WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held the hearing, “Examining Innovative Solutions to Control Invasive Species and Promote Wildlife Conservation.” Below is the opening statement of Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.), as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. Chairman, let me begin by thanking you for holding this hearing today and by thanking each of our witnesses for joining us. As was apparent from witness testimony during our recent hearing on the Endangered Species Act, the plants and animals that share this planet with us are having a rough go of it, in each of our states, and around the world. This is an all-hands on deck moment in human history, and while the United States’ Endangered Species Act may be a ‘gold standard’ for species protection and recovery, it is what it always was – a safety net.
“Thanks to a terrific panel of witnesses, this hearing gives us a chance to focus on a couple of special challenges that our fish, wildlife and plants face, as well as to celebrate our creativity in meeting those challenges and to buck up our efforts to find new and better ways to give them a chance to survive. And I very much appreciate, Mr. Chairman, your commitment to stimulate that much-needed creativity. We’ll hear today some very worrisome stories about invading sea lampreys and ruthless poachers that will illustrate why it’s so important that we are up to the challenge. These are not minor irritations or inconsequential threats. Wildlife trafficking is a multi-billion dollar enterprise globally, and invasive species cause more than a trillion dollars of harm every year. We have an unassailable obligation to muster the will, the intellect and the resources to help our challenged fisheries, threatened ecosystems, as well as our treasured bears, rhinos and elephants survive in a world that’s tough enough.
“I want to thank each of our witnesses – one travelling from as far as Wyoming – for helping us better understand the fix our fellow species are in, and for pointing us in a more enlightened direction. And I especially want to express my appreciation for the work each of our witnesses does—through their organizations and teams—to fight back. As I said earlier, this is an all-hands on deck situation. You and your colleagues are all in. Thank goodness for that. And thank you, once again, Mr. Chairman for bringing us all together to celebrate their good work and learn more about what the Committee can do to make a smoother path ahead.”