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Dunes Sagebrush Lizards fly – Feds deny endangered species status

Dunes Sagebrush Lizards fly – Feds deny endangered species status

No one saw this coming.

We have followed the saga of the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard for over a year.

The decision on whether to grant endagered species status to the lizard was not expected until tomorrow.  Granting protected status to the lizard would have threatened oil production and exploration in west Texas and eastern New Mexico, along with booming economies dependent on those industries.

The Fish and Wildlife Service quietly announced this morning that it was denying endangered species status.

Via Las Cruces Sun-News (h/t Danelle):

The dunes sagebrush lizard will not be listed as an endangered species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided today against federal protection for the lizard, which exists in four counties of southeastern New Mexico and four others in West Texas.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has scheduled a news conference for later today, but the federal government’s position is that voluntary conservation agreements to save the reptile are working well.

Through these measures, private landowners and businesses are setting aside land and money to protect the dunes sagebrush lizard’s habitat, which overlaps with oil drilling in the Permian Basin.

The lizard needs wind-blown dunes with a shrub called shinnery oak to survive.

Via News New Mexico (h/t Rachel):

Today, Congressman Steve Pearce released the following statement regarding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement that the dunes sage brush lizard will not be listed as endangered:

“For over a year, New Mexicans have fought against the unnecessary listing of the lizard,” said Pearce. “They have demanded that the lizard not be listed without accurate science or at the expense of jobs for hardworking people. Finally, Washington listened, and the lizard will not be listed. This is a huge victory for the people who have so tirelessly fought to save their jobs and their way of life. I extend my gratitude to the New Mexicans who came to the table, and through good faith efforts, voluntarily protected the lizard’s habitat.”

This was a good day for everyone.  The economies in west Texas and eastern New Mexico are protected and private groups will help with habitat preservation.

Best of all, today we learned that Dunes Sagebrush Lizards fly.  Which means that it will be harder for the roadrunners to catch them.


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This is really great news!

You realize FOR (Friends of Roadrunners) are completely demoralized by this decision. Nevertheless, we do have ample copies of Roadrunner Cartoons to inspire us to continue the struggle in order to fill our tummies.

Our imaginations will be expanded, our theories diagramed and examined, and we will see to it that, once again, we’ll get the lizards sequestered to our advantage.

Let’s hear it for FOR!!!

wildjavelina | June 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm

It’s unexpected news, that’s for sure. It’s hard to believe that this isn’t politically motivated. C’mon, since when did this administration think that private groups could do anything better than government? That goes double for protecting the environment.
I suspect that the plan is to hold off on the endangerment listing until after the election. The only thing motivating Ken Salazar is the re-election of Obama, and that effort doesn’t need to have another example of hindering domestic energy production for the GOP to highlight.

Are you slow? This is the Obama regime.

Someone paid someone. EVERYTHING the government does at this stage is a shakedown.

    These lizards are Republican contributors, so the democrats want them extinguished. That’s why they are not “endangered”. Follow the money.

So, they finally found someone (Ken Salazar?) who understood just how big an area “4 counties in Texas and 4 counties in New Mexico really is.

This lizard probably ranges throughout the desert Southwest, and area larger than the entire eastern seaboard.

Midwest Rhino | June 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Speaking for my lizard ancestors, (x-rays show my grandfather still exhibited a very long tailbone.) I want to express my thanks for not making us another cared for, subordinated class for the Democrats to expropriate power from.

Now if they can only get that desert flower de-listed from protected status and release reserves in the bakken oil field.

Almost like it’s an election year or something.

It’s not endangered, but it is an election year so he’ll not name the lizard to the list and count on environmental groups to file suit to compel its addition to the list.

Net effect, no oil production!

    dmacleo in reply to persecutor. | June 13, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    remember, we PAY for those people to file suit also. what a racket, groups are paid to file suit against epa and stuff.

Henry Hawkins | June 13, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Obama phones Ken Salazar – “Dude, the last thing I need this week is more trouble. Let it go, let it go. We’ll take out the Texas oil fields during the lame duck session… right, right… no endangered species designation. So, you gonna play golf tomorrow? Yeah, OK. See you there, thanks.”

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Henry Hawkins. | June 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Yes! Exactly!

    Also, Obama needs New Mexico, and the oilfields in those 4 counties of SE NM (derisively called ‘Little Texas’ by the rest of the state), pumps in about the only real tax wealth into one of the biggest-welfare states in the nation. In most of NM, you work for a government entity – local, state or federal – or you have a McJob.

    Yes, I know that the San Juan Basin oil and gas in the 4-corners area is significant, but much of that revenue goes to the Indians. So, as bad as lizardgeddon would’ve hurt Texas, it would have devastated the NM economy.

ConservTexan | June 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Andy is correct. I don’t understand why the news stories are not including the following:

Under pressure from the Interior Department, a private “lizard habitat protection fund” effort was started by state authorities. corporations, mostly oil/gas concerns, were basically blackjacked into providing “voluntary” funding to buy land in the Texas-New Mexico area….the lizards will be allowed to live there in peace, or so the theory goes.

The scheme is basically a transfer of wealth from oil/gas companies to ranchers. In Texas, the “voluntary” effort was (very quietly) led by State Comptroller Susan Coombs, who just happens to herself be a rancher.

I love the way that politicians are proclaiming this as a victory for sanity, or the product of political pushback by sensible citizens. In fact, it was resolved by a good old-fashioned shakedown.

    ConservTexan in reply to ConservTexan. | June 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    And by the way, professor, a number of people down here in Texas saw this coming. But you are correct in this sense — this shakedown was not publicized, at least until now.

      I’m betting the bribe went down like this:

      Ken Salazar’s 3 nephews just got a 300k / year job watching oil pipelines.


      About a million dollars was pumped into Obama’s camapaign via surrogates.


      Ken Salazar and staff all got vacation homes on the gulf at sweet heart prices.


      Fill in the blank.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | June 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm

George Carlin did not have much use for self important white liberals interfering in nature to save “endangered species” (language warning).

    The lizard needs wind-blown dunes with a shrub called shinnery oak to survive.

    I read this as, “This particular species has evolved into a precarious and unsustainable niche within the natural environment.”

      TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Squires. | June 13, 2012 at 7:46 pm

      That sh!t grows everywhere, and after years of drought, there are sand dunes everywhere. These people from labs and NE liberal universities look at our ol’ desert, crossed by pipelines and caliche oil-field roads, dotted with pumpjacks and tank-batteries and see some awful blighted industrial wasteland.

      What they need to do is get out of the air-conditioned SUVs, and leave their damn droids, i-phones and blackberries behind. Wear thick-soled shoes, because once they step on a mesquite thorn, they’ll appreciate footwear for its function. Get their skinny asses through the barbed wire and walk. As they do, they must listen to the wind, the birds and insects, Look down, always down, into the lee of the pipelines, next to rocks and in clumps of buffalo grass and prickly-pears. Astounded, they will proclaim, “There is life everywhere.”

      Indeed, rocket-scientists. But, you won’t find it, unless you look with eyes and an open mind.

        Well, I had read as implying that the little scaly wonders needed a very specific set of circumstances, including a specific breed of bush, in order to carry feeding or mating dances or what have you necessary to the continuation of their species. Which is, I suppose, how they wanted it to sound.

        I was looking at it from the angle of the countless species that have come in gone because they evolved into a dead-end. Just look at how many times the sabre-tooth “cat” turned up – some variations of the theme were even marsupials. And they’re all extinct as the course of nature did away with their niches without sentiment. Because nature is no one’s mother and doesn’t care if any species lives or dies.

        Henry Hawkins in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | June 13, 2012 at 8:40 pm

        “What they need to do is get out of the air-conditioned SUVs, and leave their damn droids, i-phones and blackberries behind.”

        An aside, but with a similar theme… For 40 years I’ve been an avid collector of paleo-American artifacts – arrowheads, spear points, knife blades, scrapers, etc. – and I have an extensive collection. About ten years ago it was featured in a Sunday magazine-type article in the Raleigh NC News & Observer (aka ‘News & Disturber” based on uber-liberal bias). A paleontology professor from UNC Chapel Hill wrote a nasty letter to the editor of the N&O accusing me of all kinds of ‘crimes’ such as stealing important artifacts, disturbing ancient grounds, defiling remains, trespassing, etc., and basically preventing important professors like her from doing their jobs. I wrote a short reply paraphrased as: “In defense against the good professor’s charges, all I can say is that I never enter property without permission, and in over four decades of walking America’s fields and valleys in search of artifacts, I have seen virtually everything you can think of out there except one thing – a paleontologist.”

I R A Darth Aggie | June 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm

*meep* *meep*

LukeHandCool | June 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm

It’s so heartwarming the way the mother roadrunner will gently pick up her adopted lizard child by the nape of his neck and carry him to safety away from the evil oil companies.

…and Wile E. Coyote will keep on buying ACME Products…helping our economy.

Henry Hawkins | June 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm

99.999999% or more of species have gone extinct and yet, here we remain.

Whacking lizards to recover renewable oil deposits is wrong.

Whacking birds to recover energy from advection currents is Left.

It all depends on how you define wrong and “Left.”

I have a good friend who is a birdwatching, Birkenstocked, Subaru driving liberal. She is fascinated by, and is always searching for, rare species of birds. She is not interested in robins or crows.

I think this is an insight to the liberal mind. She shuns the successful adaptable self sufficient bird in favor of the marginally successful unable to adapt species. Species who are victims of human development or chemicals, or corporate greed, but mainly victims.

Personally I prefer the mudhen to the pileated woodpecker as a role model.

Personally, I’m more concerned that the current lizard-in-chief might be appointed our leader for life. This particular species is NOT endangered, (except to us), and causes mayhem everywhere.

Since no rational being with two neurons to rub together will vote to retain him, it is up to us to send him a resounding batch of eviction notices in November. If we succeed, the nonsense should come to a halt.

Save the American citizen and taxpayer!

Alan Kellogg | June 13, 2012 at 7:00 pm

The range of any animal almost exactly corresponds to the movement of the last graduate student to study it.

Or words to that effect.

I wonder at the possibility, if Comrade Urkel is re-elected, of a sudden lawsuit settlement finding the lizard endangered or the like…

My concern is that they are may be planning to reconsider this in six months.

After all, they “will have more flexibility after the election.” (And, regardless of which way the election goes, it would take considerable time to clean up the “legacy” droppings left by a lame duck.)

Time to remove wacko environmentalists from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA and other gov’t agencies. Affirmative action for critters is a joke and is a road block to developing our abundant natural resources.
If a Pres. Romney really wants to get this economy moving he could declare oil and gas development and production a national security issue. Energy self sufficiency at lower cost and no longer sending money to Middle East terrorist financiers is a winner.

huskers-for-palin | June 13, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Won’t stop the loonies from suing anyway.

[…] species status was denied to the Sagebrush Lizard in West Texas.  It also turns out they can fly.  While you’re at it, watch out for the […]

BannedbytheGuardian | June 13, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Hehe How is it that I got this pretty much right yesterday ?

God has given Texas a bountiful land & Texans have set up Sanctuary Cities as I suggested.

Gadsen Flags are Flying high -DON”T TREAD ON ME – with the little guys proudly centre stage.

God respecting Texans have given the Lizards their Right To Life.

What is not to like ? It is a celebration of all that is good in western civilization -energy plus respect for the environment.

Hehe – this is better than my 7% WI Walker win .

I got da Gift.

JackRussellTerrierist | June 14, 2012 at 4:16 am

When will people weary of being toyed with by the government enough to act?

I thought it was called “Natural Selection”? If you need an extra thumb, eventually you will grow one. Maybe two.
Or force them li’l critters to emigrate to Mexico.

Oh, the horror of it all: the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard may have to meet people.

Maybe we can teach them to fetch, roll over, and eat bugs.