Associated Press, Published November 24 2013
ND wants more time to comment on butterfliesBISMARCK — North Dakota officials want a 30-day extension to comment on a proposal to list two Upper Midwest butterfly species as threatened and endangered.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Sens. John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp, and Rep. Kevin Cramer sent a joint letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requesting the extension.
“We believe granting this extension to the comment period would help ensure that public input is maximized and the effects of this proposal are fully understood,” the letter said.
The agency has proposed listing the Dakota skipper as threatened and the powershiek skipperling as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
Both species are native to prairie and upland grasslands and their declines have been blamed on the loss of habitat.
“If these critical habitat designations are put into place, they could have a negative impact on local economies by hampering such activities as farming, ranching and energy development,” the officials’ letter said.
A 60-day public comment period is scheduled to close Dec. 23. The officials requested an extension to Jan. 23 to allow additional comments.