New Mexico Congressman Pearce: Protecting lizard would put jobs at risk
You liar. In February, the Wall Street Journal referred to timber in the US as a “$30 billion industry”. That may not be as big as it was, but it hardly qualifies as “dead”.
U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce says he sees a threat in the desert, a tiny reptile that can destroy jobs if the federal government lists it as an endangered species.
Critics of Pearce, a Republican who is weighing whether to run for the U.S. Senate next year, counter that he is trying to whip up a furor against environmental laws to advance himself politically.
In the middle of this debate is the dunes sagebrush lizard: a dusty brown lizard that grows to no more than 3 inches and is so rare — limited to stretches of southeastern New Mexico and West Texas — that most humans will never see one.
Its range covers the New Mexico counties of Chaves, Eddy, Lea and Roosevelt. Most of that habitat is federally owned, controlled by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. In addition, the lizard lives in four counties of West Texas.
Pearce, focusing on the reptile this week in town meetings throughout his congressional district, said people would be put in peril if the federal government classifies the dunes sagebrush lizard as endangered.
“Most of the oil and gas jobs in southeast New Mexico are at risk,” he said. “In the ’70s, they listed the spotted owl as endangered and it killed the entire timber industry.”
Where are your priorities? Lizards are people too!
In publicity handouts, Pearce refers to himself as “an avid outdoorsman” who believes conservation is important.
But, he said, he is fighting the endangered designation for the dunes sagebrush lizard because he believes wise environmental regulation must be achieved without sacrificing any jobs.
The U.S. government has listed the dunes sagebrush lizard as a candidate for endangered status since 2001. (Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)