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Invasive non-natives

>To understand why the US is so reluctant to let potted plants into the
>country, you need only think about the fire-ant problem in the Southeast.
>Black fire ants arrived in Louisiana in the soil of potted Amazon plants.

Oh, I understand the reason behind the legislation.  I even support it
where it makes sense.  But we allow plants that are grown in mud in S.E.
Asia to be imported after they are hosed off.  Don't tell me that they go
through that stuff carefully enough that nothing ever slips through.  No
one that I know of has ever suggested that it was OK to import plants
potted in soil.

It seems silly not to allow the importation of plants grown in sterile
rockwool (which is what we were discussing) - not soil - in a pest free
greenhouse with filtered air and water into our country.  We are the _only_
country in the world, including Australia, which has very strict
environmental protection laws, where Tropica plants can not be imported.
Obviously someone in the government is starting to see the silliness of it
too, because they are working toward loosening the restriction for rockwool
grown plants.

We've gone around about this before on this list, and believe me, no one
gets more excited about non-native introductions than I do.  I strongly
support reasonable, effective legislation (and much more importantly,
education!!!) in this area.  But sometimes the laws that are put in place
are eyewash.  They do nothing to solve the problem and many are
unenforceable.  They just look good on a legislator's resume.  

Let's face it.  Are hydroponically grown plants from Tropica, or the list
member who wants to put Zebra Mussels in their aquarium a greater threat to
our environment?  I think you know the answer.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association