Pfluger introduces Congressional Review Act to nullify Biden Administration sagebrush lizard rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. Congressman August Pfluger on Friday introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) to nullify the Biden Administration’s U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service final rule listing the dunes sagebrush lizard as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Listing the sagebrush lizard under the ESA is an incredible threat to energy production developed in the Permian Basin.

A news release said Pfluger has worked diligently to protect the Permian Basin from government overreach. Last year, the Congressman introduced the Limiting Incredulous Zealots Against Restricting Drilling (LIZARD) Act which would prevent the rule designating the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard as endangered under the ESA.

“Listing the dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species is another effort by the Biden Administration to shut down drilling in the Permian Basin. My Congressional Review Act nullifies President Biden’s attempt to use a lizard as a weapon against the oil & gas industry. I will not allow the President to take control of private property and kill energy jobs in the Permian Basin,” Pfluger said in the release.

Ben Shepperd, president of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association, said: “The Permian Basin Petroleum Association is highly supportive of Congressman Pfluger’s CRA opposed to the latest listing decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the dunes sagebrush lizard. The Service’s arbitrary decision is not supported by the available science and flies in the face of the state sponsored conservation efforts, which include the enrollment of hundreds of thousands of acres and commitment of millions of dollars in both Texas and New Mexico. Congressman Pfluger is choosing to support the proven, effective conservation efforts already in place instead of the paperwork protections that would come with the Service’s listing. We are proud of the work PBPA members have done and will continue to do to be good stewards of our natural resources through volunteer conservation efforts, and greatly appreciate Congressman Pfluger’s recognition and support of the same.”

Dan Naatz, COO & Executive Vice President of the Independent Petroleum Association of America said: “IPAA has grave concerns with the final rule to list the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard. This listing is an assault on the oil and natural gas industry employees who live and work in the Permian Basin in both Texas and New Mexico. It appears that the Fish and Wildlife Service made no attempt to take into consideration the large amount of conservation work already done to protect the species and the successes of these programs. IPAA believes that the decision to list the DSL is unwarranted and thanks Congressman Pfluger for all his efforts to stop this misguided listing decision.”

Tim Tarpley, President of the Energy Workforce & Technology Council said: “The Administration’s decision to list the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard as an endangered species is a politically motivated attack on the oil and gas industry, infringing on the private property rights of American citizens. This designation jeopardizes over 88,000 direct jobs and approximately half a million indirect jobs in the Permian Basin, which are crucial to the oil and gas sector. The potential job losses threaten the economic stability of countless families, undermine American energy security, and hinder the nation’s economic growth. The men and women of the Energy Workforce sincerely appreciate Rep. Pfluger’s introduction of a CRA to overturn this reckless decision and protect American energy security.”

Read the text of the bill here.

As of Dec. 31, 2022, through state and private conservation efforts in New Mexico alone, 1,905,120 acres have been enrolled in a Candidate Conservation Agreement (CCA) and Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) by the ranching community and 2,230,066 acres have been enrolled in the CCA and CCAA by the oil and gas industry to protect the dunes sagebrush lizard.

These enrollments have resulted in a net acreage conservation gain for the species’ habitat and the associated financial contributions have helped fund dozens of reclamation and conservation programs to support the species while still affording for the development of natural resources and human existence in the region.