October 21, 2011

#Spotted_owl, #sagebrush_lizard and untruths

It looks like, in the oil-drilling Permian Basin, the dunes sagebrush lizard, and its potential Endangered Species Act listing, is becoming a new version of the Pacific Northwest's northern spotted owl and its allegedly destructive impact on logging there.

Of course, that's not true. That's why the "allegedly" is there.

Reality? Let's start with the Wikipedia page on the northern spotted owl.
The logging industry estimated up to 30,000 of 168,000 jobs would be lost because of the owl's status, which agreed closely with a Forest Service estimate Harvests of timber in the Pacific Northwest were reduced by 80%, decreasing the supply of lumber and increasing prices. The decline in jobs was already in progress because of dwindling old-growth forest harvests and automation of the lumber industry. Subsequent research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison by environmental scientists published in a sociology journal argued that logging jobs had been in a long decline and that environmental protection was not a significant factor in job loss. From 1947 to 1964, the number of logging jobs declined 90%. Starting with the Wilderness Act of 1964, environmental protection saved 51,000 jobs in the Pacific .Northwest.
Now, it's true that the Permian Basin is nowhere as scenic as the Pacific Northwest, so it wouldn't gain a bunch of environmental jobs.

That's not the point. The jobs-loss overstatement is. This old AP story has more of the reality.

Beyond that, with slant and horizontal drilling, drilling of multiple wells from one pad, etc., if the oil and gas industry wants to do a little extra effort, it can reduce its drilling "footprint," and continue to do so.

No, this is at bottom line more of the same opposition of regulations just because they're regulations.

Center for Biological Diversity now has a protect the lizard petition.

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