Endangered 'feces' could shut down oil, gas production in New Mexico, Texas

Midland Reporter-Telegram:

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." While the industry is perfectly willing to undertake conservation measures to protect the lizard's habitat, he said, naming it an endangered species "would shut down activity and be devastating not only to Permian Basin economies but to the national economy. We are the one bright spot month after month; in our economic turnaround, the main driver is the oil and gas industry."

...
Normally the idea that a lizard could shut down commerce would be seen as preposterous, but the Democrats are calling the shots in Washington and they are looking for excuses to screw Texas and this is as good as any. Didn't this agency ruin agriculture in the Central Valley of California to protect a worthless bait fish? If they do try this the act will deserve its new title of the Endangered Feces Act.

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