GOP lawmakers try to ease new curbs on ivory sales - CBS46 News

GOP lawmakers try to ease new curbs on ivory sales

Posted: Updated:
  • NationalMore>>

  • Cooler weather aids crews fighting Washington fire

    Cooler weather aids crews fighting Washington fire

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 3:32 AM EDT2014-07-22 07:32:33 GMT
    Firefighters and local authorities are heartened by weather forecasts that call for continued cooler temperatures and higher humidity as they battle a destructive wildfire that has charred hundreds of square miles...More >
    Firefighters and local authorities are heartened by weather forecasts that call for continued cooler temperatures and higher humidity as they battle a destructive wildfire that has charred hundreds of square miles in...More >
  • Dad: Boys charged in homeless deaths once homeless

    Dad: Boys charged in homeless deaths once homeless

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 3:23 AM EDT2014-07-22 07:23:29 GMT
    A man who says he is the father of two of three teens charged with fatally beating two homeless men says that they too were once homeless, and he has no idea what prompted the brutal Friday night attack that police...More >
    A man who says he is the father of two of three teens charged with fatally beating two homeless men says that they too were once homeless, and he has no idea what prompted the brutal Friday night attack that police say...More >
  • American Jews, other 'lone soldiers' serve Israel

    American Jews, other 'lone soldiers' serve Israel

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 3:01 AM EDT2014-07-22 07:01:56 GMT
    By JULIE WATSON Associated Press The two Americans killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip followed in the footsteps of scores of Jews from around the world who have volunteered to fight for Israel.More >
    By JULIE WATSON Associated Press The two Americans killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip followed in the footsteps of scores of Jews from around the world who have volunteered to fight for Israel.More >
By ANDREW TAYLOR
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Republicans in the House want to hold up new federal rules intended to crack down on ivory sales because it is becoming more difficult for owners of musical instruments, antiques and guns made with ivory to trade in such items.

A House Appropriations subcommittee acted Wednesday to block the rules as part of a measure funding the Fish and Wildlife Service. The legislation has a long way to go before it becomes law and the rules, announced in February, will stay in effect in the meantime.

The rules are aimed at combating elephant and rhinoceros poaching at a time when illegal trade in ivory is flourishing.

"It is extremely difficult to differentiate legally acquired ivory from ivory derived from elephant poaching," senior Fish and Wildlife Service official Robert Dreher said in congressional testimony last month. "Our criminal investigations and anti-smuggling efforts have clearly shown that legal ivory trade can serve as a cover for illegal trade."

Critics say the administration hasn't made the case that shutting down trade in ivory items made from long-dead elephants discourages elephant poaching now or stops trade in illegal ivory.

The legislative effort is in in response to complaints that the rules are making it impossible in many cases for owners of objects made of ivory legally imported before bans imposed in 1975 and 1990 to sell such items, thereby undermining their value.

"The ban would make American owners of legal, pre-ban ivory potential criminals overnight, as well as strip their pieces of commercial value, adversely impacting the finances of millions of Americans," a coalition of groups opposing the ban wrote the agency this spring.

Under the rules, interstate ivory sales are prohibited, except for "bona fide antiques" that are at least a century old. Sales of such ivory within a state are banned unless the seller can prove it was legally imported before the 1990 ban for African elephants or the 1975 ban on ivory from Asian elephants. In May, the government eased the rules somewhat for owners of musical instruments made with ivory.

Antique ivory has a variety of purposes. For instance, it's often used for knife and handgun handles, as part of violin bows and parts of vintage guitars, antique chess sets and walking sticks.

Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Claire Cassel said the agency had no comment.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by WorldNow
CBS Atlanta
Powered by WorldNow
All content © 2000-2014 WorldNow and WGCL-TV. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.