Congressmen want delay in decision on prairie chicken
"We are writing to request a six-month extension to the final listing deadline currently set for Sept. 20, 2013," they wrote to Daniel Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "In addition to this extension, we believe that the final deadline should be set for June 11, 2014, to ensure consistency with Endangered Species Act procedural deadlines."
In a statment, Pearce, right, said that "communities across New Mexico and the West are at stake," and a longer comment period would enable people "to make their voices heard."
Pearce and the other congressmen hope Ashe will decide not to list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species.
The Center for Biological Diversity and Audubon New Mexico are among the groups saying the bird has waited long enough for federal protection. They say relentless drought is further hurting the lesser prairie chicken's chances of survival.
The grouse is found in parts of New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez's administration opposes listing the bird as threatened, saying a its population in the state numbers 6,000 to 8,000, all in the eastern section.
Along with Pearce, congressmen who asked Ashe for a delay were Cory Gardner of Colorado; Doc Hastings of Washington; Frank Lucas of Oklahoma; Tim Huelskamp and Mike Pompeo of Kansas; and Randy Neugebauer, Mike Conaway and Mac Thornberry of Texas.