Last month we were able to close a chapter on one of the most pointed attacks our oil industry has ever withstood.
Who would have ever thought that a federal law designed to protect the American eagle would be the choice tool of exploit for men who hate the oil industry?
More disturbing was the experience of discovering that some we counted as industry colleagues and supportive public servants were in on the jig.
By now most of you are aware the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS] listed the Lesser Prairie Chicken as “threatened” last month. As recently as a month before, the FWS was leaning toward a full blown Endangered listing. One of the primary “benefits” to a Threatened listing is that FWS will allow companies to avail themselves of the Range Wide Plan, which will be managed by the five states. Participation with this state managed plan allows operators to continue to conduct their business. There are economic considerations within the plan but in many scenarios the costs are minimal.
I could not be more proud of the effort that PBPA member companies have made in fighting these Endangered Species issues. I can’t say enough about what great partners our state wildlife agencies have been either. We have also had support from many elected officials who understand the importance of our industry as well as our commitment to meaningful conservation.
The past three-and-one-half years for me have been consumed by war with the FWS and quasi-environmental groups to protect the only industry in America that is providing high-paying jobs in the midst of a depression.
The PBPA to a large degree made history when it successfully led the charge to debunk the junk science on which the proposed endangered listing of the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard was based.
But I want to point out: the lizard and the chicken were only the first two of 258 species that the FWS has agreed to consider as endangered or threatened. The first two just happened to be in our own Permian back yard. There are more than a hundred more to come in Texas alone.
Sadly, we found that a handful of Texans too are making very good money every time a species is listed. And that fact was not only outrageous but quite disheartening.
The Texas bureau of The New York Times ran a series of articles last year diagramming the scheme by which influential politicians, oil companies, and lobbyists in Texas were able to game the system in an attempt to personally profit.
These Endangered Species issues are but one tool that extremists are using to further their goals of destroying the oil and gas industry. PBPA will continue to advocate for responsible industry practices. The rest of the country better wake up.