ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is delaying a decision on whether a lizard found only in parts of New Mexico and Texas should be added to the endangered species list.
Federal wildlife officials were set to deliver their decision on the dunes sagebrush lizard later this month, but the agency on Thursday announced a six-month delay.
Officials say they want to solicit additional scientific information and public comment before making any final decisions regarding the lizard proposal.
The move comes after congressional representatives from several states, including New Mexico and Texas, sent letters to the agency and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
Environmentalists are accusing the agency of caving to political pressure and oil and natural gas interests.
The agency has said habitat loss and fragmentation have pushed the lizard toward extinction.