By Matt Laslo
The federal tool officials use to combat invasive species, like constrictor snakes, is the Lacey Act. There's a problem though: it was written in 1900 when globalization involved steam powered ships that pale in comparison with today's global economy.
That act allows the government to combat foreign species but only after numerous slow moving studies and reports are compiled, which is why pythons were able to establish roots throughout the region. According to Dan Ash, the head of the fish and wildlife service, this is a serious issue.
"The more we learn about it the more concern there is about the effects of those snakes on the ecological system and certainly the wildlife of South Florida”, said Ash.
Even before the government shutdown, Ash and his agency were facing budget cuts because of sequestration, which further tied their hands. He wants Congress to update the law so the agency can move beyond containing pythons and start actually cutting into their population. Ash says if that doesn't happen the country will keep losing money in the never ending fight.
“Think of the economic cost", Ash said. "We’re spending billions and billions of dollars on control and response.”
South Florida Democrat Alcee Hastings says he wants to give the government any tools it needs to combat the snakes so that officials can move beyond their current, limited focus. More....