- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A federal judge has dealt a blow to environmentalists who have been pushing for endangered species protections for a lizard found in New Mexico and West Texas.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras in Washington, D.C., ruled Wednesday that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acted lawfully when it decided in 2012 not to list the dunes sagebrush lizard.

Federal officials have said the decision not to list was based partly on voluntary conservation agreements now in place with landowners in southeastern New Mexico and West Texas.

Supporters say the conservation agreements aim to protect the lizard and its habitat while allowing oil and gas development to continue in parts of the Permian Basin.

The Center for Biological Diversity said Thursday’s it’s reviewing the ruling and hasn’t decided whether to appeal.

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