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    HR 669 : CONGRESSIONAL HEARING BANNING NONNATIVE SPECIES APRIL 23, 2009 ACTION NEEDED

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by neoprodigy, Feb 10, 2009.

    1. neoprodigy

      neoprodigy Administrator
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      CONGRESSIONAL HEARING BANNING
      NONNATIVE SPECIES
      APRIL 23, 2009
      ACTION NEEDED



      THE ISSUE

      The Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act (H.R. 669), introduced by Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) Chair of the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife of the House Natural Resources Committee
      would totally revamp how nonnative species are regulated under the Lacey Act.

      Currently, the Fish and Wildlife Service is required to demonstrate that a species is injurious [harmful] to health and welfare of humans, the interests of agriculture, horticulture or forestry, and the welfare and survival of
      wildlife resources of the U.S.

      HR 669 substantially complicates that process by compelling the Service to produce two lists after conducting a risk assessment for each nonnative wildlife species to determine if it is likely to “cause economic or
      environmental harm or harm to other animal species’ health or human health.” In order to be placed on the “Approved List” it must be established that the species has not, or is not likely, to cause “harm” anywhere in the
      US. Species that are considered potentially harmful would be placed on an “Unapproved List.” Furthermore, HR 669 would essentially ban all species that do not appear on the Approved List, regardless of whether or not they
      have ever been petitioned for listing or are sufficiently well studied to enable a listing determination.


      Species not appearing on the “Approved List” could not be imported into the United States; therefore, all unapproved nonnative species could not be moved interstate. In addition, trade in all such unlisted species would
      come to a halt – possession would be limited and all breeding would cease. Unless those species are included on the approved list import, export, transport, and breeding would be prohibited. Exceptions are limited and would not be available to pet owners across the nation.

      THE IMPACT


      Nonnative species in the pet trade encompass virtually every bird, reptile, fish and a number of mammals (e.g., hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, ferrets) commonly kept as pets. It is immaterial under HR 669 that the


      • Vast majority of these nonnative species in the pet trade have been in the United States in large numbers for decades, some for hundreds of years, and have not proven to be an environmental problem.
      • Numerous species are raised in the United States for many purposes, pets, recreational fishing and hunting, food, etc.
      • Only a small number of species kept as pets have caused environmental problems, and this has generally been on a very localized basis (i.e. southern Florida, Hawaii).
      • Most states have exercised their authority to regulate problem species within their own borders through a mixture of management regimes ranging from permit systems to bans. HR669 - March 31, 2009
      • The HR 669 listing criteria mandates proving a negative – that no harm has or is likely to occur within whole of the entire United States.
      • The “risk assessment” process is too limited in scope and application and should instead be a a broader “risk analysis” that also takes into consideration socio-economic factors and mitigation (management) measures that might be utilized by the federal and state agencies.

      HR 669 would employ a 2-step process of a Preliminary and a Final Approved List along with the Services having to promulgate regulations not only to deal with creation of the lists but also regulating all aspects of this
      rather complex bill. The Service would have to complete major portions of the list and regulation process within 24 months of passage. Imagine how the Service will be able to conduct the required risk assessment outlined in
      HR 669 within these timeframes when it takes on average 4 years for the Service to find a species harmful under the current Lacey Act. The bill sets up the under-resourced Service for failure and numerous lawsuits by activist groups.

      Listing Process - To list or not to list? -- That is the question!

      The listing process is somewhat complex. To place a species on the Preliminary Approved List (at some point in time converts to a Final Approved List) the Service must make a determination that those listed species, based on scientific and commercial information, are


      • Not harmful to the United State’s economy, environment or other animals’ or human health OR
      • May be harmful “but already are so widespread in the United States that it is clear to the Secretary that any import prohibitions or restrictions would have no practical utility for the United States.”
      While proponents would argue that this test would not be as rigorous as the ultimate test set forth in HR 669, PIJAC is at a loss how one proves no harm under the alleged simplified test for inclusion on the “Preliminary
      Approved List.”

      To get on the ultimate “Approved List ” (accomplished within 37 months), the Service would have to complete risk assessments, not risk analysis, using the following criteria. The assessors would have to make a determination based on:


      • Species identified to species level, and if possible information to subspecies level;
      • Native range of the species (which may or not be fully known);
      • Whether species has established, spread, or caused harm to the economy, the environment, or other animal species or human health in ecosystems in or ecosystems similar to those in the US;
      • Environmental conditions exist in the US that suitable for establishment of the species;
      • Likelihood of establishment in the US;
      • Likelihood of speared in the US;
      • Likelihood species would harm wildlife resources of the US;
      • Likelihood the species would harm native species that are “rare” (not defined) or listed under Endangered Species Act;
      • Likelihood species would harm habitats or ecosystems of the US;
      • Likelihood “pathogenic species or parasitic species may accompany the species proposed for importation;” and
      • Other factors “important to assessing the risk associated with the species”.

      Once a determination is made, the Service will place a species on one of 3 lists


      • Approved List
      • Unapproved List
      • The “Non-list” (section 4(2)(C)) for species for which “the Secretary has insufficient scientific and commercial information to make a determination “ whether to approve or disapprove.

      User Fees
      HR 669 also calls for the establishment of a user fee system for funding assessments following the adoption of the “Preliminary Approved List.” This has been a long term desire of animal activist and environmental protectionist organizations since they know that user fees can become cost prohibitive and virtually eliminate small interest groups or business from participating in the process. It can easily paralyze access except for the wealthy or those living off of tax exempt dollars who use the system to drive their agendas. Furthermore, fees are not made available to the Service until 36 months into the process. It is not clear how the Service would implement the first three years of work under HR 669.

      RECOMMENDATIONS – TIME IS NOW!
      According to the Defenders of Wildlife "For far too long the pet, aquarium and other industries have imported live animals to the United States without regard to their harm…" Defenders, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) are part of a coalition pushing hard for passage of this bill without amendments.

      A HEARING has been scheduled for April 23 and the pet industry needs to be heard load and clear prior to the hearing! The anti-trade elements are hard at work to stop activities involving non-native species.

      A copy of HR 669 can be found on PIJAC’s website in the “Breaking News” and the “HR669 Forum” sections of the www.pijac.org. Read the bill carefully since it could shut down major segments of the pet industry virtually overnight.

      PIJAC POSITION -- PIJAC supports the underlying intent of HR 669 to establish a risk-based process in order to prevent the introduction of potentially invasive species. It has been clear for quite some time that steps are needed to enhance and improve the current listing process for species shown to be injurious under the Lacey Act. In addition to much needed appropriations to fund staff and other ancillary support aids, the Lacey Act needs to be modernized to make the process more timely, efficient and transparent. However, HR 669 falls far short of accomplishing this objective.

      CONTACT MEMBERS OF THE SUBCOMITTEE (see contact information below) by


      • emailing or faxing your opposition to HR 669 to their offices in Washington DC urging them to amend
      • the bill
      • ALSO contact their district offices

      • voice your opposition
      • and request a meeting with the representative when they are back in the District
      It is also important to organize like-minded people in your district so several of you can visit with your representative at the same time.

      A few talking points:

      The approach taken in HR 669 will adversely impact trade and other activities involving nonnative species without utilizing a scientifically valid approach – even in the limited instances in which sufficient data are available on the biology and range of species, it will be virtually impossible to prove that they could not establish and spread in some portion of the US. Thus, it will be nearly impossible to get species on the “Approved List” unless they are so widespread in the country already.

      The degree of uncertainty that will result by applying the “as if” criteria will result in virtually every species ending up on the list for which there is insufficient information to make a decision DESPITE THE FACT that most of these species have been in trade, recreational use, farming, etc. for decades with only a small percentage of species being problematic and then in localized situations

      A one size assessment process fits all species is not plausible – what may be harmful in Hawaiian waters would not be harmful in Kansas or the deserts of Arizona or Texas.

      HR 669 overly simplifies the complexity of the issue; bans all species unless they can get on an approved list; the criteria for the Approved List are not realistic; the lists are biased towards those entities that can afford to engage in the process – undoubtedly the USFWS will be paralyzed by activist animal rights and protectionist environmental organizations petitioning for species to be unapproved;

      The USFWS does not have the capacity to implement the provisions given limited staff, money, and unrealistic timeliness; and the unintended consequences of a sloppy bill could actually be to facilitate the mass release of animals, and/or their mass euthanasia.

      HR 669 does not take into consideration the socio-economic complexity of the issue. Stakeholders dependent upon access to non-native species include diverse interests: pet industry, sports fishing, federal/state hatcheries, agriculture, biomedical research, entertainment, hunting, food aquaculture. Currently, thousands of non-natives species are both imported and exported, as well as captive raised (in some instances farmed on ranched) within the United States. While most of these species are never
      intended for release into natural environments, some of these species (e.g. oysters, trout, bass, deer, game birds) are managed by government and private entities throughout the US.

      HR 669 calls for a risk assessment when, in fact, a risk analysis process is warranted. A risk assessment only considers biological indices related to potential invasiveness, while a risk analysis considers both these, as well as socio-economic factors, including potential management options. A risk analysis can enable strategic decisions to be made, such as enabling certain species to continue in trade/transport if the risks of invasion could be sufficiently management (e.g. d HR 669 treats the entire United States as if it is a single ecosystem and ignores the historic definition of invasive species that applies to a specific ecosystem, not the political boundaries of the United States as an ecosystem.

      Setting criteria in statute removes flexibility that could be achieved through rulemaking since a “one-sizefits-all” process is not appropriate for all taxa, regions of the country, proposed usage of the species, etc.

      Deadlines are unrealistic. While we recognize the rationale for placing timeframes on USFWS, deadlines cause lawsuits; deadlines mandate action for unfunded mandates; two (2) years is unrealistic to conduct an assessment (even a rough screen) of literally thousands of species (1) imported, (2) raised in US for local markets as well as exports, and (3) imported as well as raised in US.

      Animals owned prior to prohibition of importation (Section 2(f)) is major departure from current prohibitions under Lacey Act. HR 669 would allow possession of “an animal” if prove legally owned pre-launch of assessment. There is no indication as to what it takes to prove legality? Nor would one
      know when an assessment of a particular species was launched.

      Assuming that more than a handful of non-native species end up on an approved list, enforcement of a list of species that have been in trade for decades will be more difficult than a dirty list. It is well established that only a small percentage of the species in trade have been shown to be “invasive.” The ornamental aquarium industry, for example, deals with more than 2,500 species of freshwater and marine fish. A handful of species have been found to be a problem in Southern Florida, but not elsewhere in the US; some found to be a problem in Hawaii are not a problem in Kansas.

      Promulgation of regulations implementing the HR 669 process will be complex and doubtful if can be achieved within prescribed timeframe, especially if USFWS is to simultaneously conduct thousands of assessments on species already in trade.

      ACT NOW – Also alert your employees, friends, neighbors, competitors, and any other like-minded people and urge them to take time to respond to this unworkable approach to dealing with f an issue of concern to all of us.

      KEEP CHECKING PIJAC’S WEBSITE FOR UPDATES ON HR669


      If you have questions or wish to express your views to PIJAC, please contact Marshall Meyers or Bambi Nicole Osborne by phone at 202-452-1525 or via email at bambi@pijac.org or marshall@pijac.org.



      House Committee on Natural Resources
      Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans & Wildlife
      187 Ford House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/226-0200 (Tel.)
      202/225-1542 (Fax)


      Madeleine Z. Bordallo (Ch)(NP-Guam)

      427 Cannon House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515-5301
      202/225-1188 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/226-0341 (Washington Fax #)

      120 Father Duenas Ave., Suite 107
      Hagatna, GUAM 96910
      671/477-4272 (District Tel. #)
      671/477-2587 (District Fax #)

      http://www.house.gov/bordallo/IMA/issue.htm



      Neil Abercrombie (D-HI)
      1502 Longworth House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-2726 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/225-4580 (Washington Fax #)

      Prince Kuhio Federal Building
      300 Ala Moana Blvd. – Room 4-104
      Honolulu, HI 96850
      808/541-2570 (District Tel. #)
      808/533-0133 (District Fax #)

      neil.abercrombie@mail.house.gov



      Henry Brown (R-SC)
      103 Cannon House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-3176 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/225-3407 (Washington Fax #)

      1800 North Oak Street, Suite C
      Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
      843/445-6459 (District Tel. #)
      843/445-6418 (District Fax #)

      5900 Core Avenue, Suite 401
      North Charleston, SC 29406
      843/747-4175 (District Tel. #)
      843/747-4711 (District Fax #)

      http://brown.house.gov/Contact/index.html



      Lois Capps (D-CA)
      1110 Longworth House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-3601 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/225-5632 (Washington Fax #)

      2675 N. Ventura Road, Suite 105
      Port Hueneme, CA 93041
      805/985-6807 (District Tel. #)
      805/985-6875 (District Fax #)
      301 E Carrillo Street, Suite A

      Santa Barbara, CA 93101
      805/730-1710 (District Tel. #)
      805/730-9153 (District Fax #)

      http://www.house.gov/capps/contact/send_an_email.shtml



      William Cassidy (R-LA)
      506 Cannon House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-3901 (District Tel. #)
      202/225-7313 (District Fax #)

      5555 Hilton Avenue, Suite 100
      Baton Rouge, LA 70808
      225/929-7711 (District Tel. #)
      225/929-7688 (District Fax #)

      http://cassidy.house.gov/contact/index.shtml



      Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
      1032 Longworth House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-7751 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/225-5629 (Washington Fax #)

      51 South University Ave., Suite 319
      Provo, UT 84601
      801/851-2500 (District Tel. #)
      801/851-2509 (District Fax #)

      https://forms.house.gov/chaffetz/contactform.shtml



      Donna M. Christensen (NP-Virgin Islands)
      1510 Longworth House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-1790 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/225-5517 (Washington Fax #)

      Nisky Business Center
      Second Floor, Suite 207
      St. Croix, VIRGIN ISLANDS 00802
      340/778-4408 (District Tel. #)
      340/778-8033 (District Fax #)

      P.O. Box 5980
      Sunny Isle Shopping Center, Space 25
      St. Croix, VIRGIN ISLANDS 00823
      340/778-5900 (District Tel. #)
      340/778-5111 (District Fax #)

      http://www.house.gov/writerep/



      Diana L. DeGette (D-CO)

      2335 Rayburn House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-4431 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/225-5657 (Washington Fax #)

      600 Grant Street, Suite 202
      Denver, CO 80203
      303/844-4988 (District Tel. #)
      303/844-4996 (District Fax #)

      http://www.house.gov/formdegette/zip_auth.htm



      Eni F.H. Faleomavaega (NP – American Samoa)

      2422 Rayburn House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-8577 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/225-8757 (Washington Fax #)

      P.O. Box, Drawer X
      Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA 96799
      684/633-1372 (District Tel. #)
      684/633-2680 (District Fax #)

      faleomavaega@mail.house.gov



      Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
      240 Cannon House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-2635 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/226-4386 (Washington Fax #)

      1640 South Stapley, Suite 215
      Mesa, AZ 85204
      480/833-0092 (District Tel. #)
      480/833-6314 (District Fax #)

      jeff.flake@mail.house.gov




      John Fleming (R-LA)

      1023 Longworth House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-2777 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/225-8039 (Washington Fax #)

      6425 Youree Drive, Suite 350
      Shreveport, LA 71105
      318/798-2254 (District Tel. #)
      318/798-2063 (District Fax #)

      Southgate Plaza Shopping Center
      1606 Fifth Street
      Leesville, LA 71446
      337/238-0778 (District Tel. #)
      337/238-0566 (District Fax #)

      https://forms.house.gov/fleming/contactform.shtml



      Doc Hastings (R-WA)
      1203 Longworth House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515-4704
      202/225-5816 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/225-3251 (Washington Fax #)

      2715 St. Andrews Loop, Suite D
      Pasco, WA 99301
      509/543-9396 (District Tel. #)
      509/545-1972 (District Fax #)

      302 East Chestnut Street
      Yakima, WA 98901
      509/452-3243 (District Tel. #)
      509/452-3438 (District Fax #)

      http://hastings.house.gov/ContactForm.aspx



      Dale E. Kildee (D-MI)
      2107 Rayburn House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-3611 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/225-6393 (Washington Fax #)

      432 N. Saginaw Street, Suite 410
      Bay City, MI 48708
      989/891-0990 (District Tel. #)
      989/891-0994 (District Fax #)

      515 N. Washington Avenue, Suite 401
      Saginaw, MI 48607
      989/755-8904 (District Tel. #)
      989/755-8908 (District Fax #)

      dkildee@mail.house.gov



      Ronald James Kind (D-WI)

      1406 Longworth House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-5506 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/225-5739 (Washington Fax #)

      205 Fifth Ave. South, Suite 400
      La Crosse, WI 54601
      608/782-2558 (District Tel. #)
      608/782-4588 (District Fax #)

      131 South Barstow Street, Suite 301
      Eau Claire, WI 54701
      715/831-9214 (District Tel. #)
      715/831-9272 (District Fax #)

      ron.kind@mail.house.gov



      Frank M. Kratovil, Jr. (D-MD)
      314 Cannon House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-5311 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/225-0254 (Washington Fax #)

      102 Turpins Lane
      Centreville, MD 21617
      443/262-9136 (District Tel. #)
      443/262-9713 (District Fax #)

      https://forms.house.gov/kratovil/contactform.shtml



      Douglas L. Lamborn (R-CO)
      437 Cannon House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-4422 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/226-2638 (Washington Fax #)

      415 Main Street
      Buena Vista, CO 81211
      719/520-0055 (District Tel. #)
      719/520-0840 (District Fax #)

      1271 Kelly Johnson Blvd., Suite 110
      Colorado Springs, CO 80920
      719/520-0055 (District Tel. #)
      719/520-0840 (District Fax #)

      http://lamborn.house.gov/ZipAuth.aspx



      Frank J. Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ)
      237 Cannon House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515-3006
      202/225-4671 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/225-9665 (Washington Fax #)

      67/69 Church Street, Kilmer Square
      New Brunswick, NJ 08901
      732/249-8892 (District Tel. #)
      732/249-1335 (District Fax #)

      504 Broadway
      Long Branch, NJ 07740
      732/571-1140 (District Tel. #)
      732/870-3890 (District Fax #)

      http://www.house.gov/pallone/contact.shtml



      Pedro R. Pierluisi (NP-Puerto Rico)

      1218 Longworth House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-2615 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/225-2154 (Washington Fax #)

      250 Calle Fortaleza Old
      San Juan, PUERTO RICO 00901
      787/723-6333 (District Tel. #)
      787/723-6333 (District Fax #)

      https://forms.house.gov/pierluisi/contactform.shtml



      Nick Joe Rahall, II (D-WV)
      2307 Rayburn House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-3452 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/225-9061 (Washington Fax #)

      601 Federal Street, Room 1005
      Bluefield, WV 24701
      304/325-6222 (District Tel. #)
      304/325-0552 (District Fax #)

      301 Prince Street
      Beckley, WV 25801
      304/252-5000 (District Tel. #)
      304/252-9803 (District Fax #)

      http://www.rahall.house.gov/?sectionid=9&sectiontree=9



      Gregorio Sablan (I- Mariana Islands)
      423 Cannon House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-2646 (Washington Tel. #)
      https://forms.house.gov/sablan/contactform.shtml



      Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH)
      1330 Longworth House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-5456 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/225-5822 (Washington Fax #)

      33 Lowell Street
      Manchester, NH 03101
      603/641-9536 (District Tel. #)
      603/641-9561 (District Fax #)

      104 Washington Street
      Dover, NH 03820
      603/743-4813 (District Tel. #)
      603/743-5956 (District Fax #)

      http://forms.house.gov/sheaporter/webform/issue_subscribe.htm



      Robert J. Wittman (R-VA)
      1123 Longworth House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-4261 (Washington Tel. #)

      3504 Plank Road, Suite 203
      Fredericksburg, VA 22407
      540/548-1086 (District Tel. #)

      4904-B George Washington Memorial Hwy.
      Yorktown, VA 23692
      757/874-6687 (District Tel. #)

      https://forms.house.gov/wittman/IMA/webforms/issue_subscribe.htm



      Donald E. Young (R-AK)
      2111 Rayburn House Office Building
      Washington, DC 20515
      202/225-5765 (Washington Tel. #)
      202/225-0425 (Washington Fax #)

      101 12th Avenue, #10
      Fairbanks, AK 99701-6275
      907/456-0210 (District Tel. #)
      907/456-0279 (District Fax #)

      Peterson Tower Building
      510 L Street, Suite 580
      Anchorage, AK 99501-1954
      907/271-5978 (District Tel. #)
      907/271-5950 (District Fax #)

      don.young@mail.house.gov



      --> The H.R. 669 Bill (pdf)

      SPREAD THE WORD !!

      MFK :: HR699 ban on importation of many animals. PETITION THREAD!

      AquariCentral.com Thread : http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=188837

      Facebook Group : http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=86144566696
       
    2. ZaireBlue.com

      ZaireBlue.com MFK Members

      Joined:
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      If you people want to keep getting fishes imported into the USA then you MUST speak up and vote against this bill.

      See this link from another forum that deals with Herps:
      http://forums.kingsnake.com/view.php?id=1651650,1651650

      This is no joke...and it's not just about herps like it was originally....now it's about any animal that is NOT NATIVE to the USA.

      It's in the House now, and with a Democratic majority and 10 sponsors it looks like this is going to pass unless people freak out and do something!!
       
    3. Loubard

      Loubard MFK Members

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      That would suck for you guys over there...
       
    4. ZaireBlue.com

      ZaireBlue.com MFK Members

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      Yeah...and don't forget to read the thread on Kingsnake. Oh yeah, and it says that if it's illegal to import, it's illegal to breed!!! WTF??
       
    5. hmoobvwj

      hmoobvwj MFK Members

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      Thursday at 4:24 PM
      That would suck! All the pet stores will basically have to close and no more arowanas, rays and all them monster fish out there!:nilly:
       
    6. krichardson

      krichardson MFK Members

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      Hack politicians,cant help save the country from financial collapse so they make a name for themselves by attacking the pet industry.What will they go after next,imported foods?
       
    7. Bogwoodbruce

      Bogwoodbruce MFK Members

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      Thats very bad news for all you guys over there :O
       
    8. Bentho

      Bentho MFK Members

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    9. silverdragon

      silverdragon MFK Members

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      Thats pretty simillar to what their doing here in Australia.. best of luck guys, cause if that passes, youll probably be paying the same prices we pay for exotics..
       
    10. Bentho

      Bentho MFK Members

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      INTRODUCTION OF THE NONNATIVE WILDLIFE INVASION PREVENTION ACT -- (Extensions of Remarks - January 26, 2009)


      [Page: E142] GPO's PDF---
      SPEECH OFHON. MADELEINE Z. BORDALLOOF GUAMIN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVESMONDAY, JANUARY 26, 2009
      • Ms. BORDALLO. Madam Speaker, today I have reintroduced a bill to protect the United States from harm caused by invasive species. In the 110th Congress, I introduced H.R. 6311, the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act, in response to the increasing economic, environmental, and human health threats posed by invasive wildlife species. I am reintroducing this legislation as a proactive approach to combating invasive wildlife species by prohibiting their importation.
      • Nonnative plants and animals are known by scientists to have been introduced into ecosystems in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the territories. Invasive, nonnative species can harm the economy, environment, other animal species' health and human health. Such harm ranges, for example, from depreciating farmland property values and loss of irrigation water to increasing spread of disease. Additionally, collapse of buildings, competition with native animals, sport, game, and endangered species losses, habitat alteration, and other ecosystem disturbances, have all resulted from the introduction of certain invasive species.
      • Scientists and economists generally estimate the cost of damages caused by invasive species in the United States to amount to over $123 billion annually. The risks associated with the introduction and establishment of invasive species, and the costs of mitigation, will continue to rise concomitantly with the expansion of trade and increased speed and frequency of travel around the world and within the United States. The volume of cargo shipped and exchanged worldwide continues to increase and many communities across the United States are experiencing growth in tourism. These factors are reason alone to develop protocols and a system for assessing the risk of all nonnative wildlife species that could be imported or introduced into the United States.
      • Preventing the introduction of invasive species is a significant challenge and priority for many communities across the country, including my district, Guam. Invasive species, for example, threaten the biodiversity and the ecology of the Florida Everglades, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and the Great Lakes, among other national environmental treasures. On Guam, the brown tree snake has caused the extirpation of many endemic forest birds and lizards. The coqui tree frog and the coconut rhinoceros beetle are the latest species to have entered Guam. Although these species were 1 accidentally introduced, intentional introduction of invasive species is something that can and should be controlled. The bill reintroduced today would protect citizens, the economy, and the environment from imported wildlife species that have the known potential to and that would likely harm our interests in the United States.
      • Absent a comprehensive federal law addressing the importation of nonnative species, the only protection is provided by the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981. This law authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to designate wildlife species considered ``injurious'' to humans and prohibits importation of such species into the country. The process, however, to designate a species as injurious can take up to four years, at which point harm has already been done.
      • The Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act authorizes the establishment by regulation of a risk assessment process to control the importation of wildlife species. The bill adopts a preventative approach by requiring the Secretary of the Interior to develop with public notice and public input a ``green list'' of species allowed to be imported and a ``black list'' preventing invasive species from entering the country. Prior to approving a species to be imported, the Secretary must evaluate its potential risk to human, other animal species, and environmental health. Any imports of species, which are not on the ``green list,'' will be subject to penalties under the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981. The Secretary, however, may permit importation of an animal of such other prohibited species for educational, scientific research, or accredited zoological or aquarium display purposes. Finally, import fees will be collected to cover the costs of the risk assessment process.
      • I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advance this legislation and to strengthen the abilities of the federal government to more effectively manage and prevent the introduction and establishment of nonnative wildlife species.
       

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