Drillers in the Permian Basin are breathing a big sigh of relief after the federal government announced it would not seek endangered species protection for a rare lizard found there.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced yesterday that they will not seek protections for the dunes sagebrush lizard under the Endangered Species Act. Such a listing could have put at risk booming oil and gas development in Texas’ largest oil patch, now being given new life because of new enhanced extraction techniques.
It would have cost Texas and New Mexico thousands of jobs and essentially shut down drilling in much of the revitalized Permian Basin and potentially shutting down 4,000 wells that are already within its habitat. This country is on the road to energy independence, and while I can understand both sides of this argument, there has to be common ground we can find to keep the industry forging ahead while protecting the future of the sagebrush lizard.