Press Release from the Center for Biological Diversity
Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Weakened Protections for Vanishing Bat: Feds Bow to Pressure From Industry, Politicians
“After pressure from industries and politicians critical of the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today issued an alternate proposal to protect the northern long-eared bat only as “threatened” rather than “endangered” and included a special rule that would continue to allow many activities that harm the bat, including logging. The less-protective proposal comes despite the fact that the bat, which has been decimated by the fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome, has already declined by up to 99 percent in the Northeast.
“Today politics won out over science and law,” said Mollie Matteson, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “This is an especially dark day in the sad saga of the northern long-eared bat, because this species needs as much help as possible right now, and instead the government has decided to put the wishes of industry before the needs of a vanishing animal.
“With its latest proposal to downgrade the listing status of the northern long-eared bat from endangered to threatened, and allow exemptions for activities that might result in harm to the bat, the Fish and Wildlife Service has retreated dramatically from its original recommendation. Listing decisions under the Endangered Species Act are supposed to be based strictly on the best available science, and not on economic, political or other factors. Underscoring this, in November more than 80 bat scientists sent a letter to Fish and Wildlife director Dan Ashe, urging him to follow through with his agency’s recommendation to list the species as endangered. A final decision from the agency is due on April 2.” (read more).