May 20, 2016
Dan Ashe, Director
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W., ROOM 3331
Washington, DC 20240
Re: Comment period extension request – 81 FR 23448, Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revisions to the Regulations for Petitions
Dear Director Ashe:
The Western Governors’ Association (WGA) represents Governors from 19 western states and three U.S.-flag islands. The Association is an instrument of the Governors for bipartisan policy development, information sharing and collective action on issues of critical importance to the western United States. Western states play an integral role in species conservation and partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (Services) on conservation efforts.
The partnership with the Services throughout the Western Governors’ Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative is demonstrative of states’ ardent interest in improving the efficacy of the Act. This includes, but is not limited to, improving the petition process and enhancing coordination with state wildlife agencies.
The Proposed Revisions to the Regulations for Petitions (81 FR 23448, April 21, 2016) (Proposal) will impact western states and state species conservation. The current public comment timeframe is inadequate and will not allow thoughtful analysis of the Proposal and its impact on western states.
Given the importance of the Proposal for western states, we request a comment period extension of at least 60 days. Thank you for your consideration.
Matthew H. Mead
Governor of Wyoming
Governor of Montana
Vice Chair, WGA
cc: Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Department of Interior
Jason Miller, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Eileen Sobeck, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA Fisheries