[Federal Register Volume 68, Number 55 (Friday, March 21, 2003)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 13859-13861]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 03-6799]


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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 68, No. 55 / Friday, March 21, 2003 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 13859]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 301

[Docket No. 02-115-1]


Imported Fire Ant; Approved Treatments

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: We are proposing to amend the imported fire ant regulations by 
adding the insecticide methoprene (Extinguish[reg]) to the list of 
chemicals that are authorized for the treatment of regulated articles. 
This product is registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
for use against the imported fire ant and has been found efficacious 
based on testing by the Gulfport Plant Methods Center. This action 
would make methoprene available for the treatment of containerized 
plants and field-grown woody ornamentals in the quarantined areas.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before May 
20, 2003.

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. 02-115-1, 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. 02-115-1. 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. 
02-115-1'' 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, Imported Fire 
Ant Program Manager, Invasive Species and Pest Management, PPQ, APHIS, 
4700 River Road, Unit 134, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-8247.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren and Solenopsis 
richteri Forel, is an aggressive, stinging insect that, in large 
numbers, can seriously injure or even kill livestock, pets, and humans. 
The imported fire ant feeds on crops and builds large, hard mounds that 
damage farm and field machinery. Imported fire ants are notorious 
hitchhikers and are readily transported long distances when articles 
such as soil and nursery stock are shipped outside the infested area.
    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) works to 
prevent further imported fire ant spread by enforcing a Federal 
quarantine and cooperating with imported fire ant-infested States to 
mitigate the risks associated with the movement of regulated articles 
such as nursery stock and used soil-moving equipment. Also, APHIS 
evaluates the efficacy of regulatory treatments for preventing the 
artificial spread of imported fire ant and revises its regulations and 
procedures as necessary. APHIS works with States, industry, and other 
Federal agencies to develop and test promising new insecticides and 
biological control agents.
    The regulations in ``Subpart--Imported Fire Ant'' (7 CFR 301.81 
through 301.81-10, referred to below as the regulations) quarantine 
infested States or infested areas within States and impose restrictions 
on the interstate movement of certain regulated articles from those 
quarantined States or areas for the purpose of preventing the 
artificial spread of the imported fire ant.
    Sections 301.81-4 and 301.81-5 of the regulations provide, among 
other things, that regulated articles requiring treatment prior to 
interstate movement must be treated in accordance with the methods and 
procedures prescribed in the appendix to the subpart, which sets forth 
the treatment provisions of the ``Imported Fire Ant Program Manual.''
    Tests conducted by APHIS's Gulfport Plant Methods Center in 
Mississippi have demonstrated that the insecticide methoprene 
(Extinguish[reg]) is efficacious at variable dosage rates in treating 
plants in containers and at 1.0-1.5 lb. (0.45-0.68 kg) bait/acre for 
treatment of field-grown woody ornamentals. On May 27, 1998, methoprene 
was registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for 
use against imported fire ant in containerized plants and field-grown 
woody ornamentals.
    Therefore, we are proposing to amend the appendix to the 
regulations to add the insecticide methoprene (Extinguish[reg]) as a 
treatment option for certain regulated articles requiring treatment 
against the imported fire ant. Specifically, we would amend the 
appendix to the regulations by adding methoprene (Extinguish[reg]) to:
    1. The list of authorized chemicals;
    2. The list of approved treatments for all nurseries within the 
quarantined area, to treat all exposed soil surfaces where plants are 
grown, potted, stored, handled, unloaded, or sold; and
    3. The list of fire ant baits that may be used in combination with 
chlorpyrifos to treat field-grown woody ornamentals.

Miscellaneous

    In addition to the proposed amendments described previously, we 
would also make one nonsubstantive change to the appendix to the 
regulations. Specifically, we would add a reference to the insecticide 
pyriproxyfen (Distance[reg]) to the second sentence of the paragraph 
titled Special Information in section III.C.5 of the appendix. When 
pyriproxyfen was added to the appendix as an approved treatment (see 64 
FR 57969-57971, published October 28, 1999), references to that product 
should have been added to all three sentences in the Special

[[Page 13860]]

Information paragraph, but such a reference appears only in the first 
and third sentences of the paragraph. We would correct that omission.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12866. 
For this action, the Office of Management and Budget has waived its 
review under Executive Order 12866.
    This proposed rule would amend the appendix to the imported fire 
ant regulations to allow the use of the insecticide methoprene 
(Extinguish[reg]) against the imported fire ant. Methoprene is 
registered by the EPA for use against the imported fire ant in 
containerized plants and field-grown woody ornamentals and has been 
found to be efficacious against imported fire ant based on testing by 
the Gulfport Plant Methods Center in Mississippi.
    Determining the cost to treat for imported fire ant in nursery 
operations is complicated because of the large number of insecticide 
products, varying soil conditions, and various types of nursery crops. 
For example, in two surveys conducted by Hall and Holloway (1994 and 
1995) of 37 nursery crop growers in Texas, which represented more than 
half of all nursery crops produced in that State, chemical cost per 
treatment per acre for imported fire ant control averaged $12.10, with 
treatment costs representing up to 4 percent of their production cost. 
Almost half (47 percent) of those growers reported treating for 
imported fire ant and most of them reported using more than one 
pesticide in their operations (range=1 to 3; average=1.5) making the 
average cost per acre for insecticides to control imported fire ants 
$18.15 (i.e., 1.5 x $12.10).
    Methoprene (Extinguish[reg]) would be the latest insecticide to be 
added to the regulations for the treatment of imported fire ant. The 
currently approved treatments--Fipronil (Chipco[reg]), Pyriproxyfen 
(Distance[reg]), Fenoxycarb (AWARD[reg]), Hydramethylnon (AMDRO[reg]), 
and Bifenthrin (Talstar[reg])--cost approximately the same in the bulk 
market, $5 to $12 per pound, with each pound treating 17 colonies 
(i.e., mounds) of imported fire ant. However, any insecticide's retail 
price depends on the price charged by its local distributor and may 
vary from State to State. Although the insecticides generally do not 
differ greatly in price, at least some consumers can be expected to 
benefit from inclusion of methoprene as an alternative treatment.

Impact on Small Entities

    Businesses such as nurseries that work with regulated articles are 
the entities most likely to be affected by this proposed rule. This 
proposed rule would result in a wider selection of treatment options 
for imported fire ant. The economic effect on affected entities would 
either be positive, since a wider selection of insecticides will 
provide greater choice, or would have no effect, if they choose not to 
use methoprene.
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires that agencies consider the 
economic effects of their rules on small businesses. Based on data from 
the 1997 Census of Agriculture, there were 14,762 nurseries and 
greenhouses in the 13 States that have been affected by imported fire 
ant plus Puerto Rico, of which 82 to 99 percent were small entities, 
according to the Small Business Administration criterion of annual 
sales of $750,000 or less.
    It is expected that the economic effect of this proposed rule on 
these businesses would either be positive (a wider selection of 
insecticides will provide greater choice) or neutral (if they choose 
not to use methoprene). The majority (82 to 99 percent) of firms that 
may potentially be affected by this proposed rule are small entities.
    Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and 
Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action would 
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 proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. If this proposed rule is adopted: (1) All State 
and local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule 
will be preempted; (2) no retroactive effect will be given to this 
rule; and (3) administrative proceedings will not be required before 
parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed rule contains no information collection or 
recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 
(44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).
    Accordingly, we propose to amend 7 CFR part 301 as follows:

PART 301--DOMESTIC QUARANTINE NOTICES

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

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7711, 7712, 7714, 7731, 7735, 7751, 7752, 
7753, 7754, and 7760; 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 part 301, Subpart-Imported Fire Ant (Sec. Sec.  301.81 
through 301.81-10), the appendix to the subpart would be amended as 
follows:
    a. In paragraph III.B., under the heading INSECTICIDES, by adding, 
in alphabetical order, an entry for ``Methoprene (Extinguish[reg])''.
    b. In paragraph III.C.4., under the heading Control, by removing 
the word ``or'' immediately following the word ``(AWARD[reg]),'' and by 
adding the words ``, or methoprene (Extinguish[reg])'' immediately 
following the word ``(Distance[reg])''.
    c. In paragraph III.C.5., in the paragraph titled Material, by 
removing the word ``or'' immediately following the word 
``(AMDRO[reg]),'' and by adding the words ``, or methoprene 
(Extinguish[reg])'' immediately following the word ``(Distance[reg])''.
    d. In paragraph III.C.5., in the paragraph titled Dosage, by 
removing the word ``or'' immediately following the word 
``(AMDRO[reg]),'' and by adding the words ``, or methoprene 
(Extinguish[reg])'' immediately following the word ``(Distance[reg])''.
    e. In paragraph III.C.5., in the paragraph titled Method, in the 
first and third sentences, by removing the word ``or'' immediately 
following the word ``(AMDRO[reg]),'' and by adding the words ``, or 
methoprene (Extinguish[reg])'' immediately following the word 
``(Distance[reg])''.
    f. In paragraph III.C.5., by amending the paragraph titled Special 
Information as follows: (i) In the first and third sentences, by 
removing the word ``or'' immediately following the word 
``(AMDRO[reg])'' and by adding the words ``, or methoprene 
(Extinguish[reg])'' immediately following the word ``(Distance[reg])''.
    (ii) In the second sentence, by removing the word ``or'' 
immediately following the word ``(AWARD[reg])'' and by adding the words 
``, pyriproxyfen (Distance[reg]), or methoprene (Extinguish[reg])'' 
immediately following the word ``(AMDRO[reg])''.


[[Page 13861]]


    Done in Washington, DC, this 18th day of March 2003.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 03-6799 Filed 3-20-03; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P