The Sand Dune lizard is a reptile that's brought national attention to our local oil industry. Big 2 was first to report on the reptile back in January when we first heard that the reptile could potentially shut down oil and gas drilling in certain parts of the Basin.
At that time, very few people had ever heard of the lizard. But several months later, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service came to town to address any concerns, and national media took notice. From Big 2 News to ABC World News and from your town's local paper to the Wall Street Journal, the image of the Sand Dune lizard has since been seen by millions across the globe.
By now, many people feel like they know the lizard and the impact it could have if it's added on the Endangered Species List. But the stakes for both sides of the battle may be a lot higher than most people realize. While the oil industry itself would face the most direct hit. A ripple effect would undoubtedly follow, impacting the state and eventually, the entire nation.
But for those who support the creature in the middle of it all, they say the stakes are just as high for this species of lizard.
Although Michael Nickell of the Sibley Nature Center says he's not choosing sides, as a biologist, he can understand why some say saving this species is just as important. "It might not be of economic importance. It might not be of medicinal importance. But just because we might not always know the answers, it's out there for a reason. Otherwise, it wouldn't have come to be."
Big 2 will be speaking with wildlife advocates, oil and gas leaders, educators, economists, state and national leaders to learn more about the lizard itself, whose well-being is at stake and if there's any possibility we can all co-exist. This special energy series will air June 30th, July 7 and July 14 on Big 2 News at 10pm