The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is making some changes to the quarantine policy for Emerald Ash Borer but Wisconsin is not going along with them. APHIS issued a Federal Order which would allow the unrestricted interstate movement of regulated articles within contiguous federal quarantine boundaries. APHIS says the changes “will allow for the best use of available resources and reduce the complexity of the requirements for affected stakeholders.” Regulated articles would still not be allowed to move from quarantined to protected areas without proper federal certification. Regulated articles include all ash wood with bark and sapwood remaining, ash nursery stock and all hardwood firewood. The changes will become effective July 1st.
States do have the right to have their own EAB regulations. Wisconsin Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel says while he understands the circumstances which led to the APHIS decision, “Wisconsin’s vast ash resource is too important and valuable to put at further risk. Consequently, Wisconsin will uphold a state quarantine and continue to restrict the movement of potentially infested ash products and hardwood firewood into the state from areas where EAB is known to exist.
“Businesses and industries inside the current USDA quarantine areas that have been previously working with USDA APHIS to bring those materials, such as timber products, into the state under certain conditions will, beginning July 1, 2012, be required to maintain those same agreements with Wisconsin, by working with the appropriate programs at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
“Additionally, visitors to Wisconsin from EAB-infested areas will be required to leave their hardwood firewood behind. Good, inexpensive firewood is available across our state; there’s no need to put our resources at risk for the sake of a few dollars.
“For Wisconsin residents, the upcoming change to the federal quarantine will have no effect on the quarantines that exist in the state. I ask that you continue to abide by those quarantines and help protect the ash trees in our state’s yards, parks and forests for now, and for generations to come.”