U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is leading a bipartisan call to extend a decision on whether to list the lesser prairie chicken as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, according to a press release.
Udall and senators from the five states affected by a possible listing sent a letter to Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), requesting an additional six months in the listing decision process, as allowed by the Endangered Species Act.
“With an influx of significant new public input from the reopened comment period, and with the submission of the five-state conservation proposal, we encourage you to consider a six-month extension under this authority” the senators wrote in a letter, according to the press release.
The decision is slated to be made in September.
In the letter, Udall and the senators asked USFWS that more time be given for state wildlife conservation agencies and stakeholder groups to work toward completing the five-state, voluntary but binding conservation plan to protect the species.
The letter was signed by all senators representing the states of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and Kansas.
“Given the ground-breaking nature of the five-state plan, we are interested in giving participants the maximum amount of time to enroll in these programs and demonstrate their effectiveness,” said the senators in the letter.
Udall calls for extension on lesser prairie chicken decision