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APHIS Proposes Lifting Domestic Pine Shoot Beetle Quarantine
New York Ag Connection - 09/23/2019

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing to lift the domestic quarantine for pine shoot beetle. Eliminating this quarantine is in keeping with USDA's goal of reducing regulations that have outlived their usefulness.

The pine shoot beetle (Tomicus piniperda L.) was first discovered in the U.S. at a Christmas tree farm near Cleveland, Ohio, in July 1992. A native of Europe, the beetle attacks new shoots of pine trees, stunting the growth of the trees. The pine shoot beetle may also attack stressed pine trees by breeding under the bark at the base of the trees. The beetles can cause severe decline in the health of the trees, and in some cases, kill the trees when high populations exist.

Despite efforts to control pine shoot beetle since it was first detected in 1992, this pest, which only infests stressed and dying pine trees, is now found in 20 states in the northeast and north central parts of the country. Given the limited impact of interstate movement restrictions on the beetle's spread and the minimal damage this pest has caused to native pines, plantations, and nursery trade, we are proposing to remove the pine shoot beetle domestic quarantine. This action would allow the states to determine the best approach for managing the pest within their boundaries, relieve impacted businesses and individuals from having to comply with costly and burdensome restrictions, and allow APHIS to focus limited federal resources on higher risk pests.

Following the first detection in 1992, the beetle has been detected in parts of 20 States (Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin).

APHIS will carefully consider all comments received. Beginning Sept. 23, members of the public will be able to submit comments for 60 days, or until Nov. 22 at www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2016-0065.

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