Stop The Drilling! A Lizard Is Imperiledby Hugh Holub on May. 16, 2011, under Center for Biological Diversity, climate change, endangered species act, environment water and energy, global warming, headline news, litigious environmental groups, politics
Will from time-to-time be bringing you news from other areas about the environmental war being waged arcoss the West.
By Larry Bell
As if deadly human CO2 emission climate endangerment of polar bears, logging displacement of spotted owls, and water diversion from delta smelt for California agriculture wasn’t bad enough, domestic oil and gas drilling now threatens yet another innocent creature. Last December the Fish and Wildlife Service announced that a native three-inch Southwestern U.S. reptile “faces immediate and significant threats due to oil and gas activities and herbicide treatments,” and initiated the process to get it listed under the Endangered Species Act. Should this designation be granted, oil and gas production in the New Mexico and Texas Permian Basin containing an estimated 20% of our nation’s reserves and one-fourth of our active oil and gas wells may need to be shut down.
First filed by the Center for Biological Diversity in 2002, the Bush administration delayed consideration of the petition for six years. An issue of dispute is whether the dunes sagebrush lizard in question is truly a separate species, or rather, a common sagebrush lizard subspecies. The Obama administration has now put the matter back on a high priority track- along with the designation of vast areas in and off Alaska as protected areas for caribou and polar bears. (Source: “Will a Lizard Stop West Texas Oil?” Investor’s Business Daily. April 28, 2011.)
This, of course, is the same administration whose Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has ignored a judge’s order to remove oil drilling restrictions in the Gulf of Mexico, and whose EPA recently withheld permits to block Shell Oil from drilling this summer in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska–after the company has already spent five years and nearly $4 billion on those plans. The Beaufort and Chukchi Sea leases alone cost $2.2 billion. EPA’s appeals board ruled that Shell hadn’t included carbon emissions from an ice-breaking vessel in the project’s overall greenhouse gas calculations.
If it seems curious to some why the president would then travel to Brazil and lend $2 billion we borrowed from China to enable their state-owned company to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, the answer should be quite obvious. Almost everyone knows there aren’t any caribou or polar bears in Brazil. And forget about the carbon emissions from those Brazilian tankers that we will pay to deliver the oil to us. GE plans to convert them to wind power through purchases of U.N.-approved Chinese junk technology components.
Other whiners quibble about the high costs of protecting those threatened creatures. For example, selfishly worrying that an expected 20% drop in 2011 Gulf oil production will result in the loss of 375,000 more jobs, further damage our economy, and raise gasoline prices. (Source: Anthony Martin, “Obama’s War on Oil–Shell Stopped from Drilling,” April 26, 2011.)
Some unfairly point out that the spotted owl protection effort killed logging and created ghost towns throughout the Pacific Northwest, only to later discover that the kindness campaign made little difference. Government studies later revealed that those spotted owls weren’t logging casualties at all, but were being victimized by their cousins, the barred owls, who crowded them out of habitats and attacked them.
And… from Forbes Blog May 3, 2011:
By Christopher Helman
…To the untrained eye, the dune sagebrush lizard is indistinguishable from the the sagebrush lizard. Biologists studying the reptiles for the Fish & Wildlife Service can tell the difference, and figure that the two species separated about 15,000 years ago. Last December, the department submitted a proposal to declare the dune sagebrush lizard endangered.
If that were to happen, it wouldn’t much matter that crude oil has been pumped from the Permian basin for nearly 100 years, nor that oil companies like Occidental Petroleum, SandRidge Energy, Berry Petroleum and Chevron say there’s decades more crude to coax out of the earth. Ben Shepperd, president of the Permian Basin Drilling Association said in a public hearing recently that listing the lizards as endangered could put the kibosh on drilling, seismic testing, road building and pipelines–for at least the few years it would take the feds to study the habitat.
When one looks at the magnitude of environmental attacks being waged on every effort to produce energy, mine our own minerals, use our land…you have to wonder what the real agenda is of groups like Center for Biological Diversity and others….