DALLAS (AP) - U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are asking federal wildlife officials to delay a decision on whether to enact protections for the lesser prairie chicken.
Cornyn and Cruz were joined by other Republican senators Thursday in urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to wait at least six months before deciding whether to list the prairie grouse as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
They say adopting federal protections will impair oil and gas development, agriculture and other sectors that drive local economies. They also want to extend a comment period allowing the agency to receive further feedback.
Experts say the population of the lesser prairie chicken has declined in part due to expansion of farms, ranches and energy industry operations across the Southwest and other states.
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