Endangered beetle interfering with drilling and pipeline operations

Published: August 15, 2012

How many people have heard of the American Burying Beetle, much less seen one, before or since it was listed as an endangered species in 1989 and expanded in 2002, when it was discovered that drilling and pipeline operations can (but not positively) harm the species by disturbing larvae even though the adult beetle is only active from May to September? This insect has cost oil and gas companies in Oklahoma millions, for more than a decade, and according to a hearing July 13 by congressmen at the University of Central Oklahoma, near the Red River it has stopped the pipeline from Cushing to Texas refineries.

An official with an environmental group told the Omaha World-Herald that a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would delay the pipeline construction by up to a year. It appears this beetle is so much more important than a pipeline that could produce thousands of jobs, stop the purchase of OPEC oil, reduce the cost of gasoline throughout the nation and strengthen our economy beyond imagination.

If we should complete the pipeline and discontinue purchasing oil from OPEC, how many citizens would mind if the American Burying Beetle should become extinct?

Jim Nieman, Oklahoma City

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