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calendar   Tuesday - April 26, 2011

$7 Gas

3 Inch Lizard Could Shut Down Texas Oil Business

How’s that for jobs “saved or created”? Out of control EPA wants to put the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard on the Federal Endangered Species List, and you know what that will mean.

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If the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard is declared an endangered species, it could devastate oil and gas production in the Permian Basin for at least two years. Critics believe this proposal is an entirely politically motivated move to hurt the energy industry in America.

The listing of the Northern spotted owl as a threatened species has killed logging and created ghost towns in the Northwest – and the owls are still in decline after 20 years of protection. The ESA protection of the delta smelt as a threatened species created unemployment of more than 40 percent in the San Joaquin Valley – until the votes of two congressmen for Obama’s health care bill turned the water back on – temporarily.  (Suddenly the fish weren’t so important.) Unfortunately for the owls and smelt, they’re not getting the needed population boost, but the unemployment figures of the loggers and farm laborers has increased significantly.

The Obama administration wants us to believe that they will really focus on jobs and the economy. The announcements and “pro-business” staff members are just window dressing. While no one is looking, they’re continuing the job-killing policies. On December 14, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced that the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard “faces immediate and significant threats due to oil and gas activities and herbicide treatments.” As a result, they propose it be listed as “endangered”—under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)—which starts the clock for a 60-day public comment period. Hoping no one would notice, the proposal was announced during the throes of the holiday season. We, the public, need to take notice.

If the lizard receives the ESA listing, oil and gas development will be virtually stopped for those that have not yet signed the CCA and no new exploration will be allowed—which means even higher prices at the pump. As we’ve seen with the closing of the Alaska pipeline, the less supply we have, the higher the price. If the economy’s really important, wouldn’t Washington want to keep prices low for the consumer and to help recovery? An ESA listing will also block potential wind farms and solar installations. The news release states that “Habitat loss and fragmentation” is due to the “creation of roads and pads, pipelines and transmission lines.” Transmission lines are needed to get the renewable energy from “out there” where the land is to “in here” where the people are.

The endangered species we should all be concerned about is “the job.” The economy of this entire portion of the country is dependent on ranching/farming and the extractive industries. Take them away and you take jobs away. The region will become the victim of policy-induced poverty.

SANTA FE - U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-2nd District, says he sees a threat in the desert, a tiny reptile that can destroy jobs if the federal government lists it as an endangered species.

Critics of Pearce, a Republican who is weighing whether to run for the U.S. Senate next year, counter that he is trying to whip up a furor against environmental laws to advance himself politically.

In the middle of this debate is the dunes sagebrush lizard. A dusty brown, this lizard grows to no more than 3 inches and is so rare - limited to stretches of southeastern New Mexico and west Texas - that most humans will never see one. The dunes sagebrush lizard lives in dunes covered by shinnery oak. Its habitat is shrinking, and the U.S. government has listed it as a candidate for “endangered” status since 2001.

The state of New Mexico already lists the dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species, making it illegal to kill or harm the animal. But state protections are slim compared to those a federal designation would provide. Under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. government could restrict oil drilling, grazing and use of off-road vehicles to protect the dunes sagebrush lizard.

Its range covers Chaves, Eddy, Lea and Roosevelt counties. Most of that habitat is federally owned, controlled by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. In addition, the lizard lives in four counties of west Texas.

Pearce, focusing on the reptile this week in town meetings throughout the 2nd Congressional District, said people would be put in peril if the federal government classifies the dunes sagebrush lizard as “endangered.”

“Most of the oil and gas jobs in southeast New Mexico are at risk,” he said. “In the ‘70s, they listed the spotted owl as endangered and it killed the entire timber industry.”

MIDLAND (Texas)- The sagebrush lizard has ended up on the radar of many oil companies locally, that’s because it may end up halting production.

The Permian Basin Petroleum Association will be having a public rally on Tuesday in protest of the dunes sagebrush lizard being added to the endangered species list.

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Congressman Michael Conaway will be speaking alongside Ben Sheppard, President of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association, about the hindrance this will force on the area.

The rally is scheduled at 5 pm Tuesday at the Midland Center.  On Wednesday, the official hearings will be held by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 6:30 pm at the Midland Center.

Public comment is welcome.

I’m sure a few hundred thousand emails to the EPA and to US Fish & Wildlife Service couldn’t hurt. Be polite, but be firm. People, jobs, and country first. Insignificant little animals last. Let them adapt, or perish.  If West Texas oil production comes to a screeching halt, or if the drilling companies have to apply for, pay for, and then include the expense of dealing with the EPA’s CCA regs, that is going to drive the price of American crude right off the charts. Which is exactly what Ocommie and his gang o’ thugocrats want.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/26/2011 at 07:56 PM   
Filed Under: • NatureObama, The OnePolitics •  
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