Jun 092015
 

WOTUS rule also targeted

The House Appropriations Committee's proposed spending bill for the Department of the Interior would remove gray wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes from the list of threatened and endangered species.

The bill also would delay for a year any decision on listing of the greater sage-grouse by prohibiting the spending of any money on a proposal for the bird. Presumably, however, the Fish and Wildlife Service could continue to work on the matter.

The committee issued a press release this morning. The full text of the bill is here.

The Center for Biological Diversity was quick to criticize the bill. Brett Hartl, CBD's endangered species policy director, called it "another cynical attack on science and the Endangered Species Act that will result in wolves being mindlessly slaughtered in the few places where they have begun to recover."

Here is the text of some riders in the bill:

SAGE-GROUSE

SEC. 117. None of the funds made available by this or any other Act may be used by the Secretary of the Interior to write or issue pursuant to section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1533)—

(1) a proposed rule for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus);

(2) a proposed rule for the Columbia basin distinct population segment of greater sage-grouse.

IVORY

SEC. 120. None of the funds made available by this or any other Act may be used to draft, prepare, implement, or enforce any new or revised regulation or order that—

(1) prohibits or restricts, within the United States, the possession, sale, delivery, receipt, shipment, or transportation of ivory that has been lawfully imported into the United States;

(2) changes any means of determining, including any applicable presumptions concerning, when ivory has been lawfully imported; or

(3) prohibits or restricts the importation of ivory that was lawfully importable into the United States as of February 1, 2014.

REISSUANCE OF FINAL RULES [GRAY WOLF]

SEC. 121. Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall reissue the final rule published on December 28, 2011 (76 Fed. Reg. 81666 et seq.) and the final rule published on September 10, 2012 (77 Fed. Reg. 55530 et seq.), without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rules. Such reissuances (including this section) shall not be subject to judicial review.

NORTHERN LONG-EARED BAT

SEC. 122. Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall amend the interim rule pertaining to the northern long-eared bat published by the Department of the Interior in the Federal Register on April 2, 2015 (80 Fed. Reg. 17974 et seq.), only in such a way that—

(1) take incidental to any activity conducted in accordance with the habitat conservation measures identified at pages 18024 to 18205 of volume 80 of the Federal Register (April 2, 2015), as applicable, is not prohibited; and

(2) the public comment period for such interim rule is reopened for not less than 90 days.

WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES

SEC. 422. None of the funds made available in this Act or any other Act for any fiscal year may be used to develop, adopt, implement, administer, or enforce any change to the regulations and guidance in effect on October 1, 2012, pertaining to the definition of waters under the jurisdiction of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251, et seq.), including the provisions of the rules dated November 13, 1986, and August 25, 1993, relating to said jurisdiction, and the guidance documents dated January 15, 2003, and December 2, 2008, relating to said jurisdiction.

STREAM BUFFER

SEC. 423. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to develop, carry out, or implement

(1) any guidance, policy, or directive to reinterpret or change the historic interpretation of 30 C.F.R. 816.57, which was promulgated on June 30, 1983 by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement of the Department of the Interior (48 Fed. Reg. 30312); or (2) proposed regulations or supporting materials described in the Federal Register notice published on June 18, 2010 (75 Fed. Reg. 34667) by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement of the Department of the Interior.

LIMITATION ON USE OF FUNDS FOR NATIONAL OCEAN POLICY

SEC. 425. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to further implementation of the coastal and marine spatial planning and ecosystem-based management components of the National Ocean Policy developed under Executive Order 13547.

DEFINITION OF FILL MATERIAL

SEC. 429. None of the funds made available in this Act or any other Act may be used by the Environmental Protection Agency to develop, adopt, implement, administer, or enforce any change to the regulations in effect on October 1, 2012, pertaining to the definitions of the terms ‘‘fill material’’ or ‘‘discharge of fill material’’ for the purposes of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.).

CHESAPEAKE BAY INITIATIVE

SEC. 431. Section 502(c) of the Chesapeake Bay Initiative Act of 1998 (Public Law 105–312; 16 U.S.C. 461 note) is amended by striking ‘‘2015’’ and inserting ‘‘2017.’’

EXTENSION OF GRAZING PERMITS

SEC. 432. The terms and conditions of section 325 of Public Law 108–108 (117 Stat. 1307), regarding grazing permits issued by the Forest Service on any lands not subject to administration under section 402 of the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1752), shall remain in effect for fiscal year 2016.

AVAILABILITY OF VACANT GRAZING ALLOTMENTS

SEC. 433. The Secretary of the Interior, with respect to public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, and the Secretary of Agriculture, with respect to the National Forest System lands, shall make vacant grazing allotments available to a holder of a grazing permit or lease issued by either Secretary if the lands covered by the permit or lease or other grazing lands used by the holder of the permit or lease are unusable because of drought or wildfire, as determined by the Secretary concerned. The terms and conditions contained in a permit or lease made available pursuant to this section shall be the same as the terms and conditions of the most recent permit or lease that was applicable to the vacant grazing allotment made available. Section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332) shall not apply with respect to any Federal agency action under this section.

PROTECTION OF WATER RIGHTS

SEC. 434. None of the funds made available in this or any other Act may be used to condition the issuance, renewal, amendment, or extension of any permit, approval, license, lease, allotment, easement, right-of-way, or other land use or occupancy agreement on the transfer of any water right, including sole and joint ownership, directly to the United States, or any impairment of title, in whole or in part, granted or otherwise recognized under State law, by Federal or State adjudication, decree, or other judgment, or pursuant to any interstate water compact. Additionally, none of the funds made available in this or any other Act may be used to require any water user to apply for or acquire a water right in the name of the United States under State law as a condition of the issuance, renewal, amendment, or extension of any permit, approval, license, lease, allotment, easement, right-of-way, or other land use or occupancy agreement.

Apr 012015
 

Does the name make sense now? (credit: Wetland Studies and Solutions)

CBD slams decision

FWS release

The Fish and Wildlife Service has decided to list the Northern long-eared bat as threatened with a 4(d) rule.

Page with information from FWS

Said FWS in the rule: "[N]o other threat is as severe and immediate to the northern longeared bat’s persistence as the disease, white-nose syndrome (WNS).... WNS is currently the predominant threat to the species, and if WNS had not emerged or was not affecting the northern long-eared bat populations to the level that it has, we presume the species’ would not be experiencing the dramatic declines that it has since WNS emerged."

"Seven species of North American hibernating bats have been confirmed with WNS to
date: big brown bat, gray bat, eastern small-footed bat, little brown bat, northern long-eared bat,
Indiana bat, and tricolored bat. The effect of WNS appears to vary greatly by species, with

several species exhibiting high mortality and others showing low or no appreciable population-level effects (Turner et al. 2011, p. 13). The fungus that causes WNS has been detected on five additional species, but with no evidence of the infection characteristic of the disease; these include Rafinesque’s big-eared bat (Corynorhinus rafinesquii), Virginia big-eared bat (C. townsendii virginianus), silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans), eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis), and southeastern bat (Myotis austroriparius).

"The impacts of WNS on North American bat populations have been substantial. Service and State biologists estimate that at least 5.7 million to 6.7 million bats of several species have died from WNS (Service 2012, p. 1). Dzal et al. (2011, p. 393) documented a 78 percent decline in the summer activity of little brown bats in New York State, coinciding with the arrival and spread of WNS, suggesting large-scale population effects. Turner et al. (2011, p. 22) reported an 88 percent decline in the number of all hibernating bats at 42 sites across New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. Furthermore, Frick et al. (2010a, p. 681) concluded that the little brown bat, formerly the most common bat in the northeastern United States, is undergoing catastrophic declines in the region due to WNS, and is at risk of regional extirpation in the near future. Similarly, Thogmartin et al. (2013, p. 171) predicted that WNS is likely to extirpate the federally endangered Indiana bat over large parts of its range. While recent models by Ingersoll et al. (2013, p. 8) have raised some questions about the status of bat populations prior to the arrival of WNS, the empirical evidence from surveys of six species of hibernating bats in New York State, revealed populations that were likely stable or increasing prior to the emergence of WNS (Service 2011, p. 1). Subsequent to the emergence of WNS, decreases in some species of bats at affected hibernacula have ranged from 30 to 100 percent (Frick et al. 2010a, p. 680; Turner et al. 2011, pp. 16–19, 22)."

Changes from proposed rule (which would have listed bat as endangered)

(1) Based on our analyses of the potential threats to the species, we have determined that the northern long-eared bat does not meet the definition of an endangered species, contrary to our proposed rule published on October 2, 2013 (78 FR 61046).

(2) Based on our analyses, we have determined that the species meets the definition of a threatened species. Therefore, on the effective date of this final listing rule, the species will be listed as a threatened species in the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife at 50 CFR 17.11(h).

(3) We have further refined the estimated timeframe during which Pd (the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome) is expected to spread throughout the range of the northern long-eared bat.

(4) We have expanded the discussion of white-nose syndrome and the effects of whitenose syndrome on the northern long-eared bat under Factor C.

(5) We have included additional (most recent available) survey data for the species in the Distribution and Relative Abundance section.