possible change in importation rules (NAPPRA) now Kudzu

Lee Poulsen wpoulsen@pacbell.net
Tue, 24 May 2016 21:53:53 PDT
On May 24, 2016, at 8:26 PM, penstemon <penstemon@Q.com> wrote:
>> I generally am supportive of the U.S. method of having agencies assigned responsibilities over some aspect of our government, with Congress granting them the ability to set rules and regulations to carry >out those responsibilities. But the one great weakness I see with this system—and it is the one major area where I dislike what agencies often do with the power they’re granted—is the ability to make >rules willy-nilly, if they so choose, in whatever way the people in charge at the time feel like making them without having any accountability or answerability to the voters the way Congress does if they make rules the voters don’t like or want.
>> It seems that not only does the majority not win, they’re often irrelevant.
> Well, APHIS is charged with implementing the Plant Protection Act (an act of Congress) which says, among other things,
> "(1) Early plant pest detection and surveillance
> The term 'early plant pest detection and surveillance' means the full range of activities undertaken to find newly introduced plant pests, whether the plant pests are new to the United States or new to certain areas of the United States, before-
> (A) the plant pests become established; or
> (B) the plant pest infestations become too large and costly to eradicate or control."
> Note, "the full range of activities".
> The Agricultural Act of 2014 says, with regard to seeds,
> APPLICABILITY- Nothing in this subsection precludes or limits the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to the importation or movement of plants, plant products, or seeds under--
> `(A) the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C.7701 et seq.); and
> `(B) the Federal Seed Act (7 U.S.C. 1551 et seq.).'.
> Again, Congress. "Nothing ....limits the authority of Secretary of Agriculture..."
> Bob Nold
> Denver, Colorado, USA

This was my point. However, there are other sections of these laws. I remember when they were considering changing the requirements for seed importation and the first proposed rules that were entered in the Federal Register engendered a huge number of comments complaining about certain aspects of it. They then published an amended version which was much better than the original. However, I also distinctly remember that the first published rules explained that whatever they decided on, they were required to try to get voluntary compliance from all the stakeholders including hobbyists so that they wouldn’t have to spend too many of their already limited resources trying to stop smuggling, that it was better to get everyone’s buy-in on whatever rules were finally published because then people would police themselves.

So I’m pretty sure that elsewhere in all those Congressional laws are sections that are meant to guide how the USDA goes about using the unlimited authority they were given with respect to plant or seed importation.

However, there is no policeman other than Congress to stop them on those occasions when they choose to ignore these other provisions.

On the other hand, I’m not as worried as I would have been since Mr. Aley pointed out here a few months ago that other, new, provision that he managed to get into the regulations (the Controlled Import Permit or “CIP” 7 CFR 315.6) that allows for a special method of importing almost anything (especially new species) without even needing a phytosanitary certificate from the country of origin (which can be almost impossible to acquire in some countries). (Thanks again Mr. Aley!)

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USA - USDA Zone 10a
Latitude 34°N, Altitude 1150 ft/350 m

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