Public comment sought on planned ban on importing untreated firewood

in News/Vermont by

A proposed Rule Governing the Importation of Untreated Firewood into the State of Vermont has been filed with the Secretary of State. The proposed rule, as filed, is open for public comment until Friday, Jan. 15, 2016.

The purpose of the rule is to protect forest health by slowing the long-distance movement of wood-borne invasive forest pests, such as Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer, and preventing the spread of pests into Vermont.

The enabling legislation requires the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation to adopt regulations on importing untreated firewood. The proposed rule prohibits the importation of untreated firewood into Vermont.

The definition of firewood states that it is wood processed for burning and less than 48 inches in length, but does not include wood chips, pellets, pulpwood or wood for manufacturing purposes.

It allows treated firewood to enter the state if it is treated to the USDA standard of 160° F (71.1° C) for at least 75 minutes at a certified treatment facility and is accompanied by certification of treatment.

By written request, the Commissioner of Forests, Parks & Recreation may waive this prohibition under conditions that ensure that the firewood poses minimal threat to forest health. Violations may result in confiscation of firewood and/or a civil citation.

The rules are to take effect on May 1, 2016.

Questions or written comments can be addressed to Barbara Schultz, Forest Health Program manager, at barbara.schultz@vermont.gov.

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