Owls, Smelt, Lizards, and Chickens


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.

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

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April 18, 2011 10:04 am

Regulations by regulatory agencies, that’s how they’re doing it; Socialists believe in controlling every aspect of our lives. Seems like a yoke of tyranny to me.

Mike gamecock DeVine
April 18, 2011 11:04 am

The effect of many EPA regs make activities cost-prohibitive and so have the same effect as land grabs: no commerce. Yes, pursuits of financial happiness are under attack on all fronts by ObamaDems. The remedy is to elect more precinct committeemen in locales and more tea partiers to DC; and confront Obama in states with nullification and civil disobedience. We need to confront the enemy on all fronts, electoral and immediate. The crisis can’t wait only for future elections as the remedy or we will all be dead before there is a solution.

April 18, 2011 11:16 am

Let’s not forget that extraction activities are the main reason that communities even exist in some of these places.
Anybody remember the strips of free enterprise stores, etc. that used to line the old Route 66? The interstate freeways closed all those businesses and created ghost towns along the old Route 66. What will the west look like after extraction activities are completely banned?

April 18, 2011 11:39 am

Much of the federal land grabbing happened in 06-07. I was checking the Thomas site almost every day to see what Congress was up to. Very frequently they were taking land by the hundreds of thousands of acres at a pop. I was shocked, and I kept pointing it out at another site I posted at at the time. No one, and I mean no one in Washington even gave it a care or concern, and even my posting buddies didn’t take it seriously at the time either. Check out this map of land directly owned by the federal government.… Read more »

April 18, 2011 1:13 pm

And on those rare occasions when the Feds act like they’ve got some sense, and even the conservation-at-any-cost crowd agrees to it, along comes a federal judge who rules that Charlie from Cheyenne’s feelings weren’t consulted:

April 18, 2011 3:02 pm

I’ll add more “things to do before I die” to my list… 10) wipe my a$$ with a Spotted Owl 9) make sushi from a snail darter 8) stuff a Red Cockaded Woodpecker and cut down his tree for firewood 7) feed 10,000 homeless Kalifornians deep fried delta smelt 6) scare a desert tortoise to death 5) make buffalo wings from a prairie chicken 4) shoot a polar bear and make a blanket from its coat 3) personally club 59 baby seals and make a queen size comforter to supplement the polar bear blanket 2) mount manbearpig’s head on my… Read more »

April 18, 2011 3:41 pm

Remember that coal mine in WVA I wrote about a couple months ago because they had their permit pulled by the EPA?

One of the excuses was “the mayfly” a *bug* was endangered. We have them up here in OH. Nastiest critters, like locusts. Come by the millions and gum up windshields and also car engines. People literally *sweep* them off their driveways.

Yes, DOI is a major problem and why most oil & gas production hasn’t been allowed in the GOM.

April 18, 2011 6:07 pm

Oh hell and a hand basket Northern Spotted Owl-has anyone bothered to see how many have switched their hunting and nesting grounds to suburbs and cities? Any of those of so smart critter counters bother to see if the owls moved to new neighborhoods? Delta Smelt- bait fish for other fish, lots of birds and a few crazy cats that adore really fresh sushi. Dunes Sagebrush Lizard- dinner for other critters and the sometime cat toy to be turned loose in many a kitchen. Lesser Prairie Chicken–Yahoo- that’s one nice chucker for dinner. Let’s see, shotgun, cast iron skillet, some… Read more »

April 18, 2011 8:42 pm

Please stop. These so-called endangered species have not asked to be put on the list, it is the idiots in Washington that have used them for political purposes. God has created the most glorious nature. I hate seeing a snake, or a Red Fox eating bunnies, but that is how this world was created. I refuse to eat deer meat, but many stock their freezers with deer meat. No problem. Do we have to get mean and start killing animals to make a statement? I read that a lady killed a family cat to make an outfit for her to… Read more »