Importation of plants and seeds

Michael Mace
Thu, 23 Jul 2009 18:13:05 PDT
Lee wrote:

>> Is this proposed new category and rules something we should be worried

Thanks very much for posting this, Lee.

I think the underlying question is, "will this screw up the PBS and wreck
our hobby (for those of us living in the US)?"  The answer is "maybe," and
therefore we should look into this very carefully.

The link you gave connects to several documents and also has a section for
public comment.

The documents are pretty long and I've had time only to glance at them so
far.  They set up a mechanism by which plants not currently in cultivation
in the US would be put on a prohibited list if there is any scientific
evidence that they might be a weed or carry a pest, whether or not a full
assessment has been done on them.  So a plant is presumed a weed if there's
any evidence that it might be one.

The good news is that the government is not going for a blanket ban on
anything not currently in the US.  This is better than the total bans you
see in some other countries.  But the list could still be very restrictive,
depending on how it is implemented.  In particular:

--How will they identify plants already in cultivation in the US? (The list
applies only to plants not currently in cultivation here, but that I am not
clear on how many people have to own a plant before it's officially

--How much scientific evidence will the government will require in order to
put a plant on the list?  That does not appear to be specified.  If you read
some of the weed registry sites on the web, they list a *lot* of plants,
including bulbs, that I think most of us would not call weeds.  As someone
already said, the US is so big that you could label almost anything as
potentially invasive somewhere in the country.

We can comment on the regulations.  In fact, the documents specifically ask
for public comment from plant societies whose plant and seed exchanges would
be affected by the regulation.  It would be appropriate for PBS members to
respond, if folks here want to.  It is also possible for folks to propose
modifications to the regulations designed to reduce those economic impacts.

In my experience dealing with government decision-making, the folks
proposing this stuff have already spent years working on it and know what
they want to do.  They will, though, think about and respond to logical
comments that try to work with their intent and minimize the downside of
regulations.  So we might be able to tweak or modify things.

They also usually count number of responses. So it's worthwhile to
coordinate with other plant societies.

Cussing and yelling, although a stress-reliever, doesn't usually help.

I'll try to read through the documents some more and post more info.


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