AMARILLO (AP) -- People will have more time to comment on a possible rule regarding the proposed listing of the lesser prairie-chicken as a threatened species.
The Fish and Wildlife Service published notice Wednesday in the Federal Register that it will extend the time to comment on a proposed special rule accompanying the proposed listing under the Endangered Species Act.
“We are reopening the comment period to allow all interested parties an opportunity to comment on the final Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-Wide Conservation Plan, which has been prepared by the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Interstate Working Group, and our endorsement of the plan,” the notice states.
Various industry groups that do business in areas of the Texas Panhandle where the bird is typically found have encouraged their members to increase and improve habitat to make up for the impact of agriculture, oil and natural gas production and wind farm operation.
The proposed rule would exempt producers from punishment for accidental damage or death of birds occurring from routine agricultural practices or activities of landowners participating in the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative.
Comments on the special rule and the listing proposal must be received before midnight on Feb. 12. The deadline for a final ruling on listing the prairie chicken is March 31.
For more information on the proposals and how to submit comments, go to www.fws.gov/southwest. To comment, go to http://1
.usa.gov/1fxpaw7 and click on “Comment Now.”
Energy producers are also working toward conservation of the prairie-chicken’s habitat.
The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies announced Thursday that Continental Resources, Devon Energy, Apache Corp., Samson Resources and others are the first to sign up for the Lesser
Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan which allows them to continue business while helping the bird. They commit to developing oil and gas in ways that minimize habitat harm and to pay for conservation on agriculture land.
“Multiple oil and gas companies are voluntarily enrolling nearly 1.5 million acres of land,” the association said in a news release.