[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 104 (Thursday, May 30, 2002)]
[Notices]
[Page 37755]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-13530]


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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 
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Federal Register / Vol. 67, No. 104 / Thursday, May 30, 2002 / 
Notices

[[Page 37755]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. 02-059-1]


Availability of an Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We are advising the public that an environmental assessment 
has been prepared by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 
relative to the control of yellow starthistle, Centaurea solstitialis 
(Asteraceae). The environmental assessment considers the effects of, 
and alternatives to, the release of a nonindigenous rust fungus, 
Puccinia jaceae var. solstitialis (Urendinales), into the environment 
for use as a biological control agent to reduce the severity of yellow 
starthistle infestations. We are making this environmental assessment 
available to the public for review and comment.

DATES: We will consider all comments we receive that are postmarked, 
delivered, or e-mailed by July 1, 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. 02-059-1, 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. 02-059-1. 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. 
02-059-1'' on the subject line.
    You may read any comments that we receive on the environmental 
assessment 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. Divan, Plant 
Pathologist, PPD, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 135, Riverdale, MD 20737-
1236; (301) 734-3367.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is 
considering an application from the California Department of Food and 
Agriculture (CDFA) for a permit to release a nonindigenous rust fungus, 
Puccinia jaceae var. solstitialis (Urendinales), in California to 
reduce the severity of yellow starthistle (YST), Centaurea 
solstitialis, infestations.
    YST is an exotic weed that has become one of California's worst 
pests since its introduction prior to 1860. Since then, it has spread 
steadily throughout California and other western States. YST infests 
rangelands, orchards, vineyards, pastures, parks, and natural areas. 
Uncontrolled, it dominates the local plant community. It is capable of 
invading undisturbed areas.
    APHIS has completed an environmental assessment that considers the 
effects of, and alternatives to, releasing P. jaceae var. solstitialis 
into the environment as part of a biological control program to reduce 
the severity of YST infestations. There are currently several control 
methods for YST, including mowing, timed grazing, prescribed burns, and 
other methods. However, these approaches are very expensive, may damage 
the environment, and take several years to be effective. The United 
States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service and 
CDFA are cooperatively developing biological controls for YST. We 
anticipate that biological control will significantly reduce control 
costs and possibly permanently reduce the abundance and impact of YST.
    APHIS' review and analysis of the potential environmental impacts 
associated with releasing this biological control agent into the 
environment are documented in detail in an environmental assessment 
entitled ``Field Release of a Rust Fungus, Puccinia jaceae var. 
solstitialis (Urendinales), For Biological Control of Yellow 
Starthistle, Centaurea solstitialis (Asteraceae)'' (April 2002). We are 
making this environmental assessment available to the public for review 
and comment. We will consider all comments that we receive by the date 
listed under the heading DATES at the beginning of this notice.
    You may request copies of the environmental assessment by calling 
or writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. 
Please refer to the title of the environmental assessment when 
requesting copies. The environmental assessment is also available for 
review in our reading room (information on the location and hours of 
the reading room is listed under the heading ADDRESSES at the beginning 
of this notice.)
    The environmental assessment has been 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 1), and (4) APHIS' NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 
372).

    Done in Washington, DC, this 23rd day of May 2002.

Peter Fernandez,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 02-13530 Filed 5-29-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P