"U.S. officials ruled on Wednesday that a tiny lizard would be kept off the endangered species list after agreements with Texas and New Mexico landowners intended to protect its habitat and preserve oil and gas production in the region."
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife ruling that the 3-inch-long (7.5-cm) dunes sagebrush lizard is not endangered ends years of effort by landowners in the region including oil companies and ranchers to keep it off the list.
Oil and gas companies said endangered species protections would eliminate drilling across the Permian Basin, which produces more than 1 million barrels of oil a day, or about 20 percent of all production in the lower 48 U.S. states.
Texas state Comptroller Susan Combs, who helped put the agreement together, said the decision proved people did not have to choose between the environment and the economy."
Jim Forsyth reports for Reuters June 14, 2012.