Last week, Energy Workforce submitted formal comments in response to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposal to list the dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species.
Many Energy Workforce Members operate on public and private lands in New Mexico and Texas that contain dunes sagebrush lizards and/or its habitat. Energy Workforce and its Members have a vested interest in the conservation of the dunes sagebrush lizard and this current listing proposal. The proposed rule stands to have a significant impact on business planning and operations by increasing operational costs, delaying project timeframes, and limiting or precluding operations in certain areas.
In the comments, Energy Workforce requested FWS extend the comment period to at least 90 days, until November 30, 2023 from the current September 1, 2023 deadline. Additionally, Energy Workforce requested FWS reschedule its final determination to October 1, 2024 from the current July 3, 2024 final determination deadline. The extended comment and final determination periods would allow Energy Workforce and other industry stakeholders the opportunity to submit for substantive and helpful comments on the following topics as requested by FWS:
- Species’ biology, range and population trends, biological or ecological requirements, habitat requirements for feeding, breeding, and sheltering; genetics; historical and current range, including distribution patterns; historical and current population levels, including project trends; and past and ongoing conservation measures for the species and its habitat.
- Factors that may affect the species continued existence, such as habitat modification or destruction, overutilization, disease, predation, the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms, or other natural or manmade factors.
- Biological, commercial trade or other relevant data concerning any threats (or lack thereof) to this species and existing conservation measures and regulations that may be addressing those threats.
- Additional information concerning the historical and current status of the species.
The Energy Workforce Government Affairs team will continue to monitor this proposal and all regulatory actions that may impact Member Company operations. If you are interested in Energy Workforce’s advocacy efforts or would like to join the Government Affairs Committee, contact Senior Director Government Affairs Deidre Kohlrus.
Deidre Almstead Kohlrus, Senior Director Government Affairs, writes about industry-specific policies for the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.