Putting the Sand Dune Lizard on the endangered species list would enable the U.S .Fish and Wildlife Services to outline ways for oil companies to run for at least two years while they conduct another study. This would threaten drilling in 5 counties right here in West Texas and more in New Mexico. And many are afraid this would cripple our economy.
"This is a serious issue," said Randy Decker, who works in the oil business. "If they are looking for a fight they came to right place.”
And the Permian Basin is fighting back. Critics believe the study does not prove the Sand Dune Lizard is endangered.
"Well, it's flawed," Said Congressman Mike Conaway. "There are gaps in the data. There are errors in the assessments and the study. The methodology is flawed."
Some even suggest there is an agenda behind the proposal to put the lizard on the endangered list.
"There are those that believe there are agendas by the environmental groups to punish the oil industry and damage support for Republican candidates as well as push support for renewable energy sources," said P.B.P.A. President Ben Sheppard.
But everyone is afraid of the effects this lizard could have on the economy. If drilling was stopped, West Texas would lose jobs and gas prices would sky rocket.
"That mean higher gasoline prices to everyone in the United States," said Conaway. "Anybody who buys gas will be negatively effected by this decision."
University Lands -- who owns the mineral rights to a lot of this land -- would lose that much-needed income.
"It generates a huge amount for Texas, the University of Texas system and Texas A&M system," said Jack Ladd, Dean of the School of Business at U.T.P.B.
And with all of Austin's budget cuts, its hard to imagine having to cut back even more. so P.B.P.A. rallied support and they found a lot.
"The public needs to be aware of this," said Decker. "All of our livelihood is at stake. People -- the people in this room -- started their business out of their back pocket. If this nonsense gets passed , this will be a ghost town."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serviced will be holding a public hearing at the Midland Center Wednesday at 6:30 PM. Everyone is encouraged to come out and ask questions and voice concerns.