Lead Texas Energy Official Congratulates Stakeholders on Preventing Dunes Lizard Endangered Species Listing

06/13/2012

AUSTIN, TX –– Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman applauded the diverse coalition of stakeholders, including the Texas Oil and Gas Association and the Permian Basin Petroleum Association, who worked together to prevent the listing of the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard as a threatened or endangered species.  As Texas’ top energy official, Smitherman has worked tirelessly against efforts to list this lizard as endangered, and has warned the Obama Administration against listing it as threatened.

“I am glad that the US Fish and Wildlife Service has confirmed what we knew all along: Oil and Gas exploration and production does not pose a threat to this lizard,” Smitherman stated.  “It is unfortunate that we had to spend countless hours and huge sums of money combatting the frivolous lawsuit that the radical environmentalists filed to set this listing in motion.”

Listing the DSL as endangered or threatened would have jeopardized thousands of jobs and a tremendous amount of energy production in the Permian Basin, which is the state’s most prolific oil producing region.  “We have worked hard fighting this battle, and I am thankful that the science and common sense have prevailed.  As a result of our continued efforts, hardworking Texans, especially those in the Permian Basin, did not become victims of any anti-fossil fuel agenda,” Smitherman added.

“Now is not the time to rest on our laurels, however.  There are dozens more species the anti-fossil fuel crowd will be using this same strategy with.  My message to those who are trying to stop energy production by using frivolous endangered species lawsuits is this: We will not give in, we will keep on fighting, and we will keep on winning.  The science is on our side, and we will not let an anti-fossil fuel agenda stand in the way of American Energy Independence,” Smitherman concluded.

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Chairman Barry Smitherman was appointed to the Railroad Commission of Texas in July 2011, and was elected Chairman in February 2012.  Chairman Smitherman currently serves as Texas’ representative on both the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and the Southern States Energy Board, and as Vice Chair of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Gas Committee.  He is on the Visiting Committee of the Bureau of Economic Geology with the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas School of Law Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law, and the Eanes Education Foundation Advisory Board.