Action timeline

January 21, 2010 – The Center filed a scientific petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection for the northern long-eared bat and the eastern small-footed bat.

June 28, 2011 – The Service made a positive 90-day finding on the Center’s petition to protect the northern long-eared bat and the eastern small-footed bat as "endangered."

July 12, 2011 – The Center reached a historic agreement with the Service requiring the agency to make initial or final decisions on whether to add hundreds of imperiled plants and animals to the endangered species list by 2018. The Service was obligated to make a decision on the petition to list the eastern small-footed bat and the northern long-eared bat in 2013.

January 15, 2013 – After pressure from industries and politicians critical of the Endangered Species Act, the Service issued an alternate proposal to protect the northern long-eared bat only as "threatened" rather than "endangered" and included a special rule that would continue to allow many activities that harm the bat, including logging.

October 1, 2013 – The Service proposed to protect the northern long-eared bat as endangered, but declined protection for the eastern small-footed bat. A final decision on the proposal was due 12 months later, in October 2014.

June 30, 2014 – In response to listing opponents, the Service decided to extend the period for final determination another six months to April 2015. Concurrently, the Service opened up a second round of public comments.

August 28, 2014 – Two dozen conservation and animal-welfare groups, including the Center, sent a letter urging the Service to complete its plan to protect the northern long-eared bat.

November 18, 2014 – In a highly unusual move, the Service reopened comments on the proposed listing of the northern long-eared bat for a third time. The Service cited the receipt of “additional information from state agencies,” which consisted of letters of opposition to the proposed endangered listing.

December 8, 2014 – Some of the world’s leading bat biologists were among more than 80 scientists who sent a letter calling for the Fish and Wildlife Service and Interior Department to move forward with their proposal to give northern long-eared bats the full protection of the Endangered Species Act.

April 1, 2015 – The Service reversed course on its proposal to protect the northern long-eared bat as endangered, and instead lists the bat as threatened. It also issued an “interim final rule” that exempts most logging from the prohibitions of the Endangered Species Act throughout the species’ range.

September 22, 2015 – The Center for Biological Diversity, Coal River Mountain Watch, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and the Sierra Club filed a formal notice of intent to sue the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their failure to protect northern long-eared bats at two proposed mountaintop-removal coal mines in West Virginia.

January 15, 2015 – After pressure from industries and politicians critical of the Endangered Species Act, the Service issued an alternate proposal to protect the northern long-eared bat only as "threatened" rather than "endangered" and included a special rule that would continue to allow many activities that harm the bat, including logging.

January 13, 2016 – The Service expanded and finalized the special rule (first proposed in 2015) dictating that logging, energy development, and other bat habitat-harming activities (normally prohibited under the Endangered Species Act) would be allowed.

February 12, 2016 – The Center and three other conservation groups filed a formal notice of intent to sue the Service for authorizing logging and widespread destruction of habitat for northern long-eared bats.

April 25, 2016 – The Service announced that it will not protect any of the critical habitat for northern long-eared bats, saying it would not be “prudent” for the species.

Photo courtesy Pete Pattavina/USFWS