ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce and 17 other House members are asking Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to delay a decision on whether a lizard found in parts of New Mexico and Texas should be added to the endangered species list.
Federal wildlife officials are set to deliver their decision on the dunes sagebrush lizard in December.
The letter says considerable new scientific research has been collected about the lizard since the initial listing proposal was published last year and that research supports the view that the lizard is not endangered.
Pearce, a New Mexico Republican, has been a vocal critic of the listing proposal, saying it would cost the region jobs.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has said habitat loss and fragmentation have pushed the lizard toward extinction.