Austin, Texas – The following is a statement from Ed Longanecker, president of the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO), regarding a petition filed Tuesday, May 8th to list the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard as endangered:
“The petition filed today by the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife is another example of environmental activist organizations working to abuse the Endangered Species Act in attempts to prevent domestic oil and gas development.
For over five years, the oil and gas industry has voluntarily participated in conservation agreements to protect the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard. The industry also has been supportive of research that will better inform future decisions about the species and its habitat in Texas.
In 2012, following extensive review, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined the lizard did not need to be listed as endangered. Two years later, a federal judge in 2014 even upheld the government’s decision, agreeing that conservation agreements for the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard in fact provide sufficient protection. At the time, the judge was right to reject the plaintiffs’ argument that the lizard was not being adequately protected.
TIPRO maintains that state-led voluntary conservation efforts are the best approach to the conservation and protection of this species and its habitat, while also still providing the opportunity for responsible energy development in the Permian Basin.”