Texas lawmakers fight effort to label four state salamanders as endangered

Two Texas lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday to block four species of salamanders from being listed as endangered or threatened.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) said that if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put the salamanders on the administration’s endangered species list that it would potentially hinder job growth and the economy of central Texas.

“Just as they hastily tried to list the sand dune lizard in West Texas, the administration is again putting the cart before the horse based on limited data in the face of economic consequences,” Cornyn said. “Our bill will head off a premature listing, allowing conservation efforts already underway to continue without hindering Central Texas from growing and creating jobs.”

{mosads}The Salamander Community Conservation Act, S. 3446, would temporarily stop the listing of the Austin blind, Georgetown, Jolleyville Plateau and Salado salamanders.

Carter said the effect on human beings should be considered, in addition to the salamanders.

“Endangered species listing decisions should be made with peer-reviewed sound science after ample input from state and local governments and researchers,” Carter said. “The ongoing attempts by environmental extremists to circumvent this process through court action cannot be tolerated. This legislation can restore common sense and due process to environmental issues, provide better species protection results and recognize the needs of human beings as well as salamanders.”

The idea for the legislation came after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pulled its proposal to list the dune lizard in West Texas as an endangered species last month. The service is working under a deadline that was set by a court ruling after environmentalist sued a Texas county for overdeveloping land near the salamanders homes.

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