- Associated Press - Monday, April 14, 2014

LOVINGTON, N.M. (AP) - U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce is hosting a series of town halls to discuss the effects of the federal government’s decision to list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species.

Pearce says officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Land Management have been invited to the meetings.

The first town hall was Monday afternoon in Lovington. Meetings are also scheduled in Roswell on Tuesday and Portales on Wednesday.

Pearce says residents have the right to ask government officials why they made the decision to list the chicken. He says the choice affects the rights of ranchers, farmers and energy companies.

State officials have voiced their concerns with the listing, saying it stands to decimate economic development in southeastern New Mexico.

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