Emergency Order Restricting Transportation of Firewood Into the State of Maine
Two wood-boring insects, the emerald ash borer (EAB) and the Asian long-horned beetle (ALB), have the potential to destroy Maine’s forests. The introduction of these or similar insects into Maine would adversely affect wildlife habitat and other forest-based resources. The adult insects and their larvae are found in trees and cut wood. The invasion of such insect pests would pose a threat to tree species of commercial value. The EAB has killed millions of ash trees in the Midwestern United States and Canada and has spread across Pennsylvania and central New York to western Massachusetts and southern Connecticut. The ALB is now present in three (3) northeastern states. The transportation of firewood from infested areas to other states increases the spread of these insects beyond their normal biological dispersal rate. Although Federal quarantines on the export of certain firewood are in place in a number of states, the spread of these insects has not yet been contained.
Since many campers come to Maine transporting firewood from their home states, the Legislature determined that these facts together create an emergency. The Legislature passed legislation effective April 1, 2010 addressing this emergency. In PL 2009, Chapter 585, the Legislature specifically instructed the Director of the Division of Forestry to impose restrictions on the transportation of firewood as may be required to preserve the public peace, public health and public safety. The Director of the Division was directed to work closely with the Director of the Division of Parks and Lands to protect the State’s forests from introduction of the EAB and the ALB.
On August 31, 2010 the Director of the Division of Forestry, pursuant to the authority granted by 12 M.R.S. § 8305 (as amended by PL 2009, Ch. 585), issued the initial Emergency Order regulating import of firewood. That initial Order, which was slated to expire after 120 days, has been subsequently reissued. Where the final regulations have not yet been put in place, in order to protect Maine’s forest resources and wildlife from the introduction and spread of these destructive insect pests, the Director of the Division of Forestry must take immediate action and hereby reissues and amends the Emergency Order pursuant to the authority granted by 12 M.R.S. § 8305 (as amended by PL 2009, Ch. 585).
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