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Republican Members Push for Commonsense Northern Long-Eared Bat Regulations


WASHINGTON, D.C., December 7, 2022 -

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and U.S. Reps. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) and Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) led a letter to congressional appropriators, requesting that any year-end funding package prohibit federal funding for the listing of the northern long-eared bat (NLEB) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In part, the members wrote:

"The restrictions that will accompany this up-listing of the NLEB as endangered could have significant negative economic and ecological impacts. Restrictions could include prohibiting timber harvesting in the summer months and creating buffer zones in certain areas. These restrictions would significantly harm timber producers and local economies and will result in worsened forest conditions..."

"Unfortunately, forest management activities are not the only actions that could be impacted by this up-listing. Restrictions could impact wind energy construction, mining activities, oil and gas development, agricultural practices including grazing, and more within the bats' range. Despite the possibility of significant restrictions on these activities being imposed as the result of an endangered listing, these activities are not significantly impacting the NLEB. In the [U.S. Fish and Wildlife] Service's March 2022 proposal to list the NLEB as endangered, it clearly explains how, '[White-nose syndrome] has been the foremost stressor on the northern long-eared bat for more than a decade."

Read the full letter here.

Background

The NLEB's range includes 37 states and approximately 300 million acres of private forest land. White-nose syndrome, a fungal disease known to affect bats, is currently the predominant threat to the species, not human activity.

In May 2015, the NLEB was listed as a threatened species and is managed under the species specific 4(d) rule which strikes the balance between species conservation and economic activity.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed to up-list the NLEB to endangered in March 2022. If finalized, the up-listing would impose heavy-handed restrictions, add new bureaucratic red tape and restrict a variety of economic activities in the NLEB's range.

In June, Stauber introduced H.R. 8136, the ESA Flexibility Act, which would allow the USFWS to utilize 4(d) rules to support the recovery of endangered species while striking a balance with the needs of impacted communities.


Contact: Committee Press Office 202-225-2761

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