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A 3 Inch Lizard Could Shut Down Texas Oil

From the Texas Midland Reporter-Telegram:

Could a three-inch lizard collapse the West Texas oil industry?

Mella McEwen, Midland Reporter-Telegram
Saturday, April 23, 2011

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.

"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."

The move would impact activity in Andrews, Crane, Gaines, Ward and Winkler counties in Texas and Chaves, Eddy, Lea and Roosevelt counties in New Mexico.

Not only would the move impact oil and gas operations but agriculture, Shepperd noted, shutting down agricultural activities like grazing and farming — "anything that disturbs the habitat."

The concern is, he said, that the Fish and Wildlife Service lacks enough data to conclude that the tiny lizard is endangered and is basing its action on flawed methodology. "They didn’t spend enough time looking for them or the right technique to find them," he said.

In New Mexico, where the lizard can be found on both private and public lands, Shepperd said a number of companies have entered into voluntary agreements to help conserve the lizard’s habitat, mitigate threats to the lizard and remediate any damage while continuing to operate. He said he wants the same to happen in Texas…

"The point is, we think the best way is for land owners and industry actually on the ground where the lizards are, who know how to protect the lizard, to be in charge instead of the feds putting up ‘Do Not Enter’ signs on every gatepost," Shepperd said.

Maybe we need to start requiring the federal government to do ‘economic impact’ studies, in addition to ‘environmental impact’ ones. And we need to make sure that they are weighted appropriately.

[Shepperd] said he hopes those attending Tuesday’s rally "will be inspired and better prepared to testify at the public hearing" being held by the Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday, April 27. The public hearing will also be at Midland Center, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Because the economic future of a region, and even the country, should come down to who gives the best presentation to some government bureaucrats at some hearing. Who has the best ‘chants.’

The public comment period is scheduled to close May 16, 2011, and the earliest date the Fish and Wildlife Service will make a final listing decision is, as of now, December 15, 2011.

And just think of how many plans are being held up while they wait for the mullahs at the Fish and Wildlife Service to issue their fatwa. And we wonder why the price of gas is so high?

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, April 27th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “A 3 Inch Lizard Could Shut Down Texas Oil”

  1. Right of the People says:

    This lizard is probably about as endangered as the caribou were in Alaska before the pipeline. Species disappear all the time, it’s called natural selection, those that can’t adapt go the way of the dodo bird.

  2. untrainable says:

    The truly endangered species in this conversation is the Free Independent American.

  3. retire05 says:

    Let me tell you how the EPA, and other agencies like it, threaten our very Constitutional freedoms.

    A man in my county was protesting his property taxes. He was claiming that they should be reduced because environmental rules has basically made his property worthless. After he purchased the property, it was ruled a “protected habitat” of the Texas horny toad. A green-peacenik group in Austin, 60 miles from his property, lobbied to have certain areas of central Texas placed under environmental control. The group even went so far as to provide a map of the area of the horny toad “habitat.” Since Austin was then controlled by Democrats, the green-peacenik group got their wise.

    Now, here is this man stuck with around 10 acres that he was not allowed to do anything with; he could not build a home, ranch or farm the land, dig a well or even a fence unless he got federal permission for anything he wanted to do. His property rights were violated, his ability to participate in commerce were violated (not being able to build a home or outbuildings), and pretty much his personal property no longer belonged to him.

    But it gets even worse: the state Parks and Wildlife division wanted to do a controlled burn at Bastrop State Park to rid the park of dangerous dead wood and undergrowth. Now, being a state owned park, you would think that the EPA would not have anything to say over a burn that was going to be controlled. You would think wrong. The feds made the state build a tunnel under the highway that bypasses Bastrop State Park so that the toads that live in the park would have a way to escape the controlled burn. Got that? They forced the State of Texas to build a toad tunnel.

    So the tunnel was build, and the controlled burn was complete. No toads used the tunnel, they simply moved onto private property until after the burn was over.

    The Democrats could not shove their socialism down our throats legally, so they are doing it via unelected bureaucrats, like Cass Sunstein, by regulation. I have to ask you, how long are we going to tolerate the removal of our Constitutional rights?

  4. retire05 says:

    I mean to type “the green-peaceniks got their wish” not their “wise”. Sorry for the typo.


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