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Inhofe Secures FWS Nominee Visit to Oklahoma To Discuss Potential Listing of Lesser Prairie Chicken

If Confirmed, Ashe Would Visit Oklahoma To Discuss ESA Concerns

Link to May 17 Letter from Dan Ashe to Senator Inhofe

Washington, D.C.-Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, welcomed an agreement with Dan Ashe, nominee to be Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), that he will travel to Oklahoma to address key issues that directly impact the state and the nation.

Due to concerns over the potential listing of the lesser prairie chicken under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the role of the FWS with regard to climate policy, Senator Inhofe voted against Ashe's nomination in the EPW Committee and expressed a desire to follow up with him on these issues. After meeting with Dan Ashe and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Senator Inhofe was satisfied that his concerns were addressed and he will not hold up Ashe's nomination. The details of the agreement between Senator Inhofe and Dan Ashe are contained in a letter dated May 17, 2011, in which Ashe pledged to hold meetings with stakeholders in Oklahoma to discuss the problems surrounding the potential ESA listing of the lesser prairie chicken.

"I appreciate Dan Ashe's commitment to address my concerns and I see no reason to hold up his nomination to be Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service," Senator Inhofe said. 

"Ashe's agreement to hold listening sessions in Oklahoma if he is confirmed is most welcome.  The potential listing of the lesser prairie chicken could have unnecessarily negative impacts on jobs and economic development, and Oklahomans will greatly benefit from the chance to express their concerns.  I hope we can work together to give voluntary partnerships - especially the Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances - a chance to produce results.  These sorts of public - private partnerships are the best way to achieve a healthy balance between conservation efforts and our economy.

"Ashe also addressed my objection to the FWS's ‘Strategic plan for Responding to Accelerating Climate Change' which states that the agency should ‘examine everything we do, every decision we make and every dollar we spend through the lens of climate change.' In response, Ashe pledged to clarify to FWS staff that ‘climate change is not the overarching consideration driving the Service's day-to-day decision-making process' and went on to say that they ‘do not believe that the FWS is responsible for the regulation of greenhouse gases, nor is it the Service's role to address these causative factors through any of its statutory or regulatory authorities.'  I will hold him to that pledge.

I have great respect for Dan Ashe and appreciate his 16 years of service in the FWS.  I look forward to working with him, should he be confirmed."