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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Extension for Listing of Lesser Prairie-Chicken

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a six-month extension on their determination of whether to name the lesser prairie-chicken as a threatened species.

The group allowed the extension to solicit additional scientific information and public comment before making the final listing determination.

The comment period on the proposed rule to list the species will reopen for 30 days.

The Service proposed to list the lesser prairie-chicken as a threatened species due to habitat loss and fragmentation from conversion of grasslands to agricultural uses, and a number of other alleged threats as well.

Four public hearings have already been held in Woodward, Oklahoma; Garden City, Kansas; Lubbock, Texas; and Roswell, New Mexico.

The final determination will be made no later than March 30th, 2014.

Lubbock-area U.S. Congressman Randy Neugebauer and other officeholders requested the extension.

Neugebauer weighed in last month in the extension request, saying “Given the scientific discrepancies that have been uncovered, it’s clear that we shouldn’t rush this process and ignore critical information. Voluntary conservation efforts by West Texans and our neighbors have been shown to work.”

“Let’s give them a chance to implement these solutions before we impose strict regulations,” Neugebauer continued.

Written comments must be received by close of business on August 8th, 2013. More information on how and where to submit comments is available at http://southwest.fws.gov.

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