Biden uses veto pen to protect bats and chickens in Oklahoma

FILE - This undated photo provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources shows a northern long-eared bat. The U.S. Senate on Thursday, May 11, 2023, proposed dropping a 2022 federal designation of the northern long-eared bat as endangered. The Fish and Wildlife Service declared the northern long-eared bat endangered last November, raising its status from threatened. It is among 12 bat types hammered by white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has reduced its numbers by 97% or more in some areas. (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources via AP, File)


Those efforts by Oklahoma U.S. Sens. Markwayne Mullin and James Lankford to fight the endangered species protections forthe long-eared bat in eastern Oklahoma and the lesser prairiei-chicken in the western counties were shut down this week by the White House.

President Biden pulled out his veto pen and killed their legislation, saying each of the efforts to undo the protections “would undermine America’s proud wildlife conservation traditions” and risk the species’ extinction.

He said the bats “are critical to healthy, functioning ecosystems“ and provide pest control and pollination. The President also said the prairie-chicken is “an important measure of the overall health of America’s grasslands.”

Kansas governor uses veto pen on multiple measures

It was last spring when Sen. Mullin introduced a Congressionial Review Act resolution disapproving of the northern long-eared bat’s endangered listing under the Endangered Species Act. A similar version was introduced in the House and eventually approved.

“This decision will have serious consequences for ongoing infrastructure projects across the state,” said Senator Mullin. in announcing his move at the time.

“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. 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.”