MONTPELIER, VT (AP) – Environmental groups in Vermont allege in a lawsuit that a state agency failed to protect endangered bats when spraying pesticides to deter mosquitoes.
The Vermont Natural Resources Council and the Center for Biological Diversity accused the State Natural Resources Agency of endangering five species of bats when spraying insects – a claim an official said on Tuesday n had no legal or scientific basis.
“If our scientists had credible scientific evidence that the use of insecticides in the mosquito control district had an impact on the bat population, we would definitely take action,” said Louis Porter, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Burlington Free Press.
The Indiana bat, northern bat, little brown bat, eastern bat, and tricolor bat are protected by Vermont’s Protection of Endangered Species Act.
Mason Overstreet, an attorney with the Environmental Advocacy Clinic at Vermont Law School, said in a statement that “poorly regulated pesticide spraying endangers threatened and endangered bats.”
Environmental groups have said pesticide spraying is done at night when bats hunt insects. Bats are exposed to toxins when they inhale or eat insects that have been sprayed, according to the newspaper.
Porter said the state had “done as much or more than any state in the country to protect and restore threatened and endangered bats.”