ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal wildlife officials have agreed to reconsider the status of a grouse found in pockets across the Great Plains as environmentalists fight to return the bird to the list of protected species.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that it will review the lesser prairie chicken in response to a petition filed after the species was removed from the list earlier this year.
The removal followed court rulings in Texas and a decision by government lawyers not to pursue an appeal.
The oil and gas industry and state officials are worried that relisting the grouse could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in added costs for developers, renewable energy companies and farmers.
Environmentalists say emergency protections are needed for isolated populations along the Texas-New Mexico border, in Colorado and western Kansas.