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PRESS RELEASE: by House Committee on Resources 3/28/05

Pombo Requested GAO Report on
Harmful, Noxious Weeds Released

Detailed analysis of scope, barriers to effective control

Washington, DC - The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report today requested by House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) on harmful weeds. The report, Invasive Species: Cooperation and Coordination are Important for Effective Management of Invasive Weeds, analyzes the impact harmful and noxious weeds have on natural areas, specifically non-agricultural lands.

"Harmful, noxious weeds are a growing economic problem for landowners and a habitat problem for threatened and endangered species across the country," said Chairman Pombo. "GAO has effectively outlined the economic and environmental harm imposed by these plants and the obstacles before us as we attempt to get at the root of this issue."

The GAO report outlines various programs at the federal and state level designed to address the growing problems associated with weeds. By effectively defining the problem and outlining broad concepts for effective management, policy makers are now able to understand the depth and scope of this issue.

Approximately 133 million acres of non-agricultural lands are believed to be affected by the spread of harmful plants such as salt cedar, tall whitetop, kudzu and leafy spurge. These noxious weeds are causing significant economic and environmental harm to landowners and threatened and endangered species.

The spread of harmful weeds prompted Congress to pass the Noxious Weed Control and Eradication Act of 2004. The report discusses the early stages of its implementation and value. The report also notes that the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is a hindrance in eradicating and even controlling these species.

Other problems associated with controlling the spread of noxious weeds were the lack of cooperation among entities that should be involved and even a lack of public understanding and awareness of the issue.

 

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