HOUSTON (AP) — The oil industry, ranchers, Texas and New Mexico are working to conserve the habitat of the dunes sagebrush lizard in an attempt to avoid having the reptile listed as an endangered species.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe say Wednesday they are optimistic these efforts could be successful. They spoke from Midland, Texas, where they visited a Conoco Phillips facility in the lizard's habitat.
A listing decision will be made in June. A listing could hinder energy operations in the lizard's habitat.
Salazar says 95 percent of the habitat will be conserved in New Mexico, and in Texas, another 70 percent.
Ashe says the listing proposal is based on the lizard's habitat being fragmented and disappearing. These efforts reverse the trend.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.