Emerald Ash Borer: No More Quarantine?

**Updated September 20, 2018**

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (AHPIS) sent out a bulletin on 09/18/2018 regarding their proposed removal of domestic quarantine regulations for the emerald ash borer (EAB) and they are currently looking for input. See information that came from USDA AHPIS below. Information can also be viewed by clicking here.

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 available in the Federal Register and 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. Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2017-0056.

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.

Supporting documents and any comments APHIS receives on this docket may be viewed athttp://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2017-0056 or in the APHIS reading room, which is located in Room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 799-7039.

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 robyn.i.rose@aphis.usda.gov.

The federal government is looking to possibly lift quarantines for the invasive emerald ash borer. Currently, this quarantine restricts movement of firewood from ash trees across state lines from states that already have emerald ash borer. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) told news sources that “33 states have EAB infestations, and every year the insect continues to be detected beyond the quarantine boundaries.” Based on the beetle’s continuous spread with the quarantine, eradication is not possible according to USDA APHIS. Federal and state forestry officials say that the quarantine has most likely slowed the spread of the emerald ash borer, but it hasn’t done enough to stop the spread.

U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr

U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr

USDA APHIS will make a final ruling in about 60 days after a public comment period in July 2018. The Forest Service considers the emerald ash borer to be the most destructive pest ever seen in North America, with economic costs reaching billions of dollars. Other approaches, including studies on resistant ash trees as well as biological controls are also being researched and explored. Developing a resistant tree and cloning it may be the best answer, says Connecticut state Forester Christopher Martin. Offering a silver lining, Martin said “We don’t think all hope is lost.”

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Original Article Information:
Marc Heller, E&E News reporter. Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2018.