The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is accepting comment on an Environmental Assessment (EA) that addresses the environmental impacts of releasing Asian leaf beetle (Lilioceris egena) to manage air potato (Dioscorea bulbifera). After careful analysis APHIS has determined that the release of Asian leaf beetle within the continental United States will likely not have a significant impact on the environment.
Air potato is a twining vine that can reach lengths of more than 65 feet and is capable of climbing and out-competing native vegetation. Since its introduction to Florida in 1905, air potato has aggressively spread throughout the State; this species is reportedly naturalized in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Hawaii.
APHIS will review and consider all public input submitted during the 30-day comment period and use the information to complete a final environmental assessment. Members of the public can review and comment on the assessment Jan 8, 2021 by accessing it and supporting documents here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2019-0068. This action will go into effect on Feb. 8, 2021, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
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