Matt Dempsey (202) 224-9797

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Cornyn, Inhofe Welcome Announcement to Delay Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Listing Decision

Link to Press Release: Inhofe Thanks FWS Director Ashe for Attending Forums in Oklahoma on Potential ESA Listing of Lesser Prairie Chicken

Washington, D.C. - Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, commented on the announcement today that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will delay by six months its final determination on the proposed addition of the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard to the Endangered Species Act.  Senator Inhofe has asked FWS Director Dan Ashe to do the same for the Lesser Prairie Chicken listing decision, which could have widespread impacts on Oklahoma's economy.

Senator Cornyn: "I am pleased Director Ashe has listened to the concerns about the level and accuracy of data surrounding the lizard in Texas. It's essential that the job creators who will be directly impacted have the opportunity to have their concerns heard before this potentially devastating listing goes forward."

Senator Inhofe: "I applaud the decision by the Fish & Wildlife Service to delay a listing decision for the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard by six months.  This will give the scientific community more time to evaluate thoughtfully the biological health of the species as well as the significant efforts underway by local, state and private stakeholders to preserve and increase Dunes Sagebrush Lizard populations. The Service should make similar decisions on other controversial proposed listings with significant voluntary public-private preservation efforts such as the Lesser Prairie Chicken."

Citing concerns within the scientific community, Senators Cornyn and Inhofe sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar requesting this delay in FWS's final determination.  Sen. Cornyn has previously discussed this issue with FWS Director Daniel Ashe, who asserted his commitment to ensuring that the Fish & Wildlife Service makes important decisions like this with a full consideration of the relevant data.