The USDA is now accepting public comments (Only open until March 29th)
on their Draft Action Plan for the Noxious Weeds Program, which includes
the "clean list" or "white list" proposal. They are now going beyond
clean list and are stating that they intend to require permits and
for ALL seeds and plants moving interstate ? this will effectively shut
down many popular seed exchanges like the North American Rock Garden
exchange and the Seed Saver's Exchange. These exchanges have been
hailed as important means of preserving biodiversity. How many home seed
will be willing to get appropriate licenses and inspections when they
minimum of $100 (for a nursery stock or seed license here in
California). Penalties of up to $250,000 are proposed with a minimum
fine of $1000
even for home gardeners.
Below is a direct quote from the Draft Action Plan. Please read and
respond! Most of the wild edibles we enjoy can be considered a "noxious
weed". Therefore, if this passes as written, we will be severely
limited with what we can exchange, and it may become impossible to send
and from Canada.
Their homepage is: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ppq/weeds/
Direct quote from the "Draft Action Plan for the Noxious Weeds Program"
The Plant Protection Act also authorizes, among other things, the
of Agriculture to:
1) Prohibit or restrict the importation, entry, exportation, or movement
interstate commerce of any plant, plant product, biological control
organism, noxious weed, article, or means of conveyance to prevent the
introduction into the United States or dissemination within the United
States of a plant pest or noxious weed;
2) Issue regulations that require that any plant, plant product,
control organism, noxious weed, article, or means of conveyance
entered, to be exported, or moved in interstate commerce be accompanied
permit and a certification of inspection and be subject to remedial
necessary to prevent the spread of plant pests or noxious weeds;
3) Require a plant or biological control organism to be grown or handled
under post-entry quarantine conditions to determine whether that plant
biological control organism may be infested with plant pests or may be a
plant pest or noxious weed;
4) Publish, by regulation, a list of noxious weeds that are prohibited
restricted from entering the United States or that are subject to
restrictions on interstate movement within the United States;
5) Allow anyone to petition the Secretary to add or remove a weed from
6) Hold, seize, quarantine, treat, apply other remedial measures to,
destroy, or otherwise dispose of any plant, plant pest, noxious weed,
biological control organism, plant product, article, or means of
moving into or through the United States, or interstate, or moved into
through the United States, or interstate, that the Secretary has reason
believe is a plant pest or noxious weed, is infested with a plant pest
noxious weed, or is in violation of the PPA. This authority includes
on the progeny of any plant, biological control organism, plant product,
plant pests, or noxious weed;
7) Develop a classification system to describe the status and action
for noxious weeds, including current geographic distribution, relative
threat, and actions initiated to prevent introduction or distribution;
8) Develop, in conjunction with the noxious weed classification system,
integrated management plans for noxious weeds for the geographic region
ecological range where the noxious weed is found in the United States;
9) Use extraordinary emergency action for weeds threatening plants or
products, if those DRAFT (1/2002)
weeds are new to or not known to be widely prevalent in or distributed
within and throughout the United States; and
10) Issue civil penalties for violations of the PPA.
Below is a sample letter that can be sent to your local congress-person,
to the USDA at the following land addresses and email addresses:
(or send a letter to:
Docket No. 01-034-1 Regulatory Analysis and Development PPD,
APHIS Suite 3C03
4700 River Road, Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238
Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman
Jamie L. Whitten Federal Bldg. Rm.200-A
12th & Jefferson Dr., SW
Washington DC 20250
comment objecting to the clean list.
Honorable _________________________ As a concerned voter, I am writing
object to the USDA Draft Action Plan for the Noxious Weeds Program,
will implement a "clean list" and other unwarranted restrictions
the import and movement of plants and animals in the U. S., allegedly
stop the spread of "invasive species."
I feel that this "clean list" would be a reckless and irresponsible
for the following reasons:
1. Such a policy requires adequate, scientifically verified methods of
predicting which species would be "invasive," yet all scientific
predicting "invasiveness" have failed.
2. We already have adequate weed laws. We already know which species
pests; implementing a sweeping, poorly-conceived ban on what will amount
99% of the world's species will cause more problems than it could
3. Scientific researchers need ready access to the earth's biological
resources for new food crops, new medicinal plants, new industrial uses.
Limiting this access will place U. S. scientists at a disadvantage in
competitive world markets. Limiting our farmers' access to new crops
increase our dependence on foreign supplies.
4. It will result in greater usage of herbicides on our public lands.
5. It will do nothing to address the fundamental causes of "invasive"
species - disrupted ecosystems.
6. Small entrepreneurial businesses are responsible for the majority of
jobs created in the past 20 years, and they will bear the brunt of the
economic harm this measure will create. Small nurseries have been
responsible for the majority of new plant introductions from overseas
have revitalized the entire gardening industry in recent decades.
7. According to the USDA Economic Research Service, horticulture and
floriculture are the fastest growing sector of U. S. agriculture with
billion in revenues in 1998, and this has steadily risen since. In
difficult economic times, it is grossly irresponsible of the USDA to
obstruct such an economic powerhouse with completely untested, unproven
unnecessary regulatory restrictions.
8. These restrictions may be illegal under free trade treaties, and are
sure to invite retaliatory measures by our trading partners. This comes
a time when entrepreneurial free trade should be encouraged.
9. The clean list is only the latest in a pattern of USDA obstruction
legitimate business and biodiversity conservation efforts, as witness
recent imposition of outdated regulations that haven't been enforced in
decades due to their inapplicability. The phytosanitary-certificate
requirement for flower seeds which has been unnecessary and unenforced
over 50 years, and irrational prohibitions of modern sterile-culture
seedlings (essential for orchid conservation), have both been suddenly
enforced by an out-of-control USDA, sending shockwaves throughout the
nursery industry and gardening community. Antiquated, outmoded
from the 19th century should not be enforced in the 21st.
10. The clean list proposal is a reckless & irresponsible expansion of
antiquated, cumbersome and inefficient bureaucracy at a time when
should be moving towards a streamlined and efficient future.
11. When the USDA requested comments on the clean list proposal,
scientists, businessmen and gardeners were 8 to 1 against the clean
yet the USDA ignored the clear mandate from the American people, and
included this and even more restrictive proposals in the Draft Action
The USDA is totally out of touch with the American people ? remember
recent "Organic Rules" furor?
One of the founding fathers of our nation, Thomas Jefferson, said: "The
greatest service a man may do for his country is the introduction of a
useful plant." I hope you will stand with Jefferson on this issue, and
in the out-of-control USDA and NISC.
I am totally opposed to any "clean list" policy as well as the new
phytosanitary and orchid-seedling restrictions, and am opposed to any
further restrictions and roadblocks to interstate commerce. The USDA
get back to its mission of serving agriculture, not obstructing it.
In closing, I want to point out that gardeners are the single largest
common-interest group in the U. S., and that you can be sure we will
Remember In November. I will be waiting for your response, indicating
you are doing to rein in the USDA & NISC, and where you stand on the
Zone 9b, SJ Valley, CA
p.s. Can I take this opportunity to encourage to you to join our
friends of Plants For A Future membership scheme. Membership is only
£10 a year (£15 overseas) and we are trying to recruit 1000 friends
in the coming year. If we can reach this target then we will be
able to secure the land for our demonstration gardens and visitors
centre in Devon which could become a shining example of woodland
gardening, sustainability, and the use of perennial plants.
Plants for a Future: 7000 useful plants
Snail: 1 Lerryn View, Lerryn, Lostwithiel Cornwall, PL22 0QJ
Tel: 01208 872 963 / 07813 067250
PFAF electronic mailing list http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pfaf