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The Lacey Act and Imported "Plant Products": Recent Enforcement Trends Generate Calls for Amendment


January 5, 2012


Washington, DC

The Lacey Act targets trafficking in illegally sourced wildlife, plants and plant products. Under the Act, for example, it is unlawful to import, sell, receive and purchase various products that were taken and exported in violation of foreign laws; violations can trigger both civil forfeiture and criminal penalties. Congress expanded the Lacey Act in 2008 to include certain "plant products," including products made from wood, to address concerns primarily relating to illegal logging overseas, and to add a declaration requirement that applies to importers of plant products.

These 2008 revisions have been the subject of considerable media attention in connection with recent federal enforcement actions, and a bill to amend those provisions was introduced in the House. Meanwhile, the USDA is currently conducting a statutorily mandated review of the implementation and declaration requirements of the law.

ELI was pleased to co-sponsor a panel discussion on the implementation of the 2008 Lacey Act amendments and the various proposals to adjust them. Speakers included representatives from the Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section, the Environmental Investigation Agency, and the International Wood Products Association.


Marcus Asner, Partner, Arnold & Porter (moderator)

Elinor Colbourn, Assistant Chief, ENRD, US Department of Justice

Andrea Johnson, Director of Forest Campaigns, Environmental Integrity Agency

Brent McClendon, Executive Vice President, International Wood Products Association

Please note that there is no recording available of this session.