Small lizard is los­ing in bat­tle with com­pa­nies

Austin American-Statesman - - VIEWPOINTS -

Re: Aug. 20 ar­ti­cle, “West Texas sand rush ex­poses faults in state’s lizard pro­tec­tion plan.”

So, the state’s much-vaunted plan to avoid reg­u­la­tion and pro­tect a rare species has run off the rails. How’s that for vol­un­tary con­ser­va­tion by in­dus­try?

We were all told that com­pa­nies en­gaged in frack­ing op­er­a­tions in the Per­mian Basin would go out of their way to pro­tect the habi­tat of the dunes sage­brush lizard. Now, we learn that sand min­ing com­pa­nies are dig­ging into the heart of the lizard’s sen­si­tive habi­tat, cre­at­ing pits 80 feet deep.

Surely it’s ob­vi­ous this na­tive species will go ex­tinct if this prac­tice con­tin­ues.

We’d all like to be­lieve that cor­po­ra­tions can be good cit­i­zens, but let’s be frank: In a choice be­tween lu­cra­tive con­tracts and a small brown lizard strug­gling to sur­vive, which is likely to win?

This sad case is a vivid re­minder of why our coun­try needs the En­dan­gered Species Act and a strong U.S. Fish & Wildlife Ser­vice to en­force it. JOAN MARSHALL, AUSTIN

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