U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), applauds U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) decision to grant a 60-day extension on the comment period to list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species upon the submission of a range-wide conservation plan.
"The Fish and Wildlife Service and Director Dan Ashe have remained attentive and engaged as my colleagues and I have worked with them to find a balance on preserving the lesser prairie chicken population without harming local economic growth," said Inhofe. "I appreciate Director Ashe's quick response to our letter and for agreeing to our request for an extension on the public comment period. As Ashe has recognized, Oklahomans have led the volunteer efforts towards achieving a not-warranted status for the lesser prairie chicken. With this new extension, I encourage affected businesses, farmers, and ranchers to comment on the positive outcomes of their conservation work so that a listing is not warranted.
"Additionally, I will work to ensure our state agencies, property owners, and job creators have adequate time to ensure local control over the conservation of the lesser prairie chicken. The agriculture community has already developed a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) to protect property owners, and I will work towards additional CCAAs affecting other key Oklahoma job creators as well."