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New endangered species listing raises eyebrows

Advocates for fossil fuel executives say they may yet survive extinction.

 

In a move met in equal parts with cheers, raised eyebrows and forlorn shrugs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Sunday granted endangered species protections to a group that until recently was clinging on the edge of extinction — fossil fuel executives. The listing comes amid a flurry of tweets Sunday morning by President Donald Trump vowing to “Make America Grease Again.”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters he hoped the listing will help the embattled billionaires maintain their rightful place in American society.

“When the Congress enacted the Endangered Species Act, they wanted to protect the iconic species of our country,” Zinke said on a press call, shouting over the engines of an F-16 en route to a $1,000-a-plate luncheon with the recently listed executives in Washington, D.C. “What’s more American than these folks? I’m tired of seeing their heads mounted on walls.”

Members of the newly listed species, Oleum exsecutivam, thanked the administration for its “perspicacious protection of petroleumites.”

Beleaguered billionaires get long overdue federal protections.

“Protections for our species is a necessary move as we face multiple threats from all sides,” Rex Tillerson, who recently found himself among the endangered, drawled on Fox and Friends, telecasting from a bathtub filled with sweet Texas crude. “From island nations to coastal cities, to future generations and dang-near all life on Earth, these wackos have seriously diminished the once-thriving habitat of late-capitalist executives. I know I called the president a moron, but I gotta say I’m a fan again. He knows you can’t have super-fun with a Superfund.”

The new listing will mean more government resources for oil and gas leases; construction subsidies for well pads, derricks and pumpjacks; and tax protections for penthouses from Denver to Delaware. It also makes it illegal to trap, hunt or otherwise take executives without an exemption.

“It’s about time we do something to protect a species that actually does something for our state,” Wyoming House Rep. Liz Cheney said. “Wyoming will begin work right away to eradicate pesky sage grouse and clear dangerous sagebrush vegetation around Cheyenne to make the state safer for the species.” She called the new initiative “Operation Oil Exec Lek.”

Carl Segerstrom is an editorial intern at High Country News.