Current Issue

U.S. Rep. Cloud’s Last Minute Amendment May Have Saved the Permian Basin

Sep 14, 2023 | Delisting, Issues | 0 comments

Significant amendments to the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill FY2024, were added during the Full Committee Markup in the House Appropriations Committee this past July.

Fortunately, because the U.S. House of Representatives is run by the Republicans, there are honest attempts to make the federal government as fiscally responsible as possible.  During the House Interior Appropriations markup, multiple amendments were adopted and some of the most important were those that directly defunded listings of endangered species the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has recently added to their endangered and threatened list.

One amendment of utmost importance to the State of Texas was offered by Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX-27), to specifically defund any attempt by the FWS to list the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard (DSL) as endangered or threatened.  On June 29, 2023, the FWS announced the DSL is endangered and warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Since 1982, the FWS has identified the DSL as needing protection under the ESA.  Attempts were made in 2002, 2012, and 2018, but it hasn’t been until the Biden administration that the DSL finally made the list.  What is most apparent about the recent FWS’s listings are most of them occur in areas where major industries considered bad by the current administration, produce the natural resource products we rely on.  The president is using the ESA to target major industry nationwide.

In fact, the Permian Basin provides energy security for the country.  The Texas Railroad Commission, the state agency that regulates the oil and gas industry in Texas, says the Permian Basin accounts for nearly 40 percent of all oil production in the United States.  It also provides nearly 15 percent of its natural gas production.

In 2018, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that another basin in the same area of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico, called the Delaware Basin, has the potential to produce 46.3 billion barrels of oil and the potential to produce 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The Biden administration knows this and that is why the FWS is pushing so hard to list the DSL as endangered to stop all oil and gas production in the region and cripple our nation’s economy.

We are grateful for Rep. Cloud and his quick action of offering this critical and extremely important amendment to the Appropriation’s markup. His actions have made it possible for Congress to save Texas jobs, entire industries and kept freedom alive and well in the Great State of Texas!

Now, as the bill advances to the House floor in the next few weeks, his colleagues need to help ensure the ESA defunding amendments remain intact in the final passed version.