The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has proposed (pdf) listing the Graham’s beardtongue (Penstemon grahamii) and White River beardtongue (Penstemon scariosus albifluvis) as endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. In addition, the Service has proposed designating a combined 83,000 acres in Uintah County, Utah as critical habitat for the rare plants.

The two beardtongue species are endemic to oil shale soils, and grow mostly on the Mahogany Ledge in northeast Utah, an area rich in oil shale deposits. The Service has cited oil and gas exploration and development as the primary threats to the species, as well as threats posed by invasive species and grazing.

The Service is accepting public comments on the proposed ruling until October 7, 2013.