AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas comptroller has terminated an oil and gas industry-funded organization responsible for overseeing the protection of a rare lizard in West Texas.
State records show the Texas Habitat Conservation Foundation failed to perform habitat restoration or monitor drillers and other landowners to ensure protections for the dunes sagebrush lizard.
The Austin American-Statesman (http://atxne.ws/1SlCdoJ) reports that State Comptroller Glenn Hegar terminated the foundation's contract last month after discovering those and other lapses.
The petroleum industry created the foundation four years ago to protect the lizard instead of listing the species as endangered, which could've severely limited oil production in the area.
At the time, conservationists said placing the species' well-being in the hands of a private organization was risky. A lawsuit two organization brought forth to stop the plan was unsuccessful.
Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com
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