Portman, Coons Applaud Committee Passage of Their Bipartisan Legislation to Reauthorize Wildlife Trafficking Law

Bipartisan Legislation Seeks to Build on 2016 Law to Address Wildlife Trafficking Crisis that Threatens Global Security

June 9, 2022 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Chris Coons (D-DE), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, applauded Committee passage of their bipartisan legislation to combat international wildlife trafficking and strengthen interagency efforts to tackle the issue. Wildlife trafficking remains a serious transnational crime and threatens the conservation of vulnerable wildlife, regional security, and economic opportunity. It has also been linked to other organized criminal activities, including trafficking in narcotics, weapons, and people. The Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Reauthorization and Improvements Act would reauthorize legislation that was signed into law in 2016, expand the responsibilities of the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking, and enhance law enforcement authorities for the Fish and Wildlife Service to better combat wildlife trafficking. Companion legislation has also been introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives. The legislation was reported favorably out the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by voice vote earlier today.

“Wildlife trafficking is not only a matter of conservation but also national security and international stability, as billions in profits from the illegal wildlife trade are used to finance other illicit and terrorist activity. I am pleased my bipartisan legislation with Senator Coons to help prevent the trafficking and poaching of the world’s most threatened species has now passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” said Senator Portman“By reauthorizing and expanding the responsibilities of the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking and enhancing existing law enforcement authorities, this bill strengthens the tools the U.S. government has to help combat trafficking around the globe. I will continue my work with my colleagues in both the House and Senate to build on this momentum and get this bill across the finish line in this Congress.”

“Wildlife trafficking is more than just a critical conservation issue; it threatens the security of the United States and our international partners,” said Senator Coons. “The Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking has done outstanding work, but the threats posed by wildlife poaching and trafficking are constantly evolving and Congress must reauthorize our wildlife trafficking laws to keep up. I am proud to see this bipartisan bill with my fellow co-chair of the International Conservation Caucus, Senator Portman, move forward in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today.”

Since it was passed into law in 2016, the END Wildlife Trafficking Act has aided in the arrest of members of wildlife trafficking networks and supported interagency efforts to tackle the issue globally through country-specific and regional initiatives. The END Wildlife Reauthorization and Improvements Act reauthorizes the duties of the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking and related reports on major wildlife trafficking countries, expands the role of technology in anti-trafficking efforts, provides additional legal authorities for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prosecute wildlife trafficking cases, and prevents funds from benefitting security forces that commit human rights violations.

Bill text is available here; a one-pager is available here; a section by section is available here.