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      Johanns, Fischer Request More Time for Public Comment on Proposed Land Management Plan

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      Sens. Mike Johanns and Deb Fischer are asking Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to extend the comment period for Ponca Bluffs and Niobrara River land management plans being considered by the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

      The senators cite concerns with the planned comment period of just over 60 days. They says the period from April 2 through June 14 is not long enough for community members to review the large plan.

      In the letter to Sec. Jewell, Johanns and Fischer said, "Quite simply, without a substantial extension to thecomment period, our constituents will not have sufficient time to fully assessthe project."

      They say public meetings that have already been held have turned up substantial concerns and that is why they are asking for an extension on the comment period.

      The letter said, "We therefore ask that the commentperiod for the DEIS not be closed before September 30, 2013. We ask alsothat questions, requests for clarification, and requests for additionalinformation be honored well before the close of this amended deadline."

      The senators say the proposal could result in the government management or acquisition of more than 1.4 million acres in Nebraska and South Dakota, with the majority being in Nebraska.

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