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Pictured: A Dunes Sagebrush Lizard (Source: Agrilife Today)

Texas oil and gas companies are dedicating significant resources to conserve the habitats of the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard. Through voluntary investments, research, and collaboration with private landowners, the industry strives to balance economic growth with environmental stewardship.

The Texas oil and gas industry has long been a cornerstone of the state’s economy, driving job creation and economic growth. At the same time, the industry has also demonstrated a steadfast commitment to safeguarding the environment, particularly in its efforts to protect species such as the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard.

The industry’s approach is evident in its voluntary investments, numbering in the millions of dollars, and research dedicated to conservation. Extensive research has also been conducted to ensure a balance between protecting the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard and responsibly growing the economy through the development of oil and gas.

Positive, meaningful actions have been pivotal in creating a balanced approach to conservation and economic development. Oil and gas groups continue to deploy significant resources to benefit the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard. Key measures include maintaining a 200-meter buffer between operations and the lizard’s habitat, minimizing presence in sensitive areas, and utilizing existing service roads to reduce further habitat disturbance.

Todd Staples, President of the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA), emphasized the significant strides the industry has made in balancing economic growth with environmental conservation. “Evaluating endangered species must give full credit to the robust efforts of industry,” Staples said. “The oil and gas industry has led the way as stakeholders across Texas clearly demonstrated their continued commitment to sustained responsible development.”

Collaboration with private landowners has also been a cornerstone of the conservation strategy. Oil and gas companies participate in voluntary agreements aimed at protecting the lizard’s habitat. These agreements showcase a shared responsibility and commitment to conservation, leveraging cooperation to achieve meaningful outcomes without the need for strict oversight.

Last year, U.S. Congressman August Pfluger (R-TX-11) had legislation included in the House Appropriations Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Bill to protect the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard. After its inclusion, Congressman Pfluger said, “I will continue fighting against the radical wing of the federal government that is working to shut down oil and natural gas production in the Permian Basin and around the country. Energy security is national security and nothing is more important.”

Voluntary measures and cooperative efforts are necessary for achieving a sustainable balance between economic development and environmental protection. Positive, meaningful actions by the industry and ranching communities are seen as the most effective way to achieve this balance, ensuring that conservation efforts do not damage economic growth or job creation.

In a recent speech at the Republican Party of Texas convention in San Antonio, Railroad Commissioner Jim Wright spoke about the importance of protecting endangered species while refusing to allow the federal government to use the Endangered Species Act against Texas energy production. Commissioner Wright emphasized that the federal government has “taken a shotgun approach – Executive orders, ‘rulemaking’ by the EPA, shutting down new LNG export projects, and most ridiculous of all, using the Endangered Species Act as a weapon against U.S. energy production.”

The Texas oil and gas industry has shown its commitment to ongoing research and investment in conservation efforts. Through continued collaboration, voluntary initiatives, and substantial investments, the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard can be protected while industry continues contributing to the prosperity of Texas.

These conservation efforts reflect a robust yet responsible approach to sustainable development. The commitment to protecting the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard through voluntary actions and significant investments underscores the oil and gas industry’s role as a leader for both the economy and the environment.