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On July 26, the U.S. House of Representatives passed S.J. Res. 24, a Congressional Review Act resolution on the Endangered Species Status for Northern Long-Eared Bat with a bipartisan vote of 220-209. The passage of S.J. Res. 24 would, if enacted, prevent the ABC-opposed U.S. Department of Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed rule uplisting of the Northern Long-Eared Bat to “endangered” from “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. Ahead of the vote, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources released a one-pager and a myth vs. fact sheet for S.J. Res. 24.  

In support of the resolution, Kristen Swearingen, ABC vice president of legislative & political affairs, said that “ABC supports S.J. Res 24, providing for congressional disapproval of the rule submitted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service relating to Endangered Species Status for Northern Long-Eared Bat. ABC members work to be good stewards of the environment, and we support the Endangered Species Act’s purpose of protecting species threatened with extinction and recognize the need for science-based, data-driven actions that conserve those species and the habitats on which they depend.

“However, ABC opposes the FWS’s rule listing the NLEB as an endangered species. The species, which has not been significantly affected by human activities and instead has suffered decline due to a disease known as ‘white-nose syndrome,’ is found in 37 states and the District of Columbia. This rule affects construction activities, including permitting requirements for activities unlikely to impact the NLEB such as building construction, renovation and demolition. ABC urges the House to approve this resolution and further calls on the FWS to withdraw the NLEB’s endangered listing.”

Additionally, on May 23, ABC, joining a coalition of industry stakeholders, submitted comments to the FWS-proposed rule. The NLEB was previously listed as a threatened species in 2015, which ABC also opposed.  

On May 11, the U.S. Senate passed S.J. Res. 24 by a bipartisan 51-49 vote. Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress has the ability to formally pass measures overturning certain federal agency actions. If a CRA joint resolution is approved by both the House and Senate and signed by the president, the rule cannot go into effect or continue in effect. President Joe Biden will now have the option to sign the resolution, ending the misguided listing of the Northern Long-Eared Bat as endangered, and continue to protect the bat as a threatened species.