Officials to discuss plans to contain beetle

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State officials will discuss the quarantine and the status of the emerald ash borer (above) in the state at a public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Prospect Fire Department, 26 New Haven Road. –RA ARCHIVE

HARTFORD — State officials will explain their plans for containing the spread of the emerald ash borer at a public hearing in Prospect this week.

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station intends to impose a quarantine to regulate movement of ash logs, ash materials, ash nursery stock and hardwood firewood from New Haven County.

State officials will discuss the quarantine and the status of the emerald ash borer in the state at a public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Prospect Fire Department, 26 New Haven Road.

State law authorizes the director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment State to impose the quarantine.

During the hearing, the director will explain the need for the quarantine, the restrictions associated with it, and the plan to carry it out.

After the presentation, members of the public will have an opportunity to comment. Written testimony will also be accepted.

The emerald ash borer has been discovered in the towns of Prospect, Naugatuck, Beacon Falls and Bethany in New Haven County. The insect had not been found in Connecticut previously.

The small, highly mobile beetle represents a threat to the state’s more than 20 million ash trees; the infestation also poses possible dangers to public safety, property and commerce, and power lines.

Louis Magnarelli, director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, said
If the infestation spreads to cities, he said, tree falls could endanger people, damage property and vehicles and bring down power lines. He said he has been told more than 40,000 ash trees line city streets across the state.

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and the Department of Environmental Protection are proposing emergency regulations to contain the spread of the emerald ash borer.

Proposed regulations were submitted to the legislature’s Regulation Review Committee last month, but the committee could not act because the two agencies did not fill out all the required paperwork.

The proposed regulations have been resubmitted and are due to take effect Thursday, unless the Regulation Review Committee approves them sooner or rejects the proposals before the effective date. As of this post, the panel has no meetings scheduled.

The committee approved regulations in 2010 targeting the emerald ash borer and the more dangerous Asian long-horned beetle.

Those regulations permit the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station to restrict or prohibit the movement of infested nursery stock, cut logs, firewood or other listed items from infested regions.

The proposed emergency regulations are intended to further clarify the agency’s authority and build on the existing regulations.