Cattle Ranchers Worried about Impact of Possible Lizard Listing 7/6/11
CBS 7 News
July 6, 2011
Goldsmith, Texas -
Many agree that the listing of the Sand Dune Lizard on the endangered species list could have devastating effects on the oil and gas industry.
Some say it could limit water transfer efforts as well.
Now you can add ranching to the list.
Some cattle raisers believe the lizard listing could halt their business too.
It's already public enemy number one among many in the west Texas oil and gas industry.
Now cattle ranchers are joining the herd of people worried about the impacts of listing the Sand Dune Lizard on the endangered species list.
"The Sand Dune lizard in Eastern New Mexico and Western Texas is a big concern for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association", says President Joe Parker Jr.
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association fears that if the lizard is listed, the associated protections will fence in ranchers to the point where that they can't operate.
"We're just afraid that the government is going to come and tell us what we can and can't do and prohibit us from doing that", says Cattle Raisers Association representative, Carmen Fenton.
The biggest issue might be brush control.
Sprays that ranchers use now to clear the land for cattle might be banned if the listing protects the lizard.
Ranchers like Goldsmith resident, Schuyler Wight, aren't happy.
"Oh it's going to be devastating to the ranchers. It makes no difference how many people they put out of work, they don't care", says Wight.
Texas produces more beef than any state in the US so Parker says a hit to lone star cattle raisers could impact the entire nation.
"When you're talking about the ranching industry and the oil and gas industry around Midland and Odessa you're talking about a major part of the economy. That should concern everyone".
Like the oil and gas industry leaders who are fighting the listing, the ranchers’ association agrees that the US Fish and Wildlife Service lacks the necessary science to list the lizard.
"They are not taking the time to do the proper measurements and studies to justify listing this animal", says Fenton.
A final decision on the lizard listing is expected before the end of the year.