The We the People online petition feature on White House website used in hopes of White House review
According to a report in Odessa America, people opposed to listing the dunes sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus) as an endangered species have gone to the White House to make their opinions known– the White House's "We the People" online petition feature on the White House website that was launched Sept. 22. This feature enables ordinary citizens to voice their concern about a particular issue, and if a certain number of people sign the online petition within 30 days, the issue is sent to policy experts. The White House will then issue an official response.
People in West Texas are opposed to listing the lizard as an endangered species for fear that the listing will take away jobs in the oil and gas market, which most in West Texas rely on for income. The online petition will need 5,000 signatures by Oct. 28 in order for policy experts in the White House to take a look at the petition. It is not known if a petition in support of the potential listing of the lizard has made it to the "We the People" online petition feature of the White House website.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the habitat for the dunes sagebrush lizard has been reduced by 24 percent and the habitat available to the lizard has been reduced 40 percent. The resolution to list the lizard was submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which will make a decision in December 2011 whether to list the lizard as an Endangered Species.
The USFWS says that the lizard is in danger of extinction due to threats of habitat loss and habitat fragmentation. The threats include oil and gas activities, which is a major source of revenue and jobs for the affected area, the use of herbicides, the loss of Shinnery Oak, a low growing shrub in which the dunes sagebrush lizard seeks refuge, and the building of roads, pipelines and power lines to support oil and gas development. For more information, visit The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Region.
More information can be found here.