False Alarm: the Lizard isn’t endangered after all

June 14, 2012

Statement by Peggy Venable, AFP-Texas Director
On today’s FWS announcement that the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Will not be listed as endangered or threatened

False Alarm: the Lizard isn’t endangered after all

It’s a big win for West Texas, for our country’s oil and gas industry and for consumers.

Many thanks to the hundreds of Texas citizens who provided public comment opposing the listing of the lizard which could have shut down oil production in the Permian Basin.

Today, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced they will not list the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard as endangered.

The announcement today is in stark contrast to the original call for public comment.  In December 2010, the FWS issued a release which sounded certain that the species was both endangered and threatened:

“…The dunes sagebrush lizard faces immediate and significant threats due to oil and gas activities, and herbicide treatments.  The species is highly restricted in its range, and the threats occur throughout its range.  Habitat loss and fragmentation due to oil and gas development is a measurable factor impacting the species due to the removal of shinnery oak and creation of roads and pads, pipelines, and power lines…”

But in a turn-around, today it appears the feds were just plain wrong.  You would think they would learn to say “it appears the lizard faces threats…”  But, not our government!

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs had worked hard to develop a conservation plan, working with a number of industry representatives and organizations.  This plan was devised to have helped protect the habitat while still allowing activity on the land.

AFP-Texas worked with citizens and industry across the state and particularly in West Texas in waging a war against the lizard listing.  And it appears this time, we won the battle.

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