Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Addresses House Committee on Endangered Species Overreach

Newsroom / September 7, 2014

Washington, D.C., September 8, 2014 – Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation today warned against adding a common bat species to the Endangered Species Act list. Such a listing, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s Jim Brubaker told the House Committee on Natural Resources, could seriously disrupt farm and business operations without addressing a disease widely labeled as the chief threat to the Northern Long Eared Bat. Brubaker is Committee Chairman of the PFB’s Natural & Environmental Resources Committee and a member of the organization’s board.

“With a range of 38 states and the District of Columbia, and the fact that this species of bat is 15-20 times more common than other non-listed bats in some areas, the potential scope of this listing and the impact on agriculture could be unprecedented,” Brubaker said.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife proposed protecting the NLE bat in response to a fungal infection that experts say has killed approximately six million bats in the United States over the past few years. Brubaker told the committee the listing would create an undue financial burden, while not addressing the root problem: white-nose syndrome.

As NLE bats make their homes in trees, barns, cabins, bridges and sheds across the state, he said, listing would adversely impact a broad range of industries and activities including natural gas and wind energy development; application of pesticides, insecticides and herbicides; highway construction; and timber harvesting. In addition to the cost of delays and lost business, a violation of the ESA carries civil penalties of up to $25,000 per violation and criminal penalties of up to $50,000 and one year imprisonment per violation.

Brubaker told the committee that agriculture would step up and do its part, whether by helping local communities or responsibly managing the environment or wildlife. “We want practical solutions that work for agriculture – and the environment,” Brubaker said. “Let’s make sure we’re solving problems, not creating new ones.”

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