05/05/10 ALERT: USARK Challenge/USFWS Rule Change


ALERT: USARK Challenge/USFWS Rule Change

As we have stated previously, successfully challenging the USFWS Proposed Rule Change that could add 9 constrictor snakes to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act involves a multi- pronged strategy.  This strategy is currently being implemented by USARK in coordination with coalition partners representing various like-minded constituencies. Making public comment is vitally important, but just one piece of our strategic plan. Here is a brief overview of the necessary steps as we see them. 


     1.  Make Public Comment to USFWS: Deadline Tuesday May 11, 2010: USARK has requested a 90 day extension (we have it on authority that our request will be denied). Please comment ASAP! Go to www.Kill-RuleChange.com for guidelines on making comment.

     2.  Challenge USFWS  Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA):  IRFA is the USFWS economic analysis. Although USARK is spearheading an independent Economic Assessment of the entire reptile industry with a Georgetown firm, our job at present is to show the problems with the USFWS assessment- Click here to read USARK IRFA Response: http://www.usark.org/uploads/Response%20to%20USFWS%20IRFA.pdf.

     3.  Challenge the USGS report on constrictor snakes under the Information Quality Act (IQA): The IQA requires that when federal agencies consider regulation that is unprecedented, controversial and/or would have significant economic impact, that they be held to a very high standard as to the quality of information used to support such regulation. It also requires all alternatives be considered. We believe USGS/ USFWS have failed on all accounts- Click here to read USARK IQA Challenge: http://www.usark.org/uploads/USARK%20IQA%20Challenge.pdf.

     4.  Prepare a Superior Alternative:  USARK is working with state wildlife agencies and leading academics to set up a State/ Locality based Risk Assessment and industry Best Management Practices as an alternative to Lacey Act listing.

     5.  Prepare to file a Federal Lawsuit: In anticipation that USFWS ignores the fact that there are gross inequities, misrepresentations and inaccuracies in the Proposed Rule and agency reports used to support the Proposed Rule. There are also alternatives that have not been fully explored.


Although each step is interrelated and extremely important, one of the most crucial parts of this puzzle is the IQA Challenge. Our IQA document was prepared by the same person handling the most prominent IQA challenge in the country, which many of you may know involves the delta smelt in the central California valley.  Although some have characterized our challenge as being too critical of government agencies, USARK disagrees. We believe that the agencies involved have done an extremely poor job of supporting their position, and our IQA challenge will bring that point to the fore and establish it as part of the public record. Our IQA document is in large part the product of a coalition effort that USARK has been engaged in for roughly four months.  If we are successful then it is likely the focus will move to our proposed alternative.


The most immediate need is for Reptile Nation to make public comments on the proposed rule.  Groups advocating this “snake ban” have their members engaged and producing comments in large numbers.  It is therefore essential we get our folks engaged and that everyone go online and submit comments.  Please make those Public Comments prior to the DEADLINE of May 11th! We have set up a page on the USARK website to help you along.  Please visit www.Kill-RuleChange.com for suggestions for your consideration. 


For Questions Contact:
Andrew Wyatt