“Musicians can breathe a little easier while traveling, with the submission to Congress of a U.S. Department of Agriculture report addressing provisions of the Lacey Act that protect endangered wildlife, fish and plants,” writes Randy Lewis in Saturday’s (6/1) Los Angeles Times. “The legislation had been causing snafus for musicians carrying vintage instruments made of materials protected by the act. Since a major amendment to the century-old act was passed in 2008, vintage instruments as well as newer ones made from old stockpiles of exotic woods have come under increased scrutiny by customs officials when musicians enter or re-enter the U.S. with those instruments. But the report addressing implementation of the amendments has in large part taken musical instruments out of the mix of problematic products made from endangered plants.” According to the report, “If the wood is made into a musical instrument and the owner of the instrument travels internationally and re-enters the country with the instrument as part of his or her personal baggage, that owner would not need to submit a Lacey Act declaration for the instrument upon entry into the United States because APHIS is not requiring the submission of a Lacey Act declaration for such informal entries.” The report also notes, “Both [the Department of Justice] and [the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] have issued statements that citizens traveling with their musical instruments are not an enforcement priority…. The Lacey Act was first passed in 1900, significantly amended in 1981 and in 2008 was further amended by the Food Conservation and Energy Act of 2008.”

Posted June 3, 2013