Iconic African Species Protection Act passes out of first committee
On Tuesday, May 26th, the California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water advanced Senate Bill 1175 (5-1) despite SCI’s work to ensure strong opposition witnesses, vocal opposition from Californians, and a heavily engaged HAAC campaign.
Testifying in opposition were the Permanent Secretary of Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Mr. Munesushe Munodawafa and Catherine Semcer, a Research Fellow with the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC).
During his comments, Senator Brian Jones gave SCI a major shout-out.
Following Tuesday’s vote, our attention turns towards the negative fiscal impact this would have on the state in a time when California’s finances are in shambles. Laird Hamberlin put it best:
- “California is currently faced with an historic budget shortfall, yet politicians like Chairman Stern and his animal rights cohorts are still putting their grossly misguided and expensive political agendas ahead of what is best for Californians. Safari Club International will continue to lead the fight to do what is right for California and conservation by defending wildlife and wild places from bad policy like SB 1175.”
What’s next: SCI will continue to work with our California Chapters and partners to oppose this bill as it moves to the Appropriations Committee for a critical vote on Monday, June 8th.
NJ Bear litigation delayed
Blaming the COVID-19 pandemic for an inability to collect documents justifying the closing of New Jersey bear seasons, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is requesting until June 30 to provide documents that had been due on May 20.
The DEP is also requesting 45 days (from the date of our report) to provide an expert report. If the new Judge grants these requests, it will be highly unlikely that we can get judicial review prior to the October 2020 bear hunt.
The bottom line: COVID-19 gave the DEP great cover to continue to drag out discovery.
European Commissioner for Environment talks about wildlife trade and biodiversity
In a recent interview, the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius covered a variety of topics including the EU Biodiversity strategy, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as well as Covid-19 and wildlife trade.
Some key takeaways from the interview were:
The EU Biodiversity strategy will boost the integration of biodiversity conservation in other policy areas (e.g. energy, health, and agriculture).
The EU will mobilize resources to assist wildlife-rich countries, which face difficulties financing the management of protected areas due to pandemic.
The EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking will be revised in 2021.
Regarding wildlife trade and Covid-19, the European Commissioner emphasized that sustainability issues are being adequately addressed by the existing legal framework, which offers adequate, science-based protections that comply with international standards.
What’s next: FACE/SCI will be monitoring any developments carefully to ensure that the EU keeps its commitments and promote biodiversity.