AUSTIN — Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson today commended the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to call for more data before making any decision to list the dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species.
Listing the lizard could threaten continued exploration and production of one of the nation's top-producing oil patches, the Permian Basin.
"The federal government's call for actual evidence that this lizard is in danger means they are listening to us," Patterson said. "This is good news, because this proposed listing hasn't been based on science."
Patterson has previously blasted the federal government's decision to consider listing the dunes sagebrush lizard because of a lack of data on the lizard's population. "This whole proposed listing was driven by litigation, not science," Patterson said. "That's no way to make policy that could affect so many Texans."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to delay any listing for six months will re-open the issue for public comment.
Written comments must be received by close of business on January 18, 2012. For further information on how and where to submit comments and to review and/or download these documents, visit the Service's Southwest Region's website, http://southwest.fws.gov/.
"This just delays a case of federal reptile dysfunction for the Permian Basin," Patterson said. "Let's hope that more information will be the cure."