- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The State Land Office says an agreement signed last week will allow leaseholders to continue with their business despite the listing of the lesser prairie chicken as a federally threatened species.

State Land Commissioner Ray Powell says the agreement protects the future viability of the grouse while ensuring responsible use of natural resources in the southeastern New Mexico.

Lease sales, royalties and other revenues from development on state trust land help fund public education in New Mexico.

Officials say more than 400,000 acres of state trust land are covered under the conservation agreement.

Under the deal, non-federal landowners and industries can apply conservation measures to the property that will benefit the prairie chicken and still allows for oil and gas production.

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