Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Conference report filed in House (09/16/1988)

(Conference report filed in House, H. Rept. 100-928)

Title I: Endangered Species Act Amendments of 1988 - Amends the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (the Act) to redefine the term person to include any State, municipality, or political subdivision of a State, or any other entity subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

Directs the Secretary (for purposes of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Commerce as program responsibilities are vested, or, in the case of importation or exportation of terrestial plants, the Secretary of Agriculture) to monitor the status of species identified as candidates for the endangered species list, using the emergency listing authority to prevent a significant risk to any such species.

Permits the regulation of commerce or taking (rather than both) for an unlisted species in appearance to a listed species.

Directs the Secretary to develop, implement, and report biennially to specified congressional committees on recovery plans for the conservation and survival of listed endangered and threatened species on a priority basis without regard to the taxonomic classification.

Directs the Secretary, prior to the final approval of a new or revised recovery plan, to provide public notice and an opportunity for public review and comment on such plan, and to consider all information presented during such public comment period. Requires each Federal agency to consider all such information prior to plan implementation.

Directs the Secretary to implement, in cooperation with the States, a five-year monitoring program for recovered species.

Revises provisions for the grants program for various sorts of cooperation with States to add grants to States for monitoring programs for candidate and recovered species. Establishes a cooperative endangered species conservation fund based on a percentage of funds credited to the Sport Fishing Restoration Account to finance all grants under such cooperation with States provisions after FY 1988.

Makes it unlawful to maliciously damage or destroy any endangered plant species on Federal lands or to remove or damage such species in violation of State law or in the course of any violation of a State criminal trespass law.

Increases civil and criminal penalties for violations of the Act. Makes sums available for deposit in the cooperative endangered species conservation fund.

Directs the Secretary of Commerce to delay the effective date of specified regulations relating to sea turtle conservation until May 1, 1990, in inshore areas, and until May 1, 1989, in offshore areas, except that regulations already in effect in the Canaveral area of Florida shall remain in effect. Makes the inshore area regulations effective beginning May 1, 1990, unless the Secretary of Commerce determines that other conservation measures are proving equally effective in reducing sea turtle mortality by shrimp trawling, and modifies the regulations accordingly.

Directs the Secretary of Commerce to contract for a independent review of scientific information pertaining to the conservation of each of the relevant species of sea turtles, to be conducted by the National Academy of Sciences with experts not employed by Federal or State government. Sets forth the purposes and scope of such review. Directs the Secretary of Commerce to submit such review, with recommendations, to specified congressional committees by April 1, 1989. Requires the review panel, if such review cannot be completed by such deadline, to give priority to completing that portion relating to the Kemp's ridley sea turtle and to complete the remainder as soon as possible. Sets forth items for the Secretary of Commerce to consider before making such recommendations.

Authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to modify, for good cause, regulations relating to sea turtle conservation.

Directs the Secretary of Commerce, either directly or by contract, to instruct fishermen in the use of the turtle excluder device or any other required device.

Directs the National Marine Fisheries Service to designate a Sea Turtle Coordinator to establish and carry out an effective, long-term sea turtle program.

Authorizes appropriations through FY 1989 to the Department of Commerce for sea turtle conservation.

Extends through 1992 the authorization of appropriations to: (1) the Departments of the Interior, of Commerce, and of Agriculture to carry out their respective functions and responsibilities under the Act and under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora); (2) the Secretary and the Endangered Species Committee to carry out their functions under specified provisions relating to exemptions from the Act; and (3) the Department of the Interior to carry out provisions relating to implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Directs the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in cooperation with the Secretaries of Agriculture and of the Interior, to engage in an informational program directed at the agricultural food and fiber commodity production community concerning existing or proposed requirements under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, including pesticide label change requirements.

Requires the Administrator of EPA and the Secretaries of Agriculture and of the Interior to jointly study and report to specified congressional committee chairmen on the economic impact of implementing the endangered species pesticide labeling program. Requires a final report within one year after enactment of this Act.

Renews for a six-month period certificates of exemption from the prohibition against sale of scrimshaw products and unworked whale ivory for certificate holders whose certificates were renewed after October 13, 1982, and were in effect on March 31, 1988. Allows such certificate-holders to apply for one additional renewal for a period not to exceed five years.

Prohibits, after January 31, 1984, any person from selling or offering for sale in interstate or foreign commerce, any pre-Act finished scrimshaw product unless such person holds a certificate of exemption and unless the product or raw material for the product was held by such person on October 13, 1982.

Directs the Secretary of the Interior, through the Fish and Wildlife Service, to report annually to the Congress, with an accounting of all reasonably identifiable Federal expenditures under the Act and all reasonably identifiable expenditures by States receiving cost sharing grants under the Act, listed on species-by-species basis.

Title II: African Elephant Conservation - African Elephant Conservation Act - Declares it to be the policy of the United States to assist in the conservation and protection of the African elephant by supporting and providing financial resources for the conservation programs of the African countries and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Secretariat.

Part I: African Elephant Conservation Assistance - Authorizes the Secretary of the Interior (the Secretary for purposes of this title) to provide financial assistance to the African Elephant Conservation Fund for approved projects for research, conservation, management, or protection of African elephants.

Allows African government agencies, the CITES Secretariat, and organizations or individuals experienced in African elephant conservation to submit project proposals to the Secretary. Sets forth requirements for such proposals, procedures for their review, and criteria for their approval. Requires entities receiving assistance for such projects to report periodically to the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Establishes in the Treasury the African Elephant Conservation Fund (the Fund). Requires to be deposited in the Fund: (1) subject to appropriations, all specified penalties which are not used to pay rewards under part II; (2) donations received; and (3) other amounts appropriated to the Fund to carry out this part. Authorizes the Secretary to: (1) use amounts in the Fund to provide assistance under this part; and (2) accept and use donations to provide such assistance, transferring such donations to the Secretary of the Treasury for deposit into the Fund. Limits to three percent of appropriations to the fund for a fiscal year the amount that may be used for Fund administration.

Directs the Secretary to report annually to the Congress on the Fund and the status of the African elephant. Sets forth requirements for such reports.

Part II: Moratoria and Prohibited Acts - Directs the Secretary, within one month after enactment of this title, to issue a call for information on the African elephant conservation program of each ivory-producing country by: (1) publishing a notice in the Federal Register requesting submission of such information by all interested parties; and (2) submitting a written request for such information through the Secretary of State to each such country. Directs the Secretary to review each such program and, within one year after enactment of this title, issue and publish in the Federal Register a determination of whether or not each such country meets specified criteria. Authorizes the Secretary, upon finding insufficient information, and explaining such finding, to delay issuing the determination until no later than December 31, 1989.

Directs the Secretary to establish a moratorium on the importation of raw and worked ivory: (1) from an ivory-producing country immediately upon determining that it does not meet all the specified criteria; (2) from any ivory-producing country for which there is insufficient information for a determination by January 1, 1990, unless, on the basis of new information, the Secretary concludes before that date that the country meets all the specified criteria; and (3) from an intermediary country immediately upon determining that the country violates specified criteria relating to such importation. Provides for suspensions of such moratoria, and for petitions to establish or suspend such moratoria. Allows individuals to import sport-hunted elephant trophies they have legally taken in an ivory-producing country that has submitted an ivory quota. Prohibits the Secretary from establishing a moratorium prohibiting import of such trophies legally taken by the importer or the importer's principal.

Sets forth special rules relating to confiscated ivory. Provides that trade in raw or worked ivory that is confiscated by an ivory-producing country or an intermediary country shall not be the sole cause for the establishment of a moratorium under this part if: (1) such ivory is disposed of pursuant to the CITES Ivory Control System; and (2) all proceeds from such disposal are used solely to enhance wildlife conservation programs or conservation purposes of CITES. Makes such provisions inapplicable to any country that was not a party to CITES at the time of such confiscation, until such country develops appropriate measures to assure that persons with a history of illegal dealings in ivory shall not benefit from the disposal of confiscated ivory.

Sets forth prohibited acts relating to import or export of ivory. Sets forth civil and criminal penalties for violations. Directs the Secretary, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to enforce this part in the same manner as they enforce specified provisions of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, upon the recommendation of the Secretary, to pay a reward to any person furnishing information leading to a civil penalty or criminal conviction under this title. Limits the amount of any such rewards. Makes Federal, State, or local officers or employees ineligible for such rewards if they furnish such information or render such service in the performance of their official duties.

Part III: Miscellaneous - Amends the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require all commercial importers and exporters of ivory in the United States to obtain permission of the Secretary to engage in such business and to meet certain recordkeeping, inspecting, and reporting requirements. Prohibits the Secretary from varying the requirements for obtaining such permission on the basis of the value of amount of ivory involved.

Declares that the Secretary's authority under this title is in addition to and shall not affect the Secretary's authority under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 or the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981.

Deems a country, for purposes of Federal law known as the Pelly Amendment, to be diminishing the effectiveness of an international program for endangered or threatened species, if the Secretary finds in administering this title that such country does not adhere to the CITES Ivory Control System.

Directs the Secretary, within three months after the completion of the 8th Conference of the Parties to CITES, to determine whether this title together with the CITES Ivory Control System, has substantially stopped the importation of illegally harvested ivory into the United States. Directs the Secretary, upon determination that such importation has not been substantially stopped, to recommend to the Congress amendments to this title or other necessary actions, including the establishment of a complete moratorium on the importation of elephant ivory.

Sets forth definitions for purposes of this title. Defines "raw ivory" as any African elephant tusk, and any piece thereof, the surface of which, polished or unpolished, is unaltered or minimally carved.

Authorizes appropriations to the Fund and the Secretary for FY 1989 through 1993 to carry out this title.