The senators said adding the lesser prairie-chicken to the Endangered Species List would harm private sectors within their states.

“The outcome of this listing proposal is vitally important to many sectors in the local economies of our states, including agriculture; oil and gas development; ranching; transportation; and wind energy,” the letter stated. 

“Listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endangered Species Act would negatively impact these sectors for many years to come. With this in mind, and knowing that conservation efforts are ongoing and that the science evaluating the status of the species is still developing, it is imperative to provide sufficient time to evaluate the true health of the species rather than simply hold fast to arbitrary court-mandated deadlines that do not account for ongoing species recovery developments.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service announced in December it planned to list the lesser prairie chicken as threatened, an opened a 90-day public comment period. It held four public hearings on the proposed listing earlier this month. A final ruling is due by Sept. 30. 

The Republican senators requested that the community comment period be extended for 60 days.