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Hastings Requests Extended Comment Period, Public Hearings on Bull Trout Critical Habitat Designation
Proposed rewrite would have impact on private property, jobs and economic activity

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 11, 2010 - Today, House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Doc Hastings (WA-04) sent a letter to Department of Interior Secretary Salazar requesting a 60-day extension of the public comment period on U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s draft proposal to revise the critical habitat designation for bull trout in streams, lakes and reservoirs in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Nevada. In the letter, Mr. Hastings emphasizes the importance of giving all members of the public who could be adversely affected by these designations the ability to place their comment in the public record.

“The FWS’ own draft economic analysis calculates the potential cost of this proposal would measure in the millions of dollars over the next 20 years on a host of activities, including requiring fish passage modifications at federal and non-federal dams, removal of culverts and altering forest management. Almost 36 percent of the proposed additional areas would occur on privately-owned land across these five states,” wrote Ranking Member Hastings. “Given the significant proposed changes to the critical habitat designated just a few years ago, and given the potential of such broad economic impact to my state and others, I respectfully request the Fish and Wildlife Service to provide a 60-day extension so that interested parties have adequate time to respond with their written comments. In addition, I would request that additional public hearings be scheduled to allow a reasonable opportunity for citizens from each of these affected states to participate in person.”

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