The deadline is Tuesday, May 11, 2010, for Public Comment on the US Fish and Wildlife Service proposed rule adding nine constrictor snakes to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act. It is imperative that as many people as possible make comment prior to the deadline. Failure to do so could result in wholesale destruction of the Reptile Nation!
We suggest that your comments be original and written by you. There are guidelines at www.Kill-RuleChange.com. However, there seems to be confusion about “How To” and “Where To” make comment. The following is the step-by-step process on how to make a fast and easy comment.
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Division of Policy and Directives Management
Attn: Docket No. FWS-R9-FHC-2008-0015
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222
Arlington, VA 22203
RE: Docket No. FWS-R9-FHC-2008-0015
Dear U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
As a supporter of the United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK) and someone who is concerned about the environment, I am writing today to OPPOSE the proposed rule to list nine species of large constrictor snakes as injurious [75 Fed. Reg. 11808-11829 (March 12, 2010)].
As you know, in 2009 the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a highly controversial report on nine snake species. This internal report was NOT peer reviewed science. It is riddled with mistakes, inaccuracies, misrepresentations and unsupportable assumptions. USARK has filed a 36 page Request for Correction with the USGS under the Information Quality Act. In a letter to the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee a panel of 11 acclaimed scientists called the report “not scientific” and “not suitable as the basis for legislative or regulatory policy.” This poorly done report is the only “science” that supports the proposed rule.
If enacted, this rule would have the unprecedented effect of putting as many as a million American citizens in possession of Injurious Wildlife and subject to potential felony prosecution under the Lacey Act. It could effectively create a new class of criminal out of law abiding American citizens. Never has the USFWS attempted to list such a large group of animals that are so widely held by the American public.
Significant Economic Impact
The USFWS does not possess the information needed to do a credible Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) on proposed rules regarding constrictor snakes. In its report, dated, February 10, 2010, USFWS relied on baseless assumptions and extrapolations and it ignored information submitted by industry participants and trade associations in response to its 2008 Notice of Inquiry. In addition, the Service misused the information it was provided by respondents to the notice. Therefore, the Service’s regulatory flexibility analysis is not a complete, reliable, or convincing analysis of the impact of the proposed rule on small businesses involved in the buying and selling of the nine snake species included in the proposed rule. The IFRA grossly underestimates the scope of the impact of the proposed regulations.
The USFWS has failed to explore suitable alternatives to Lacey Act listing. There is a plethora of ideas on how to address the issue of invasive species that are for more pragmatic and less damaging than the Lacey Act. It was the consensus opinion at the recent U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources Hearing on Invasive Species that the Lacey Act was an ineffectual tool for addressing this issue. State and local risk assessment combined with industry Best Management Practices (BMP) was suggested by Dr. Frank Mazzotti of the University of Florida. (His is a unique perspective because he is the one responsible for the radio tracking of pythons in the Everglades National Park.) USARK has developed an accreditation utilizing BMP’s that have passed into state law in North Carolina and are currently pending in SC. They are also being considered by GA, LA, CA and VA. The USFWS has an obligation to explore viable alternatives. To date they have not.
It is clear that the USFWS has not thoroughly considered the full implications this proposed rule making would have. Further it is clear that USFWS has not given the due diligence required to enact such a controversial, unprecedented and draconian measure. It is clear that if enacted the proposed rule would negatively impact as many as a million Americans. The limited effectiveness of the Lacey Act as a means to control invasive species means that if enacted the stated intent of the rulemaking would never be realized. Nothing would change on the ground in south Florida. The only effect would be to destroy the captive propagation and trade of animals already in captivity all across the country.
Please stop the proposed rule to restrict the trade in nine species of constrictors.
Thank you for your consideration.
Andrew Wyatt is the President of the United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK) and has been an avid herp enthusiast for more than 35 years. He has traveled the world and has had his animals featured in a number of television productions. For more information about USARK, click here.
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