Obama Administration Causing What Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson Calls "Reptile Dysfunction"

Recently President Obama went on an Air Force One campaign tour promoting his "energy independence" plan. Looking for photo ops the president stopped in the oil producing region of Eastern New Mexico and West Texas. He made the bold claim, “Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.” Of course this claim conveniently forgets two facts. Most of the oil production today is because of the lingering effect of the prior administration's drilling policies and the impending production shutdown being threatened by his administration of oil production in this very region.

Texas Land Commissioner, Jerry Patterson, weighed in on this topic in an interview with TexasGOPVote. Patterson explained that radical environmental groups like the Wild Earth Guardian and the Center for Biodiversity are attempting to use the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Endangered Species Act to shut down West Texas oil production by claiming the Dune Sagebrush Lizard (a species that wasn't even heard of prior to 1991) should be on the list of endangered species.

Patterson said they "have sued the US Fish and Wildlife Department and forced them to queue up 200 species here in Texas for consideration of endangered species, and these organizations I've mentioned they're not really as much about protecting species as they are about a war against hydrocarbons and exploration and production."

The following video with Commissioner Patterson will give you insight into the potential scope of this problem and what he, as Land Commissioner, is doing on our behalf to stop this diverson that could cost Texas over ten thousand jobs and millions in lost tax revenue for our schools.

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and TexasGOPVote's Bob Price

According to a story in the Canada Free Press, New Mexico is hard at work on this issue as well. President Obama was greeted, not so warmly, in Roswell, NM by a group of "anti-lizard" protesters. These citizens are distributing a flyer stating the sole discretion on this decision rests with US Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe. A ruling is expected in June, right after the Texas Republican Primary election.

Their statement claims a decision to put this lizard on the Endnagered Species List impacts:

  • Slowing in oil & gas production that could cost jobs.
  • Increased costs to utility companies to meet regulations, therefore higher costs to consumers. Restriction in sheep and cattle production, limitations on control of noxious weeds, and a threat to their agricultural way of life.
  • Restrictions in recreational uses of federal lands.
  • A ripple effect from all of the above on retailers, service industry and other businesses.
  • Negative impact on the state budget that funds our schools and other services.
  • Overall negative impact on the economy and our way of life.

We couldn't agree more. I urge you to contact your US Representatives and Senators and ask them to pressure Ashe to make the right decision for Texas and for our economy and energy independence. This lizard is being used as a political pawn in an war against the economy of Texas by radical environmentalists and the Obama Administration. Also visit the Facebook page for the "Protest the Listing: Lizard 2012".

The Real Story of Drilling Production under Obama


RELATED STORIES ABOUT DUNE SAGEBRUSH LIZARD


Transcript of Interview

Bob Price: Commissioner Patterson, welcome to TexasGOPVote. It's good to talk to you again, and welcome to Houston.

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson: Good to be back Bob, and good to talk to you.

Price: I'd like to talk to you a little bit today about the EPA and its role in Texas, and what's going on in West Texas, in particular, with the drilling out there and the threats to stop that. Can you tell us what you're doing as Land Commissioner in that area?

Patterson: Well most of my activities have been focused on the impending designation of an endangered species by the US Fish and Wildlife Department. The EPA is a problem, but that's more of a problem on emissions on coal plants and shutting down electric generation, which can be a really difficult problem come August when we have rolling blackouts or brownouts, but most of my efforts recently have been focused on a little lizard in far west Texas called the Dune Sagebrush Lizard. It's only been a species since 1991, and now there's a couple radical environmental groups called the Wild Earth Guardian and the Center for Biodiversity that have sued the US Fish and Wildlife Department and forced them to queue up 200 species here in Texas for consideration of endangered species, and these organizations I've mentioned they're not really as much about protecting species as they are about a war against hydrocarbons and exploration and production. We are now trying to stop the fish and wildlife from making this designation. There's a couple of plans in the mix that would allow oil and gas operators to mitigate and not have a designation as endangered because the Permian Basin, which is in far west Texas, where there's a substantial amount of production between the Bakken Shale and Permian Basin, one of those two is the most prolific lower 48 oil and gas production in the United States. When we look at the potential in the next 20 years where Texas and the United States might even be energy dependent because of new production, a threat such as a lizard, where there's no evidence saying that it's endangered, is a problem. One of my main roles has been to try to raise the awareness of this threat, and I've managed to get on Fox & Friends in the morning, Nightline, CBS, and NBC Nightly News because I coined a phrase that raised the interest. I said, "Here in Texas, we describe this as Reptile disfunction." I know it's kind of, you know, whatever you want to call it, kind of tawdry, but you say things to get the attention of the press working on your side, so as a result of that label, we were able to get on all these news programs. I even took CBS reporters and flew them on a little bitty airplane around west Texas and landed in some out of the way dirt strips and managed to look at some of these lizards. There's no evidence that they're endangered, and we're trying to stop that designation, and I think we're going to be able to do that.

Price: Is there anything the general public can do to help with that..talking to Congress?

Patterson: Yes, call your member of Congress, write your member of Congress and other members of Congress. I think virtually all the Republicans in Texas are opposed to the designation and I think many of the Democrats in Texas are opposed to the designation, but it wouldn't hurt to reinforce that. Another letter to somebody who is already opposed to it cannot hurt, it might increase their opposition, remind them to go talk to their colleagues that may not have seen the light yet.

Price: You mentioned energy independence for the United States and Texas would certainly play a key role. Where do we stand in terms of water and electricity and things like that?

Patterson: That's a really good point. Everyone's focused on the price of gasoline, i.e. therefore, they're focused on oil and gas and focused on eliminating restraints that oil and gas has to exploration and production and the federal restraints particularly, but there are another two issues here in Texas that are extremely important, and very few people are talking about it. As you know, I'm running in the Republican Primary in 2014 for Lieutenant Governor, and as Republicans, we talk a lot about gut issues that I'm very conservative on, you know whether I'm pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, but there are other issues that don't have that sizzle that we need to talk about as well, availability of water, availability of electricity, and those things are both in jeopardy here in Texas. We're rolling in at 1,300 to 1,500 net population gain per day, and our water supply projected is not going to be able to sustain that population growth. This last summer in August, we were on the verge of brownouts or rolling blackouts because of the heat, and believe it or not, one of the things that saved us was wind power on the Texas coast. In that time of the year on the Texas coast, the wind was very strong, so we avoided that, but we're reaching, I think we did 68,000 megawatts at a peaked demand record, and we're reaching up to where our capacity is rapidly coincident with our demand. We've got to have more generation and transmission, more transmission. Water is another issue. They're kind of interrelated because you have to have water to have generation. You've got to help cool these plants. We have water issues whether we use ground water, which I'm a proponent of and those aquifers that are replenish-able in recharging, how do we move water around, interbasin transfers, de-sal (desalination) is another viable option, and we need to be talking about those. They're not things we win Primaries on, but they're things that are very important to whether our kids and grandkids will have a job in Texas in 20 or 40 years.

Price: Well thank you for taking the time today to talk to our readers at TexasGOPVote, and we wish you the best of luck in your campaign as that develops over the next couple years. It's kind of interesting being out so early on this, and we're glad to talk to you about it.

Patterson: That's good, thanks Bob. Appreciate it.

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