July 7, 2015
Press Release

CONTACT: Jack d’Annibale | | 202-225-3976

Los Angeles - Today, during debate on H.R. 2822, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, Congressman Raul Grijalva (AZ-3) introduced an amendment to strike section 120 of the act.  Section 120 prohibits funds from being used to restrict the illegal ivory trade in the United States.  Congressman Lieu made the following statement in support of the Grijalva amendment and the effort to strike section 120.

“Every day, 96 African elephants are killed by poachers for their highly valued ivory. With only a few hundred thousand of these elephants remaining, this illegal practice imperils their very existence.  The illegal ivory trade is not only a wildlife protection issue but a security issue as well, since this illicit practice attracts a number of criminal organizations – like Al-Shabaab – who generate funds to carry out terrorist activities by trading in illegal ivory.

As one of the largest markets for illegal ivory, the United States has a responsibility to support measures to stop the illegal ivory trade.

Last year, US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced its Director’s Order No. 210 to clarify how it would implement existing regulations. This was a first step in tightening ivory controls. USFWS is prepared to announce a proposed rule regarding the African elephant this year. This rule will likely strengthen ivory controls to better address trafficking.

However, the current Department of Interior appropriations bill undermines the progress USFWS has made. Section 120 ignores the ongoing slaughter of African elephants. Rather than weakening tools to combat the illegal ivory trade, we should be implementing smart and effective controls.  It is also imprudent to disrupt a USFWS proposed rule before it is even announced. USFWS has shown an interest in heeding the concerns of business owners and other individuals who already possess ivory.  We should allow for the announcement of the service’s rule and for the implementation of last year’s order.

I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting the Grijalva amendment to help end the illegal trafficking of ivory and to protect African elephants.”