H.R. 669

May 7, 2009

Thank you for sharing with me your views regarding H.R. 669, the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act. Your input is important to me.

As  you may know, our nation's primary legal authorities for the  conservation of plants and wildlife are the Endangered Species Act  (ESA) of 1973, the Lacey Act of 1981 and the Marine Mammal Protection  Act of 1972. On  an international basis, the primary legal authority for wildlife trade  is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild  Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Under  these acts, wildlife and wildlife products imported by or exported from  the United States generally must pass through one of several ports  designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for clearance  by an agency wildlife inspector.Imported birds and some fish species  are required to undergo a period of quarantine to ensure that they are  not a health risk to humans or other animals. These protocols are necessary to effectively regulate the nonnative species entering the United States. As  you may know, H. R. 669 was introduced by Delegate Madeleine Bordallo  (D-GU) on January 26, 2009.According to the bill's proponents, the  purpose of this measure is to establish a risk assessment process to  prevent the introduction and establishment of nonnative wildlife  species in our country.

However,  numerous concerns have been raised that the wording of this complex  piece of legislation is so vague and far-reaching that significant  unintended consequences would occur should the bill be enacted into law. As  written, H.R. 669 would ban all nonnative species that do not appear on  an "Approved List" established in the legislation.This ban would  include all breeding, export, import, purchase, sale and transport of  an "unapproved" species.As such, it would essentially criminalize the  keeping of certain non-native pets by law abiding pet owners -  certainly not the intent of the bill's sponsor.

These  concerns were openly discussed during a Congressional Hearing on H.R.  669 by the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife on  April 23, 2009. As  a result of the testimony presented by various witnesses, including the USFWS and a spokesperson for our domestic pet industry, the bill's  sponsor acknowledged that numerous, significant changes would have to  be made to the legislation before it should move any further through  the legislative process. Be  assured that I will continue to watch this issue closely to ensure the  rights of Wyoming's small businesses and private pet owners are  protected.

Again, I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue. Please continue to keep in touch.


Cynthia M. Lummis

Member of Congress