California, Oregon Sue For Access To South Carolina Market

Two West Coast associations have filed suit in U.S. District Court in Columbia, S.C., to overturn a new regulation that could block California and Oregon nursery growers from shipping plants to South Carolina.

The associations, The California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers and the Oregon Association of Nurseries, are fighting legislation that passed last year in South Carolina that requires shipments from California and Oregon to comply with additional inspection and documentation, as well as advance notice requirements that go above and beyond federal rules.

At issue is the spread of Phytophthora ramorum, or Sudden Oak Death. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has strict regulations related to Sudden Oak Death to protect forest health, landscapes and nurseries across the United States. The legislation the South Carolina assembly passed requires additional measures beyond APHIS, according to the associations, and the suit challenges the constitutionality of the regulations.

“It is disappointing that the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, which runs programs to promote its home-state products for sale in other states as well as its home, chose to follow this path,” says Robert Dolezal, CANGC’s executive vice president.

Because of the new regulations, California and Oregon nurseries have had shipments blocked or plants destroyed.

“Nurseries take very seriously the threat of plant diseases,” says OAN executive director John Aguirre. “Over 70 percent of Oregon’s nursery sales are destined for buyers outside our state. Oregon growers cannot allow states to violate federal law in an effort to close their markets to our growers.”

For more information, visit OAN.org.

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