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  • Richard Morris
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 30, 2002
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      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
      the
      clean list and are stating that they intend to require permits and
      inspections
      for ALL seeds and plants moving interstate ? this will effectively shut
      down many popular seed exchanges like the North American Rock Garden
      Society
      exchange and the Seed Saver's Exchange. These exchanges have been
      hailed as important means of preserving biodiversity. How many home seed
      savers
      will be willing to get appropriate licenses and inspections when they
      cost a
      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
      seeds to
      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"
      http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ppq/weeds/weedsjan2002-pub.pdf

      Page 5
      The Plant Protection Act also authorizes, among other things, the
      Secretary
      of Agriculture to:

      1) Prohibit or restrict the importation, entry, exportation, or movement
      in
      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,
      biological
      control organism, noxious weed, article, or means of conveyance
      imported,
      entered, to be exported, or moved in interstate commerce be accompanied
      by a
      permit and a certification of inspection and be subject to remedial
      measures
      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
      or
      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
      or
      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
      regulation;

      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
      conveyance
      moving into or through the United States, or interstate, or moved into
      or
      through the United States, or interstate, that the Secretary has reason
      to
      believe is a plant pest or noxious weed, is infested with a plant pest
      or
      noxious weed, or is in violation of the PPA. This authority includes
      action
      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
      levels
      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
      or
      ecological range where the noxious weed is found in the United States;

      9) Use extraordinary emergency action for weeds threatening plants or
      plant
      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,
      and
      to the USDA at the following land addresses and email addresses:

      Contact Alan.V.Tasker@... (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
      Phone 202-720-3631,
      Fax:720-2166
      Email: agsec@...
      comment objecting to the clean list.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      Sample Letter:

      Honorable _________________________ As a concerned voter, I am writing
      object to the USDA Draft Action Plan for the Noxious Weeds Program,
      which
      will implement a "clean list" and other unwarranted restrictions
      controlling
      the import and movement of plants and animals in the U. S., allegedly
      to
      stop the spread of "invasive species."

      I feel that this "clean list" would be a reckless and irresponsible
      policy,
      for the following reasons:

      1. Such a policy requires adequate, scientifically verified methods of
      predicting which species would be "invasive," yet all scientific
      attempts at
      predicting "invasiveness" have failed.

      2. We already have adequate weed laws. We already know which species
      are
      pests; implementing a sweeping, poorly-conceived ban on what will amount
      to
      99% of the world's species will cause more problems than it could
      possibly
      solve.

      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
      the
      competitive world markets. Limiting our farmers' access to new crops
      will
      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
      all
      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
      which
      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
      12.1
      billion in revenues in 1998, and this has steadily risen since. In
      these
      difficult economic times, it is grossly irresponsible of the USDA to
      obstruct such an economic powerhouse with completely untested, unproven
      and
      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
      at
      a time when entrepreneurial free trade should be encouraged.

      9. The clean list is only the latest in a pattern of USDA obstruction
      of
      legitimate business and biodiversity conservation efforts, as witness
      the
      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
      for
      over 50 years, and irrational prohibitions of modern sterile-culture
      orchid
      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
      regulations
      from the 19th century should not be enforced in the 21st.

      10. The clean list proposal is a reckless & irresponsible expansion of
      an
      antiquated, cumbersome and inefficient bureaucracy at a time when
      government
      should be moving towards a streamlined and efficient future.

      11. When the USDA requested comments on the clean list proposal,
      American
      scientists, businessmen and gardeners were 8 to 1 against the clean
      list,
      yet the USDA ignored the clear mandate from the American people, and
      included this and even more restrictive proposals in the Draft Action
      Plan.
      The USDA is totally out of touch with the American people ? remember
      the
      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
      rein
      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
      must
      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
      what
      you are doing to rein in the USDA & NISC, and where you stand on the
      "clean
      list" issue.






      Blessed Be!
      Gabrielle Chakote
      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.
      See http://www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/pfaf/friends.html for details.

      --
      Plants for a Future: 7000 useful plants
      Web: http://www.pfaf.org/ or http://www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/pfaf/
      Snail: 1 Lerryn View, Lerryn, Lostwithiel Cornwall, PL22 0QJ
      Tel: 01208 872 963 / 07813 067250
      Email: webmaster@...
      PFAF electronic mailing list http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pfaf
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