Federal wildlife officials have agreed to postpone making a final decision on whether to list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species.
The six-month extension comes after a bipartisan group of lawmakers called for a delay. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat, and New Mexico Republican Congressman Steve Pearce were among those who asked for more time.
Pearce says listing the bird could have massive consequences for landowners in New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas. He says the extension gives stakeholders more time to implement voluntary conservation efforts.
Udall says the extra time will enable the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to study the science and comments it has received.
The agency said Wednesday that it is reviewing a conservation plan drafted by wildlife officials from the five states.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.