[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 6 (Wednesday, January 9, 2002)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 1067-1070]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-455]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
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Federal Register / Vol. 67, No. 6 / Wednesday, January 9, 2002 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 1067]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 301

[Docket No. 01-081-1]


Imported Fire Ant; Addition to Quarantined Areas

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Interim rule and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We are amending the imported fire ant regulations by 
designating as quarantined areas all or portions of five counties in 
Arkansas, three counties in Georgia, eight counties in North Carolina, 
and four counties in Tennessee. As a result of this action, the 
interstate movement of regulated articles from those areas will be 
restricted. This action is necessary to prevent the artificial spread 
of the imported fire ant to noninfested areas of the United States.

DATES: This interim rule was effective January 2, 2002. We invite you 
to comment on this docket. We will consider all comments we receive 
that are postmarked, delivered, or e-mailed by March 11, 2002.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by postal mail/commercial delivery 
or by e-mail. If you use postal mail/commercial delivery, please send 
four copies of your comment (an original and three copies) to: Docket 
No. 01-081-1, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 
3C71, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state 
that your comment refers to Docket No. 01-081-1. If you use e-mail, 
address your comment to regulations@aphis.usda.gov. Your comment must 
be contained in the body of your message; do not send attached files. 
Please include your name and address in your message and ``Docket No. 
01-081-1'' on the subject line.
    You may read any comments that we receive on this docket in our 
reading room. The reading room is located in room 1141 of the USDA 
South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, 
DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, 
please call (202) 690-2817 before coming.
    APHIS documents published in the Federal Register, and related 
information, including the names of organizations and individuals who 
have commented on APHIS dockets, are available on the Internet at 
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ppd/rad/webrepor.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Charles L. Brown, Program Manager, 
Invasive Species and Pest Management, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 
134, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 734-4838.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The imported fire ant regulations (contained in 7 CFR 301.81 
through 301.81-10 and referred to below as the regulations) quarantine 
infested States or infested areas within States and restrict the 
interstate movement of regulated articles to prevent the artificial 
spread of the imported fire ant.
    The imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren and Solenopsis 
richteri Forel, is an aggressive, stinging insect that, in large 
numbers, can seriously injure and even kill livestock, pets, and 
humans. The imported fire ant, which is not native to the United 
States, feeds on crops and builds large, hard mounds that damage farm 
and field machinery. The regulations are intended to prevent the 
imported fire ant from spreading throughout its ecological range within 
the country.
    The regulations in Sec. 301.81-3 provide that the Administrator of 
the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will list as a 
quarantined area each State, or each portion of a State, that is 
infested with the imported fire ant. The Administrator will designate 
less than an entire State as a quarantined area only under the 
following conditions: (1) The State has adopted and is enforcing 
restrictions on the intrastate movement of the regulated articles 
listed in Sec. 301.81-2 that are equivalent to the interstate movement 
restrictions imposed by the regulations; and (2) designating less than 
the entire State will prevent the spread of the imported fire ant. The 
Administrator may include uninfested acreage within a quarantined area 
due to its proximity to an infestation or its inseparability from an 
infested locality for quarantine purposes.
    In Sec. 301.81-3, paragraph (e) lists quarantined areas. We are 
amending Sec. 301.81-3(e) by:
     Adding portions of Faulkner and Polk Counties, AR, to the 
list of quarantined areas and changing the status of Grant, Hempstead, 
and Nevada Counties, AR, from partially to completely infested;
     Adding Rabun, Towns, and Union Counties, GA, to the list 
of quarantined areas (these three counties were the last remaining 
uninfested counties in Georgia, thus the entire State is now designated 
as a quarantined area);
     Adding portions of Harnett, Hertford, Johnston and Nash 
Counties, NC, and all of Lee County, NC, to the list of quarantined 
areas, changing the status of Moore and Sampson Counties, NC, from 
partially to completely infested, and revising the quarantine 
boundaries in Wake County, NC, to incorporate additional infested 
areas; and
     Changing the status of Henderson County, TN, from 
partially to completely infested and revising the quarantine boundaries 
in Franklin, Maury, and Moore Counties, TN, to incorporate additional 
infested areas.
    We are taking these actions because recent surveys conducted by 
APHIS and State and county agencies revealed that the imported fire ant 
has spread to these areas. See the rule portion of this document for 
specific descriptions of the new and revised quarantined areas.
    In addition to the changes to the quarantined areas described 
above, we are correcting the listing for Hot Spring County, AR, in 
Sec. 301.81-3(e). That county is currently listed incorrectly as Hot 
Springs County.

Emergency Action

    This rulemaking is necessary on an emergency basis to prevent the 
spread of imported fire ant into noninfested areas of the United 
States. Under these circumstances, the Administrator has

[[Page 1068]]

determined that prior notice and opportunity for public comment are 
contrary to the public interest and that there is good cause under 5 
U.S.C. 553 for making this rule effective less than 30 days after 
publication in the Federal Register.
    We will consider comments we receive during the comment period for 
this interim rule (see DATES above). After the comment period closes, 
we will publish another document in the Federal Register. The document 
will include a discussion of any comments we receive and any amendments 
we are making to the rule as a result of the comments.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12866. For this 
action, the Office of Management and Budget has waived its review 
process required by Executive Order 12866.
    This interim rule is necessary because infestations of imported 
fire ant have been discovered in additional areas of Arkansas, Georgia, 
North Carolina, and Tennessee. This action will establish quarantined 
areas in 10 new counties and revise the boundaries of the quarantined 
areas in 10 other counties in those States. As a result of this action, 
the interstate movement of regulated articles from those areas is 
restricted. This action is necessary to prevent the artificial spread 
of the imported fire ant into noninfested areas of the United States.
    The following analysis addresses the economic effects of this rule 
and the impact on small entities as required by the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act.
    According to the 1997 Census of Agriculture, the market value of 
agricultural products sold in the 20 counties that are subject of this 
rule was more than $2.171 billion. During 1997, the value of sales from 
nursery and greenhouse crops in these 20 counties was at least $36.5 
million. The five counties in Arkansas had $300.35 million in 
agricultural product sales, the three counties in Georgia had $30.96 
million in agricultural product sales, the eight counties in North 
Carolina had $1.44 billion in agricultural product sales, and the four 
counties in Tennessee had $117.45 million in agricultural product 
sales. In 1997, the eight counties in North Carolina had 51 percent of 
the value of their agricultural sales attributed to crops (including 
nursery and greenhouse crops), with the remaining 49 percent attributed 
to livestock. The four counties in Tennessee had 28 percent of the 
value of their agricultural sales attributed to crops (including 
nursery and greenhouse crops), with the remaining 72 percent attributed 
to livestock. In two of the three Georgia counties, 17 percent of the 
value of agricultural sales was attributed to crops (including nursery 
and greenhouse crops), with the remaining 83 percent of that value 
attributed to livestock. (The relative contributions of crops and 
livestock to the value of agricultural sales in the third Georgia 
county could not be determined, as those figures were withheld from the 
1997 Census of Agriculture to avoid disclosing data for individual 
farms.) The five counties in Arkansas had only 5 percent of the value 
of their agricultural sales attributed to crops, with the remaining 95 
percent of the value attributed to livestock. These data indicate that 
there is a large agricultural economy at risk due to the potential for 
the imported fire ant to damage crops and injure or kill livestock.
    Small entities potentially affected by this rule include nurseries, 
greenhouses, farm equipment dealers, construction companies, and 
companies that sell, process, or move regulated articles interstate 
from and through the quarantined areas. According to the Small Business 
Administration (SBA), Office of Advocacy, regulations create economic 
disparities when they have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. The SBA defines a small 
agricultural producer as one that generates less than $750,000 of 
annual sales; to be considered small by the SBA definition, an 
equipment dealer or agricultural service company must generate less 
than $5 million of annual sales.
    In the four Tennessee counties, there were at least 94 entities 
that could be potentially affected by the changes in regulations. In 
1997, these four counties received $32.5 million from crop sales, 
including greenhouse and nursery sales. In the three Georgia counties, 
there were at least 27 entities that could be potentially affected by 
the changes in regulations. In 1997, these three counties received at 
least $2.5 million from crop sales, including greenhouse and nursery 
sales. In the five Arkansas counties, there were at least 22 entities 
that could be potentially affected by the changes in regulations. In 
1997, these five counties received $8.2 million from crop sales, 
including greenhouse and nursery sales. In the eight North Carolina 
counties, there were at least 265 entities that could be potentially 
affected by the changes in regulations. In 1997, these eight counties 
received $446.5 million from crop sales, including greenhouse and 
nursery sales. In summary, there are at least 408 small entities 
potentially affected by the imported fire ant quarantine in the 20 
counties. However, the number of these small entities that will be 
affected by this rule and the extent to which they are affected depend 
on the proportion of their sales outside the imported fire ant 
quarantined areas.
    The adverse economic effects on these entities can be substantially 
minimized by the availability of various treatments that will permit 
the movement of regulated articles with only a small additional cost. 
The estimated annual cost of imposing a quarantine on these counties is 
very small in comparison to the benefit gained through agricultural 
sales. For example, the value of a ``standard'' sized tractor-trailer 
load of nursery plants ranges from $10,000 to $250,000. The treatment 
cost for this ``standard'' shipment of plants is only around $200. An 
average treatment cost, then, is between 2 percent and 0.8 percent per 
standard plant shipment. In contrast to the potential losses associated 
with an imported fire ant infestation, these treatment costs are not 
significant.
    Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and 
Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action will 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.

Executive Order 12372

    This program/activity is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance under No. 10.025 and is subject to Executive Order 12372, 
which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local 
officials. (See 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V.)

Executive Order 12988

    This interim rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform.
    This rule: (1) Preempts all State and local laws and regulations 
that are inconsistent with this rule; (2) has no retroactive effect; 
and (3) does not require administrative proceedings before parties may 
file suit in court challenging this rule.

National Environmental Policy Act

    An environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact 
have been prepared for this program. The assessment provides a basis 
for the conclusion that the methods employed to prevent the spread of 
the imported fire ant will not have a significant impact on the quality 
of the human environment. Based on the finding of no significant 
impact, the Administrator of

[[Page 1069]]

the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that an 
environmental impact statement need not be prepared.
    The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact 
were prepared in accordance with: (1) The National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), (2) 
regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality for implementing 
the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), (3) USDA 
regulations implementing NEPA (7 CFR part 1b), and (4) APHIS' NEPA 
Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372).
    Copies of the environmental assessment and finding of no 
significant impact are available for public inspection at USDA, room 
1141, South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except holidays. Persons wishing to inspect copies are requested to 
call ahead on (202) 690-2817 to facilitate entry into the reading room. 
In addition, copies may be obtained by writing to the individual listed 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final rule contains no information collection or recordkeeping 
requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 
et seq.).

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 301

    Agricultural commodities, Plant diseases and pests, Quarantine, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

    Accordingly, we are amending 7 CFR part 301 as follows:

PART 301--DOMESTIC QUARANTINE NOTICES

    1. The authority citation for part 301 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 166, 7711, 7712, 7714, 7731, 7735, 7751, 
7752, 7753, and 7754; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

    Section 301.75-15 also issued under Sec. 204, Title II, Pub. L. 
106-113, 113 Stat. 1501A-293; sections 301.75-15 and 301.75-16 also 
issued under Sec. 203, Title II, Pub. L. 106-224, 114 Stat. 400 (7 
U.S.C. 1421 note).


    2. In Sec. 301.81-3, paragraph (e) is amended as follows:
    a. Under the heading Arkansas, by adding, in alphabetical order, 
new entries for Faulkner and Polk Counties; by revising the entries for 
Grant, Hempstead, and Nevada Counties; and, in the entry for Hot 
Springs County, by removing the word ``Springs'' and adding the word 
``Spring'' in its place.
    b. Under the heading Georgia, by removing the individual county 
entries and adding a single entry for the entire State.
    c. Under the heading North Carolina, by adding, in alphabetical 
order, new entries for Harnett, Hertford, Johnston, Lee, and Nash 
Counties and by revising the entries for Moore, Sampson, and Wake 
Counties.
    d. Under the heading Tennessee, by revising the entries for 
Franklin, Henderson, Maury, and Moore Counties.


Sec. 301.81-3  Quarantined areas.

* * * * *
    (e) * * *

Arkansas

* * * * *
    Faulkner County. That portion of the county lying south of a line 
beginning at the intersection of Interstate 40 and the Faulkner/Conway 
County line; then southeast on Interstate 40 to U.S. Highway 64; then 
east on U.S. Highway 64 to the Faulkner/White County line.
* * * * *
    Grant County. The entire county.
    Hempstead County. The entire county.
* * * * *
    Nevada County. The entire county.
* * * * *
    Polk County. That portion of the county lying south of a line 
beginning at the intersection of State Highway 4 and the Oklahoma/
Arkansas border; then east on State Highway 4 to U.S. Highway 71; then 
south on U.S. Highway 71 to State Highway 246; then east on State 
Highway 246 to the Polk/Howard County line.
* * * * *

Georgia

    The entire State.
* * * * *

North Carolina

* * * * *
    Harnett County. That portion of the county lying south of a line 
beginning at the intersection of U.S. Highway 421 and the Harnett/Lee 
County line; then east and southeast on U.S. Highway 421 to Interstate 
95; then northeast on Interstate 95 to the Harnett/Johnston County 
line.
    Hertford County. That portion of the county lying east of a line 
beginning at the intersection of U.S. Highway 13 and the Hertford/
Bertie County line; then north on U.S. Highway 13 to County Route 1419 
(Newsome Grove Road); then north on County Route 1419 to County Route 
1415 (Catherine Creek Road); then northeast on County Route 1415 to 
County Route 1409 (Hall Siding Road); then northwest on County Route 
1409 to County Route 1403 (Ahoskie-Cofield Road); then northeast on 
County Route 1403 to County Route 1400 (River Road); then northwest on 
County Route 1400 to County Route 1402 (Tunis Road); then northeast on 
County Route 1402 to the Chowan River and the Hertford/Gates County 
line.
* * * * *
    Johnston County. That portion of the county lying south and east of 
Interstate 95.
* * * * *
    Lee County. The entire county.
* * * * *
    Moore County. The entire county.
    Nash County. That portion of the county bounded by Interstate 95 on 
the west, the old Seaboard Railroad tracks on the south, the Nash/
Edgecombe County line on the east, and on the north by State Highway 4 
to its junction with U.S. Highway 301, then following a straight line 
east to the Nash/Edgecombe County line.
* * * * *
    Sampson County. The entire county.
* * * * *
    Wake County. That portion of the county lying south of a line 
beginning at the intersection of U.S. Highway 70 and the Wake/Durham 
County line; then south and east on U.S. Highway 70 to Interstate 
Highway 440; then east on Interstate 440 to Wake Forest Road; then 
north on Wake Forest Road to Spring Forest Road; then east on Spring 
Forest Road to State Highway 401; then north on State Highway 401 to 
the Neuse River; and then south along the Neuse River to the Wake/
Johnston County line.
* * * * *

Tennessee

* * * * *
    Franklin County. That portion of the county lying south a line 
beginning at the intersection of State Highway 50 and the Moore/
Franklin County line; then east on State Highway 50 to U.S. Highway 64; 
then east on U.S. Highway 64 to U.S. Highway Alt 41; then east on U.S. 
Highway Alt 41 to the Grundy/Marion County line; also the entire city 
limits of Winchester, Decherd, and Estill Springs.
* * * * *
    Henderson County. The entire county.
* * * * *
    Maury County. That portion of the county lying south and west of a 
line beginning at the intersection of U.S. Highway 412 and the Maury/
Lewis

[[Page 1070]]

County line; then east on U.S. Highway 412 to State Highway 166; then 
southeast on State Highway 166 to Dry Creek Road; then south on Dry 
Creek Road to the Maury/Lawrence County line.
* * * * *
    Moore County. That portion of the county lying south of a line 
beginning at the intersection of State Highway 82 and the Moore/Bedford 
County line; then southeast on State Highway 82 to State Highway 55; 
then northeast on State Highway 55 to Cobb Hollow Road; then east on 
Cobb Hollow Road to the Moore/Coffee County line.
* * * * *

    Done in Washington, DC, this 2nd day of January 2002.
W. Ron DeHaven,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 02-455 Filed 1-8-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-U