Tree-Eaters Threaten to Kill Thousands of Central Park Trees -- WTO

  NEW YORK CITY -- Asian long-horned beetles have invaded Manhattan, raising the threat that trees in Central Park may need to be cut down and burned.  The beetles, which spread quickly and leave devoured trees in their wake, creep into the United States through gaping holes in U.S. trade policy.

  "It's painful to see trees in New York City chopped down and burned, and this latest outbreak is especially frightening because it comes so close to Central Park," said Daniel Seligman, Director of Sierra Club's Responsible Trade Program, which has stopping the Asian long-horned beetle as one of its focuses.  "Sierra Club just hopes this outbreak was caught in time, before the beetle has infested Central Park.

Sierra Club News Release -- From: Allen Mattison, Thu, 19 Aug 1999

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  "The Asian long-horned beetle must be stopped.  If we fail to keep the beetles out, millions of trees could die across America."

  Asian long-horned beetles enter the U.S. by hitchhiking on untreated wood from China.  Frequently, the beetles arrive burrowed in wood used for packing crates to ship imported goods.  However, after the U.S. imposed emergency regulations to stop the beetle, Hong Kong immediately charged that the new safeguards were an illegal trade barrier and threatened to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO).

  The Asian long-horned beetle is just one of many imported pests that threaten America's trees.  Unfortunately, trade institutions such as the World Trade Organization prevent our government from implementing rules that would keep invasive tree pests out.  Sierra Club is urging President Clinton to fix these international trade rules so the U.S. can act to stop invasive species like the Asian long-horned beetle.

  "Unless President Clinton acts now to fix international trade rules, Central Park's shady paths, New England's foliage and maple syrup on the breakfast table could all become just memories," Seligman said.  "The U.S. government could slam the door on the Asian long-horned beetle but we fear World Trade Organization stands in the way.  To keep our trees alive, we need to give government inspectors the power to take strong, science-based action to prevent pest invasions.  The Clinton Administration must fix the international trade rules that bind their hands."

  Asian long-horned beetles are voracious eaters that burrow into trees to devour the heartwood and lay eggs.  Once beetle larvae have infested a tree, they will kill that tree and will spread to neighbouring trees.  When beetles have infested a tree, the only way to prevent them from spreading to chop down the tree and burn its wood, to ensure that all beetles and larvae in that tree are killed.  The beetles' preferred lodging is in maple trees.

  The beetle has been detected at more than 30 sites nationwide.  Major infestations in recent years in Chicago and Brooklyn, New York forced officials to destroy nearly 4,000 trees to contain the outbreaks.

Sender: Sierra Club News Releases
From: Allen Mattison <>
August 19, 1999 Daniel Seligman, 202-675-2387
David Willett, 202-675-6698

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[The danger of the beetle pests is similar to Australia's caving in on the raw salmon issue.  Raw fish has been a prohibited import for decades, because scientists know of the many incurable pests, including microscopic organisms, that have been brought into Australia in previous decades.  But in mid-1999 the Liberal-National Coalition caved in to overseas multinational interests, and permitted the dangerous imports. For conservation information, click the Conservation Council of WA  or the Environment Centre of WA -- John Massam]
 To campaign on Turn WTO Around day, 15 Sep 1999, contact Stop-M.A.I. WA Coalition, Brian Jenkins 08 9246 3882,  Dion Giles 08 9335 7646,  , or 42 Central Avenue, Beaconsfield, WA, 6162, Australia.

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John Massam, 46 Cobine Way, Greenwood (a Perth suburb), WA, 6024, Australia. Tel [+61 8] (08) 9343 9532, Mobile 0408 054 319