Texas Congressman Makes Push To Keep Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Off Endangered Species List
Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX 19th District) told West Texas news channel NewsWest 9 that if the dunes sagebrush lizard is afforded Endangered Species status, the oil industry in the Permian Basin that the lizard calls home would effectively be shut down, and says that in these economic times, adding the lizard to the list will only hurt the local economy.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the habitat for the dunes sagebrush lizard has been reduced by 24 percent and the habitat available to the lizard has been reduced 40 percent.
"In a time when our country is in a recession, we're trying to create jobs. It almost seems like the federal government is almost working against us in every area and particularly in the regulatory scheme with so many regulations," Neugebauer said in a news report aired August 10 on NewsWest 9. "Some of the reasons for listing these, we don't see a lot of concrete evidence that there is actually a lot of environmental hazard that is being created by man. Some of this is just evolution and migratory issues that we need to study more thoroughly," Neugebauer said. He said that members in Congress, and especially those in the West Texas group are working to defund and prevent the listing of the Sagebrush lizard and another animal whose habitat includes West Texas, the prairie chicken.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the habitat for the dunes sagebrush lizard has been reduced by 24 percent and the habitat available to the lizard has been reduced 40 percent. The resolution was submitted to the USFWS, which will make a decision in December 2011 whether to list the lizard as an Endangered Species.
The USFWS says that the lizard is in danger of extinction due to threats of habitat loss and habitat fragmentation. The threats include oil and gas activities, which is a major source of revenue and jobs for the affected area, the use of herbicides, the loss of Shinnery Oak, a low growing shrub in which the dunes sagebrush lizard seeks refuge, and the building of roads, pipelines and power lines to support oil and gas development. For more information, visit The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Region.
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