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Some of the Endangered Species Act’s listings will soon be modified 

By: Sydney Sheffield 

Two resolutions to nullify the Biden Administration’s Endangered Species Act listings have passed the Senate and the House of Representatives and will now go to the President’s desk for signature. The two listings would nullify the lesser prairie chicken listing and the northern long-eared bat listing. Matters of the Endangered Species Act are typically left to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, to decide which animals and plants to list as endangered or threatened and how to rebuild their populations.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) supports the decision. NCBA President Todd Wilkinson said, “The Biden administration’s listing of the lesser prairie chicken and northern long-eared bat creates numerous challenges for cattle producers and fail to consider all of their critical conservation work. We appreciate Congress taking bipartisan, bicameral action to nullify these two listings and I thank the House for passing these two joint resolutions.”

The lesser prairie chicken is found in parts of the Midwest and Southwest. The bird’s range also extends into parts of Colorado, Oklahoma, and Kansas, but has diminished across about 90% of its historical range. S.J. Res. 9 would nullify the lesser prairie chicken listing. According to NCBA, this listing is extremely concerning because it grants non-government third parties the ability to review cattle producers’ grazing management plans. The lesser prairie chicken also only survives due to producers’ conservation investments, and this rule fails to consider how livestock production supports the birds’ habitat.

The northern long-eared bat is found in 37 eastern and north-central states, plus Washington, D.C., and much of Canada. S.J. Res. 24 would nullify the northern long-eared bat listing. According to NCBA, the northern long-eared bat is declining due to White Nose Syndrome, a naturally occurring disease that is not caused by human activity. This listing disrupts cattle producers’ ability to effectively manage their land.

President Joe Biden disagreed with the resolutions, stating he would veto it if it were to pass the House and Senate. “Overturning common-sense protections for the lesser prairie chicken would undermine America’s proud wildlife conservation traditions, risk the extinction of a once-abundant American bird, and create uncertainty for landowners and industries who have been working for years to forge the durable, locally led conservation strategies that this rule supports,” the President said in a statement

Similar to the president, animal activist groups are unhappy with the resolutions. Mary Elizabeth Beetham, Director of Legislative Affairs at the Defenders of Wildlife, stated, “We made a commitment 50 years ago that Americans would be good stewards of our environment and support wildlife when wildlife needed us most. We cannot afford to go back on that promise. Not to the lesser prairie-chicken, not to bats, and not to our future.” 

As of this writing, the President has not signed nor vetoed the resolutions.