Steve Pearce vs. that Annoying Lizard

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This is from Congressman Steve Pearce (ain’t it nice to have a REAL congressman – for a change) and his weekly email.

Steve has been actively involved in trying to prevent the wholesale slaughter of good land due to an annoying little lizard and idiots in Washington.

FISH AND WILDLIFE MAKES CONTRADICTORY CLAIMS WHILE JOBS ARE AT STAKE

“…Congressman Steve Pearce responded to claims by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that listing the dunes sagebrush lizard as endangered will not kill jobs.

Congressman Pearce was told by top officials in Fish and Wildlife that Fish and Wildlife does not have to consider jobs when deciding on this matter.  These comments were made during a meeting with the office of the director of Fish and Wildlife last month.  Fish and Wildlife has admitted that economic considerations do not play into decisions to list a species, which raises the question of their basis for making any economic claims.  Nonetheless, Fish and Wildlife talking heads have chosen to publicly claim that no jobs will be lost by the listing, even while ignoring repeated requests for economic data.

“Fish and Wildlife is making economic claims without facts,” said Pearce.  “My office has asked for data from Fish and Wildlife on how jobs will be impacted, and they claim they don’t have the information.”

Fish and Wildlife recently contested claims that listing the dunes sagebrush lizard as endangered would be a job killer, saying these statements are “absolutely not true.”  However, the comments came not from economists, but from a spokesperson and an ecologist, who offer no economic data.

Congressman Pearce has advocated for the CCAs and CCAAs—agreements by local private and public entities to work to preserve the species without an endangered listing.  Fish and Wildlife has said that “economic development and conservation are not diametrically opposed concepts.”  Congressman Pearce wholeheartedly agrees with this statement, which is why he has urged Fish and Wildlife to allow these agreements time to work.  As Fish and Wildlife has made clear, once a listing is made, they will make no efforts to preserve jobs.  Congressman Pearce therefore advocates an approach wherein all parties continue to work together to protect jobs and the lizard.

A 2005 working group document, to which Fish and Wildlife was a leading agency, acknowledged the devastating economic impact of an endangered species listing, and advocated other, voluntary measures, like the agreements advocated by Congressman Pearce: “Land management decisions that restrict or preclude full mineral development of certain state and federal lands thus affect the flow of revenues into local and state economies.” Furthermore, the document stated: “…ranchers who voluntary adopt grazing practices intended to benefit at-risk species should receive appropriate economic compensation, as well as protection from future additional regulatory burdens in the event of listing.”

Wikipedia

It was based on these assertions that the CCA and CCAA agreements were established, to engage all concerned parties.  Nonetheless, Fish and Wildlife has now reversed these claims and is acting with utter disregard for the economy of southeastern New Mexico and west Texas.

Furthermore, Pearce pointed out that it is concerning that Fish and Wildlife is speaking out in favor of the listing while they are still taking public comments on the issue and certainly before any final decision has been made.

“It is alarming that Fish and Wildlife seems to have already made their decision while the public comment period remains open,” said Pearce.  “My constituents have a legal right to a voice in this matter, without prejudice or bias.”…”

NM Fish & Game

From 2004 NM Dept of Wildlife

“…The sand dune lizard is endemic to a small area of shinnery oak habitat in parts of southeast New Mexico and adjacent Texas (Map 1). In New Mexico, the species is known to exist as fragmented populations within an area of ca. 2,312 sq. km (892.6 sq. mi) in parts of Chaves, Eddy, Lee, and Roosevelt counties. However, within this area the potential and occupied habitat consists of only 1,697.3 sq. km (655.3 sq. mi). Total extent of the range in Texas is unknown although it includes parts of Andrews, Crane, Gaines, Ward, and Winkler counties. In New Mexico large populations of the sand dune lizard occur on lands managed by the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, (BLM) although important populations occur on New Mexico state and private lands as well. Historic population sizes of S. arenicolus are unknown, although the chemical treatment and removal of shinnery oak and oil and gas extraction activities has caused the deScrease or extirpation of some populations since the species was discovered in southeast New Mexico in 1960. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMGF) first listed S. arenicolus as a Group 2 Endangered Species on 24 Jan 1975, and it is currently listed as threatened….”

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