New Hampshire Public Radio is reporting that lawmakers are attempting to reverse a ban on certain invasive plants in that state. The ban is slated to start in 2007 following a four-year phase out period, and would effectively stop the sale and propagation of Norway maple (Acer platanoides), Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) and burning bush (Euonymus alatus).
The ISW first reported on NH's invasive plant legislation, a landmark for New England, back in 2003. The phase-out period was set to give nurseries ample time to get rid of their stock and find potential replacements (see this ISW post from 2005). However, last month NH State Senator Robert Clegg stuck a provision on an unrelated bill to allow nurseries to sell the phased-out plants after the January 2007 deadline. The provision would also allow the sale of European barberry (Berberis vulgaris), a shrub that has already been banned for two years. The bill has passed in the NH Senate but still needs to be approved by the House.
I'd be pretty ticked about this if I were a New Hampshire nursery owner that spent time and money coming into compliance with the ban (or better yet, if I never sold those invaders at all)! One of the senators who spoke in favor of the provision, Brett Andrus, is a nursery owner himself, and also president of the New Hampshire Plant Growers Association. That means at least one senate member had the inside track on the hearts and minds of the state's nurseries since the original legislation went into effect in 2004...so why wait until eight months before the end of the phase-out and then slip this provision into a bill that has nothing to do with invasive plants? It makes it seem like maybe those "in the know" weren't even trying to comply.