Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council

Federal Noxious Weed regulation and proposed revisions to U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Quarantine on Plants for Planting. Alan V. Tasker, National Noxious Weed Coordinator, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. (


The regulation of Federal Noxious Weeds by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is done by regulation based on risk assessment. Various stakeholder groups have encouraged APHIS to broadly expand the number of regulated species. The Plant Protection Act of 2000 officially recognized the use of stakeholder petitions to request regulation or deregulation of taxa. APHIS is, in addition, considering substantial revisions to the regulations known collectively as Quarantine 37 (7 CFR Part 319.37). The regulations are also known as the quarantine on Plants for planting; aka Q-37. Changes in patterns of transportation and world-wide production and marketing have exposed problems with the current regulatory scheme. Proposed changes include: 1) establishment of programs to reduce risk of entry and establishment of plant pests (e.g. a clean stock program); 2) establishing a new import entry category of plant taxa to be excluded from import pending risk evaluation; 3) improved data collection to determine taxa imported, origin, and volume; 4) re-evaluation of taxa currently prohibited; and 5) consolidation of all plants for planting into one regulation. The proposed changes were the subject of an ANPR (advanced notice of proposed rulemaking) published Dec 10, 2004 as "Nursery Stock Regulations", Docket No. 03-069-1. APHIS is currently in the process of summarizing and evaluating the comments received. Public comments range from opposition to regulatory changes because of possible impacts on gardening and small businesses (such as nurseries) to unequivocal support for more stringent regulations. A public hearing is planned in Riverdale, MD May 25, 2005 to discuss the proposed new category, and criteria for placing taxa in that category.

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