Texas Comptroller Susan Combs Files Motion to Intervene in Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Lawsuit
Combs filed the motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed by environmental groups against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which asks the agency to reconsider its recent decision to not list the dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species.
The lawsuit, filed by Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity, could have damaging effects on private property owners, oil and gas producers, and agriculture products if successful, according to Combs’ office.
“By filing this motion, I am working to protect vital industries in the Permian Basin and ensure that the stakeholders have a place at the table in any negotiations,” said Combs.
The range of the dunes sagebrush lizard includes parts of the Permian Basin, where oil and gas production and employment is high.
“Texas’ economy is strong, and the state is well ahead of the national job market,” said Combs. “This can be attributed in part to our emphasis on preserving private property rights and creating a regulatory environment in which industry can thrive.”
The suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service alleges that the dunes sagebrush lizard is not being protected because the Texas Conservation Plan for the lizard is voluntary in nature, and those involved in the plan do not provide enough information to FWS.
Combs’ office says that more than 110,000 of 197,000 acres of dunes sagebrush lizard habitat are held by participants who are actively providing conservation measures for the species.