The Dunes Sagebrush Lizard, also known as the Sand Dune Lizard, inhabits the Permian Basin, one of America’s top energy producing regions. It contains more than 20 of the nation’s top 100 oil fields and, in the counties identified with lizard habitat, is keeping an estimated 27,000 jobs intact.Critics say that there has been insufficient study since much of the land hasn't been surveyed. We'll see if the administration puts jobs and the nation's energy system above the unclear needs of a lizard.
Despite the White House’s laser focus on jobs, the administration has its sights on putting these lizards on the Endangered Species List — a move which would severely limit oil production and kill area jobs in order to make the Permian Basin a protected habitat for the lizard.
“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,” said Ben Shepperd, president of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association (PBPA).
According to the government, with the species on the verge of extinction, it needs to be protected. Various threats to the lizard include loss of habitat, “fragmentation and degradation as a result of oil and gas development and shinnery oak removal.”
Monday, September 19, 2011
One of the few bright spots in the nation's economy is Texas's energy industry. But now a big chunk of that industry could be shut down and all because of a tiny lizard, the Sand Dune Lizard, that the Fish and Wildlife Service is considering putting on the Endangered Species List.