On March 13th and 14th, Herp Alliance CEO Andrew Wyatt attended meetings with top law makers in Washington, DC. Recent developments in the federal legislative and regulatory environment demand an immediate and proactive approach to issues of vital importance to the future of herpetoculture.
The agenda included meetings with Speaker of the House John Boehner, Senator Bill Nelson’s Chief of Staff, Pete Mitchell, Senator Marco Rubio’s staff, Chairman Darrel Issa’s House Oversight Committee staff, Ranking Member David Vitter’s Senate EPW staff, Chairman Doc Hastings’ House Natural Resources Committee Staff Director Harry Burroughs, and others.
The two most pressing issues for herpetoculture at this time are:
- The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is attempting to pressure the Obama Administration into finalizing the ‘Constrictor Rule.’ They seek to add the five species that were left off last January when US Fish & Wildlife Service partially enacted a final rule, but continued to consider for listing Boa constrictor, reticulated python, DeSchauensee’s anaconda, green anaconda and Beni anaconda to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act; and
- Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), along with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) will sponsor a broad invasive species bill entitled the “Invasive Wildlife Protection Act” in the Senate for the 113th Congress. Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) will introduce a companion bill in the House of Representatives. These bills seek to add hundreds of non-native species to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act; including many reptiles and amphibians. (This is a re-write of HR 669 from 2008)
Senator Nelson’s Chief of Staff confirmed that it is his intention that the Invasive Wildlife Protection Act will indeed move forward in this session. He also promised that the Herp Alliance will be a part of the discussion and debate. We acknowleged that there are likely to be considerable differences in position on this issue, but herp Alliance felt it important to reach out and engage early in the process.
Several proactive ideas and strategies came forward in both Senate and House meetings of how the Herp Alliance, together with the help of our friends and allies, may be able to move powerfully to protect the future of herpetoculture regarding the partial rule and the new invasive species bills. The Herp Alliance is committed to staying at the forefront of these issues to protect our interests. We have a plan and we will continue to stay ahead of the game.
“We have spent 5 years taking control of the narrative on invasive species. We have clearly demonstrated that the science and economics support our case. Now the HSUS is in a position of attempting to rebut our talking points. We are taking dynamic action to stay ahead of that curve.”
~ Herp Alliance CEO, Andrew Wyatt
Special thanks to Herp Alliance’s Washington DC consultant, Frank Vitello, of Vitello Consulting, for his help and expertise.