Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas is trying to block the proposed listing of the dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species.
Cornyn on Wednesday filed an amendment to energy tax credit legislation that would block the lizard's addition to the federal endangered species list.
Echoing oil and natural gas producers throughout the Permian Basin, Cornyn says listing the species could bring production in parts of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico to "a screeching halt."
The basin produces more than 1 million barrels of oil a day.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which had previously said the lizard was in danger of extinction, has delayed until this summer a final decision on whether to list the lizard.
Cornyn and congressional representatives from several other states had sent letters to the agency and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asking for the delay.