The Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, one of the more influential circuit courts of appeal partly because of its role in regulatory review, has ruled that under the Lacey Act the Fish and Wildlife Service does not have the authority to regulate interstate trade of reptiles and other “injurious” species. The agency interpreted the statute’s 1960 amendment restricting trade of “injurious” species as a broad mandate but the court seized on the word between in the statute, ruling that the
statute only allowed the government to specifically bar transport between the continental U.S., Hawai’i, Puerto Rico, or other territories. The court did not upend any regulations regarding import of injurious species or trade between other territories. Environmentalists are crying foul over what they say is a decision that will cripple the ability to fight invasive species; reptile keepers are ecstatic about the unfettering on the interstate sales of reptiles. Appeal is possible but it is unlikely the ruling will change.
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