The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced a policy change to mitigate the human-assisted spread of the emerald ash borer, beginning April 1.
“We are modifying our EAB regulatory policy to focus resources along the perimeter of the quarantine areas in order to maximize our impact on preventing the human-assisted spread of EAB to new locations. Specifically, contiguous regulated areas that cross state borders will be treated as a single regulated area; presently each affected state or portion thereof is treated as a separate regulated area,” deputy administrator Rebecca A. Bech said in a statement.
“[The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] reviewed data on the movement of regulated articles originating in EAB quarantine areas and concluded that the vast majority of movement is within contiguous regulated areas. Therefore, the new policy will permit unrestricted movement of regulated articles within contiguous quarantined areas. The conditions for movement of regulated articles out of an EAB-quarantine area remain unchanged. This policy change aligns the EAB program’s regulatory framework with other programs that support large, contiguous, multi-state quarantines, such as gypsy moth, pine shoot beetle, and imported fire ant. We anticipate that this will reduce the complexities of our regulatory requirements for affected stakeholders while maintaining measures to prevent human assisted spread to uninfested areas.
“This change in regulatory policy does not reflect a lack of commitment by [the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] to minimize the impacts of EAB. We remain concerned about the threat posed by EAB and look forward to our continued partnership to safeguard our nation’s forests.”