Statement: President Biden vetoes measures that stripped protections for wildlife

Media Contacts

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden vetoed two bills Tuesday that would have nullified recent agency rules designed to better protect the northern long-eared bat and lesser prairie chicken. By blocking a congressional nix on these rules, the veto also upholds the Endangered Species Act. 

Senate Joint Resolution 24 would have voided the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ (USFWS) reclassification of the northern long-eared bat as “endangered” rather than the less existential “threatened.” USFWS proposed the status change to endangered because white-nose syndrome has decimated the population of the northern long-eared bat, which lives in the Midwest, South and East. 

Senate Joint Resolution 9 would have blocked another final rule by the agency that deemed a distinct population of the lesser prairie chicken endangered and another population as threatened. The lesser prairie chicken lives in the grasslands of the Southwest and its habitat has diminished across its historical range by about 90 percent

In response, Environment America’s Conservation Campaigns Senior Director Steve Blackledge issued the following statement: 

“The successful Endangered Species Act turns 50 this year. The law has saved 99% of covered species from extinction. That’s a number worthy of celebration. But the odd thing is that some keep trying to chip away at it with an attitude of, ‘Sure, the law works but I don’t want it to apply to this particular animal.’

“The northern long-eared bat and lesser prairie chicken deserve the protections of the Endangered Species Act. Disease and habitat loss are sinking their populations, so we have to do more to save them. 

“By definition, extinction is irreversible, so, right now we must take the actions needed to save these animals. We’re grateful that President Biden prioritized the long-term health of the natural world by vetoing these two measures.”