Tension among competing interests is nothing new in environmental law. Even among the most tenacious adversaries, the ability to find common ground can serve as an impetus to further the aims of both industry and environmental proponents. Broadly speaking, advocates of the oil and gas industry prefer few restraints, if any, on exploration, development, and production. Comparatively, champions of biological and ecological preservation favor regulatory protections to conserve these interests. Cutting across these often disparate objectives, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) presents a not-so-obvious opportunity for both sides to receive a share of the pie through cooperation and forward planning.
This Paper proffers the notion that where concerns over the survival of a species may impede oil and gas activities, proactive cooperation, planning, and compromise within the ESA process can present both industry and environmentalists with a winning outcome. The Paper first provides background information on the ESA and describes its chief statutory mechanics. Next, the Paper discusses recent ESA developments that are particularly relevant to the oil and gas industry and focuses on the cooperative effort related to the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard and pursued by the oil and gas industry, private landowners, state officials in Texas and New Mexico, and environmental organizations. Finally, the Paper reviews pending ESA issues and offers recommendations for private and public stakeholders facing ESA challenges.
Gabriel Eckstein & Jesse Snyder,
Endangered Species in the Oil Patch: Challenges and Opportunities for the Oil and Gas Industry,
Tex. A&M L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.law.tamu.edu/lawreview/vol1/iss2/7