Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Texas Senator Moves to Block Lizard from Endangered Species List

Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Advocates say Endangered species classification is the last hope for the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard.

Today Texas Senator John Cornyn filed an amendment to the Energy Tax Credits Modification bill on the Senate Floor that would block the listing of the Dunes Sage Brush Lizard as an endangered species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is due to make an announcement in June on whether the creature will be added to the list.

In a conference call with reporters today Cornyn said he wanted the lizard blocked from the list because classifying it as an endangered species could harm the Texas Oil industry.

“In this instance it would threaten about 27,000 jobs in the Permian basin at a time when it has regained its status as one of the premiere oil and gas producing regions of the country,” Cornyn said in response to a question from reporter Ben Philpott from KUT News.

Texas cattle raisers have also raised alarms that protecting the lizard could harm their West Texas operations. But advocates for wildlife say that federal protection is the only way to ensure the continued survival of the lizard species.

“Since the state of Texas paid absolutely zero attention to this disappearing lizard until it was proposed for legal protection, we have real questions about what will happen once the threat of legal protections goes away,” Jay Lininger, an ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement released earlier this month.



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