Interior Extends Niobrara, Ponca Bluffs Conservation Comment Period, Per Johanns, Fischer Request

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) today announced that the U.S. Department of Interior (DoI) has extended the public comment period for the proposed Niobrara Confluence and Ponca Bluffs Conservation area until September 30, 2013. The DoI proposal under review could result in government management or acquisition of more than 1.4 million acres in Nebraska and South Dakota. The majority of the acreage is in Nebraska.Johanns said, “Decisions of this magnitude must not be rushed. I’m pleased the Department of Interior listened to this request for an extended comment period. Nebraska landowners – particularly farmers and ranchers – are responsible stewards of our natural resources and are rightly concerned about the impact this land acquisition could have on their livelihoods.” Fischer said, “The extension of this public comment period will ensure local residents affected by the Department of Interior’s proposal have sufficient time to acquire more information about the project and assess its potential impacts. The hundreds of Nebraskans who have contacted my office on this matter have reasonable cause to be concerned about the federal government seizing or controlling this vast quantity of private land. I am pleased this effort to allow them additional time to voice their legitimate concerns was successful.”