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State to hold hearings on new firewood rules

| January 4, 2012
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MADISON – Two public hearings are scheduled to allow firewood dealers to comment on proposed changes to Wisconsin’s firewood dealer certification rule.

A voluntary firewood certification program was created in 2007 in response to an impending threat of the emerald ash borer (EAB) and restrictions placed on firewood use in Wisconsin State Parks. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) now proposes several changes to the current rule that take into account new information on rendering firewood free of invasive insect pests and diseases.

“Firewood continues to be one of the major pathways for invasive insects like EAB and gypsy moth to spread quickly and easily into new, non-infested areas,” said Anna Healy, regulatory specialist with DATCP.

Among some of the proposed rule changes is a change in the definition of what constitutes a firewood dealer (minimal annual distribution of 20 cords or more), labeling requirements, record keeping requirements, and the elimination of fumigation as an acceptable means of treatment.

“These proposed changes to our current rule not only reflect new findings regarding the treatment of firewood to render it free of insects and diseases.” But Healy adds, “They should also make it a bit easier for dealers to obtain and maintain certification on an annual basis.”

Here is the hearing schedule:

Wausau: Wednesday, Jan. 18, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Wausau Public Library / Marathon County Public Library (Wausau Room), 300 North First Street

 Madison: Thursday, Jan. 19, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Conference Rm. 266, 2811 Agriculture Drive

Under the current rule for voluntary certification, firewood dealers must submit an application form to receive an annual certificate. The application process requires firewood dealers to indicate the treatment process they use to eliminate invasive insects and diseases in their firewood. The certification and inspection costs $50.00.

A Wisconsin firewood dealer is not required to be certified in order to sell firewood in the state. However, certified firewood is allowed in all State Parks and can also be moved without restriction around the state, provided the purchaser can show proof of purchase from a certified dealer.  Firewood that is not certified cannot be moved out of quarantine areas and cannot be used in State Parks unless it was purchased or collected within 25 miles of the property and was not from out of state sources.

“There will eventually be uniform requirements for treating firewood that satisfy both state and federal standards across the Midwest, making it easier for firewood dealers to provide a good quality product at reasonable prices for consumers,” Healy said.

A copy of the proposed rule is available at the Wisconsin Administrative Rules website at http://AdminRules.Wisconsin.gov (search: firewood) or by calling Anna Healy at 608-224-4546. Those unable to attend the hearing can send written comments until Feb. 2, 2012. Address comments to Anna Healy, DATCP, PO Box 8911, Madison, WI 53708-8911. Comments may also be emailed to Anna.Healy@wisconsin.gov.

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