Court Keeps Lizard Off Endangered List

01 October 2014 | Western Caucus News Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 decision not to list the lizard under the Endangered Species Act. Congressional Western Caucus Co-Chairs Steve Pearce (NM-02) and Cynthia Lummis (WY-At Large) along with Western Caucus member Mike Conaway (TX-11) released the following statements in response to the decision:

“It is about time the courts stood up for private landowners over radical environmental groups that continually use sue and settle tactics to exploit taxpayer money to pay lawyers and fund themselves instead of recovering species,” said Chairman Pearce. “This decision ensures that sound conservation efforts are carried out in Eastern New Mexico without sacrificing the economic activity that the area depends on. The plan itself is a great example of how cooperative conservation efforts between private industry, state officials, landowners, and the federal government are more than adequate to protect species. This decision differs from the Fish and Wildlife’s listing of the lesser prairie chicken in March that severely hindered a successful cooperative conservation effort. I hope the Fish and Wildlife Service along with the courts continue to allow future efforts like this to succeed.”

“It’s encouraging to see the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a federal court recognize what many of us already know, that state and private species conservation works,” said Chairman Lummis. “The Sagebrush Lizard is a success story based on local, boots-on-the-ground conservation, a model that should be the rule and not the exception when it comes to protecting endangered species. Species are best served by boots-on-the-ground, not briefcases in the courtroom. Embracing these cooperative conservation efforts, driven by the people that actually live on the ground and who can best tailor responsible solutions, will help bring the Endangered Species Act into the 21st Century.”

“I commend the court for rejecting extreme environmentalist’s efforts to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the dunes sagebrush lizard under the Endangered Species Act,” said Congressman Conaway. “West Texas oil and gas producers and ranchers are actively engaged in preserving the dunes sagebrush lizard. Listing the lizard as endangered would have derailed these efforts and hampered energy companies and ranchers from providing the food and fuel that our country needs.”


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