Railroad Commissioner David Porter Issues Letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regarding the Lesser Prairie Chicken
AUSTIN – Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter issued the following letter to Daniel Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, today regarding the Lesser Prairie Chicken:
“I am writing to express my strong opposition to listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. As the primary regulator of the oil and gas industry in Texas – an industry that would be significantly affected by this decision – I feel it is imperative that the detrimental impacts of such a listing are fully understood and appreciated.
As a Texas Railroad Commissioner, I have a responsibility to protect against the waste of our state’s precious natural resources. I believe that listing this species as threatened or endangered would directly jeopardize this charge by severely limiting exploration and production activity in the Permian Basin, one of the country's most prolific hydrocarbon-bearing regions. The Texas Permian Basin alone produces nearly one million barrels of oil per day, accounting for more than half of our state’s total oil production. It also supports thousands of jobs and provides millions of dollars in state revenue.
Texas has been working diligently with several other state wildlife agencies, along with the most active oil and gas producers and various stakeholder groups, to develop a conservation plan as an alternative to listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endangered Species Act. This comprehensive effort proves that this issue is not just imperative to the success of the oil and gas industry in Texas, but also to the economic success of numerous other states and our nation as a whole. The surge in oil and gas drilling has considerably bolstered the national economy, attracting more than $120 billion in U.S.-based investments and contributing $283 billion to the gross domestic product in 2012. Additionally, studies project that the U.S. trade deficit will fall by more than $164 billion in 2020 – the equivalent of one-third of the current trade deficit. To continue on this path of prosperity, we must enact policies that protect the environment while allowing the natural resource production that is vital to our country.
I strongly urge you to not list the Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endangered Species Act and to consider the alternatives presented by the affected states. I firmly believe this matter should be left for the states to address through a collaborative conservation plan.”
David Porter was elected to the Texas Railroad Commission on November 2, 2010. A Certified Public Accountant and successful small business owner, Commissioner Porter has worked with oil and gas producers for nearly three decades providing strategic financial advice and tax counsel. He has a long record of pro-business, free market, conservative credentials.