[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 18 (Monday, January 28, 2002)]
[Notices]
[Pages 3874-3875]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-2018]


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Notices
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.

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Federal Register / Vol. 67, No. 18 / Monday, January 28, 2002 / 
Notices

[[Page 3874]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. 01-034-1]
RIN 0579-AB30


Draft Action Plan for the Noxious Weeds Program

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We are requesting comments on a draft document titled ``Draft 
Action Plan for the Noxious Weeds Program'' that we have developed. The 
draft document recommends specific changes to the noxious weeds 
regulatory program, including changes to the noxious weeds regulations. 
Because these recommendations may form the basis for future rulemaking, 
we are requesting public comments on the draft document so that we may 
consider any relevant public input before taking further action.

DATES: We invite you to comment on the draft document. We will consider 
all comments that we receive by March 29, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Please send four copies of your comment (an original and 
three copies) to: Docket No. 01-034-1, Regulatory Analysis and 
Development, PPD, APHIS, Suite 3C03, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, 
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

Please state that your comment refers to Docket No. 01-034-1.
    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.
    You may request a copy of the ``Draft Action Plan for the Noxious 
Weeds Program'' by writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT. The draft action plan is also available in our 
reading room or on the Internet through APHIS' Noxious Weeds Home Page 
at http://www.aphis.usda.gov:80/ppq/weeds/weedhome.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Alan V. Tasker, Noxious Weeds 
Program Coordinator, Invasive Species and Pest Management, PPQ, APHIS, 
4700 River Road Unit 134, Riverdale, MD 20737-1237; (301) 734-5225.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701-
7772) authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to prohibit or restrict 
the importation into the United States, and the interstate movement 
within the United States, of any plants and plant products to prevent 
the introduction into and dissemination in the United States of noxious 
weeds. Under this authority, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection 
Service (APHIS) administers the noxious weeds regulations in 7 CFR part 
360 (referred to below as the regulations), which prohibit or restrict 
the importation and interstate movement of noxious weeds.
    On March 20, 2000, we published in the Federal Register (65 FR 
14927-14931, Docket No. 98-064-1) an advance notice of proposed 
rulemaking (ANPR) to gain information on ways in which we can increase 
the effectiveness of our noxious weeds regulatory program and 
regulations. We solicited comments on the ANPR for 90 days, ending June 
19, 2000. By that date, we received 272 comments. They were from State 
departments of agriculture, representatives of the seed and nursery 
stock industries, and other interested persons. The commenters provided 
suggestions on weed categories and risk assessment and permitting 
issues, and offered recommendations for prioritizing funding resources 
for existing and future noxious weeds programs. The commenters most 
frequently recommended that the following areas be priorities for our 
noxious weeds program: Exclusion, prevention, survey and early 
detection, and eradication of introduced weeds of limited distribution. 
The commenters also supported, but mentioned less frequently, risk 
assessment, public education, and cooperative integrated management, 
including biological control.
    Immediately following the close of the comment period for our March 
2, 2000, ANPR, the Plant Protection Act was signed into law. The Plant 
Protection Act repealed portions of the Federal Noxious Weed Act (7 
U.S.C. 2801 [except 2801 note]-2813) and now provides us greater 
authority to regulate the importation and interstate movement of 
noxious weeds. The Plant Protection Act and its effect on our noxious 
weeds program are discussed in greater detail in the draft action plan. 
Many of the comments we received on the ANPR are relevant to the 
development of regulations under our new authority.
    Based on those comments, we developed the draft document titled 
``Draft Action Plan for the Noxious Weeds Program.'' The draft document 
presents a draft plan for addressing the commenters' areas of concern 
and reflects our current thinking on the changes necessary to improve 
the design and conduct of the noxious weeds program. However, the draft 
document does not commit APHIS to making any changes to the noxious 
weeds regulations.
    We are seeking public comment on the draft action plan. Public 
comments will help us decide whether the plan outlined in the draft 
document is needed and would be effective. We ask that comments on the 
draft action plan also suggest alternative approaches to updating our 
noxious weeds program, if appropriate. If, after we consider public 
comments on the draft document, we decide to propose changes to the 
noxious weeds regulations, we will publish a proposed rule in the 
Federal Register.
    This action has been determined to be significant for the purposes 
of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, has been reviewed by the 
Office of Management and Budget.


[[Page 3875]]


    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7701-7772.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 23rd day of January 2002.
Bill Hawks,
Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.
[FR Doc. 02-2018 Filed 1-25-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-U