Government’s endangered listing of eastern Oklahoma bat fought by Sen. Mullin and others


Oklahoma U.S. Sen. Markwayne Mullin believes the Biden administration is again guilty of overreaching in its listing of an eastern Oklahoma bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

He and a handful of others in Congress filed a Congressional Review Act resolution disapproving of the move to protect the northern long-eared bat which is found in the Ozark highlands and Ouachita Mountains regions in eastern Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Department indicated that at least nine northern long-eared bat hibernacula are known in Oklahoma, though multiple individuals have been documented at additional cave locations.

Sen. Mullin contends the decision will have serious consequences for infrastructure projects across Oklahoma.

“There is no reason to disproportionately increase regulatory burden and hinder economic development when this rule will not affect the primary cause of decline for the northern long-eared bat. I am strongly against one-size-fits-all regulation from Washington bureaucrats, and this is no different,” said the Senator in announcing his filing of the resolution.

“We must stop this reclassification and ensure our state and other impacted states can continue efforts to protect this species without the heavy hand of the federal government getting in their way.”

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The northern long-eared bat has been found using limestone caves in the Ozark highlands that are used by other federally-listed bats, such as the gray bat and Ozark big-eared bat. Unlike those species, the northern long-eared bat does not rely on caves for its entire life cycle. Specific summer roosting habitat in Oklahoma is generally unknown, but this bat likely uses a variety of different tree species. They are suspected of switching roost trees every few days.

Minnesota Rep. Pete Stauber joined Sen. Mullin in fighting the listing, filing a House version of the resolution.

“The listing of the northern long-eared bat is an example of the ESA being used to stifle development rather than its intended purpose, which is to protect species from human-caused harm,” said Congressman Stauber.

“The northern long-eared bat unfortunately suffers from white-nose syndrome through no fault of humans whatsoever. The listing of the bat due to this disease declares open season for environmental groups to target desperately needed development across the bat’s entire range, which covers most of the continental United States.

Mullin led this CRA resolution with 10 cosponsors: Senators Capito (R-WV), Lummis (R-WY), Marshall (R-KS), Budd (R-NC), Boozman (R-AR), Lankford (R-OK), Cramer (R-ND), Sullivan (R-AK), Wicker (R-MS), and Hoeven (R-ND).

Full bill text can be found here.


On November 30, 2022, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published its final rule listing the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

After Republican opposition, FWS announced it would delay the effective date for the final rule to March 31, 2023.

On March 6, 2023, FWS announced interim guidance to assist stakeholders in the transition to the reclassification.

The Congressional Review Act (CRA) was enacted in 1996 and provides Congress with a tool to overturn Administrative regulations. If a CRA joint resolution is approved by both the House and Senate and signed by the President, the rule at issue cannot go into effect or continue in effect.