The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comment on a proposal to increase permit application fees for the majority of permits the agency issues.
The proposed rule was published in today's Federal Register and revises fees for permits issued by the Service's Divisions of Migratory Bird Management, Endangered Species, Law Enforcement and Management Authority. The rule does not affect permit application fees for migratory bird banding and marking permits, which are issued by the U.S. Geological Survey
"Permits allow people to legally conduct wildlife-related activities they couldn't otherwise," said Service Director Steve Williams. "We are seeking these fee increases because our ability to effectively provide these special services to the public depends in part on user fees."
The Service processes approximately 25,000 permits annually. Since 1982 when the $25 permit application fee was first established, the Service's costs to administer the permits programs have risen in line with cost of living increases nationwide.
The new proposed fees range from $50 to $300, and are based on a variety of factors, including: (1) the level of complexity required to process the type of permit, (2) whether the permittee stands to benefit commercially from the permit, and (3) whether the permitted activity serves the public interest. The proposed increase would apply to all Service permits except for permits for possession of eagle parts and feathers for Native American religious and cultural use and for Refuge Special Use permits.
The proposed rule and fee schedule is available for viewing on the Internet at: http://permits.fws.gov/federalregister/federalregister.shtml.
The public should send comments by October 9, 2003, to the Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, MBSP 4107, Arlington, Virginia 22203-1610. Alternatively, comments can be faxed to 703-358-2272, or sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your name and return address in your comments.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses nearly 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.