Bats not likely to disrupt plans for casino near South Bend

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A new federal rule protecting a threatened bat species isn’t expected to hinder plans for a $400 million tribal casino complex near South Bend.

Plans from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians include an 18-story casino, 44 housing units and various office buildings on the city’s southwestern edge.

In April, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a rule declaring the northern long-eared bat a threatened species.

The initial rule would’ve prohibited developers from clearing trees on sites containing sites where the bats hibernate or trees where they roost. But a less restrictive rule taking effect this month prohibits tree clearing only on sites known to contain roosting trees.

Officials tell the South Bend Tribune that no roosting trees have been documented on the Potawatomi’s 165-acre site. 

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