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Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Listed as an Endangered Species

Last week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially listed the dunes sagebrush lizard (official listing link: ) as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Energy Workforce Member Companies have a vested interest in the conservation of the dunes sagebrush lizard and the implications of this listing, which were reflected in the formal comments Energy Workforce submitted in response to this proposed rule in August 2023. (Link:   

The dunes sagebrush lizard inhabits the shinnery oak and sand dune ecosystems in southeastern New Mexico and west Texas, covering about 4% of the Permian Basin’s 86,000 square miles. Many Energy Workforce members operate on public and private lands in New Mexico and Texas that are home to the dunes sagebrush lizard and its habitat, which makes this listing a significant action with serious implications for Energy Workforce’s membership. 

Currently around 100 ranchers and 100 oil and gas companies in New Mexico and Texas have entered into voluntary agreements to implement conservation practices for the dunes sagebrush lizard. In New Mexico, these agreements cover nearly 85% of the lizard’s range. In Texas, efforts focus on mitigating unavoidable impacts on the lizard’s habitat.  These agreements provide assurances that land management practices can continue as outlined, with minimal additional requirements or restrictions.  New enrollment in these voluntary agreements will close on June 20, 2024, once the listing rule is finalized and effective. For lands not covered under the voluntary agreement prior to the June 20 deadline, FWS states it will have multiple tools and programs to assist industry, private landowners, and public agencies in streamlining and ensuring compliance with the ESA.

The Energy Workforce Government Affairs team will continue to monitor this listing 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.


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