Rhonda Santos, (508) 852-8044
Suzanne Bond (301) 851-4070
WASHINGTON, March 13, 2015— The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is seeking public comments on the draft programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Eradication Program. The draft EIS analyzes the potential effects of eradicating ALB should the beetle be discovered elsewhere in the continental United States.
“While we hope ALB is not in other parts of the country, the environmental impact statement will help us to respond more quickly if there is a detection in a new area,” states Osama El-Lissy, APHIS’ Deputy Administrator of Plant Protection and Quarantine. “We hope to obtain input from the public regarding any significant environmental impacts as well as reasonable alternatives for future ALB eradication efforts.”
Once complete, the EIS will reduce the response time to act on new detections by allowing APHIS to tie 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 EIS process ensures the policies and goals defined in the National Environmental Policy Act are integrated within continuing ALB eradication programs and actions, as well as any future infestations that may be discovered.
The draft EIS evaluates five alternatives and their potential effects on human health and the environment. The five alternatives include:
ALB is a serious insect pest of certain hardwood tree species, and it can cause significant economic and environmental damage if it is allowed to establish and spread throughout the United States. The 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.
The draft environmental impact statement has been published in the Federal Register and any interested persons are invited to comment during the 45-day open-comment period. APHIS will consider all comments received on or before April 27, 2015.
Comments regarding the draft environmental impact statement may be submitted by either of the following methods:
The draft programmatic EIS for the ALB Eradication Program may be viewed here.
Documents and comments that we have received may also be viewed in the APHIS reading room, which is located in room 1141 of the APHIS South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 799-7039 before arriving.
For questions related to the ALB draft 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).
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).