U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reopens bat comment period | TSLN.com

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reopens bat comment period

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the public comment period on a proposal to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Comments will be accepted through Dec. 18, 2014.

The Service is reopening the comment period to alert the public to additional information provided by state conservation agencies within the range of the species. The Service will consider this information, and all information received previously, while determining whether the northern long-eared bat warrants listing under the Endangered Species Act. Reopening of the comment period will allow the public to provide comments on the proposed rule in light of that additional information. A final decision on the proposal is due on April 2, 2015.

You may submit comments by one of the following methods:

(1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter Docket No. FWS–R5–ES–2011–0024, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. You may submit a comment by clicking on "Comment Now!'' Please ensure that you have found the correct rulemaking before submitting your comment.

(2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R5–ES–2011–0024; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

In addition, the Service will hold a public hearing Dec. 2, 2014, in Sundance, Wyo., in the Community Room at the Crook County Courthouse Basement, 309 Cleveland St. An informational meeting will be held from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by a public hearing from 7 to 8 p.m.

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All comments will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means we will post any personal information you provide us. If you previously submitted comments or information on the Oct. 2, 2013, proposed rule (78 FR 61046), please do not resubmit them. We have incorporated them into the public record, and we will consider them fully in our final determination.

To view the information provided by state agencies and other information about the northern long-eared bat, go to http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/mammals/nlba/index.html

In October 2013, the Service proposed to list the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species throughout its range, which includes 38 states and the District of Columbia. The Service cited the species' sharp decline due to impacts of a disease, white-nose syndrome, a disease that affects cave-hibernating bats. On June 3, 2014, the Service announced a six-month extension of the final determination to list the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species and reopened the comment period for 60 days.

–US Fish and Wildlife Service