Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune today sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne, requesting that he extend the comment period for the Black-footed Ferret Reintroduction Plan for at least 30 days. The text of Senator Thune's letter is below:

Mr. Dirk Kempthorne
Secretary, U.S. Department of Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Secretary Kempthorne:

My office was recently contacted by several land owners near Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota regarding the Black-footed Ferret Reintroduction Plan.

The comment period on the Wind Cave Draft Environmental Assessment is scheduled to close on Friday, Dec. 22, 2006. In light of significant public feedback, the holiday timing and several unanswered questions regarding the plan, I respectfully request at least a 30-day extension of the comment period.

While I have several concerns regarding the reintroduction of black-footed ferrets, which I will address at a later time, there are more specific concerns that lead me to make this request for an extension on such short notice. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to issue its biological opinion of the plan in January 2007, and securing a delay in the comment period would allow the public to make more knowledgeable and substantial comments. Also, the parameters of what would be considered a "take" of the species have not been delineated, and without knowing what the implications will be for private property owners it is difficult for them to comment on the draft.

Thank you for your time and prompt attention to this matter.

Kindest regards,


United States Senator