Center for Biological Diversity

Media Advisory, September 5, 2014

Contact: Mollie Matteson, (802) 318-1487

House Republicans Set Hearing to Attack Northern Long-eared Bat Protections

 Monday Field Hearing in Harrisburg, Pa., Stacked With Industry Witnesses Opposed to
Science-based Protections for Bat Despite 90 Percent Declines

HARRISBURG, Pa.— Tea Party Republicans will hold a highly partisan hearing in Harrisburg Monday as part of their ongoing efforts to undercut a U.S. Fish and Wildlife proposal to protect northern long-eared bats, which have declined by up to 99 percent in the heart of their range. The event at the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex is the latest in a chain of anti-Endangered Species Act hearings hosted by the Rep. Doc Hastings-chaired House Natural Resources Committee.

“The reason the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed protecting the northern long-eared bat is because the science is clear — if we don’t protect this bat it faces extinction,” said Mollie Matteson, a Center for Biological Diversity senior scientist who will be the lone conservation witness at the hearing. “These bats are in urgent danger and desperately need protection for both themselves and their habitat.” 

There are few animals that have plummeted in number as quickly as the northern long-eared bat, which in eight years has declined by 99 percent in the Northeast, a former stronghold. The bat’s vanishing act is the result of a fungal disease called white-nose syndrome, which has already killed nearly 7 million bats of seven different species, resulting in what biologists say is one of the worst wildlife epidemics ever to hit North America. Already the disease has been discovered in 25 of the 39 states where the northern long-eared bat is found, and it continues to spread.

WHAT: House Natural Resource Committee Hearing on proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the northern long-eared bat.

WHERE: Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex; North Office Building — Hearing Room 1
N. 3rd Street, Harrisburg, Pa.

WHEN: 10 a.m. on Monday, September 8

Monday’s hearing comes one day before the same House Committee will hold a hearing focusing on four different bills designed to gut the Endangered Species Act.

Learn more about the northern long-eared bat and white-nose syndrome, and read Mollie Matteson's written testimony.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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