Google+

No Love for the Sagebrush Lizard

No Love for the Sagebrush Lizard

~ Samantha Lewis

Credit should always be given for the defenders of the wildlife out there who are doing their absolute best to protect and save both creatures and habitats that are disappearing worldwide. Fights are won and lost. Some even change and become more than a bit confusing: such as, the wolves being moved into Yellowstone as a project to protect and defend, which is now turning into a hunting opportunity that puts the wolves at risk. But that’s for another time.

 

There is one small creature that is needed in the ecosystem of southeastern New Mexico and Texas that has brought havoc to oil drillers for a while now. A barely noticeable member of the animal kingdom, the dunes sagebrush lizard has literally been the subject of a battle that
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhas gone on for years, with the end game being that the lizard will not be getting any love, even after all the hard work that groups have been doing to make sure it is saved.

 

Habitat destruction is their primary threat. Much of the lizard’s range was sprayed with herbicides in order to clear the land for cattle, and the lizards are now extinct at these specific locations because of that. The dune systems are heavily impacted by oil industry activities. And while the spraying of herbicides has been outlawed in the dunes, the oil industry has not.

 

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the dunes sagebrush lizard as endangered under the Endangered Species Act back in 2011, but the decision was delayed in order to allow the scientific community to “research” the lizard more closely. Most people believed that the delay was simply because of oil and gas industry arguments that the FWS didn’t want to deal with. Environmentalists fought for this lizard. They even took their argument to Capitol Hill, where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ruled that the dunes sagebrush lizard would not be placed on the federal government’s endangered species list, after all.

 

Back then, the Service stated that: “After a careful analysis of the scientific data and the protections provided by the voluntary conservation efforts, Service biologists determined the lizard is no longer in danger of extinction, nor likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future.” (Unfortunately, that is not true).

 

Comments went crazy. In fact, the lizard fight was described as a war, with a spokesperson from Wildearth Guardians stating: “We hope the

The blue ventral patches of a male sagebrush lizard

The blue ventral patches of a male sagebrush lizard

Secretary and the Fish and Wildlife Service weren’t badgered into withdrawing the listing proposal by Representative Pearce (Republican from New Mexico) and the oil and gas industry, who have declared a jihad against a 3-inch lizard.”

 

Delaying or completely stopping the lizard listing means that the habitats the lizard lives in are free for oil and gas interests to continue, which means saving jobs while harming the habitat. Although there were conservation agreements made between oil and gas companies and ranchers in New Mexico that were designed to do their best to avoid disturbing the lizard’s habitat while at the same time continuing to develop said habitat. If this sounds like an impossibility…it is.

 

Skip ahead to February, 2014. The lizard fight has not gone away. Texas oil drillers had to deal with a continued battle regarding leaving the dunes sagebrush lizard habitat alone. Now, the lizard is one of those rare creatures that is dead center in an area where oil wells mean jobs. Oil wells and drilling mean gas prices lower, etc. – a fight between the ‘green’ community and the oil biz that has been going on for centuries, as the world attempts to do their very best to turn to alternative energy.

 

It is a high stakes game…with the lizard sitting right in the middle. Defenders of the Wildlife Center for Biological Diversity stated that the Fish and Wildlife Service withdrew its proposed listing of the dunes sagebrush lizard improperly, which meant the fight should continue. Unfortunately, just this week, the judgment was passed:

 

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras backed up the FWS and stated that the Service examined the conservation measures in place and determined that they would be effective and would continue to eliminate threats to the lizard. He went on to state that, “If the measures prove ineffective, the FWS is free to revisit its decision and list the lizard as endangered.”

 

In other words, the dunes sagebrush lizard loses out…again, as the oil industry goes merrily along…again.
 

Entertainment

Blake Lively Shines as Surfer Stranded in Shark-Infested Waters

  The Shallows Blu-ray Review by Kam Williams Blake Lively Shines as Surfer Stranded in Shark-Infested Waters Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) was so shaken by her mother's (Janelle Bailey) untimely death that she's dropped out of med school. In order to feel closer to her dearly departed mom, she's decided to vacation at the same exotic Mexican retreat where she was reportedly conceived back in 1991. An avid surfer, she also plans to search for the stretch for her mom's … [Read More its Good for You...]

Books

Richards Rocks!

  Sandra L. Richards The “Rice & Rocks” Interview with Kam Williams Richards Rocks! The American-born daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents, Sandra L. Richards is the author of “Rice & Rocks.” She hopes that her debut picture book will serve as an educational resource for families seeking to teach their children the value of their heritage and the importance of cultural diversity. Sandra completed both her undergraduate and graduate studies at Seton Hall … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

ART EXHIBITION: 150 Years After The Civil War

  Cynthia Groya 150 Years After The Civil War: A Contemporary Perspective January 10 - March 6, 2016 Artist's Reception: Sunday, January 24, 3:00 - 5:00 pm Nassau Club 6 Mercer Street  Princeton, NJ 08540 The ideas reflected in Groya's paintings express a conversation about struggle for equal rights in our culture, in our time. The origin of this struggle can be traced to The Civil War in our country, which ended 150 years ago. The … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Castles in America

  Castles in America by Amy Lignor   Robin Leach and his “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” taught us all long ago that we absolutely love to sit and view ridiculous luxury (usually owned by people who inherited all of it and didn’t work a day in their lives). See that? We had to complain about something as we were beguiled by the amount of money people would send to own or create the “best of the best.” Even though some things were referred to as the “gaudiest of … [Read More its Good for You...]

Lifestyle

Richards Rocks!

  Sandra L. Richards The “Rice & Rocks” Interview with Kam Williams Richards Rocks! The American-born daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents, Sandra L. Richards is the author of “Rice & Rocks.” She hopes that her debut picture book will serve as an educational resource for families seeking to teach their children the value of their heritage and the importance of cultural diversity. Sandra completed both her undergraduate and graduate studies at Seton Hall … [Read More it Good for You...]

Outdoors

230 LXF from Tidewater Packs A Punch in a Small Package

  230 LXF from Tidewater Packs A Punch in a Small Package By Ted Lund Are you looking for a family-friendly center console that’s got the luxury of a larger boat in a smaller package? Then look no further than the 230 LXF from Tidewater. The 23-foot, center console has the same features as the rest its large LXF brothers, including comfortable full upholstery, stainless steel cup holders. And a newly-designed console with glove box and footrest includes catch-all … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

There Are Superheroes Among Us

  There Are Superheroes Among Us by Amy Lignor   This story truly proves that a superhero does not require a cape, tights, or the ability to fly. In a world where all headlines seem to be centered around who shot who, who is being put upon, who’s “getting away with it” – all the way to who is getting divorced and who may or may not be kneeling at NFL games – negative stories seem to be the only ones covered anymore by the media. Does the American populace … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

2016 Brings About Layoffs to a Variety of Industries

  2016 Brings About Layoffs to a Variety of Industries by Amy Lignor   From tobacco to alcohol, with brand names that have incurred huge amounts of cash during their long-term years in business, layoffs have still been announced at a rapid pace in 2016. Even from those companies that have increased their profits.   Altria is one with a very large brand name. Its cornerstone brand, Marlboro, has brought about retail sales that have grown higher for the fourth … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Spotting the Wild Animal in the U.S. of A.

  Spotting the Wild Animal in the U.S. of A. by Amy Lignor   There are many camping spots, zoos, parks, and outdoor paradises across the globe; locales where wild animals roam and humans can get close to these amazing creatures. One of the most beautiful and talked about lies near Canterbury, Kent in the United Kingdom. Opened as a private zoo in 1957, this odd collection is known by many for being one of the most unorthodox. Breeding rare and endangered species, … [Read More its Good for You...]

Google+