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Environment


Ohio utility commissions are facing a dilemma over rare bat
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants the long-eared bat added to the endangered species list, but that could cause economic complications
by WKSU's AMY COOKNICK


Reporter
Amy Cooknick
 
In The Region:

Ohio environmentalists and utility commissions are butting heads over the future of a rare species of bat.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants the northern long-eared bat added to the endangered species list. But those with interests in oil and gas, electricity, coal mining and road work are fighting the recommendation.

If the bats are declared an endangered species, mining companies might face stricter regulations of abandoned mines, where bats often hibernate.

Because the bats live in tree bark, electric, oil and gas companies might be required to survey before cutting down trees to accommodate power lines. Road crews would also be expected to take extra precautions when planning routes in wooded areas.

Northeastern bat populations are already in decline because of “white nose syndrome,” a fatal disease that has been wiping out colonies.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has extended the deadline for public comment on the issue to Jan. 2.

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