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  1. #21
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    Whoops, meant to edit this, not make another post. See below.





  2. #22
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    Who was the permit request made to (USDA or state regulatory agency)? Where were you shipping it to?

    There is definitely something missing from the context of the letter you quoted. If the USDA puts a blanket ban on something, they ban it. Not only do they ban it, they don't allow it to be sold or moved. If it's merely a quarantined item, they track it thoroughly. I know. I work with them on the ALB eradication program here in NY. They have quarantined all host trees within certain areas. This includes trees sold by growers/greenhouses in the quarantine area. Each tree has a stack of paperwork that goes with it. There's a quarantine order issued to the grower. There's a statement of origin of the tree. There's a statement of destination for the tree once it's sold where it's final destination is documented. There's a quarantine release issued to the greenhouse allowing for the sale of the tree. There are state and federal inspectors involved in every aspect of the tree's sale/transportation. That tree cannot leave the quarantine without someone from either the state or federal government knowing.......and this is how the PPQ division deals with a pest species that they know can be erradicated once an infestation is found (The ALB was eliminated in Chicago and a part of NJ).

    Many of these plants that we're talking about can establish populations in the wild that are literally impossible to control/erradicate once they are established. The USDA knows this, that's why they have a noxious weed list. Do you seriously think that they're going to just allow stores to sell these items without any kind of paper trail, without any inspector/PPQ officer monitoring the sale of these items? There's no inventory being taken of these plants. There's no permits being issued to anyone selling them. They have no way of tracking who's receiving them or where they are going. There are trucks criss-crossing the country that carry entire shipments of these plants to national chain stores. Basically, there is no nationwide monitoring program for these plants. However, ship them to a state where they are banned/prohibited and I guarantee that there is either a SITC or USDA PPQ division set up to try and catch offenders.
    Last edited by Ghostshrimp55; 03-12-2007 at 5:11 PM.



  3. #23
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    I'd have to look into this but, as far as applying for a permit goes, you're a hobbiest who wants to sell plants on the internet. They are not going to just give you a permit. People who get permits most likely have to attend some sort of informational class run by the USDA/state authority where they are informed of all of the rules/regulations regarding the noxious weeds. After completing this class, then you may be eligible for a permit.

    Like I said, I'll have to verify this with someone in PPQ. I'm just basing this assumption on what they do for landscapers working in the ALB quarantine (see above post....sorry to keep referring to this program. However, it's the same agency we're talking about here and it stands to reason that there is some continuity in their methods). These guys can't be caught with host material in the quarantine unless they have attended a compliance training and sign a compliance agreement (this agreement is actually made with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets). If they are caught with host wood without an agreement, the wood is quarantined to them. They have to take it to a certified disposal site and issue receipt of disposal. They will also, depending on how many times they've been caught, be issued a violation and fined between $200 and $400 per piece of host wood.

    If they have an agreement, they agree to keep records of all host material they handle, including statements of origin and disposal receipts. If they drop it to a firewood vendor (and they can only do this with vendors who are in compliance) in the quarantine, they leave a copy of the statement of origin with the vendor. They also agree to show records of all jobs done within the quarantine. They are heavily monitored.

    To sum up, they're not going to just give anybody a permit to sell plants anywhere without some way of certifying that you know the rules and are available for frequent inpections and records verification. That's just dumb. It comes as no surprise that you were denied a permit. The last statement in that letter you quoted simply explains the reasoning for denying you a permit. It's not because H. polysperma is a noxious weed. That's not what section 412 says. It's because you, as a potential dispersal agent, cannot be trusted to not disseminate the plant to areas where it poses a threat. It's nothing personal and I'm sure it has something to do with the analogy above. For this reason, the Secretary has denied you a permit.
    Last edited by Ghostshrimp55; 03-12-2007 at 5:48 PM.



  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghostshrimp55 View Post
    Like I said, I'll have to verify this with someone in PPQ. I'm just basing this assumption on what they do for landscapers working in the ALB quarantine (see above post....sorry to keep referring to this program. However, it's the same agency we're talking about here and it stands to reason that there is some continuity in their methods). These guys can't be caught with host material in the quarantine unless they have attended a compliance training.......blah blah blah
    Just to be as accurate as possible, because this is a joint USDA/NYS program, NYS actually quarantines and fines these guys. If there was no state entity at work, it would be the federal gov't taking care of that. The feds get involved, in this case, only if there is interstate movement of the quarantined material because, in addtion to being quarantined by the state to certain areas, the feds have further quarantined all host wood from the quarantine areas to NYS as a whole. You can, however, bring in as many host trees as you want. You can even ship them out, as long as they don't come from the quarantine.



  5. #25
    Senior Member, Sophomoric Attitude beviking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beviking View Post
    ...The Plant Protection Act states in Section 412 that the Secretary may prohibit or restrict the movement in interstate commerce of any noxious weed if the Secretary determines that the prohibition or restriction is necessary to prevent the introduction into the United States or the dissemination of the noxious weed within the United States . Accordingly, this application is denied."
    How is this statement a reference to hobbyists and not to everyone? In fact, upon permit approval, you submit yourself to inspections at any time and are required to include certain papers with shipments, including the original permit and the permit conditions, along with a statement warning the receiver to take precautions to prevent any intentional, subsequent commercial interstate movements of said item that the permit was issued for. You also are suppose to keep records of shipments for 2 years. Like you said "They have no way of tracking who's receiving them or where they are going..." so yeah, it would be dumb to let anyone sell them. Seems a better bet to get "Joe hobbyist" (me) on record (address etc...) with the option of dropping in for inspection than letting any chain store sell them to everyone, of which any one of them could just toss them into the local waterways.
    These ARE the pest species in question...not the host of the pest species. I'm not sure you're comparing apples to apples with the ALB/tree reference.

    The permit was requested through APHIS, as were all my interstate movement of snails/plants permits. You have to specify a state and I randomly picked Ohio.

    The only thing missing from that letter was the introduction (my name), this which I deemed unimportant..."I regret to inform you that Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) does not issue permits for the interstate movement of
    Hygrophila polysperma and Limnophila sessiliflora for use as aquarium plants." which doesn't specify "to hobbyists", and the closing.
    I'd be interested to hear if there was a class on any of this.
    "Don't remember where I was, I realized life was a game
    The more seriously I took things, the harder the rules became..." Dave Mustaine

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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by beviking View Post
    These ARE the pest species in question...not the host of the pest species. I'm not sure you're comparing apples to apples with the ALB/tree reference.
    Actually, yes, this is comparing apples to apples. The host species (of which there are 11 or 12) are the regulated items here, in addition to the beetle itself. It doesn't matter whether or not the wood is infested or shows no signs of infestation. It is all a possible vector for dispersal so it is regulated material. For legal purposes, it's much easier to regulate the trees than the beetle itself since the trees can't get up and fly away on you (with the exception of the odd hurricane or tornado). That's why, if you're caught moving wood out of the quarantine, you get hit with a fine for the wood. Otherwise, if it were strictly the beetle that was the regulated item, APHIS/NYSDAM would lose a lot of court battles since, most of the time, the wood being moved has no beetles in it. And, yes, violators do fight their violations in court.

    Quote Originally Posted by beviking View Post
    "I regret to inform you that Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) does not issue permits for the interstate movement of
    Hygrophila polysperma and Limnophila sessiliflora for use as aquarium plants." which doesn't specify "to hobbyists", and the closing.
    I'd be interested to hear if there was a class on any of this.
    You're right. They don't issue permits. And they don't have to specify. Basically, they have no way of knowing what your buyer is going to do with the stuff so why would they give you a permit?

    I think in either 2000 or 2001 (maybe a little earlier, not sure of the exact year) the Federal Noxious Weed Act was ammended and incorporated into the Plant Protection Act and kind of blended in with already existing APHIS protocols. APHIS used to issue permits but, quite frankly, the issue was too big to control. Nobody was following protocol. So, they gave up on permits. They also didn't crack down on anyone selling the plants because, in the department's words, most of the species sold had become "naturalized."

    You have to remember that many of the plants that we're talking about here have been loose in the wild since the 1800's, or earlier, with no attempt to control them. Populations of these things are so widespread and well established that APHIS generally focuses on areas where the plants aren't present. So, you'll never see something like Hydrilla, for instance, being monitored by the feds nationwide. However, if a state decides to mount an effort they can, and sometimes do, seek APHIS funding and help in their own individual programs. It's at this stage that you will find active regulation and control of the pest organism. That's when APHIS sets up what they call a "Command center" where their staff can operate out of. Thats where their inspectors operate out of. That's where their entire infrastructure is set up for the monitoring of the organism....within that state. Then they coordinate with other state departments (Like parks, conservation, whatever) for an earnest effort at control.

    That comes back to the point of my original stance on this whole thing. Yes, the weeds on the list are "technically" illegal. Is APHIS going to hunt you down for selling them across state lines? Most likely not, unless the state you're selling them in/to is monitoring for them. That's pretty much how you can tell if the feds are looking. If a state is looking, then the feds are too. Either the state launched a campaign to monitor and asked for fed. help or vice versa. That's the only way you're going to run into trouble.

    As for importing illegal plants into the country.....don't. APHIS picks its battles. Many of the weeds on the noxious list are lost causes in the eyes of the gov't. However new foreign species are another story. They are actively looking for these things in US ports. Don't do it.

    And, no, you're most likely not going to find a class on this in New York State since there is no monitoring program for noxious weeds in NY. If you go to a state where there is an active program (let's say Florida or California) then you might find one. While these classes are, in theory, open to everyone you, as an ordinary joe-citizen, wouldn't be aware of them. Typically, the targets would be the big fish (hah!)....vendors, LFS's, wholesale growers and national distributors. Just like in the ALB program; anybody can go. It's the people that deal with the stuff for a living that are targeted.

    So, yeah, in reality there's a noxious weed list and some laws on paper. There are also laws against putting anything other than mail with a postage stamp on it in a mail box. Yet we all get flyers in the mail that aren't part of the junk mail delivered by a federal mail carrier all the time.........and I'll bet that no arrests were made (unless the stuff was offensive....again, a battle that was chosen). It's reality. The reality of this situation is that the problem is too big and too expensive for the government to control at a national level. If the states want a go at it, they step in and help. If there's anything new coming into the country that shouldn't be here, they actively try to stop it. Otherwise, it's basically a free-for-all. Which, again, comes back to my original point. Check with the state you're mailing to if you're concerned about getting a violation.

    As an interesting aside, when I asked the feds in my office about the noxious weed list/regulations, the most common response was, "Ha! Good luck! What a lost cause!"
    Last edited by Ghostshrimp55; 03-14-2007 at 5:11 PM.



  7. #27
    Senior Member, Sophomoric Attitude beviking's Avatar
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    Ha ha! Glad to see you print that and not me! The lost cause quote...that's my personal interpretation as well, but being that I work for NYS, I don't want to come across as some kind of spokesperson
    It all boils down to being cautious and take your chances (if you want to)...this IS America.
    I'm going to have to ask some questions myself re:some of the statements you've made. I'm not saying I disagree with you, but it would be foolish to just take someones word on the internet!!!

    -Bill
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    The more seriously I took things, the harder the rules became..." Dave Mustaine

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  8. #28
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    Hey, I'm just passing on the general sentiment of the people involved (the USDA folks). Besides, NYS has no noxious weed program to speak of so I really can't bash something that doesn't exist. I'm also not telling everyone to go ahead and ship whatever, wherever. Some of the statements made by some people here were a little overboard, though. Things like, "Guess I have to destroy my plants now" and the like. The reality of the situation is that, like I said, no one is going to come bashing in your door for having a noxious weed.........unless your state has some kind of provision about it and you're out there hawking your wares all over the place. If you want to be responsible and feel that your plants can escape your aquarium somehow then, by all means, destroy them (burning is the preferred method, btw). Just don't go crazy over this stuff.

    You have to look at the facts involved: Several stores in several states sell plants on the noxious weeds list. It's no mystery. When you start to ask yourself why they're allowed to do that, it's for all of the reasons mentioned in my prior posts.

    And again, like I said, you're stupid if you bring stuff into the country that's either on the list or from a country that isn't supposed to be importing plants to the US. If you get caught, you deserve whatever fine you get. People just shouldn't get so bent out of shape over the plants they have right now. Just be smart about where you move them to.



  9. #29
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    When is the last time anyone dumped a tank full of plants into a strean, river, or whatever ? What we need is some stupidity police - not plant police. Get a life



  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by zkt View Post
    When is the last time anyone dumped a tank full of plants into a strean, river, or whatever ? What we need is some stupidity police - not plant police. Get a life
    Acutally, it happens all the time. Take a look at plenty of the lakes down South here. They are choked with invasives plant species. Or take a trip down to Florida where the tropical fish species are wiping out the native species.

    Get a life yourself bud. Why should the whole ecosystem be put a risk so you can have a pretty plant in your aquaium.

    yankee Dog



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