The article:

Jerry Patterson: ‘We’re producing oil and gas, and the turtles are fine’

By W. Gardner Selby
Published on Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 at 12:00 p.m.

In his speech at the 2012 Republican Party of Texas convention, the state’s land commissioner, Jerry Patterson, told delegates: "I have been sued by the Sierra Club. Sued me. They wanted to stop oil and gas exploration, production, on the Texas Gulf Coast.

"We won. We’re producing oil and gas, and the turtles are fine."

Patterson’s June 2012 claim came out Half True on the Truth-O-Meter.

When the Sierra Club sued federal agencies in 2002 over an oil company winning permission to drill in the Padre Island National Seashore, Patterson was not among the defendants. He wasn’t even land commissioner, though he won the post later that year.

Still, Patterson soon joined the lawsuit and was designated a defendant. And the government won the battle in district and then an appeals court. Finally, it appears, turtles depicted as at risk from drilling operators are lately increasing in number.

Splash into our full article to the right.

About this article:


State Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson’s speech to the Republican Party of Texas convention in Fort Worth, June 9, 2012

Phone and email interviews with Patterson, June 19-21, 2012

Phone and email interviews with Jim Suydam, General Land Office spokesman for Patterson, June 19-Sept. 11, 2012

U.S. District Court website for the Southern District of Texas

National Park Service paper, "The Oil and Gas Program at Padre Island National Seashore," April 15, 2004

Texas General Land Office web page, "Permanent School Fund," accessed Sept. 11, 2012

Texas General Land Office text of introduction for Commissioner Jerry Patterson, Feb. 28 2012

National Park Service’s March 2001 oil and gas management plan for Padre Island National Seashore, accessed Sept. 11, 2012

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department web page, "Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)," accessed Sept. 11, 2012

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department magazine story, "Saving Sea Turtles," June 2012

Email interviews with Donna Shaver, chief of sea turtle science and recovery program at Padre Island National Seashore, Sept. 10-11, 2012

Email interviews with Carole Allen, Gulf office director with the nonprofit Sea Turtle Restoration Project, June 20-21, 2012

Phone interview with Pat Suter, chair of Coastal Bend Sierra Club, June 21, 2012

Researchers: Sue Owen, W. Gardner Selby

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