James M. Inhofe
Opening Statement of Senator James M. Inhofe
Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
Full Committee Business Meeting
April 21, 2010, 10:00 a.m.
Today’s business meeting contains several varied, but important pieces of business. In an effort to keep things moving, I will keep my remarks brief.
HR 2062, “The Migratory Bird Treaty Act Penalty and Enforcement Act of 2009," creates new criminal penalties for killing or wounding a migratory bird in an “aggravated manner,” which is defined as “demonstrating indifference to the pain and suffering of the bird” or “would shock a reasonable person.” This is obviously a very vague and purposefully subjective definition that makes me uncomfortable. I am certainly opposed to torturing birds, but I’m not sure we need a new federal law —especially when it is already illegal to kill these birds.
This bill would move the Fish and Wildlife Service away from its central focus on conservation. This follows a trend over the last 3 years of unrealistically stretching the abilities of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s 190 law enforcement officers. With all the challenges facing the Service, I frankly think this is a mistake.
I will be supporting S. 2724, “The Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2009," which is a good example of how to improve local, state and federal coordination on a watershed level. I especially like the fact that it focuses on improving existing programs and fully implementing current regulatory requirements, as opposed to creating more burdensome federal regulations and unfunded mandates.