What federal government agency is doing the most damage to jobs and the economy? Some might think it is the EPA. I understand the thinking about how much damage they are doing, but I have another agency that is far worse.  How about Ken Salazar and his Interior Dept? For example, look at the attempt by the Obama Administration to list as a federally endangered species, the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard that inhabits far West Texas and New Mexico. It just so happens that West Texas produces a lot of hydrocarbons, and it has the potential to drill for more.

If the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard is declared an endangered species, it could devastate oil and gas production in the Permian Basin for at least two years. Critics believe this proposal is an entirely politically motivated move to hurt the energy industry in America.

Ben Shepperd, Executive Vice President of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association, said, “This is not the first foray into destroying jobs by the Interior. That endangered species act, (ESA), has been law since 1973, and it keeps being used as a means of stopping productions. A species can be listed as threatened instead of endangered, but the results are just the same.”

As announced in the Federal Register released April 7, a public hearing regarding the proposed rule listing the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard will be held on April 27 at the Midland Center & Centennial Plaza in Midland, Texas. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will hold a public informational session from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and will be followed by a public hearing from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The listing of the Northern spotted owl as a threatened species has killed logging and created ghost towns in the Northwest – and the owls are still in decline after 20 years of protection. The ESA protection of the delta smelt as a threatened species created unemployment of more than 40 percent in the San Joaquin Valley – until the votes of two congressmen for Obama’s health care bill turned the water back on – temporarily.  (Suddenly the fish weren’t so important.) Unfortunately for the owls and smelt, they’re not getting the needed population boost, but the unemployment figures of the loggers and farm laborers has increased significantly.

The proposed listing of the dunes sagebrush lizard and the lesser prairie chicken as endangered species, are premieres for job-killing regulatory action being taken nationwide. The lizard may be located in a small part of the country that few know or care about, but listing the lesser prairie chicken would impact five states: New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado – all important ranching, farming and oil-and-gas lands. The impact of both would be felt throughout America.

You can click on each species name below, and it will take you to a link with a map of species occurrence

northern spotted owl

delta smelt

dunes sagebrush lizard

lesser prairie chicken


The endangered species we should all be concerned about is the American worker. The economy of this entire section of the country is dependent on ranching, farming and the extractive industries. Take them away, and you take jobs away. The region will become the victim of policy-induced poverty. Now someone having a martini in South Beach, Atlantic City, or Hyannis Port might think none of this matters to them where they live. They are clueless as to how the ranching, farming, and extractive industries impact their lives too. The less supply we have, the higher the price. If the economy really is important, wouldn’t Washington want to keep prices low for the consumer and help the nation’s economic recovery?

The owl, smelt, lizard, chicken, and man’s land use could have co-existed. But this is not about the critters. It is about control – as most endangered-species issues are. We are in an economic war. If America is to win, we must put pressure on Washington to listen. At the very least, it must extend the public comment period for the dunes sagebrush lizard – and then we must comment: “Don’t lock up more lands; and don’t lock up more of the Gulf of Mexico, and the outer continental shelf from deep water drilling.”

I do not argue with anyone who is unhappy with what EPA Director Lisa Jackson is trying to do with making new law with respect to greenhouse gases that will necessarily make electricity rates skyrocket. I am just saying that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar makes her look like a piker when it comes to killing jobs and destroying the US economy. He does not even make any new laws while he destroys.

About 150 years ago a US fort and flag were fired upon by some folks in the deep south fighting for a lost cause. They had, for close to 40 years before that, been upset with the US Government tariff policies hurting them economically. Today, ranchers, farmers, and workers in extraction industries in the west and great plains have been upset with US Government’s  Endangered Species Act policies hurting them economically for close to 40 years. This time it is not a lost cause. The freedom loving American worker can not continue to have his livelihood taken away from him for owls, smelt, lizards, and chickens.

I am retired after 36 years of being a state of Indiana employee. I enjoy writing and reading conservative blogs.