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CONGRESSMAN ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD Delegate from Guam U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.


NEWS RELEASE December 27, 2001


In the closing moments of this Congressional session, Congressman Robert A. Underwood introduced legislation to establish grant programs to help states and local governments, including Guam, tackle the problems of invasive plant and animal species.

"I introduced this legislation along with two other colleagues, Rep. Nick Rayhall, the ranking member of the House Resources Committee, and Rep. Wayne Gilchrist, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans," Congressman Underwood said, adding that the legislation has been worked on for months.

As the ranking member on the Fisheries Subcommittee, he and Chairman Gilchrist confer on the hearing schedule. "And I'm confident we'll have a hearing on this bill soon after Congress reconvenes next month," Underwood said.

"Up to now, when we take up issues like the brown tree snakes in Guam or nutria in Chesapeake Bay, or the different kinds of mollusks and grasses that invade other parts of the country, we've attempted to deal with them addressing the species that are being endangered," the Congressman said. "The focus has been on protecting the injured species and rarely on eradicating the invaders. What we've decided to do is to take on the issue of invasive species directly, by introducing legislation which would provide funding for three different kinds of grants to take on invasive species."

The legislation, H.R. 3558, the Species Protection And Environment Act (SPACE), would establish:

§ The State Native Species Protection Assessment Grant Program of $20 million for FY 2003 to help build local capacities for the conservation and preservation of native species.

§ The Aldo Leopold Native Heritage Grants for science-based restoration, management or enhancement of wildlife and natural habitats, control of harmful nonnative species in lands or waters under the control of an eligible applicant and adjacent to federal lands or waters. States, local governments and private entities could qualify for grants from a $50 million-fund; and

§ The Refuge System Demonstration Project Grants, to fund demonstration projects promoting ecologically based strategies to control harmful nonnative species. Federal, state, regional, local or private owners of land or water rights would be encouraged to identify harmful nonnative species control projects, for which $10 million would be available for FY03.

"Local areas would have to put up one dollar for every three that the federal government puts up, but most of the control would be local, and that's the excellent part about this legislation," Underwood said. "It offers us the possibility of accessing federal funding, retaining control of projects and collaborating with other entities.

"It is conceivable that we could work with the Northern Marianas on a brown tree project. It would be the first time that we would receive joint funding for a given environmental project. So we're really happy about this and hope that the legislation will be fully supported and passed into law."

For additional information, contact: Cathy Gault at 671-477-4272

Washington office: 2418 Rayburn Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Tel: 202-225-1188 Fax: 202-226-0341 Email: 

Guam office: 120 Fr. Duenas Ave., Ste 107 Hagatna, GU 96932 Tel: 671-477-4272 Fax: 671-477-2587

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