RD320 - Interstate Pest Control Compact 2012 Annual Report and Interstate Pest Control Compact Insurance Fund Financial Report as of June 30, 2012 and for the Period of Twelve Months Then Ended

Executive Summary:
Each year billions of dollars of damage are caused by plant pests - insects, weeds, plant diseases, and other organisms that attack U.S. crops and forest resources. Many of the same pests also attack lawns, gardens, and the general environment, causing still more damage in dollars and esthetics. These pests don't recognize political boundaries. They can easily move across state lines on the wind or in soil or water, or hitchhike to new areas with goods, vehicles, or people. Tremendous losses occur even though farmers, industry, and local, state, and federal governments spend billions each year on control.

At one time, only coastal and border states had to fear infestations of new foreign plant pests, but today heartland states are also at risk. International containerized cargo with the potential for carrying foreign pests can travel through ports of entry and reach interior states before it can be opened and inspected.

Federal and state agencies have ongoing control and regulatory programs against a number of plant pests, and many have recently stepped up their pest detection and monitoring efforts. In most cases, however, appropriations are earmarked for specific pests - a mere handful of the 10,000-odd species that cause damage in this country. In general, too, state funds may be spent only on in-state control, even though pests just across the border may be equal threats. If a single state undertakes necessary pest control activities, on its own or with federal assistance, it cannot be certain that companion measures will be taken in other states.

Often the budget process does not allow governments to move quickly against newly introduced pests or take on challenges outside already approved program plans, a particular problem in times of decreasing resources. Technology is available to control or eliminate many pests, but its effectiveness often depends on speedy action.

The Interstate Pest Control Compact was instituted in 1968 under the Council of State Governments to bridge economic and jurisdictional gaps among state and federal governments, to enable agencies to respond to plant pest infestations. The Compact, through the Insurance Fund it administers, provides financial assistance to address:

• New and economically significant destructive plant pest outbreaks;
• Plant pest infestations outside the control or means of a single jurisdiction; or
• Destructive single-state outbreaks, which could affect other states if allowed to spread.