Lizard declared “endangered” in Permian Basin

FILE - This May 1, 2015, file photo shows a Dunes Sagebrush lizard in N.M. Federal wildlife officials declared the rare lizard in southeastern New Mexico and West Texas an endangered species, citing future energy development, sand mining and climate change as the biggest threats to its survival in one of the world's most lucrative oil and natural gas basins. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP, File)


Oklahoma oil and gas operators in the Permian Basin were met with a new challenge—-the government’s action on Friday declaring a rare lizard in the Basin to be endangered.

Citing future energy development and sand mining in west Texas and southeast New Mexico, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the dunes sagebrush lizard is in danger of extinction throughout all of its range. It called oil and gas development one of the biggest threats to the survival of the lizard.

The agency claimed the lizard already is “functionally extinct” across 47% of its range, according to the Associated Press.

“Even if there were no further expansion of the oil and gas or sand mining industry, the existing footprint of these operations will continue to negatively affect the dunes sagebrush lizard into the future,” declared the federal agency.

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