Herp Alliance Leads Delegation to Washington DC

Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy
Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy

On July 9, 2013 the US Herpetoculture Alliance CEO Andrew Wyatt was contacted by Assistant Chief Counsel from the White House Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy (SBA). SBA is seeking input on the potential small business impact of the newly proposed Categorical Exclusion rule, where by the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) seeks to avoid due process mandated under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Consistent with their mission of protecting small business from undue governmental regulation, SBA has requested that Wyatt facilitate industry participation in gathering information that will be useful to support small business stakeholders in the rule making process. To that end, the Herp Alliance has invited stakeholders to participate in a meeting to be held next week at the Office of Advocacy in Washington DC.

The invitation list includes representatives of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Counsel (PIJAC), FELD Entertainment, Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), Zoological Association of America (ZAA) and the US Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK). Additionally, we have requested stakeholder participation from individual businesses that feel the proposed rule would negatively impact their particular small businesses.

US Herpetoculture Alliance CEO Andrew Wyatt
US Herpetoculture Alliance CEO Andrew Wyatt

This Categorical Exclusion from NEPA is NOT just about constrictor snakes. It could potentially effect hundreds, even thousands of species… and remember the potential for a rule adding ALL amphibians to the injurious list is still outstanding.

The US Herpetoculture Alliance is opposed to a Categorical Exclusion of NEPA mandates. An exclusion would make it easier for FWS to arbitrarily add animals important to zoos, research, education, entertainment and herpetoculture, to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act. The SBA recognizes that Andrew Wyatt has been a central figure in the Lacey Act “injurious debate” for almost six years; and as such has enlisted his assistance. The Herp Alliance appreciates that SBA is giving us an opportunity to help small business on this important issue.

Wyatt stated that, “SBA support opposing the Constrictor Rule was enormously helpful in 2010-2011. Now we have an opportunity to garner that support once again.”

Additionally, the US Herpetoculture Alliance is requesting a 30 day extension from FWS on public comment for the proposed Categorical Exclusion rule. Currently the deadline for public comment is July 31st, but FWS published their announcement on a busy holiday weekend without notice to stakeholders. We feel it is only fair to give as many stakeholders as possible an opportunity to comment.

Click here to read more about the Categorical Exclusion.

Please post questions and comments below!


One thought on “Herp Alliance Leads Delegation to Washington DC”

  1. Subject Line: Categorical Exclusion; FWS–HQ–FHC–2013–N044

    Hello i would like for you to take this off any agenda of the federal , state or locale government. I raise and breed all types of reptiles. I have helped out at an alligator ranch and pet stores for a very long time. I also use my animals for educational purposes for schools to teach people about their native habitat, weather, egg layers or not, eating habits and also help others out with all info i can help out when i can. I also serve in the USMC and the Gulf War, and feel like this is leading to be another thing that will lead us to be like the old USSR. This would be a bad thing to do for the future people of the USA. Whether it is a hobbyist, pet store, or a single keeper, that can learn from others and continue teaching future keepers about reptiles and amphibians.

    I am against the proposed US Fish & Wildlife “Categorical Exclusion” from NEPA mandates. This action could facilitate the arbitrary addition of animals to the injurious wildlife list of the Lacey Act; potentially threatening the entire $1.4 billion annual commerce in reptiles and amphibians. Not only would it negate due process, but it would also negate legal recourse under NEPA. Categorical Exclusion could potentially become a tool to destroy my small business. Please consider the following points:

    The proposed categorical exclusion bypasses the requirement to consider economic and social impacts under NEPA.
    A categorical exclusion would not allow FWS to fully consider the beneficial impacts of declining to list a species under the Lacey Act.
    The proposed categorical exclusion is much broader than any of the other eight exclusions that FWS has approved under “permitting and regulatory functions”.
    The FWS’s “extraordinary circumstances” exception to a categorical exclusion is unhelpful because it does not apply to actions with high economic impacts.
    Additionally, the 30 day public comment period is far too short to make a fully informed comment. FWS published the proposed rule in the federal register over the holiday weekend. 30 days is not adequate to get full participation and quality comments. I am requesting that the public comment period be extended by 60 day.

    Thank you.

    Scott Evans

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