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Claude Knighten  (301) 734‑5271
Jerry Redding       (202) 720‑4623

USDA AMENDS SUDDEN OAK DEATH REGULATIONS

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2007--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service today published an interim rule that will help prevent the spread Phytophthora ramorum, commonly referred to as sudden oak death, to noninfested areas of the United States.
 
The new measures establish restrictions on the interstate movement of nursery stock from nurseries in nonquarantined areas in California, Oregon and Washington and restrict the interstate movement of all nursery stock from nurseries in quarantined areas.  The amendments also update conditions for the movement of regulated articles of nursery stock from quarantined areas and add restrictions on the movement of decorative trees without roots from quarantined areas.  The regulation change also lists new hosts of the pathogen that infects nursery plants and can cause mortality in oak and tanoak trees. 

The disease was first seen in Mill Valley, Calif., on tanoak in 1995.  The fungus-like organism is now known to be established in 14 northern California counties and part of Curry County, Ore.  In February 2002, APHIS quarantined 10 California counties and the affected areas of Curry County and began regulating the interstate movement of P. ramorum hosts.  Positive confirmations of the disease on varieties of Camellia plants in Los Angeles and San Diego counties in 2003 prompted APHIS to expand its regulations and national survey to determine if P. ramorum is causing disease in other parts of the country.

This interim rule is scheduled to be published in the Feb. 27 Federal Register and becomes effective upon publication.

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before April 30.  Send an original and three copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. 01-054-3, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, Md. 20737-1238.  If you wish to submit a comment using the Internet, go to the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov, select "Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service" from the agency drop-down menu; then click on "Submit."  In the Docket ID column, select APHIS-2005-0102 to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.

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