House Natural Resources Committee

Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee

Bills to Weaken Protections for Endangered Species and Against Illegal Logging and Wildlife Imports

1324 Longworth
Wed, 14 Feb 2024 15:15:00 GMT

On Wednesday, February 14, 2024, at 10:15 a.m. in room 1324 Longworth House Office Building, the Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries will hold a legislative hearing on the following bills:

  • H.R. 3119 (Rep. Soto, D-Fla.), To provide for the issuance of a Manatee Semipostal Stamp;
  • H.R. 6784 (Rep. Stauber, R-Minn.), “ESA Flexibility Act”;
  • H.R. 6854 (Rep. Fischbach, R-Minn.), “Habitat Enhancement Now Act”; and
  • H.R. 7157 (Rep. Duarte, R-Calif.), “Strengthen Wood Product Supply Chains Act”, to weaken Lacey Act enforcement against illegal imports of wildlife and plants

Hearing memo

  • Steve Guertin, Deputy Director for Program Management and Policy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (All bills)
  • Frank Rohwer, President and Chief Scientist, Delta Waterfowl Foundation, Bismarck, North Dakota (H.R. 6854)
  • Jordan McIlvain, Vice President, Alan McIlvain Company, Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania (H.R. 7157)
  • Ray Higgins, Executive Vice President, Minnesota Timber Producers Association, Duluth, Minnesota (H.R. 6784)
  • Alexander von Bismarck, Executive Director, Environmental Investigation Agency

Legislative summaries:

H.R. 3119 (Rep. Soto, D-FL), To provide for the issuance of a Manatee Semipostal Stamp
  • Creates a manatee postal stamp administered by the United States Postal Service, with funds made available from the stamp transferred to the USFWS to conserve the United States’ manatee population. Funds generated from this stamp shall be transferred at least twice a year; the legislation does not require these funds to be considered as part of the annual appropriations process. The stamp must be made available for sale within one year of enactment for at least two years.
H.R. 6784 (Rep. Stauber, R-MN), “ESA Flexibility Act”
  • Amends Section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act to provide greater flexibility between species classified as endangered or threatened, granting the Secretary of the Interior the ability to promulgate rules under Section 4(d) for both threatened and endangered species. Specifically, the endangerment finding for the Northern Long-Eared Bat restricts logging of its habitat. This would allow the Secretary to permit logging, under the argument the bat is endangered because of white-nose syndrome, not habitat destruction. Supportive organizations included the American Farm Bureau, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the Forest Resources Association, and the National Mining Association.
H.R. 6854 (Rep. Fischbach (R-MN), “Habitat Enhancement Now Act”
  • Seeks to protect migratory waterfowl by establishing two separate grant programs that can be used by local governments or individuals: one to build and maintain hen houses and another to develop breeding ground for migratory waterfowl in California. It also establishes Congressional findings recognizing the importance of managing wetland ecosystems, the need to deploy new tools to sustain waterfowl populations, and the importance of investments and incentives for landowners to conduct these activities.
H.R. 7157 (Rep. Duarte (R-CA), “Strengthening Wood Product Supply Chains Act”
  • Places timelines on enforcement actions related to the Lacey Act.
  • Enforcing agencies must:
    • Not later than 5 days after the date on which merchandise is detained, issue the importer a notice of detention or release the detained merchandise.
    • Not later than 10 days after the date on which the enforcing agency issues a notice of detention, the agency must allow the importer to transport the merchandise to a location not controlled by the U.S. Government.
    • Not later than 30 days after the date on which merchandise is detained for inspection, the enforcing agency must release or seize such merchandise.
  • allows importers to sue the enforcing agency if the agency decides to seize the merchandise or fails to release the merchandise within those 30 days.