CatX Update: FWS Amphibian Ban!

The US Herpetoculture Alliance has just been made aware of a NEW wrinkle in the whirlwind US Fish & Wildlife (FWS) Categorical Exclusion (CatX) power grab! Sources inside Capitol Hill have just informed us that the CatX is a precursor to the wholesale listing of ALL amphibians to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act. CatX, if enacted, would remove most of the due process afforded the rule making process under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). It would exclude FWS from doing due diligence in regards to scientific, economic and social impacts. In other words they could list ALL amphibians, in essence, just by declaring that they are injurious wildlife!

A petition to add ALL amphibians to the injurious list was fielded by FWS about two years ago. Subsequently, FWS published a Notice of Inquiry in the Federal Register signaling their intention to propose a rule. The US Herpetoculture Alliance predicted this scenario three weeks ago when we broke the news of FWS’s intention to secure CatX. It was our opinion that CatX was a precursor to an attempt to list all amphibians on the injurious list without giving due process to the thousands of species that could be affected. Further, the Herp Alliance believes that this would be only the beginning of additional large scale listings of hundreds of species.

Senate EPW Ranking Member David Vitter
Senate EPW Ranking Member David Vitter

The good news is, the hard work that the US Herpetoculture Alliance has been engaged in all year is bearing fruit. The US House Natural Resources Committee has written a letter to Dan Ashe, Director of FWS, asking that the CatX be withdrawn by the agency. Simultaneously, the US Senate Environmental & Public Works Ranking member, Senator David Vitter, has requested a 90 day extension on “public comment” for CatX. The current deadline is July 31st.

Although the Herp Alliance and our allies have made a strong case for the extension of the “public comment” period, it is imperative that everyone make public comment prior to the July 31st deadline. If we get the extension we can all make more substantive supplemental comments, but time is of the essence on making public comment NOW!

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***Copy and paste the following template into an email and send it to FWS (making a comment in the comment section of our blog page is NOT making public comment). Be sure to include the subject line. Make public comment prior to July 31 deadline. Email FWS directly:

Email Address: prevent_invasives@fws.gov

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

As a member of the herpetoculture community I am against the proposed US Fish & Wildlife “Categorical Exclusion” from NEPA mandates and I would like to support Senate EPW Ranking Member Vitter’s request for a 90 day extension on the public comment period.

This type of Categorical Exclusion is too far reaching and without precedent. It 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:

  1. The proposed categorical exclusion bypasses the requirement to consider economic and social impacts under NEPA.
  2. A categorical exclusion would not allow FWS to fully consider the beneficial impacts of declining to list a species under the Lacey Act.
  3. The proposed categorical exclusion is much broader than any of the other eight exclusions that FWS has approved under “permitting and regulatory functions”.
  4. The FWS’s “extraordinary circumstances” exception to a categorical exclusion is unhelpful because it does not apply to actions with high economic impacts.

Thank you.

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Read letter from Senator David Vitter requesting 90 day extension on CatX: 7.24.2013 CatX Comment Extension- Vitter

Read letter from House Natural Resources requesting withdrawal of CatX: PDF_Letter_to_Director_Dan_Ashe_on_Categorical_Exclusion

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***It has come to our attention that another organization is picking up our press releases, paraphrasing them, and then releasing them as their own. We are not overly concerned with this fact, and will continue to do the work and break the news. We prefer to be inclusive and stay above the fray on  issues that are so vitally important to herpetoculture. Emulation is the greatest form of flattery, and maybe it will provide greater awareness to the community in these troubled times. We welcome anyone who can help spread the word on CatX. We need unity in the herp community if we hope to prevail***

25 thoughts on “CatX Update: FWS Amphibian Ban!”

  1. Categorical Exclusion; FWS–HQ–FHC–2013–N044
    As a member of the herpetoculture community I am against the proposed US Fish & Wildlife “Categorical Exclusion” from NEPA mandates and I would like to support Senate EPW Ranking Member Vitter’s request for a 90 day extension on the public comment period.

    This type of Categorical Exclusion is too far reaching and without precedent. It 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.
    I am currently 65 years old and I have raised snakes for 51 years and it really is terrible how the press and media has misrepresented these amazing animals using scare tactics on people that already have very little knowledge about snakes. I’ve done snake education on my youtube channel for 6 years now and take great pride in teaching people that these animals have an important place in our lives and in our hearts.
    Thank you.
    Carla Combs

  2. I understand that some animals due to release or escape have become a threat but this proposal is too broad to be effective and could ruin an otherwise very lucrative business and greatly enjoyed by many.

  3. Categorical Exclusion; FWS–HQ–FHC–2013–N044

    As a member of the herpetoculture community I am against the proposed US Fish & Wildlife “Categorical Exclusion” from NEPA mandates and I would like to support Senate EPW Ranking Member Vitter’s request for a 90 day extension on the public comment period.

    This type of Categorical Exclusion is too far reaching and without precedent. It 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.

    The United Stated of America, where checks and balances are the backbone of our nation, cannot afford to let any one body of power take command of an area as complex and controversial as Injurious Species Listing. Each decision that impacts the citizens and the natural environment of our Great Nation, must be considered and contested as any other law. To allow the power of Nation wide legislation to be placed in the hands of one body of power, FWS, undermines the very structure of the entire Nation.

    Consider this plea,
    and please consider throwing the CatX proposition out.
    Thank you,
    From,
    New Hampshire resident and reptile/amphibian keeper
    Misty Hayes

  4. Categorical Exclusion; FWS–HQ–FHC–2013–N044
    As a member of the herpetoculture community I am against the proposed US Fish & Wildlife “Categorical Exclusion” from NEPA mandates and I would like to support Senate EPW Ranking Member Vitter’s request for a 90 day extension on the public comment period.

    This type of Categorical Exclusion is too far reaching and without precedent. It 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.
    I am currently 65 years old and I have raised snakes for 51 years and it really is terrible how the press and media has misrepresented these amazing animals using scare tactics on people that already have very little knowledge about snakes. I’ve done snake education on my youtube channel for 6 years now and take great pride in teaching people that these animals have an important place in our lives and in our hearts.
    Thank you.
    Carla Combs

    Diana Rawlins | July 27, 2013 at 10:26 am | Reply
    I understand that some animals due to release or escape have become a threat but this proposal is too broad to be effective and could ruin an otherwise very lucrative business and greatly enjoyed by many.

    Misty Hayes | July 28, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Reply
    Categorical Exclusion; FWS–HQ–FHC–2013–N044

    As a member of the herpetoculture community I am against the proposed US Fish & Wildlife “Categorical Exclusion” from NEPA mandates and I would like to support Senate EPW Ranking Member Vitter’s request for a 90 day extension on the public comment period.

    This type of Categorical Exclusion is too far reaching and without precedent. It 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.

    The United Stated of America, where checks and balances are the backbone of our nation, cannot afford to let any one body of power take command of an area as complex and controversial as Injurious Species Listing. Each decision that impacts the citizens and the natural environment of our Great Nation, must be considered and contested as any other law. To allow the power of Nation wide legislation to be placed in the hands of one body of power, FWS, undermines the very structure of the entire Nation.

  5. I am against this…….my pets are perfectly happy, and wonderfully healthy…. If they want to help reptiles….why don’t they stop rattlesnake round-ups……I am against this…..

  6. I am commenting on categorical exclusion and asking that the american public be given a chance to rally together and share our outcry. We are responsible taxpaying and voting citizens. Cat X gives a tyrannical power to a small group of people skipping the due process and essentially spitting on our rights as taxpaying citizens. Many of us have devoted our lives to the husbandry of the threatened by this unconstitutional law that is to be imposed on us. We have gone to higher level institutions of learning and made plans for years to boost our towns economy and follow the american dream by starting small business that would share our passion for these animals with others. please do not crush these dreams without first listening to the pleas of your fellow Americans.

  7. As a member of the herpetoculture community I am against the proposed US Fish & Wildlife “Categorical Exclusion” from NEPA mandates and I would like to support Senate EPW Ranking Member Vitter’s request for a 90 day extension on the public comment period.

    This type of Categorical Exclusion is too far reaching and without precedent. It 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.

    Consider this plea,
    and please consider throwing the CatX proposition out.
    South Carolina resident and reptile/amphibian keeper

    John W. Middleton

  8. I am against this project. I and many others are not willing to lose our animals. They are like our family. Some people do it as a hobby. My children love our animals. So I don’t like this idea or project.

  9. As a member of the herpetoculture community I am against the proposed US Fish & Wildlife “Categorical Exclusion” from NEPA mandates and I would like to support Senate EPW Ranking Member Vitter’s request for a 90 day extension on the public comment period.

    This type of Categorical Exclusion is too far reaching and without precedent. It 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.
    Thank you.
    Blake Quiros

  10. As a member of the herpetoculture community I am against the proposed US Fish & Wildlife “Categorical Exclusion” from NEPA mandates and I would like to support Senate EPW Ranking Member Vitter’s request for a 90 day extension on the public comment period.

    This type of Categorical Exclusion is too far reaching and without precedent. It 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.
    Thank you.
    Jennifer

  11. As a member of the herpetoculture community I am against the proposed US Fish & Wildlife “Categorical Exclusion” from NEPA mandates and I would like to support Senate EPW Ranking Member Vitter’s request for a 90 day extension on the public comment period.

    This type of Categorical Exclusion is too far reaching and without precedent. It 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.
    Thank you.

  12. I absolutely do not support this! Being a hobbyist for 20 yrs I empathize with the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of hobbyists. This catx does nothing but hurt those who love these fascinating creatures. I could get personal but now is not the time. It’s not about me it is about WE. And “WE” need to stand up and show the goverent that they ARE NOT in charge…WE ARE.

  13. Categorical Exclusion; FWS–HQ–FHC–2013–N044

    As a member of the herpetoculture community I am against the proposed US Fish & Wildlife “Categorical Exclusion” from NEPA mandates and I would like to support Senate EPW Ranking Member Vitter’s request for a 90 day extension on the public comment period.

    This type of Categorical Exclusion is too far reaching and without precedent. It 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.
    Thank you.

  14. As a member of the herpetoculture community I am against the proposed US Fish & Wildlife “Categorical Exclusion” from NEPA mandates and I would like to support Senate EPW Ranking Member Vitter’s request for a 90 day extension on the public comment period.

    This type of Categorical Exclusion is too far reaching and without precedent. It 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.
    Thank you.

  15. Please do not ban our reptiles or amphibians!! I just finished my collection and wanted to start breeding next year! I adore my pets and would never allow them to escape or become a threat to the native environment. I was really looking forward to starting a business and this legislation puts all the hard work I have done so far in jeopardy along with my hopes of having a real income. With the economy so difficult right now it would be horrible to have all the breeders of reptiles like myself suddenly without a way to make any money and I can’t even think about the possibility of having to give up my pets!!! I know I am not the only one the feels this way. Please consider rewriting this so that it doesn’t affect all the already established owners and lovers and breeders of these amazing creatures. Sincerely

    Kimo Garcia

  16. Take away our animals, then our guns, then our freedom of speech… next thing you know we’re all standing in lines with bar codes on our heads and numbers instead of names.

  17. Besides my work at sea world, I love my animals and I do every thing in my power to take care of them in the most efficient way and I would say it is better than the animals at the zoo. I research constantly, spend time and money and love these animals ever day. I do not agree with this one bit.

  18. Too much is too much. You take a little problem in a contained area and blow it up into a national disaster. Stop harassing all of the Herp loving folks out there.

  19. I can’t believe some thing this ridiculous has even gone this far…whats next…cats, dogs, rabbits, horses, fish, and birds…

  20. This is going to be wrong for responsible pet owners and the facilities they shop and spend money at. If you want to stop invasive species, start with the domestic species that wreak havoc all over the country that all people own.
    I talked to a local agriculture shop and they stated that 70% of their revenue was feeder animals for pet reptiles. This chain employees over 300 people at 7 different locations in the Tulsa County area. That’s a lot of part time and full time jobs that could be lost if this legislation passes.

    Sincerely,
    Ray Autry

  21. As a member of the herpetoculture community I am against the proposed US Fish & Wildlife “Categorical Exclusion” from NEPA mandates and I would like to support Senate EPW Ranking Member Vitter’s request for a 90 day extension on the public comment period.

    This type of Categorical Exclusion is too far reaching and without precedent. It 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.
    Thank you.

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