U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the availability of coal mining guidelines developed to conserve and protect the endangered Indiana bat. The bat’s habitat stretches from the eastern United States through the Midwest, including 13 states with coal mining operations.

“These guidelines provide coal mining companies a set of consistent and reasonable protective measures they can use when their proposed operations could impact the Indiana bat and its critical habitat,” Salazar said. “This technical guidance was developed through extensive state and federal collaboration and will assist companies in complying with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act.”

A team representing three U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regions and state coal mining regulatory programs, facilitated by the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, developed the guidelines to provide habitat protection and avoidance measures for the Indiana bat. State participation on the team and peer review of the guidelines were coordinated by the Interstate Mining Compact Commission, a multi-state organization representing the natural resource interests of its member states. For more information, visit www.osmre.gov/guidance/docs/INBatPEPGuide-lines.pdf.