Feds Extend Public Comment on Dunes Lizard

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put out a statement to the media on Tuesday, August 29, concerning listing the dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is extending the public comment period seeking public input on a proposal to list the dunes sagebrush lizard as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The public comment period will now be open for 90 days, closing on October 2, 2023.

The Service is committed to having a robust public engagement process as it considers a proposal to list the dunes sagebrush lizard as endangered. The extension gives all interested parties additional time to provide comments. In addition to this extension, on July 31, 2023, the Service held a virtual Public Information Session and Public Hearing, where it accepted verbal comments for the record.

The dunes sagebrush lizard is a rare species found only in the shinnery oak sand dune ecosystems in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. Primary threats to the lizard include loss of habitat associated with oil and gas development, sand mining, and changing climate.

The Service encourages any interested parties to provide input and substantive comments during the public comment period that closes on October 2, 2023. The notice is available in the Federal Register at https://www.federalregister.gov/doc….

The Endangered Species Act turns 50 years old this year. It provides a critical safety net for fish, wildlife, and plants and has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species, as well as promoted the recovery of many others, and conserved the habitats upon which they depend. 

Dune Sage Brush Lizard

Dune Sage Brush Lizard

(Credit: agrilifetoday.tamu.edu)

Back on July 13, Congressman August Pfluger introduced the Limiting Incredulous Zealouts Agasint Restrictive Drilling (LIZARD) Act in response to the original proposal to list the dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species.

“On the campaign trail, President Biden promised to kill the fossil fuel industry, and that’s about the only promise we can count on him keeping,” Pfluger said. “His latest tactic—listing the dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species so he can shut down drilling in the Permian—is just the latest in a string of assaults on the Permian Basin and our way of life. The President wants to control private property in Texas. Not on my watch. My legislation protects energy security and jobs in the Permian by nullifying his latest attack.”

Plfuger also claims that several conservation efforts and programs that set aside acreage to protect and reclaim the dune sagebrush lizard population are currently in effect.

“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.”

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