BOISE, Idaho -

Republican Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho says a sheep research facility on the Idaho-Montana border will remain open.

Simpson in a statement on Wednesday says the chairman of a House agriculture appropriations subcommittee denied a move to close the facility by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack wants to close the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station near Dubois in eastern Idaho because declining budgets mean it can no longer conduct necessary research.

He sent a letter to lawmakers on June 17 telling them of the plan.

The sheep station has been the target of lawsuits by conservation groups who contend it's harming wildlife, including threatened grizzly bears, in the area that is a corridor between Yellowstone National Park and the mountainous wilds of central Idaho.