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Community expresses ‘deep concern’ over prairie chicken listing

April 16, 2014 • Local News

Farmers, oil and gas producers, landowners and concerned residents crowded the Chamber of Commerce Tuesday for a town hall meeting held by Congressman Steve Pearce about the federal lesser prairie chicken listing.

Some of the attendees filled the room and stood in the hallway to hear from Pearce, representatives of New Mexico Game and Fish and the Bureau of Land Management.

Many asked questions concerning what affects the recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listing that designated the bird as threatened would have on the livelihood of county landowners.

“People are expressing deep concerns about this listing that has occurred. I tell people their concerns are deeply validated,” Pearce said. “When you look at the timber industry when they listed the spotted owl as endangered now … 85 percent of the timber industry is gone. It’s out of the country now. The same thing has the potential of occurring here.”

Pearce said he was deeply disappointed with the federal listing of the bird, announced last month. He said the agency’s state director Dan Ashe confirmed the decision was made in response to a lawsuit filed by environmental activists and it was not based on science.

“(Ashe) said we had to move now because of the lawsuit. I’m sorry, but we should not be determining the future of industries … the future of agriculture, the future of New Mexico, the future of Login to read more

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