Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN-08) is expected to roll out legislation next week that would allow forest management in the Northern Longeared Bat’s (NLEB) 38 state range to continue once the bat is listed as “endangered” as expected. More information will be provided later this month on this bill, but it is being raised now with the hope that industry lobbying efforts will be bipartisan. The lumber sector worked hard in 2014-15 to secure a workable solution for both protecting the bat and preserving the ability for forest landowners to sustainably manage their forest landholdings in the bat’s habitat range. At that time, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service had proposed severely curtailing timber harvesting in the bat’s range between the months of April and October. The sector prevailed in that challenge and there is concern that states without a habitat conservation plan in place once this bat is bumped up to “endangered” will be subject to strict, federally imposed forest management restrictions. ABMA is monitoring this issue as one that affects our upstream suppliers. A negative outcome where certain states and/or regions of the country are subjected to timber harvesting restrictions could constrain the availability of lumber in these locations.
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