House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK), House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA), and 12 other members of Congress recently sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack asking for a copy of a report on the cost and effectiveness of the Department's conservation measures for the lesser prairie chicken.
The Agricultural Act Conference Report, passed by the House in January and signed by the President in February, requires USDA to submit the report within 90 days.
After more than 150 days without a report, the congress members say it is needed following a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) decision in March to list the lesser prairie chicken as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
"In our view, it is unfortunate that this listing, driven by the Department of the Interior's settlement deadline negotiated with certain groups, proceeded despite the FWS approval last fall of a comprehensive five-state rangewide plan that is already demonstrating positive results for the lesser prairie chicken," the letter said.
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