Just when I thought U.S. oil production couldn’t become more endangered, it becomes more endangered. The environmentalists want Texas oil drilling shut down because the sagebrush lizard might be an endangered species. Mind you, no one really knows if they are even endangered, because no one ever sees the sagebrush lizard except when they turn up as road kill. This whole movement to shut down production is invented – no proof at all – and who cares anyway? Species go extinct every day – it’s the way of things.
Oilmen are pleading with the environmentalists to not pursue this insanity, but that is a waste of breath. The environmentalist movement is about control.
Do you realize what will happen to oil prices if they shut down oil production in Texas?
Congressman Conaway: Lizard “Listing” a Threat to West Tx Oil and Gas Industry 4/25/11
CBS 7 News
April 25, 2011
Monahans, Texas –
It’s a creature so small it can fit in the palm of your hand, but some fear it could have a very large and negative impact on oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin.
Despite spending two hours looking around Monday afternoon, we couldn’t find any “Dunes Sagebrush Lizards” at the Sand hills State Park right off Interstate 20.
That doesn’t prove they’re extinct, or endangered, but the question of how many of these lizards remain, is creating quite the controversy in west Texas.
“Endangerment of the Sand Dune Lizard would definitely affect our community in a harsh way”, says Monahans Chamber of Commerce Director Teresa Burnett.
She agrees with Congressman Mike Conaway, who believes that if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service classifies the Lizard as “endangered”, resulting regulations would be bad news for the local economy.
“It will have a dramatic negative impact on oil and gas operations across a wide swath of west Texas”, says Congressman Conaway.
The Lizards exist in just a handful of counties in the country, including Winkler, Ward, and Lea.
They live in Shin Oak trees that are poisonous to cattle.
The herbicide used by ranchers to kill the trees often kills the Lizards too.
They’re also run over by truck traffic headed to oilfields according to Midland wildlife expert Burr Williams.
“Building caliche roads and drilling locations and drilling and those operations are my guess, would be operations that would be, they’d be concerned about. They’d want to put restrictions on that”, says Conaway.
The Monahans sand dunes are home to the lizard in question. The problem is they’re also home to much of the oil and gas operations in the Ward County area.
Some say that if the lizard were added to the endangered species list, it would mean the short-term oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin could be facing an extinction of their own.
“There is no economic sense in this law. The law is all about the lizard. It makes no difference how many people they put out of work. They don’t care”, says Goldsmith cattle rancher, Schuyler Wight, who is worried, to say the least.
“Oh it’s going to be devastating to the ranchers”, he added.
Conaway says the study that the fish and wildlife service is basing their opinions on is flawed and inaccurate.
It’s hard to predict exactly what will happen until the exact regulations are announced.
Until then, many Ward County residents are fearful of the worst.
“Only a rich country can worry more about a sand dune lizard than it worries about the cost of gasoline”, says Conaway.
“We’re frightened”, says Burnett.
Congressman Conaway says he doesn’t know what the ecological impact of Dune Lizard Extinction would be if it were to occur.
Ms. Burnett suggests one option of turning the Sand Hills State Park into a Lizard refuge.
The US Fish and Wild Life Service is set to make a final determination before the end of the year.
A rally opposing the listing of the sand dune lizard as an endangered species is taking place Tuesday at 5pm at the Midland Center.
A public hearing before the US Fish and Wildlife Service is scheduled for 6:30pm in Midland as well.