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

Gosling and Stone Co-Star in Enchanting Homage to Hollywood Musicals

  La La Land Film Review by Kam Williams Gosling and Stone Co-Star in Enchanting Homage to Hollywood Musicals If you only see one movie this year, you need to get out more. That being said, La La Land is the picture to catch. This nostalgic homage to the Golden Age of Hollywood is a panoramic masterpiece which makes very effective use of every inch of the big screen. Written and directed by Oscar-nominee Damien Chazelle (for Whiplash), the picture was shot in … [Read More its Good for You...]

Books

Volume 2 of Yes Sir, Yes Sir, 3 Bags Full! – You Do NOT Want to Miss This

  Volume 2 of Yes Sir, Yes Sir, 3 Bags Full! – You Do NOT Want to Miss This Book Review by Amy Lignor What began in an unforgettable Volume 1—living Jerry Hall’s story and dealing with the heart-wrenching issues of the Viet Nam* War—continues here. The action of battle, fraught with the unending horrors that the “unwanted veterans” dealt with, grows even more painful. And as war comes closer to an end, what should have been peaceful thoughts of returning home alive … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of. I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the days of pain, the days of sorrow. We are in mourning. The sky looks down and sheds its tears for us. … [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

Inside WildAid

  Inside WildAid by Amy Lignor   Donations can be made. Time can be volunteered. There are a great number of charities, organizations and hard workers out there who strive with everything they have to save the animals of the world. The National Wildlife Administration, the World Wildlife Federation – these are just two leaders that help keep our beloved species’ on the map. There is also an organization whose sole mission is to end illegal wildlife trade NOW, … [Read More it Good for You...]

Outdoors

Gain all Access Mobility with Roundabout Woodsman

  Gain all Access Mobility with Roundabout Woodsman By Craig Lamb You are a waterfowler hunting solo with your prized retriever. Getting to the blind takes a four-wheel drive to pull through mud holes and keep on the two-track. Behind your truck is that aluminum jon boat. Launching that beast alone is a real hassle. Get it launched and you spend more time loading all the gear, a dog and yourself. All of the above is part of the fun, maybe, of hunting. That task can be made … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

The Best & Worst (So Far) of the 2016 NFL Season

  The Best & Worst (So Far) of the 2016 NFL Season by Amy Lignor     Okay…we’re almost dead center, folks, so it’s time to sum up the best and silliest actions and reactions that the 2016 NFL season has provided fans thus far.   Analysts are always yapping, and most likely nothing they say will actually come true. However, right now almost everyone is agreeing to the fact that Tom Brady has a score to settle. Yes, he’s smiling for the cameras … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Charity Begins at Home

  Charity Begins at Home by Amy Lignor   Turning a blind eye is easy for some; preferred by others. But the fact is that the bad doesn’t become good – in any area – unless eyes are open wide to not only see what’s occurring, but also to gain the knowledge needed to stop the bad from getting even worse. Remarks are made about “other countries” and what they do wrong when it comes to the harming of animals for profit. However, in order to have this loathsome … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Exploring the Holidays Around the Globe

  Exploring the Holidays Around the Globe by Amy Lignor   Thanksgiving has been had. Games have been watched and the golden turkey has caused a great many belts to be loosened. So…here it comes!   From hanging the stockings on the chimney with care to the red-nosed reindeer who had to be there; from Santa heading down that chimney just right to lovely sleigh bells ringing softly in the night, the holiday season is a truly wonderful thing for all ages. And, no, … [Read More its Good for You...]

Google+