AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal judge has ruled the state of Texas may intervene in a lawsuit filed by environmental groups seeking federal protection of a rare lizard.
U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras in Washington, D.C., has agreed to take arguments by Nov. 22 from the Texas Comptroller’s Office and others with an interest in the lawsuit.
The Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife are suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its decision not to grant endangered species protection to the dunes sagebrush lizard, which is found only in southeastern New Mexico and West Texas.
Federal officials have said the decision not to list the dunes sagebrush lizard was based partly on voluntary conservation agreements now in place in the two states.