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Researchers propose new solution to ensure biofuel plants don't become noxious weeds
Date:3/6/2013

Energy Biosciences Institute at the University of Illinois-Urbana, and the lead author of the study. "Going forward, it will be essential to base legal reforms on an awareness of this responsibility and, more importantly, on a rational public dialogue that includes sound science."

In their article, "Navigating the 'Noxious' and 'Invasive' Regulatory Landscape: Suggestions for Improved Regulation," the authors also advocate liability for industry developers who fail to show due diligence in evaluating the potential invasiveness of a new cultivar. This will help take the expense of noxious weed control away from taxpayers while protecting conscientious biofuels developers, some of whom have backed away bioenergy farming for fear of lawsuits from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The federal government restricts the movement and cultivation of 111 species of terrestrial, aquatic, and parasitic plants included on the Federal Noxious Weed List. It also maintains the National Invasive Species Information Center. Noxious weeds on federal or state lists and invasive weeds are generally defined as plants with adverse social, economic, or ecological effects.

Nationwide, only species that are on state or federal noxious weed lists are subject to regulation. Since state departments of agriculture have responsibility for most regulatory bodies, occasionally sharing responsibility with environmental agencies, fewer plants that invade forests, pastureland, and other nonagricultural lands are on these lists. These invasive plants cost the U.S. economy more than $7.7 billion annually.

Currently, state or regional nongovernmental invasive or exotic plant councils (IPCs and EPCs) create lists of plants that are invasive in their area. The authors analyzed noxious and invasive weed species reports from each state and determined that official noxious plant lists contain on average only 19.6% of the species considered invasive by the IPCs and EPC
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Contact: Zeke Barlow
bzeke@vt.edu
540-231-5417
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert  

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