The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to put the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard on the Endangered Species List, and that poses a potential threat to the oil and natural gas industry in the Permian Basin.
Texas State Senator Kel Seliger has called for the lizard to be exempt from the Endangered Species List because, according to him, some of the scientific data is from as far back as 1972. He also says that only ten percent of the date used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is relevant to Texas.
"This is the most productive onshore area in the United States and it's essential in terms of supplying the oil and gas that we need," Seliger said. "It's a million gallons a day that we don't have to get from Sheitans in the Middle East who hate us."
The Panhandle Producers and Royalty Owners Association is facing a similar situation with the Lesser Prairie Chicken. PPROA has been working with Texas Parks and Wildlife to come up with a solution that will allow them to keep drilling and not be a hazard to the chicken.
"We're doing all we can to accommodate ourselves to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and to the Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service to make sure that we can continue to operate in the Northeastern Panhandle effectively and keep the needs of the Lesser Prairie Chicken in mind in the process," PPROA Executive Vice President Wayne Hughes said.
Seliger says he wants to help the lizard population, but the needs of the industry are critical to the nation's economy.
"Making any animal be extinct is an idea that we should react to very vigorously," he said. "We don't want to be responsible for that. At the same time, we are dependent on oil and gas. But the two are not incompatible."