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Texas Officeholders Weigh in on Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Ruling

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

A lizard that spurred heated debate will not be added to a particular list by the federal government.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday that a listing of the dunes sagebrush lizard as a threatened or endangered species is not warranted.

The agency reviewed data for more than a year before making their ruling on the lizard.

The Texas Conservation Plan, led by Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, is a major reason the lizard was not listed.

“This is a major victory for Texas jobs and our energy economy,” combs said. “Energy exploration is the economic lifeblood of West Texas, and I am delighted we were able to come up with a creative solution that protects paychecks, property rights, and jobs.”

Other officeholders weighed in on the decision as well.

Texas U.S. Senator John Cornyn, a vocal critic of the listing of the lizard, issued a response saying “After visiting the Permian Basin the Administration no doubt saw firsthand the real, dire consequences that listing this species would have had for Texans and our nation’s energy production…I will continue to work to prevent ill-conceived listing proposals like this one that are based on incomplete science and threaten Texas jobs.”

Lubbock-area Congressman Randy Neugebauer also weighed in, saying “Listing the species for protection under the Endangered Species Act would have had unprecedented effects on energy producers, farmers, and ranchers. It could have devastated our local economy by severely limiting energy production and agricultural activities.”

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson also discussed the issue, saying “Today it’s the dunes sagebrush lizard, tomorrow it’s another species to settle another lawsuit. The real problem is how the Endangered Species Act is being abused.”

A press release from the White House stated that “The Service will closely monitor the conservation measures to ensure they are being implemented and effectively address identified threats. The Service can reevaluate whether the dunes sagebrush lizard requires Endangered Species Act protection.”

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