Thune calls on FWS to continue normal forest management if long-eared Bat is listed under ESA

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Farm Forum

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Jan. 14 U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) sent a bipartisan letter with U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and 11 of his senate colleagues to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Dan Ashe expressing concern over the potential listing of the northern long-eared bat (NLEB) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The letter calls on the FWS to revise the misguided and harmful forest management restrictions accompanying the endangered species listing released last year, and instead issue a regulation to allow normal forest management practices and minimize economic impact on states.

“If FWS is serious about protecting both the northern long-eared bat and the Black Hills National Forest—it will drop its proposed listing, focus on the real threat to the bat by addressing white-nose syndrome, and allow normal forest management to continue,” said Thune. “The proposed listing doesn’t address the real problem—death loss due to white nose syndrome. The FWS needs to focus on the real issue instead of putting forest health and 1,500 jobs in the Black Hills area at risk.”

Listing the long-eared bat as endangered and implementation of the “Northern Long-eared Bat Interim Conference and Planning Guidance” released last year could effectively end timber management in the Black Hills National Forest, which will cause declining forest health, increase the likelihood of large scale wildfires, and severely impact the timber industry in the Black Hills. Thune sent a letter on October 14, 2014, along with Representative Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) calling on the FWS to withdraw its proposed listing of the NLEB under the ESA due to insufficient supporting data to warrant the listing.

Joining Thune and Klobuchar in their letter are Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), and Jean Shaheen (D-N.H.).