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US agency looks to open rare lizard’s habitat to oil and gas

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Federal wildlife managers are considering offering permits to landowners in the Permian Basin that environmentalists say could further compromise habitat for a rare lizard found only in parts of southeastern New Mexico and West Texas.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be accepting comments on the proposal through Dec. 21.

The permits would be available to landowners who are participating in candidate conservation agreements with the federal government. The permits would cover situations when dunes sagebrush lizards are harmed or killed during oil and gas operations, sand mining, renewable energy development, agriculture or construction activities.

A candidate for federal protection for nearly two decades, the lizard has yet to be added to the list of threatened and endangered species.

It dwells in sand dunes and among shinnery oak. It’s active between April and October.


Federal biologists have said the primary threat to the lizard is

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