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American burying beetle bugs oil and gas industry

by Adam Wilmoth Published: January 11, 2013
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/articleid/3744842/1/pictures/1925547">Photo - An American burying beetle is seen in this close-up shot. Energy companies in Oklahoma are going to great lengths to keep from harming the endangered insects while drilling for oil and gas. Photo provided. <strong></strong>
An American burying beetle is seen in this close-up shot. Energy companies in Oklahoma are going to great lengths to keep from harming the endangered insects while drilling for oil and gas. Photo provided.

The government and industry are working together to develop a General Conservation Plan. But it's not ready yet.

With no memorandum of understanding in place, Basham said the Fish and Wildlife Service now addresses burying beetle issues on a case-by-case basis through a sometimes long and costly review process.

The government recently reached a settlement with TransCanada on its proposed Keystone XL pipeline route, where the Canadian pipeline company agreed to buy and protect in perpetuity three acres for every one acre it disturbed.

The government lists 1,114 species as endangered. Most of those species have clearly defined habitats that can be avoided.

The American burying beetle, however, has a wide habitat range, including hills, plains, valleys, forests and grasslands.

“While this species is endangered across much of its range, it is very common in Oklahoma and Nebraska,” Basham said. “It's an uncommon problem to be constantly running into endangered species.”

by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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