I am returning herewith without my approval S.J. Res. 24, a joint resolution that would disapprove the final rule entitled “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Species Status for Northern Long-Eared Bat.”

     The final rule, issued by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), provides Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections to the northern long-eared bat, whose populations have been heavily impacted by white-nose syndrome.  The northern long-eared bat now faces extinction due to white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease that has spread across approximately 79 percent of the northern long-eared bat’s entire range and is expected to affect 100 percent of the species’ range by the end of the decade.  Data indicate white-nose syndrome has caused estimated declines of 97 to 100 percent in affected northern long-eared bat populations.  Following a rigorous review of the best available scientific and commercial information regarding the past, present, and future threats, as well as ongoing conservation efforts, the USFWS listed the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species under the ESA.

     S.J. Res. 24 would overturn a science-based rulemaking that follows the requirements of the law, and thereby undermines the ESA.  Bats are critical to healthy, functioning ecosystems and contribute at least $3 billion annually to the United States agriculture economy through pest control and pollination.  If enacted, S.J. Res. 24 would undermine America’s proud wildlife conservation traditions and risk extinction of the species.

     Therefore, I am vetoing this resolution.

                               JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

 September 26, 2023.

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