GOP: Snake ban could hurt economy

Sept. 15, 2011 at 7:55 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- A federal ban on importing and transporting Burmese pythons across state lines would threaten the economy, some U.S. House Republicans say.

The Interior Department proposed a rule banning the python and eight other snake species because they are potentially dangerous and a threat to the ecosystem of the Florida Everglades. Scientists have warmed that the snakes, of which there are an estimated 100,000 in the Everglades, could spread as far as coastal Delaware, or even Oregon.

Some Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said the ban could "devastate a small but thriving sector of the economy," Politico reported Thursday.

Snake breeder and herpetologist David Barker testified Wednesday at a committee hearing that the law would hurt his livelihood.

"It threatens as many as a million law-abiding American citizens and their families with the penalty of a felony conviction for pursuing their livelihoods, for pursuing their hobby, or for simply moving with their pet to a new state," Barker said.

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