The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is working to add the three inches-long Dunes Sagebrush Lizard to the Endangered Species list. However, extensive evidence shows that this move is not based on science.
Environmental groups like WildEarth Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity are opposing four Republicans lawmakers from New Mexico (Steve Pearce) and Texas (Michael Conaway, Randy Neugebauer, and Francisco Canseco) who are trying to prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) from providing protection under the Endangered Species Acts to the lizard in West Texas.
The environmental groups blame oil and gas drilling, herbicide use, and off-road vehicles for endangering this species.
If the lizard is designated as endangered, the economy of West Texas will shut down because of two-year to five-year long restrictions on oil and gas drilling and of certain uses of agricultural land while USFWS will develop a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and will study the issue. Andrews County is the Lone Star’s state number one oil producing county.
The environmental groups state that the impact on the economy is going to be limited because the lizard occupies only isolated patches of land. If this is true, that makes the environmental claims and the USFWS interference even more unacceptable.
If these species make the list, the result will be fewer Texas jobs, higher energy prices, and the crippling of state key economic sectors. It will be detrimental to the ranching industry and the loss to the oil and gas industry and the state of Texas is huge.
Congressman Pearce said that USFWS made false claims that listing of the lizard as endangered will not kill jobs. “USFW is making economic claims without facts. My office has asked for data from the USFWS on how jobs will be impacted and they claim they don’t have the information,” Congressman Pearce said.