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Concept to Reorganize Some Agencies

FLEOA SUPPORTS PRESIDENT OBAMAS CONCEPT TO REORGANIZE SOME GOVERNMENT AGENCIES; NOAA INTO THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR

Washington, DC - Today, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) announced their support for President Barrack Obama’s concept to streamline and reform some Executive Branch agencies with the following caution: there will be no reductions in law enforcement positions and funding for the impacted law enforcement components.

President Obama addressed the redundancy in the federal government with an example he first used in his last State of the Union Address. As it turns out, the Department of Interior is in charge of salmon in fresh water while  the Department of Commerce manages them in saltwater and the Department of Agriculture regulates salmon once it is smoked and consumed by the public.This separation of responsibilities apparently stems from a disagreement between President Nixon and the then Secretary of Interior over the Vietnam War. President Nixon decided not to put NOAA in a more sensible place, the Department of Interior.

The merger of NOAA into the Department of Interior would likely include the reunion of the special agents, inspectors and officers of the Fish & Wildlife Service, Office for Law Enforcement and the NOAA Fisheries Service, Office for Law Enforcement. Until 1976 the law enforcement component of NOAA Fisheries was located in the then Bureau of Sport Fisheries & Wildlife, Division of Commercial Fisheries Enforcement. FLEOA’s National FLEOA President Jon Adler stated "The mission of Fish & Wildlife and NOAA

NOAA law enforcement offices are similar with many overlapping jurisdictions when itcomes to species protected by the Endangered Species and Marine Mammal Protection Acts. They also share  jurisdiction for anadromous  and catadromous fish species, such as river herring, striped bass, smelt, shad and the imperiled immature life stage of the American eel, known as elvers, which have been sold on the black market for as much as $1,200 a pound”. "The merging of these law enforcement offices would improve the resources needed to combat illegal wildlife crime, specifically the exploitation of wild species for illicit commercial enterprises”.

Adler stated that "FLEOA created an Environmental and Natural Resource Law Enforcement Working Group comprised of federal law enforcement agencies whose missions involve the conservation and protection of the nations fish, wildlife, plants and the lands they inhabit.”  "The Working Group was created to address issues just like this proposed merger”. Last year the Working Group created an online survey for members of these agencies that resulted in opinions and suggestions for improving the effectiveness of their agencies. The majority of Fish & Wildlife and NOAA respondents felt that a merger of the law enforcement offices would result in over 350 special agents and a uniformed division that can be cross trained to continue focusing on important investigations in areas such as large scale poaching operations and protecting the public from domestic and international seafood mislabeling.