Rhonda Santos, (508) 852-8044
Suzanne Bond, (301) 851-4070
WASHINGTON, Sept., 4, 2015— The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is issuing the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Eradication Program. The final EIS considers potential environmental impacts from each of the alternatives proposed for the APHIS ALB Eradication Program should ALB be discovered elsewhere in the continental United States.
Given the time that can be needed to complete an environmental assessment (EA), and to expedite any future EAs, APHIS initiated the EIS process to identify any environmental issues on a national level that might arise while fighting ALB. The process also allows APHIS to consider the environmental costs of the eradication program and provides new information into the decision-making process.
Through the EIS process, APHIS is selecting the preferred alternative of using an integrated approach. Selection of the preferred alternative allows APHIS and its partners to implement an eradication program that has succeeded in other ALB eradication efforts in the United States. The preferred alternative integrates survey and quarantine with the removal of infested trees and includes site-specific management by either removing high-risk host trees or treating high-risk host trees with Imidacloprid. These strategies allow the Program the greatest flexibility in responding to ALB outbreaks and achieving eradication.
The final EIS reduces the response time to act on new detections by allowing APHIS to connect subsequent area-specific environmental assessments to the EIS, and it provides the public with an analysis of the potential environmental impacts from the different ALB eradication alternatives available to APHIS. The final EIS takes into consideration comments received during the 45-day public comment period for the draft EIS. To make this decision, APHIS considered many factors, including environmental, biological, and economic impacts and compliance with relevant state and federal regulations. Additionally, the final EIS is consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The final EIS for the ALB Eradication Program will post in the Federal Register on Friday, September 11.
ALB is a serious insect pest of certain hardwood tree species, and it could cause significant economic and environmental damage if it were allowed to establish and spread throughout the United States. The eradication program is a collaboration between federal and state agencies to identify and eradicate ALB infestations in the United States. To date, ALB outbreaks have occurred in five states: New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Ohio. ALB has been eradicated from Illinois and New Jersey.
For questions related to the final environmental impact statement, contact Dr. Jim Warren, Environmental Protection Specialist, Environmental and Risk Analysis Services, PPD, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 149, Riverdale, MD 20737; (202) 316-3216.
APHIS is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: APHIS, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).