The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has filed a final rule with the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB). This filing has no material changes from the proposed rule that would add nine constricting snakes to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act. This would make import or interstate transport of the nine constrictors a felony with heavy fines and potential jail time. This is the final stage of the rule making process. OMB's role is to review the proposed rule to ensure that the costs to businesses do not outweigh the purported benefits. In spite of the United States Association of Reptile Keepers’ (USARK) information to the contrary, and the Small Business Administration's findings that FWS did not do its due diligence in determining economic impact, we remain unsure of OMB's position.
As many as a million American citizens could be negatively impacted if this rule is enacted. It would create a whole new class of criminal out of law abiding citizens engaged in what is now a perfectly legal trade.
There is also likely to be an oversight hearing at the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee because of the potential to destroy a viable $1.4 billion cottage industry; and the flagrant disregard by FWS for mandated process and procedure under the Administrative Procedures Act and Information Quality Act. USARK has uncovered evidence that appears to point to an intentional effort to manufacture science to support a policy directive based on staff preference at FWS. This preference by FWS could mean the loss of thousands of jobs and the destruction of a viable sector of our nation’s economy in a time of hardship.
Members of the Reptile Nation should prepare themselves for the “Big Fight.” This process should take about 45 days to unfold. USARK calls upon the OMB, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to look closely at how FWS has circumvented due process to create policy based on staff preference. USARK believes that these actions by a government agency, upon close examination, will be found to be arbitrary, capricious and unlawful.
USARK needs the Reptile Nation to pull together as never before. This is our chance to overcome unfair regulation. Please stay tuned to USARK alerts and forward this article to your circle of influence.
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