DALLAS (AP) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reopened to public comment the potential listing of the lesser prairie chicken on the federal protected list.
U.S. Rep. Michael Conaway of Texas announced the move after he and seven other prairie House Republicans requested a delay of at least 90 days in the decision on designating the grouse as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Republican senators, including U.S. Sens. John Cornyn (KOHR'-nihn) and Ted Cruz (KROOZ') of Texas, also asked for the delay.
They say protecting the fowl would impair oil and gas development, agriculture and other sectors that drive local economies.
Experts say the lesser prairie chicken population has declined in part due to expanded farms, ranches and oil and gas operations across the Southwest and other states.