ARTBA March 17 urged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) not to apply federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections to the long-eared bat.  ARTBA noted that if the long-eared bat is placed under ESA protection, regulations would be activated encompassing 37 states.  ESA’s “critical habitat” encompasses an area of land the agency deems necessary to severely restrict development – such as transportation construction projects – for an endangered or threatened species to subsist.

FWS’s main concern is a condition known as “white nose syndrome.”  While this disease has caused a significant impact on the long-eared bat’s population, it has not been linked to any specific type of human activity.  Rather than place a majority of the United States under “critical habitat” restrictions, ARTBA instead asked FWS to suspend consideration of listing the long-eared bat and devote more study to the causes of “white nose syndrome” before enacting overly broad regulation.  Such an approach, ARTBA noted, could lead to a more targeted action justifying a less expansive amount of “critical habitat.”

Read ARTBA’s comments.