AUSTIN — Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson will testify before the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee at 9 a.m. (Central) Tuesday, June 19, about recently discovered abuse of the Endangered Species Act by lawyers funded with taxpayer dollars.
"Species - like the dunes sagebrush lizard in West Texas - are being proposed for listing as endangered simply to settle lawsuits filed by radical environmental groups that receive government funding," Patterson said. "These endangered species listings cause real harm to industries like oil and gas and, as a result, kill jobs when we need them the most. The worst part is the taxpayers are paying for it all."
Patterson will explain how taxpayers are forced to fund the very lawsuits filed by radical environmental groups that result in more species being added to the endangered species list. His testimony comes at the request of Chairman Doc Hastings, who is holding the hearing to determine the cost and impact of taxpayer-funded attorneys fees and time spent on Endangered Species Act (ESA) litigation.
Patterson's testimony may be seen live here: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Live/.
"This is an outrageous abuse of taxpayer money and a misuse of the Endangered Species act. Special-interest groups are forcing federal agencies to make agenda-driven decisions not based on science, but to settle lawsuits," Patterson said.
From 2007 to 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave $680,492 in tax money to the Wild Earth Guardians, according to congressional testimony. During that same time, the Wild Earth Guardians sued U.S. Fish and Wildlife 76 times, including the lawsuit that triggered the proposal to list the dunes sagebrush lizard.
"The only thing endangered in this process is fiscal responsibility and American jobs," Patterson said.
WHO: Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson
WHAT: Testimony before the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee
WHEN: 9 a.m. (Central) Tuesday, June 19
WHY: To bring evidence of taxpayer-funded litigation prompting ESA listings