairie chicken territory.

That's a paltry amount considering the damage to be done.

As Godfrey points out, the contributions -- and they are exactly that, as there's no requirement -- are admirable.

The ITC Great Plains and OG&E donations are the only ones out there, at least as far as I've heard of.

"But will it really save the birds?" Godfrey wondered in Sunday's column. "Can the (Oklahoma) Wildlife Department just buy more land to replace prairie chicken country that is lost by the development of wind power? Unfortunately, the best place to harvest wind energy in Oklahoma is in the last remaining places where prairie chickens can survive."

Ditto Kansas.

The danger here is that Kansas is home to perhaps half of the remaining lesser prairie chickens, and there are plans for dozens of wind farms and the power lines necessary to carry all of the electricity they produce.

That's a real danger with this scenario, as Godfrey points out: "The two can't co-exist on the same ground."

Already, the recommendation from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks's threatened and endangered species committee was to not place the lesser prairie chicken on the state's endangered species list.

To be sure, KDWP Secretary Mike Hayden and the wildlife commission could reject the recommendation and put the bird on the list.

While that's unlikely, it would be the smart thing to do.

At least that way, KDWP would have the authority to step into the fray, and have a strong voice in where wind farms and power lines can go. Plus, they'd be able to require more effective mitigation -- if that's even possible.

Let's face it, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar -- the energy industry's best friend right now -- likely will quash any effort to put the bird on the federal list. He's allergic to the notion of endangered species, when we'd all be better off if he'd be on that list as a secretary.

Kansas and the other states with the bird need to act before it's too late.

And this Doomsday clock is ticking, getting faster as each day passes.