The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) has requested the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) hold a public forum over the FWS's plans regarding the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
IPAA requested the public forum in a Nov. 5 letter expressing concerns over the "continued lack of transparency" with respect to timing and plans for listing decision on candidate species under the ESA as part of the implementation of settlement agreements between the FWS and Center for Biological Diversity and Wild Earth Guardians.
The Federal District Court in September 2011 approved settlements between FWS, Wild Earth Guardians and Center for Biological Diversity. By 2016, FWS must complete a review of 250 candidate species for final listing and complete other actions on listing, critical habitat petitions, and other actions for over 1,000 species.
"IPAA understands that FWS is obligated to meet certain deadlines as a part of the court approved settlement, yet there is very little transparency afforded to the public on which species are coming up for review," IPAA President and CEO Barry Russell said.
"The pure depth and breadth of these settlement agreements could harm our membership and create uncertainty in the development of domestic oil and natural gas," said Russell.
Russell noted that data regarding ESA decisions typically require a considerable amount of time. Providing certainty and transparency would allow IPPA's membership to make informed decisions regarding these species.
IPAA also has set up an industry task force to discuss the current review of species under consideration under the settlement agreements as well as its work plan through 2016. The task force will include large and small independent oil and natural gas companies.
Earlier this year, FWS decided not to include the dunes sagebrush lizard on the endangered species list. The lizard is found in the Permian Basin, which has seen a surge in exploration and production activity in recent years. The American Petroleum Institute and Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson praised the decision, calling the decision an example of industry, states and government working together to harmonize continued oil and gas production with conservation efforts.
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