HR 669—Misguided Legislation


Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-GU), Chairwoman of the House Natural Resources Committee's Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife recently introduced legislation to alter the process for regulating nonnative species under the Lacey Act-H.R. 669, the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act. While Delegate Bordallo has stated that it is not the intent, as it is currently written H.R. 669 will ban the importation, transportation, and breeding of all nonnative species, including the common household pet.

H.R. 669 is a misguided piece of legislation with an overly expansive reach that could have an adverse effect on numerous animal-related industries. The legislation would require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to maintain an "approved" list in addition to the current "unapproved" list of nonnative species. Species not on the "approved" list will be banned, regardless of whether or not they have ever been petitioned for listing or are sufficiently well studied to enable a listing determination. The legislation does not take into account regional differences or transition issues that will arise upon passage.

The House Insular Affairs Subcommittee held a hearing April 23 on H.R. 669. Below is a brief overview of the witness list and testimony, opening statements and overall themes of the hearing.

Witness List

• Gary Frazer, Assistant Director for Fisheries and Habitat Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior;

• David Lodge, Ph.D., Director, Center for Aquatic Conservation and Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame;

• Simon C. N emtzov, Ph.D., Wildlife Ecologist and Scientific Authority for the CITES Convention Israel Nature and Parks Authority;

• Lawrence M. Riley, Division Coordinator, Wildlife Management Division, Arizona Game and Fish Department;

• William R. "Bill" Martin, President, Blue Ridge Aquaculture, Inc.; and

• Marshall Meyers, CEO and General Counsel, Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council

Opening Statements

In her opening statement, ChairwomanBordallohighlightedafewprovisions in H.R. 669 that are intended to protect the United States from nonnative invasive species. She stated that the legislation, which includes a science-based risk assessment process for developing "approved" and "unapproved" lists for importation, is not intended to affect the ownership or importation of the common household pets. Chairwoman Bordallo also expressed concern that the current process, including the fouryear average wait for listing a species as "injurious."