Washington, D.C., August 20, 2019 – The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has analyzed the potential environmental impacts of releasing the insect Sericothrips staphylinus within the contiguous United States to control gorse (Ulex europea). Gorse is a spiny shrub found primarily on the east and west coasts that displaces native plants, including forest tree saplings; reduces the quality of wildlife habitats; increases fire hazard; interferes with rights-of-way and recreation sites; and reduces livestock forage production.
Based on our assessment and other relevant data, releasing this biological control agent will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment. APHIS invites the public to review and comment on the environmental assessment by September 19th, 2019. You may view the document and submit comments here http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2019-0048
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