USDA APHIS is seeking comment on proposed federal deregulation of emerald ash borer (EAB).
USDA APHIS is proposing to end the federal emerald ash borer (EAB) quarantine. As indicated in the announcement below, USDA is taking comments on the proposed “deregulation”.
Deregulation would not reduce the importance of slowing the spread of EAB. Since it was first found in February, the insect has only been confirmed at a few locations in seven Vermont towns. Recommendations to lower the risk of spreading EAB have been adopted by the forest economy, municipalities, utilities, homeowners and others who work with ash trees and products. It is still important to implement these methods to prevent accidental infestations and slow ash mortality. According to FPR Deputy Commissioner Sam Lincoln, for those who have been following slow-the-spread recommendations, “What you’re doing is what you should keep doing”.
The impact of the proposed change in the federal government’s approach to EAB would be minimal for Vermonters. It will only affect a small number of business owners in the forest economy who transport forest products to Maine, or to uninfested states far outside the region. If the federal quarantine is discontinued, it is possible that these states may implement new regulations in response.
An end to the federal quarantine would not change any regulations or recommendations for safe movement of ash within Vermont. When EAB was found in the state, it was understood that new EAB detections and changes to federal and other state quarantines were likely. Vermont chose not to have an internal state quarantine, but to focus our resources on local slow-the-spread efforts targeting known infested areas. Vermont’s goal to slow the spread of EAB won’t change, nor will our outreach, education, guidance and other work. We are still actively surveying for the insect, and appreciate information submitted by the public about ash trees suspected of having EAB, which can be reported at VTinvasives.org.
The comment period goes until November 19th and, for now, the USDA quarantine is still in effect. There is still a need for research and management assistance, and Vermont will advocate for continued USDA funding and partnership in these areas.
Recommendations to Slow the Spread can be found here.
Forwarded Notice from USDA APHIS:
Availability of the Proposal to Remove the Domestic Quarantine for Emerald Ash Borer
APHIS is proposing to remove the domestic quarantine regulations for the emerald ash borer (EAB). Eliminating this regulation is in keeping with USDA’s goal of reducing regulations that have outlived their usefulness. The proposal would end APHIS’ domestic regulatory activities, which includes actions such as issuing permits, certificates and compliance agreements, making site visits, and conducting investigations of suspected violations, and instead direct all available resources toward managing the pest. APHIS remains committed to controlling this invasive pest and wants to conduct more research and release a greater number of biological control agents—tiny stingless wasps that are natural predators of the EAB—since biocontrol has shown the most promise for stopping EAB’s spread.
We would like input on the proposal from you. Your participation in this process is valuable.
The proposed rule is open for comment through November 19, 2018. APHIS will review all comments received during the comment period. If APHIS receives no new information significant enough to alter the proposal, APHIS will announce the final regulatory decision. The text of the final rule and discussion of the comments will be published in the Federal Register. Comments regarding the proposed rule for deregulation may be submitted by either of the following methods:
1. Visit the Federal eRulemaking Portal
2. Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2017-0056, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.
We look forward to continued collaboration with you and if you have questions about the proposed regulatory change for EAB, please feel free to contact the National Policy Manager Robyn Rose at 301-851-2283 or firstname.lastname@example.org.