GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — State officials are considering easing regulatory protection of a nonvenomous snake.

The Hutchinson News reports that the redbelly snake is a short, reclusive snake found in northeast Kansas.

Some Johnson County officials have complained that its designation as a threatened species has held up developments. When a species is listed as threatened, developers must obtain permits and take steps to reduce the harm caused by their projects.

A task force that included the endangered species program coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism recommended that the snake remain listed as threatened.

But the department's secretary, Robin Jennison, is recommending downgrading it to a "species in need of conservation," which would provide the snake less protection. A department commission is expected to take action in October.

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Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, http://www.hutchnews.com