REPORT ON BILLS FAVORABLY REPORTED BY COMMITTEE

COMMITTEE:

Environment Committee

TITLE OF BILL:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE ENDANGERED SPECIES PROGRAMS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment Committee

by request of The DEP

 

REASONS FOR BILL:

To better protect bald eagle nests, hold owners of wild animals responsible for costs associated with the confiscation of such animals and update the endangered species act.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

DEP Commissioner Arthur Rocque, testifying in support of their bill, said Section 1 is necessary due to increasing bald eagle nest sites in the state and because of an unfortunate destruction of a nest that occurred last spring. He said that Section 2 would save the DEP from having to pay for the costs associated with the confiscation, care, and maintenance of animals who were possessed illegally by holding the owner responsible. Currently the State, zoos and nature centers have had to pay the costs, which he said is unfair. Sections 3 and 4 would clarify the Department's authority to regulate the import and export of bats, primates and vertebrates. Currently the statute refers to wild quadrupeds, which does not include these species even though they could have a potentially negative impact on native wildlife, agriculture, or human health.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Sandy Breslin, with Audubon Connecticut, testified in support of the bill and pointed out how sensitive bald eagles are to human disturbance.

Erica Fearn, Executive director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau, testified that they support the intent of the bill, but want an exemption to be made for farmers. The exemption would allow farmers to enter no access areas in cases where the nest prevents access to their land or the their ability to tend crops. She pointed out that many nesting sites are located on the Housatonic Rive which is adjacent to agricultural land.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None

 

Jason Knight

4/10/2003

 

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