Lizard threatens our energy prices and jobs

April 25, 2011

I am from West Texas and my father worked in the oil industry years ago. I’ve seen good times and bad times in West Texas, and fear a small lizard will bring a return of the hard times.
I worked at the U.S. Department of the Interior during the spotted owl listing and have battled such listings for 30 years. Enviros claimed the spotted owl needed old wood forests as habitat, but they were found nesting in many other places, including logging equipment.

Now a lizard threatens energy production in West Texas and New Mexico – and subsequently could hike oil prices for us all.

It is crucial not just for the soon-to-be-impacted property-owners and industry interests to organize, but also for citizens to protest. We must make sure that the administrative record is full of arguments against the listing.

This listing will impact domestic oil production needs to be fought! We need to return to reason and reign in the U.S. Department of the Interior and the ESA.

Here is more information from a story out of west Texas

A three-inch lizard that thrives in desert conditions could shut down oil and gas operations in portions of Southeast New Mexico and in West Texas, including the state’s top two oil producing counties.

Called the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard, it is being considered for inclusion on the federal Endangered Species listing by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A public rally to oppose this move is being sponsored by the Permian Basin Petroleum Association on Tuesday, April 26 at Midland Center beginning at 5 p.m.

Congressman Mike Conaway will speak, as will Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson; other public officials have been invited.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has re-opened the public comment period on a proposal for listing a small lizard found in southeastern New Mexico and West Texas as an endangered species.

The agency is planning two public meetings on the dunes sagebrush lizard.

The first meeting will be April 27 in Midland. The second will be in Roswell, N.M., the following day.

The decision to extend the comment period resulted from numerous requests.

Biologists say the dunes sagebrush lizard faces threats from oil and natural gas development and herbicides.

The lizard lives in a small area of shinnery oak dunes in northeastern Chaves County, Roosevelt County, eastern Eddy and southern Lea counties in New Mexico and in a narrow band in Gaines, Ward, Winkler and Andrews counties in Texas.

“We are very concerned about the Fish and Wildlife Service listing,” said Ben Shepperd, president of the PBPA, noting the service also has proposed listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken next year. “The wolf at the door is the lizard; we’re concerned listing it would shut down drilling activity for a minimum of two years and as many as five years while the service determines what habitat is needed for the lizard. That means no drilling, no seismic surveys, no roads built, no electric lines.”

This lizard isn’t protected under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) —not yet anyway. But if citizens don’t defend against the typically unsubstantiated claims of the species’ imminent demise due to “habitat fragmentation” presented by anti-growth, anti-American environmental extremists, the lizard will soon add another burden to the business of energy production, just as scores of species listings in other states have diminished economic growth across a number of industries.

– Peggy Venable
(Some of this information also came from Hugh Hewitt’s website)

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