Pennsylvania’s Bats Need Your Help
Dear Members and Friends,
Bat Conservation International (BCI) has long been active in protecting bats and their habitats in Pennsylvania. As the Imperiled Species Coordinator here, one of my roles is to work on Threatened and Endangered (T&E) bat issues. And right now there is a serious threat to Pennsylvania’s bats.
In late June, Representative Jeff Pyle (R-Armstrong) proposed House Bill 1576 to the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The bill, known as the Endangered Species Coordination Act, will be detrimental to existing and future protections for bats in Pennsylvania. The consequences of this bill, if passed, include:
- The elimination of many state T&E listings to reflect only those species on the federal endangered species list.
- The removal of scientists from the final review and listing process in Pennsylvania. The ultimate decision on whether or not a species is listed will be made by politicians, not scientists.
- The creation of a new, publicly available database that includes sensitive location information on T&E species. This can increase disturbance of bats at hibernacula and maternity sites.
- Unless re-designated every two years, all species listed as state T&E in the database will be automatically removed, causing several species will lose their T&E protections.
This bill ensures that Pennsylvania’s bats – already decimated by White-nose Syndrome – will become less secure and more imperiled. The Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Trout Unlimited and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council have all submitted testimony opposing this bill. The PA Environmental Council stated:
“Based on the provisions of House Bill 1576 hundreds of species will be immediately dropped from environmental permit review, regardless of the significant amount of data supporting their consideration.”
The General Assembly votes on this bill on March 10th and we cannot let it pass.
I ask you to contact your state legislatures in the Pennsylvania General Assembly and tell them that you oppose the Endangered Species Coordination Act. Contact them today, and tell them that you care about Pennsylvania’s wildlife and that T&E protection is important to their future.
Thank you for your continued support to BCI and to Pennsylvania’s bats! Together, we can stop HB1576 and ensure the future of Pennsylvania’s bats.
Imperiled Species Coordinator
P.S. Find your representative!