With President Obama’s last term coming to an end, his administration has been pushing out executive orders left and right. Obama is trying to secure things that his presidency has accomplished while preparing to keep the county intact for the presidency to come.
Now, Obama has pushed through an act called “Safeguarding the Nation from the Impacts of Invasive Species.” The interesting thing about this presidential order (see full text below) is the legal wording of the document leaves a lot up for suspicion. The article was left purposely vague, it seems.
There are a few reasons for this. The first could be simply so the article can be interpreted for years to come. The second is a little more malicious and slightly terrifying. An invasive species in the document is vaguely defined as an organism that disrupts an ecosystem. Because of this, some are speculating that this last order of 2016 is meant to protect from alien invasions, and purposely set some guidelines for the next presidency.
SAFEGUARDING THE NATION FROM THE IMPACTS OF INVASIVE SPECIES
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and to ensure the faithful execution of the laws of the United States of America, including the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990, (16 U.S.C. 4701 et seq.), the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.), the Lacey Act, as amended (18 U.S.C. 42, 16 U.S.C. 3371-3378 et seq.), the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), the Noxious Weed Control and Eradication Act of 2004 (7 U.S.C. 7781 et seq.), and other pertinent statutes, to prevent the introduction of invasive species and provide for their control, and to minimize the economic, plant, animal, ecological, and human health impacts that invasive species cause, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to prevent the introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive species, as well as to eradicate and control populations of invasive species that are established. Invasive species pose threats to prosperity, security, and quality of life. They have negative impacts on the environment and natural resources, agriculture and food production systems, water resources, human, animal, and plant health, infrastructure, the economy, energy, cultural resources, and military readiness. Every year, invasive species cost the United States billions of dollars in economic losses and other damages.
Of substantial growing concern are invasive species that are or may be vectors, reservoirs, and causative agents of disease, which threaten human, animal, and plant health. The introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive species create the potential for serious public health impacts, especially when considered in the context of changing climate conditions. Climate change influences the establishment, spread, and impacts of invasive species.
Executive Order 13112 of February 3, 1999 (Invasive Species), called upon executive departments and agencies to take steps to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species, and to support efforts to eradicate and control invasive species that are established. Executive Order 13112 also created a coordinating body — the Invasive Species Council, also referred to as the National Invasive Species Council — to oversee implementation of the order, encourage proactive planning and action, develop recommendations for international cooperation, and take other steps to improve the Federal response to invasive species. Past efforts at preventing, eradicating, and controlling invasive species demonstrated that collaboration across Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial government; stakeholders; and the private sector is critical to minimizing the spread of invasive species and that coordinated action is necessary to protect the assets and security of the United States.
This order amends Executive Order 13112 and directs actions to continue coordinated Federal prevention and control efforts related to invasive species. This order maintains the National Invasive Species Council (Council) and the Invasive Species Advisory Committee; expands the membership of the Council; clarifies the operations of the Council; incorporates considerations of human and environmental health, climate change, technological innovation, and other emerging priorities into Federal efforts to address invasive species; and strengthens coordinated, cost-efficient Federal action.
Sec. 2. Definitions. Section 1 of Executive Order 13112 is amended to read as follows:
“Section 1. Definitions. (a) ‘Control’ means containing, suppressing, or reducing populations of invasive species.
(b) ‘Eradication’ means the removal or destruction of an entire population of invasive species.
(c) ‘Federal agency’ means an executive department or agency, but does not include independent establishments as defined by 5 U.S.C. 104.
(d) ‘Introduction’ means, as a result of human activity, the intentional or unintentional escape, release, dissemination, or placement of an organism into an ecosystem to which it is not native.
(e) ‘Invasive species’ means, with regard to a particular ecosystem, a non-native organism whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm, or harm to human, animal, or plant health.
(f) ‘Non-native species’ or ‘alien species’ means, with respect to a particular ecosystem, an organism, including its seeds, eggs, spores, or other biological material capable of propagating that species, that occurs outside of its natural range.
(g) ‘Pathway’ means the mechanisms and processes by which non-native species are moved, intentionally or unintentionally, into a new ecosystem.
(h) ‘Prevention’ means the action of stopping invasive species from being introduced or spreading into a new ecosystem.
(i) ‘United States’ means the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, all possessions, and the territorial sea of the United States as defined by Presidential Proclamation 5928 of December 27, 1988.”
Sec. 3. Federal Agency Duties. Section 2 of Executive Order 13112 is amended to read as follows:
“Sec. 2. Federal Agency Duties. (a) Each Federal agency for which that agency’s actions may affect the introduction, establishment, or spread of invasive species shall, to the extent practicable and permitted by law,
(1) identify such agency actions;
(2) subject to the availability of appropriations, and within administrative, budgetary, and jurisdictional limits, use relevant agency programs and authorities to:
(i) prevent the introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive species;
(ii) detect and respond rapidly to eradicate or control populations of invasive species in a manner that is cost-effective and minimizes human, animal, plant, and environmental health risks;
(iii) monitor invasive species populations accurately and reliably;
(iv) provide for the restoration of native species, ecosystems, and other assets that have been impacted by invasive species;
(v) conduct research on invasive species and develop and apply technologies to prevent their introduction, and provide for environmentally sound methods of eradication and control of invasive species;
(vi) promote public education and action on invasive species, their pathways, and ways to address them, with an emphasis on prevention, and early detection and rapid response;
(vii) assess and strengthen, as appropriate, policy and regulatory frameworks pertaining to the prevention, eradication, and control of invasive species and address regulatory gaps, inconsistencies, and conflicts;
(viii) coordinate with and complement similar efforts of States, territories, federally recognized American Indian tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, Native Hawaiians, local governments, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector; and
(ix) in consultation with the Department of State and with other agencies as appropriate, coordinate with foreign governments to prevent the movement and minimize the impacts of invasive species; and
(3) refrain from authorizing, funding, or implementing actions that are likely to cause or promote the introduction, establishment, or spread of invasive species in the United States unless, pursuant to guidelines that it has prescribed, the agency has determined and made public its determination that the benefits of such actions clearly outweigh the potential harm caused by invasive species; and that all feasible and prudent measures to minimize risk of harm will be taken in conjunction with the actions.
(c) Federal agencies shall pursue the duties set forth in this section in coordination, to the extent practicable, with other member agencies of the Council and staff, consistent with the National Invasive Species Council Management Plan, and in cooperation with State, local, tribal, and territorial governments, and stakeholders, as appropriate, and in consultation with the Department of State when Federal agencies are working with international organizations and foreign nations.
(d) Federal agencies that are members of the Council, and Federal interagency bodies working on issues relevant to the prevention, eradication, and control of invasive species, shall provide the Council with annual information on actions taken that implement these duties and identify barriers to advancing priority actions.
(e) To the extent practicable, Federal agencies shall also expand the use of new and existing technologies and practices; develop, share, and utilize similar metrics and standards, methodologies, and databases and, where relevant, platforms for monitoring invasive species; and, facilitate the interoperability of information systems, open data, data analytics, predictive modeling, and data reporting necessary to inform timely, science-based decision making.”
Sec. 4. Emerging Priorities. Federal agencies that are members of the Council and Federal interagency bodies working on issues relevant to the prevention, eradication, and control of invasive species shall take emerging priorities into consideration, including:
(a) Federal agencies shall consider the potential public health and safety impacts of invasive species, especially those species that are vectors, reservoirs, and causative agents of disease. The Department of Health and Human Services, in coordination and consultation with relevant agencies as appropriate, shall within 1 year of this order, and as requested by the Council thereafter, provide the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Council a report on public health impacts associated with invasive species. That report shall describe the disease, injury, immunologic, and safety impacts associated with invasive species, including any direct and indirect impacts on low-income, minority, and tribal communities.
(b) Federal agencies shall consider the impacts of climate change when working on issues relevant to the prevention, eradication, and control of invasive species, including in research and monitoring efforts, and integrate invasive species into Federal climate change coordinating frameworks and initiatives.
(c) Federal agencies shall consider opportunities to apply innovative science and technology when addressing the duties identified in section 2 of Executive Order 13112, as amended, including, but not limited to, promoting open data and data analytics; harnessing technological advances in remote sensing technologies, molecular tools, cloud computing, and predictive analytics; and using tools such as challenge prizes, citizen science, and crowdsourcing.
Sec. 5. National Invasive Species Council. Section 3 of Executive Order 13112 is amended to read as follows:
“Sec. 3. National Invasive Species Council. (a) A National Invasive Species Council (Council) is hereby established. The mission of the Council is to provide the vision and leadership to coordinate, sustain, and expand Federal efforts to safeguard the interests of the United States through the prevention, eradication, and control of invasive species, and through the restoration of ecosystems and other assets impacted by invasive species.
(b) The Council’s membership shall be composed of the following officials, who may designate a senior-level representative to perform the functions of the member:
(i) Secretary of State;
(ii) Secretary of the Treasury;
(iii) Secretary of Defense;
(iv) Secretary of the Interior;
(v) Secretary of Agriculture;
(vi) Secretary of Commerce;
(vii) Secretary of Health and Human Services;
(viii) Secretary of Transportation;
(ix) Secretary of Homeland Security;
(x) Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration;
(xi) Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency;
(xii) Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development;
(xiii) United States Trade Representative;
(xiv) Director or Chair of the following components of the Executive Office of the President: the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the Office of Management and Budget; and
(xv) Officials from such other departments, agencies, offices, or entities as the agencies set forth above, by consensus, deem appropriate.
(c) The Council shall be co-chaired by the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary), the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Secretary of Commerce, who shall meet quarterly or more frequently if needed, and who may designate a senior-level representative to perform the functions of the Co-Chair. The Council shall meet no less than once each year. The Secretary of the Interior shall, after consultation with the Co-Chairs, appoint an Executive Director of the Council to oversee a staff that supports the duties of the Council. Within 1 year of the date of this order, the Co-Chairs of the Council shall, with consensus of its members, complete a charter, which shall include any administrative policies and processes necessary to ensure the Council can satisfy the functions and responsibilities described in this order.
(d) The Secretary of the Interior shall maintain the current Invasive Species Advisory Committee established under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App., to provide information and advice for consideration by the Council. The Secretary shall, after consultation with other members of the Council, appoint members of the advisory committee who represent diverse stakeholders and who have expertise to advise the Council.
(e) Administration of the Council. The Department of the Interior shall provide funding and administrative support for the Council and the advisory committee consistent with existing authorities. To the extent permitted by law, including the Economy Act, and within existing appropriations, participating agencies may detail staff to the Department of the Interior to support the Council’s efforts.”
Sec. 6. Duties of the National Invasive Species Council. Section 4 of Executive Order 13112 is amended to read as follows:
“Sec. 4. Duties of the National Invasive Species Council. The Council shall provide national leadership regarding invasive species and shall:
(a) with regard to the implementation of this order, work to ensure that the Federal agency and interagency activities concerning invasive species are coordinated, complementary, cost-efficient, and effective;
(b) undertake a National Invasive Species Assessment in coordination with the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s periodic national assessment, that evaluates the impact of invasive species on major U.S. assets, including food security, water resources, infrastructure, the environment, human, animal, and plant health, natural resources, cultural identity and resources, and military readiness, from ecological, social, and economic perspectives;
(c) advance national incident response, data collection, and rapid reporting capacities that build on existing frameworks and programs and strengthen early detection of and rapid response to invasive species, including those that are vectors, reservoirs, or causative agents of disease;
(d) publish an assessment by 2020 that identifies the most pressing scientific, technical, and programmatic coordination challenges to the Federal Government’s capacity to prevent the introduction of invasive species, and that incorporate recommendations and priority actions to overcome these challenges into the National Invasive Species Council Management Plan, as appropriate;
(e) support and encourage the development of new technologies and practices, and promote the use of existing technologies and practices, to prevent, eradicate, and control invasive species, including those that are vectors, reservoirs, and causative agents of disease;
(f) convene annually to discuss and coordinate interagency priorities and report annually on activities and budget requirements for programs that contribute directly to the implementation of this order; and
(g) publish a National Invasive Species Council Management Plan as set forth in section 5 of this order.”
Sec. 7. National Invasive Species Council Management Plan. Section 5 of Executive Order 13112 is amended to read as follows:
“Sec. 5. National Invasive Species Council Management Plan. (a) By December 31, 2019, the Council shall publish a National Invasive Species Council Management Plan (Management Plan), which shall, among other priorities identified by the Council, include actions to further the implementation of the duties of the National Invasive Species Council.
(b) The Management Plan shall recommend strategies to:
(1) provide institutional leadership and priority setting;
(2) achieve effective interagency coordination and cost-efficiency;
(3) raise awareness and motivate action, including through the promotion of appropriate transparency, community-level consultation, and stakeholder outreach concerning the benefits and risks to human, animal, or plant health when controlling or eradicating an invasive species;
(4) remove institutional and policy barriers;
(5) assess and strengthen capacities; and
(6) foster scientific, technical, and programmatic innovation.
(c) The Council shall evaluate the effectiveness of the Management Plan implementation and update the Plan every 3 years. The Council shall provide an annual report of its achievements to the public.
(d) Council members may complement the Management Plan with invasive species policies and plans specific to their respective agency’s roles, responsibilities, and authorities.”
Sec. 8. Actions of the Department of State and Department of Defense. Section 6(d) of Executive Order 13112 is amended to read as follows:
“(d) The duties of section 3(a)(2) and section 3(a)(3) of this order shall not apply to any action of the Department of State if the Secretary of State finds that exemption from such requirements is necessary for foreign policy, readiness, or national security reasons. The duties of section 3(a)(2) and section 3(a)(3) of this order shall not apply to any action of the Department of Defense if the Secretary of Defense finds that exemption from such requirements is necessary for foreign policy, readiness, or national security reasons.”
Sec. 9. Obligations of the Department of Health and Human Services. A new section 6(e) of Executive Order 13112 is added to read as follows:
“(e) The requirements of this order do not affect the obligations of the Department of Health and Human Services under the Public Health Service Act or the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.”
Sec. 10. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(1) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(2) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
December 5, 2016.