Biden axes GOP-led effort to undo endangered species protections for bat, chicken

President Biden on Tuesday vetoed a Republican-led attempt to ax endangered species protections for the long-eared bat and the lesser prairie-chicken. 

In two veto messages issued Tuesday, he said that each effort to undo the protections “would undermine America’s proud wildlife conservation traditions” and risk the species’ extinction. 

The long-eared bat, as its name indicates, is known for its large ears and has a brown coat. The Biden administration listed it as endangered last year, granting it additional protections. 

The lesser prairie-chicken has a brown striped pattern and the males have red air sacs on their necks. The Biden administration last year listed its southern population as endangered and its northern population as threatened. 

The House and Senate earlier this year voted to cancel these rules and the protections that come with them. The votes were mostly partisan, though some members crossed the aisle. 

Biden in his veto messages noted that bats “are critical to healthy, functioning ecosystems“ and provide pest control and pollination. He said that the prairie-chicken serves as “an important measure of the overall health of America’s grasslands.”

On the other hand, Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.), who introduced the effort to undo the bat’s protections, said in a written statement in April that its listing was “being used to stifle development rather than its intended purpose, which is to protect species from human-caused harm.”

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