February 5, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 36

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February 03, 2023

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Update: Fish and Wildlife Service Reclassifies Northern Long-eared Bat as Endangered

As anticipated in our April 4, 2022 alert, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) this week published a final rule reclassifying the northern long-eared bat (NLEB) from a threatened species to an endangered species. The NLEB faces the risk of extinction due to a fungal disease -- white-nose syndrome -- which has caused NLEB populations to decline across their 37-state range. Published on November 30, 2022, the NLEB’s new classification will take effect on January 30, 2023.

FWS’s reclassification of the NLEB will have major implications for development projects throughout the U.S., particularly in wind energy development. As an endangered species, the NLEB is now entitled to a full “take” (to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or attempt to engage in any such conduct) prohibition under Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Additionally, the NLEB’s endangered species status is expected to lead to more (and more time-intensive) ESA Section 7 consultations. In preparation for these changes, the FWS is enacting tools and guidance that it will post to its NLEB webpage to help project developers identify what types of activities may result in a take under Section 9 and to streamline Section 7 consultations.

©2023 Pierce Atwood LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 336

About this Author

Matthew D. Manahan, Pierce Atwood LLP, Environmental lawyer

Since 1989 Matt Manahan has worked closely with businesses to find innovative solutions to the environmental law issues they face. He provides strategic counsel in regulatory, legislative, and judicial proceedings involving a broad range of environmental and land use issues, including those relating to energy project development, transfer and development of contaminated property, water use, energy, and Native American regulatory claims.

Matt is adept at stakeholder negotiations, including with state and federal regulators, that are a necessary part of large...

(207) 791-1189
Lisa Gilbreath, Pierce Atwood, Environmental lawyer

Lisa Gilbreath is an associate in the Environmental & Land Use and Energy Infrastructure Development, Acquisition & Financing practice groups. Lisa works on a wide variety of environmental and energy matters, offering clients strategic advice in regulatory, legislative, and judicial proceedings.

In her environmental practice, Lisa assists clients with numerous issues including energy project development permitting, energy and environmental litigation, air quality legislative and regulatory activities, air quality enforcement, hazardous substances and...

(207) 791-1397
Georgia M. Bolduc Environmental Attorney Pierce Atwood Portland, ME

Georgia Bolduc is an associate in the Environmental Practice Group, where she specializes in a broad array of environmental issues, including due diligence and permitting of renewable energy projects (particularly in the solar space), hazardous and solid waste management, air emissions, wastewater discharges, natural resource issues, and zoning law.

Georgia is a recent graduate of Boston University School of Law, where she was a member of the International Law Journal, secretary of the Energy and Environmental Law Society, and pioneered...