“The Senate is becoming alarmingly anti-science and anti-wildlife, as evidenced by this legislation which flies in the face of the historic and broad bipartisan support enjoyed by the Endangered Species Act. We applaud the Senators who stood up for wildlife today and voted against this senseless resolution that will strip much needed protections from endangered northern long-eared bats."
Defenders of Wildlife strongly opposes the Senate’s passage of legislation brought under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to remove the endangered status for northern long-eared bats. Northern long-eared bat populations have plummeted 99% since the early-2000’s over much of their range due to pressures from disease, habitat loss and oil and gas drilling.
Sponsored by Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and passed 51-49 in the Senate, if made law, the legislation would overturn the Fish and Wildlife Service’s science-based decision in 2022 to uplist the species as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The bat would instead remain listed as a threatened species.
“The Senate is becoming alarmingly anti-science and anti-wildlife, as evidenced by this legislation which flies in the face of the historic and broad bipartisan support enjoyed by the Endangered Species Act,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife. “We applaud the Senators who stood up for wildlife today and voted against this senseless resolution that will strip much needed protections from endangered northern long-eared bats."
Under the CRA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would be prevented from issuing a rule that is “substantially the same” without another act of Congress. The meaning of “substantially the same” is unclear, creating uncertainty in whether the agency would be able to issue a rule listing the northern long-eared bat as endangered in the future.
Threatened species do not automatically receive as wide-ranging protections under the ESA as endangered species.
Additionally, today the Senate voted 51-49 on a CRA that would undo the Biden administration’s rule rescinding the Trump administration’s harmful definition of habitat, which restricted what areas could be established as critical habitat under the ESA.
The vote on legislation to remove Endangered Species Act protections for the lesser prairie-chicken was the first time in the history of the ESA Act that a CRA resolution to overturn a listing decision had been voted on in a congressional chamber.
Collectively, the lesser prairie-chicken CRA, the northern long-eared bat CRA and the habitat definition CRA represent an unprecedented and alarming trend in the use of the CRA.
Defenders of Wildlife is celebrating 75 years of protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With a nationwide network of nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.