Connect with us

Politics

Fact Check: Is the Pentagon Spending $15M a Year to Kill Brown Tree Snakes on Guam?

Published

on

The Western Pacific island of Guam was trending on Twitter after Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) referred to the U.S territory as a foreign land, like China and Russia, in a video.

The island was a major U.S. Naval and Air Force base during World War II, and the Guam Organic Act of 1950 made Guam an unincorporated territory of the United States, transferring jurisdiction from the U.S. Navy to the Department of the Interior (DOI).

Anyone born in Guam is automatically a U.S. citizen.

We’d like to remind @mtgreenee that Guam is very much a territory of the United States. Not only that, during the Vietnam War, Guam lost more troops per capita than all other states and territories. This continued disrespect has not gone unnoticed. #MarjorieTraitorGreene pic.twitter.com/RGQzp03G0l

— VoteVets (@votevets) March 16, 2021

The Claim

While Twitter users were discussing Guam’s relationship with the U.S., writer and podcaster Ed Burmila tweeted about “Aerial Tylenol-mouse bombing” by the Pentagon in Guam.

“Glad Guam is trending, it’s my chance to tell you that the Pentagon spends $15mil/yr trying to kill Brown Tree Snakes it accidentally released on Guam by aerially bombing the island with dead mice stuffed with Tylenol, which is toxic to snakes.

“Aerial Tylenol-mouse bombing.”

Glad Guam is trending, it’s my chance to tell you that the Pentagon spends $15mil/yr trying to kill Brown Tree Snakes it accidentally released on Guam by aerially bombing the island with dead mice stuffed with Tylenol, which is toxic to snakes.

Aerial Tylenol-mouse bombing.

— Mass for Shut-ins (Podcast) (@edburmila) March 16, 2021

The Facts

The brown tree snake was accidentally introduced to Guam via shipments of U.S. military materials during World War II, according to a Department of Defense (DOD) spokesperson.

Years later, the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) found that the invasive species was responsible for extensive damage, including numerous power outages, each year. Snake interdiction on Andersen Air Force Base on Guam started in 1993 and is now a year-to-year program, according to the spokesperson.

The Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) is responsible for roughly $3.5 million in yearly funding for the BTS Interdiction program, according to public documents, and the DOD funds interdiction on its military bases. APHIS Wildlife Services coordinates the program.

“Brown Tree Snakes are currently controlled via the Interdiction program, which involves inspecting all cargo and air and watercrafts that leave Guam for snakes, to ensure they do not get to other insular areas,” an OIA spokesperson said. “OIA pays for the interdiction program at the commercial ports, and DOD pays for the interdiction that occurs on the military bases.”

Another method being tested for controlling the snakes is an “aerial bait delivery system,” the spokesperson added. This involves dead mice bait stuffed with tablets of acetaminophen.

The spokesperson for the DOD also confirmed that acetaminophen-loaded mice are a part of interdiction efforts on Andersen.

“Results to date show the aerial delivery method is proving to be the most effective BTS landscape level control method,” the spokesperson said.

The Pentagon does not spend $15 million on these operations. Current aerial bait funding costs the DOD only about $1 million a year, the spokesperson said. Overall, the DOD contributes $5.2 million to the program.

The Ruling

Mostly False.

The DOD and DOI are funding the USDA-APHIS-coordinated brown tree snake control program in Guam, including the testing of an air-drop delivery of dead mice filled with acetaminophen.

In total, the Pentagon contributes about $1 million yearly to aerial bait delivery and $5.2 million to overall brown tree snake control efforts, not $15 million.

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is docked at Naval Base Guam in Apra Harbor amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 27, 2020.
Tony AZIOS/Getty

Sponsors

Advertisement

Recent Topics

Sponsors

Recent Posts

Trending