Paul Weiland Discusses Impact of Northern Long-Eared Bat Fight on 18,000 Home DevelopmentĀ 

The Post and Courier

Paul Weiland commented for The Post and Courier story “In the South, developers enter a complicated relationship with endangered bats.” The article examines how the possible discovery of northern long-eared bats could impact a proposed 18,000 home development in Charleston, South Carolina.

On April 17 of 2023, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requested that the clearing of forest on the proposed development site cease until the agency and the Army Corps of Engineers could learn more about the presence of northern long-eared bats on the property. To this point, the bats have not been physically caught on the development property. Scientists have heard screeches – picked up on a specialized listening device – in the adjacent Francis Marion National Forest that they believe belong to the bat.  

Commenting on this, Paul – who the article notes has represented dozens of local governments and landowners during similar processes – said, “With a newly discovered endangered species that might be present, all you have is uncertainty…[I have] seen proceedings drag on for much longer than the 90-day time period laid out on paper and, and during that wait, [I have] seen political opposition build against previously uncontroversial projects.”

Another wrinkle of the project is that descendants of the famous philanthropist Harry Frank Guggenheim still own the property to be developed and, as a result, the family has been put in the spotlight and exposed to political targeting. Discussing this, Paul said, “That’s not fair…under the law, landowners who long maintained forest patches where newly species live are suddenly saddled with regulatory hurdles that others avoided.” He added, “If one were to set up a just regulatory system, this wouldn’t be it…and the people that eliminated all the habitat before, they got all the upsides.”

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