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Conservation & Science Keeps Lizard Off Endangered Species List

Fish & Wildlife Service announces the dunes sagebrush lizard will not be listed
Midland -- The dunes sagebrush lizard will not be listed as endangered. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service made the announcement Wednesday, and the Permian Basin oil and gas industry is calling it a victory.
   
FWS proposed the rule to list the dunes sagebrush lizard in December 2010. Local operators and organizations like the Permian Basin Petroleum Association have been fighting it ever since, worried it could put huge limits on drilling operations in our area. So for Permian Basin oil producers, the announcement was a huge relief.
   
FWS said their decision to not list the lizard was a result of unprecedented commitments to voluntary conservation agreements made by the oil and gas industry and landowners. They say 88 percent of the lizard's habitat, which covers 650,000 acres of land in Texas and New Mexico, is now protected.
   
" We know the nation depends on the Permian Basin for a significant amount of oil and gas production and that's why it's been so important to find common ground here and why today's announcement is so important," said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.

The Permian Basin Petroleum Association has been working for over a year and a half to compile evidence proving that a listing is not warranted.  "It is a tremendous relief today with this decision. I know we're hoping for rain, but a big, dark cloud has been lifted over the Permian," said Permian Basin Petroleum Association President Ben Sheppard.

Be sure to tune in to the Big 2 Energy Report Thursday night at 10pm for more on Fish & Wildlife's decision to not list the lizard. You can also get the latest updates by following Mycah & Big 2 on Facebook and Twitter.

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