Senate Subcommittee Hearing on Interior Dept. Appropriations
9 March 2010

On March 9, 2010, Senator Leahy attended a Senate hearing with Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar. At the hearing, Leahy warned Secretary Salazar that a rapidly spreading bat pandemic continues unchecked and could be on the verge of sweeping across the country. White Nose Syndrome, which was first found in bats in the Northeast, has wiped out millions of bats and was found for the first time last month in Tennessee. View Sen. Leahy's comments here:


A staffer from Sen. Leahy's office brought out a large, mounted, poster-size copy of the BCI map of expected spread, and set it on a large easel for all to see.

Sen. Leahy described the bat die-off as being of "historic proportions, the steepest wildlife decline in the last century" and potentially causing a huge increase in flying pests and irreparable damage to agriculture.

Sec. Salazar said his department was "very aware" of WNS, and that USF&W, USGS, and NPS are allocating $2 million for WNS in the budget for research.

Sen. Leahy urged accelerating Interior's efforts.

Attending Democratic Subcommittee Members

Senator Dianne Feinstein (Chairman) (CA)
Senator Patrick Leahy (VT)
Senator Jack Reed (RI)
Senator Ben Nelson (NE)
Senator Jon Tester (MT)

Attending Republican Subcommittee Members

Senator Lamar Alexander (Ranking) (TN)
Senator Robert Bennett (UT)
Senator Thad Cochran (MS)
Senator Susan Collins (ME)

Testifying/answering questions with Ken Salazar was David Hayes, Dep. Sec of Interior. The audience included Mike Pool, Dep Dir of Operations of BLM, and Gary Frazer USFWS Assistant Director for Endangered Species.

View Sen. Leahy's Press Release, "Mystery Bat Illness Keeps Spreading"

Representing the NSS WNS Liaison Committee was Cheryl Jones. She met with Sen. Leahy's aide following the hearing, and asked her to let the senator know we were represented in the audience, and how much we appreciated his efforts and dedication in acquiring research funding in this FY budget.

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