In a press release issued on Friday, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing to allow public review and comment on the protocols for deregulating fields previously infested with pale cyst nematode (PCN).
Aphis says in the release these procedural changes would make the field deregulation process more transparent by giving the public the opportunity to participate in its development.
PCN—a major pest of potato crops—was discovered in Idaho in 2006. In 2017, APHIS issued an interim rule in 2007 that established a quarantine and restricted the interstate movement of potatoes and other regulated articles from the quarantined areas.
The interim rule included a 3-year biosurvey protocol that would allow a previously infested field to be removed from quarantine.
In 2009, APHIS published a final rule that included the 3-year biosurvey but did not preclude the use of other protocols for determining when an infested field could be removed from quarantine.
APHIS also stated it would continue to solicit stakeholder input as it developed the field removal protocol.
Under this proposed rule, APHIS would first announce any substantive changes to the field deregulation protocols in a Federal Register notice and solicit comments.
APHIS would publish another notice in the Federal Register informing the public of any changes to the protocols after reviewing and considering all comments received, according to the release.