Committee to Hold Harrisburg Field Hearing on Northern Long Eared Bat’s Federal Endangered Listing Proposal

Bellefonte, Pa. – The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee will hold a Full Committee field hearing in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on September 8, 2014 on “The Northern Long Eared Bat: The Federal Endangered Species Act and the Impacts of a Listing on Pennsylvania and 37 Other States.”  

The hearing will examine questions regarding bat data and non-human-caused disease, as well as the likely negative impacts that a federal endangered listing for this particular species would have on important activities such as farming and forestry. The Northern Long Eared Bat is one of hundreds of species included in the U.S. Department of the Interior’s 2011 settlements with two groups that requires listing decisions by 2016. A final decision for the Northern Long Eared Bat could be made within the next several months.

Witnesses at the hearing will testify about the economic impacts of the endangered listing on Pennsylvania citizens and how the actions regulated under the proposed designation would fail to mitigate problems impacting the species.

“Similar to the listing and habitat designation of the Northern Spotted Owl over 20 years ago, this is a potentially sweeping decision that affects portions of 38 states.  It is vital that a decision of this magnitude be based on actual data, not settlement deadlines, and that it includes input from affected landowners and stakeholders not only from Pennsylvania, but from the rest of the two-thirds of the United States that would be impacted,” said Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04).

“This hearing is part of the House Natural Resources Committee’s effort to improve and update the Endangered Species Act. I want to thank Chairman Doc Hastings for initiating this timely hearing on the proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate the Northern Long Eared Bat as endangered, which will have sweeping effects on a range of economic sectors in 38 states including Pennsylvania,” said Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-05).

“I support the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) goal to preserve and protect domestic species. The proposal to list the Northern Long-Eared Bat on the ESA is another example of government rushing forward with a regulation that would have significant and far-reaching impacts on the economy, in this case, home building, farming, manufacturing, and even land management for ecological purposes. This hearing is an important opportunity to hear from local stakeholders on the negative effects that this potential listing would have on local communities and the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should fully evaluate the ramifications of this proposal to find a solution that protects the bat while allowing activities that minimally affect it to continue," said Rep. Scott Perry (PA-04).

Full Committee oversight field hearing on:“The Northern Long Eared Bat:  The Federal Endangered Species Act and Impacts of a Listing on Pennsylvania and 37 Other States”

Monday, September 8, 2014
10:00 AM EDT

Hearing Room 1 – North Office Building
Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex
North 3rd Street
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

On June 24, 2014 the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced a six month deadline extension of its decision to list the Northern Long Eared Bat as endangered, citing substantial disagreement regarding the scientific data used to support the proposed determination.

Rep. Thompson, along with eight members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation, had previously initiated a letter to FWS questioning the science used to support the designation and urging the agency to reevaluate the listing.

Additional information on the hearing including a full list of witnesses will be made available in the coming week and can be accessed by clicking here.