Lizard stirs up harsh criticism of Biden, FWS

Pfluger, Christian, PBPA, TIPRO say endangerment action phony

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is listing the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. (Courtesy Photo)

Congressman August Pfluger has been joined by Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian and the Permian Basin Petroleum and Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners associations in his fight to stop the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Service from designating the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard as endangered and impeding oil and natural gas production in the Permian Basin.

“Listing the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard as an endangered species is another effort by the Biden Administration to shut down drilling in the Permian Basin,” Pfluger said Tuesday from Washington. “I will introduce a Congressional Review Act this week to nullify President Biden’s attempt to use a lizard as a weapon against the oil and gas industry.

“I will not allow the president to take control of private property and kill energy jobs in the Permian Basin.”

Pfluger is a San Angelo Republican who represents the Basin in the 11th Congressional District.

Christian said from Austin that the designation “doesn’t have a thing to do with saving lizards.

“It’s about shutting down U.S. oil and gas production to win political brownie points, which will only increase inflation and jeopardize billions of lives globally,” said Christian, whose agency regulates the energy industry in Texas. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a lizard, a chicken, a whale or a unicorn, radical environmentalists won’t be satisfied until we all get our energy from firewood and are living in caves again.

“To them, this is about ending fossil fuels to ‘better humanity,’ which is ironic given that fossil fuels allow mankind to flourish by powering 80 percent of the globe’s energy, manufacturing 96 percent of consumer products and helping to feed more than half the planet, he said. “Right now the world needs more energy and more Texas oil and gas and all this does is drive up prices and make it harder on consumers.”

The commissioner said the State of Texas “will certainly fight this most recent Endangered Species Act weaponization, which aims to shut down half of the nation’s crude oil production and one-third of its natural gas production.

“Texans can rest assured that the RRC and other state agencies won’t lift a finger to help with this nonsense because the Texas Energy Independence Act prohibits state agencies from facilitating any effort that would undermine Texas oil and gas production,” Christian said.

PBPA President Ben Shepperd said his organization backs Pfluger’s effort to pass Congressional Review Act legislation regarding the lizard.

“According to research conducted by the Institute for Energy Research there have already been over 200 actions taken by the current administration opposed to the oil and gas industry,” Shepperd said. “You can add this one to the list.

“The PBPA continues to support the work that PBPA members have done and will continue to do to be good stewards of our natural resources through volunteer conservation efforts,” he said. “Regardless of the attacks from this administration our members will continue to work hard to produce the energy that lifts people out of poverty and improves the quality of lives for hundreds of millions of people around the world.”

TIPRO President Ed Longanecker said from Austin that the Endangered Species Act “has been manipulated and used as a political tool by environmental activist organizations for many years to disrupt oil and natural gas operations and the federal government is a willing participant despite the proactive, collaborative and successful efforts by our industry to protect the habitat of this species.

“These tactics could delay or prevent permits that are needed for exploration and production activities, all by design, and have a reverberating impact on the U.S. economy,” Longanecker said. “We can expect litigation to ensue and we applaud the Texas elected officials who are pushing back against federal overreach and standing up for private property rights and our nation’s energy security.”