Appropriations: Good News

As far as animals are concerned, the catch-all bill that Congress passed at December’s end to fund government operations through the rest of FY 2012 is as important for what it doesn’t do as for what it does. Thanks to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the US Fish and Wildlife Service is directed to spend at least $4 million from its Endangered Species Recovery Fund on white-nose syndrome (WNS) research and response activities. The Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service are also directed to prioritize research related to WNS, as well as inventory and monitor bat resources on their lands. Dropped from the bill was very dangerous language that would have prevented judicial review of endangered species delisting rules for wolves in Wyoming, the Western Great Lakes region, and possibly elsewhere. (See AWI Quarterly, Fall 2011.)