The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has finalized the environmental assessment (EA) for importing plants in approved growing media and issued a record of decision with a finding of no significant impact. The EA considered the potential environmental effects of having a standardized set of pest risk mitigations for plants in growing media that countries routinely include in market access requests. APHIS made the finding of no significant impact by conducting careful scientific analysis and after evaluating public comments on the proposal.
To import plants in growing media, APHIS requires countries to grow the plants under a systems approach, which includes safeguarding measures that growers, packers, and shippers must implement to minimize the risk of introducing plant pests into the United States. The systems approaches for plants in growing media are very similar for most import requests. Having a single programmatic EA will reduce the need for repetitive National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation when the routine import request does not identify new risks or risk management strategies, thus improving the efficiency of new market access requests for plants in growing media. This approach does not change requirements under the Endangered Species Act, and APHIS will continue to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure imported plants in growing media comply with the Endangered Species Act.
Visit the APHIS website for more information about importing plants into the United States. The notice, programmatic EA, public comments, and FONSI can be viewed at www.regulations.gov. Enter APHIS-2018-0101 in the Search field.
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