Brown & First District Constituents: "Stamp Out Extinction"
Washington, DC- During this week’s Resources Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife hearing, Congressman Henry E. Brown Jr. (R-SC), invited two of his constituents, Whit McMillan of the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston and Doc Antle, founder of TIGERS in Myrtle Beach, to testify in support of two pieces of legislation he drafted: the Marine Turtle Conservation Reauthorization Act of 2009 and the Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Act, respectively.
H.R. 509 will update the highly successful Marine Turtle Conservation Act of 2004, allowing the Secretary of the Interior to issue conservation grants under the Marine Turtle Conservation Fund. During its initial five year period, 78 conservation projects were approved to assist the highly endangered Green, Hawksbill, Leatherback, Loggerhead and Olive Ridley Marine Turtles. These projects are making a real difference in the ongoing struggle to save these species from extinction, but it is essential that the law be extended as it is the only dedicated source of funding for these turtles in the world. This is especially important as the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, was proclaimed the South Carolina state reptile in 1988. The beaches in coastal South Carolina provide an outstanding nesting habitat for Green and Loggerhead Sea Turtles, in fact, there were nearly 4,500 Loggerhead nests dotting the South Carolina coastline last year alone.
To assist in championing these efforts, Whit McMillan, Director of Education of the South Carolina Aquarium testified in support of Brown’s legislation. Whit is a strong and constant conservationist and he exhibits care for animals by excelling in education and research and by providing an exceptional visitor experience in his work for the aquarium in Charleston.
The second bill, H.R. 1454, the Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Act, would create a new funding stream to protect wildlife by directing the United States Postal Service to design and issue a semipostal stamp depicting certain flagship wildlife species. These funds would then be deposited into various wildlife conservation accounts that are already in existence. Brown’s legislation will provide desperately needed money to supplement Congressional appropriations at no cost to either the Postal Service or U.S. taxpayers - in fact it is estimated that the bill will actually generate funds for the Postal Service.
Demonstrating the broad base of support for this proposal, H.R. 1454 is supported and endorsed by organizations such as the National Rifle Association; the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; the Humane Society of the United States; The Nature Conservancy; the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation; the American Veterinary Medical Association; Safari Club International and the World Wildlife Fund.
Dr. Bagavan Antle, the Founder and Director of The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS) of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina testified in strong support of The Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Act and Congressman Brown thanked him for his testimony and for dedicating his life to wildlife conservation.
For more information on the South Carolina Aquarium please visit www.scaquarium.org.
For more information on The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS) please visit www.myrtlebeachsafari.com.