Gov. Susana Martinez's administration says the lesser prairie chicken's population has stabilized so there is no need for the bird to receive federal protection.
The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that Cal Baca, chief of wildlife management at the New Mexico Game and Fish Department, said this week that the bird in New Mexico is safe. He told the Legislature's Water and Natural Resources that granting it federal protection as a threatened species would hurt businesses and be disruptive to private landowners in New Mexico
But Rep. Jeff Steinborn challenged Baca's assessment and asked if it was based on science rather than politics.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last month that it will reopen the comment period on possibly listing the prairie grouse as a threatened species.
Information from: Las Cruces Sun-News, http://www.lcsun-news.com
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.