Today, U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce applauded the decision by the Fish and Wildlife Service to extend the final listing determination on the lesser prairie chicken through March 30, 2014. The decision comes just a week after Congressman Pearce and eight other members of Congress submitted a letter requesting a six-month extension of the public comment period on the listing. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will soon publish their decision to extend the deadline in the Federal Register.
"This extension is the right decision for New Mexico and the West," said Pearce. "In the past, we've seen hasty listing decisions needlessly cost thousands of jobs, destroy communities, and even have a detrimental impact on the environment and the species itself. The Fish and Wildlife Service has acknowledged the substantial disagreement and doubt cast on the case for listing the species. I call on the FWS to take full advantage of this opportunity to carefully consider the evidence, as well as the countless jobs at stake and the proven success of existing conservation efforts.
"I encourage all New Mexicans to make their voices heard now by contacting the Fish and Wildlife Service," Pearce continued. "Communities across New Mexico and the West are at stake--we stand to lose jobs and necessary funding for education, first responders, and other vital programs. We must fight for our communities if we are to preserve our jobs and our way of life."
Daniel Ashe, Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, sent a letter in response to Congressman Pearce and the other signers of the letter requesting an extension. In the letter, he acknowledged that "Public comments received have highlighted substantial scientific disagreement regarding the sufficiency or accuracy of the available data relevant to the listing proposal for the lesser prairie-chicken." Ashe also thanked the Congressmen for their support for existing conservation plans, and expressed commitment to working with states and local entities.
Congressman Pearce asks New Mexicans to make their voices heard by contacting FWS Director Dan Ashe at 202-208-4717, or by writing
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