Arkansas' four members of the U.S. House of Representatives have written to the Secretary of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about their concerns with a proposal to classify the Northern Long-Eared bat as an endangered species.
Congressmen Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin, Steve Womack, and Tom Cotton say they sent the letter Wednesday to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.
Biologists have been concerned that a large percentage of the bats have been killed by white-nose syndrome, a disease that causes them to wake up early during hibernation. It started in the northeastern U.S. and spread into the south and Midwest.
The letter from the four Republicans says they are troubled because listing the bat as endangered would eliminate forest harvesting in Arkansas from April through November. The four also say the listing could negatively affect farming, energy development, and manufacturing in Arkansas.
The letter asks for a six-month extension of the comment period to further consider scientific data.