The federal government spent $863,000 on a program to eradicate brown tree snakes in Guam in fiscal year 2019, according to a report.
Continue Reading Below
The Citizens Against Government Waste included the expenditure in its 2019 Pig Book, which chronicles what it says are wasteful federal earmarks.
Rather than killing the earmark, the Department of Interior asked for $2.84 million for brown tree snake control in President Trump’s fiscal year 2020 budget request, which did not become law.
Congress found in 2004 that the invasive species “is believed to have been introduced to the island of Guam as a passive stowaway in a military cargo ship that moved materiel after World War II.”
The snake had until then lived in Indonesia, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Australia.
Congress called the snake’s presence “a documented economic and human health hazard in Guam,” a U.S. territory in the Western Pacific Ocean with a population of 164,229, according to the World Bank.
Citizens Against Government Waste said brown tree snake earmarks have cost taxpayers $17.7 million since fiscal year 1993.
"Once again, the brown tree snake has slithered its way into our defense appropriation bill," the late Sen. John McCain complained in 2004. "I'm sure the snakes are a serious problem, but a defense appropriations act is not the appropriate vehicle to address this issue."