[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 107 (Monday, June 6, 2005)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 32733-32738]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-11150]


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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. 70, No. 107 / Monday, June 6, 2005 / Proposed 
Rules

[[Page 32733]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 301

[Docket No. 04-031-1]


Pine Shoot Beetle; Interstate Movement of Pine Bark Products From 
Quarantined Areas

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: We are proposing to amend the pine shoot beetle regulations to 
allow pine bark products to be moved interstate from quarantined areas 
during the shoot feeding stage (July 1 through October 31) of the pine 
shoot beetle's life cycle without treatment. We are proposing this 
change because pine shoot beetles are not present in pine bark products 
during this stage. We are also proposing to establish a management 
method to allow pine bark products to be moved interstate from 
quarantined areas during the overwintering stage (November 1 through 
March 31) and spring flight stage (April 1 through June 30) of the pine 
shoot beetle's life cycle. This action would relieve restrictions on 
the interstate movement of pine bark products from quarantined areas 
during 4 months of the year and provide for the use of a management 
method as an alternative to fumigation with methyl bromide for pine 
bark products moved interstate from quarantined areas during the rest 
of the year.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 
August 5, 2005.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     EDOCKET: Go to http://www.epa.gov/feddocket to submit or 
view public comments, access the index listing of the contents of the 
official public docket, and to access those documents in the public 
docket that are available electronically. Once you have entered 
EDOCKET, click on the ``View Open APHIS Dockets'' link to locate this 
document.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send four copies 
of your comment (an original and three copies) to Docket No. 04-031-1, 
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. 04-031-1.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://
www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for locating this 
docket and submitting comments.
    Reading Room: 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.
    Other Information: You may view APHIS documents published in the 
Federal Register and related information on the Internet at http://
www.aphis.usda.gov/ppd/rad/webrepor.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Weyman Fussell, Program Manager, 
Invasive Species and Pest Management, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 
134, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-5705.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The regulations in 7 CFR 301.50 through 301.50-10 (referred to 
below as the regulations) restrict the interstate movement of certain 
regulated articles from quarantined areas in order to prevent the 
spread of pine shoot beetle (PSB) into noninfested areas of the United 
States.
    PSB is a pest of pine trees that can cause damage in weak and dying 
trees, where reproduction and immature stages of PSB occur. During 
shoot feeding, young beetles tunnel into the center of pine shoots 
(usually of the current year's growth), causing stunted and distorted 
growth in host trees. PSB is also a vector of several diseases of pine 
trees. Factors that may result in the establishment of PSB populations 
far from the location of the original host tree include: (1) Adults can 
fly at least 1 kilometer, and (2) infested trees and pine products are 
often transported long distances. This pest damages urban ornamental 
trees and can cause economic losses to the timber, Christmas tree, and 
nursery industries.
    PSB hosts include all pine species (Pinus spp.). The beetle has 
been found in a variety of pine species in the United States. Scotch 
pine (P. sylvestris) is the preferred host of PSB. White pine (P. 
strobus) is the most common pine species in many of the quarantined 
areas, but it is not well-suited for PSB reproduction and thus is not a 
preferred host for PSB.\1\ The Animal and Plant Health Inspection 
Service (APHIS) has determined, based on scientific data from European 
countries, that fir (Abies spp.), larch (Larix spp.), and spruce (Picea 
spp.) are not hosts of PSB.
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    \1\ Ryall, K.L. and S.M. Smith. 2000. Reproductive success of 
the introduced pine shoot beetle, Tomicus piniperda, (Coleoptera: 
Scolytidae) on selected North American and European conifers. Proc. 
Ent. Soc. Ont. 131:113-121.
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    Section 301.50-2 lists articles regulated because of PSB. Regulated 
articles are the following pine products: Bark nuggets (including bark 
chips), Christmas trees, logs with bark attached, lumber with bark 
attached, nursery stock, raw pine materials for pine wreaths and 
garlands, and stumps. Section 301.50-4 provides that regulated articles 
that originate within a quarantined area may be moved interstate only 
if they are moved with a certificate or limited permit issued and 
attached in accordance with Sec. Sec.  301.50-5 and 301.50-8 of the 
regulations or they are moved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for 
experimental or scientific purposes.
    Section 301.50-5 sets out conditions under which an inspector will 
issue either a certificate or a limited permit for the interstate 
movement of regulated articles from a quarantined area. One of the 
conditions for issuing a limited permit is that the regulated article 
must be moved interstate to a specific destination in a nonquarantined 
area or to another quarantined area. In order for a regulated article 
to move freely once it exits a quarantined area, the conditions for the 
issuance of a certificate in Sec.  301.50-5(a) must be fulfilled. Pine 
bark nuggets (including

[[Page 32734]]

bark chips) are only eligible for a certificate if they are treated in 
accordance with Sec.  301.50-10 and meet the transportation 
requirements in Sec.  301.50-5(a)(2); fumigation with methyl bromide is 
the only treatment authorized in Sec.  301.50-10 for pine bark nuggets 
(including bark chips) to be moved interstate from a quarantined area.

Definition of Pine Bark Products

    Some confusion exists as to which products produced from pine bark 
are included in the term ``pine bark nuggets (including bark chips).'' 
We intend to regulate the movement of mulch and compost produced from 
pine bark in the PSB regulations, as the interstate movement of PSB-
infested mulch and compost could contribute to the spread of PSB from 
quarantined areas. To clarify this matter, we are proposing to add a 
definition of pine bark products to Sec.  301.50-1 that would read 
``Pieces of pine bark including bark chips, bark nuggets, bark mulch, 
and bark compost.'' We would also replace the term ``pine bark nuggets 
(including bark chips)'' everywhere it occurs in the regulations with 
``pine bark products.'' We will use the term ``pine bark products'' in 
our discussion of the other changes we are proposing to make to the 
regulations.

Mitigating the Risks Associated With the Interstate Movement of Pine 
Bark Products From a Quarantined Area

    As discussed above, fumigation with methyl bromide is currently the 
only treatment for pine bark products provided for by the regulations. 
However, we have reexamined the risks associated with the interstate 
movement of pine bark products from a quarantined area based on the 
habitats and activities of PSB during each stage of its life cycle:
     Overwintering (November 1 through March 31): During this 
stage, adult PSB bore into the bark of pine trees and overwinter at the 
base of those trees.
     Spring flight (April 1 through June 30): During this 
stage, adult PSB emerge from the base of pine trees and form broods in 
dead and dying pine logs. Larvae develop under the bark, feeding on the 
inner bark and cambium. They emerge as adult beetles in about 4 to 8 
weeks.
     Shoot feeding (July 1 through October 31): During this 
stage, adult PSB are only found in pine branch shoots, where they feed, 
and are no longer present in pine bark.
    Given these changing habitats and activities, different procedures 
to mitigate the risk of spreading PSB from a quarantined area via the 
interstate movement of pine bark products are appropriate for each 
stage in the PSB life cycle. In addition, recent research indicates 
that combinations of mechanical procedures and, in some cases, 
composting are effective at killing PSB that may be present in pine 
bark products. Finally, the fact that PSB is not present in pine bark 
during the shoot feeding stage means that no specific risk mitigation 
measures are necessary for pine bark products that are produced from 
trees felled during the shoot feeding stage and moved interstate from a 
quarantined area.
    Accordingly, staff from the Maine Department of Agriculture, the 
Maine Forest Service, and plant regulatory staff in other States 
developed a management method for the interstate movement of pine bark 
products from a quarantined area that could be used as an alternative 
to fumigation with methyl bromide to mitigate the risk of the spread of 
PSB via such movement. After it was proposed to APHIS in 2002, the 
management method underwent numerous revisions and was subsequently 
submitted to the National Plant Board, a group composed of plant 
regulatory officials from the 50 States, for review in the summer of 
2003. In October 2003, the National Plant Board's Board of Directors 
voted unanimously to support the use of the management method. APHIS 
has reviewed the management method and the research behind it and 
concurs in the judgment of the other reviewers. (For further 
information on the management method, please contact the person listed 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.)
    Therefore, we are proposing to amend the regulations in Sec.  
301.50-5(a)(1)(v) to allow a certificate to be issued for the 
interstate movement of pine bark products produced from trees felled 
during the shoot feeding cycle, without mandatory treatment or 
inspection. We are also proposing to add to the regulations in Sec.  
301.50-10 a management method for pine bark products generated from 
trees of four pine species: White pine, Scotch pine, red pine (P. 
resinosa), and jack pine (P. banksiana). Under this proposed rule, pine 
bark products that are produced from pines of those species felled 
during the period November 1 through June 30 and that have been 
produced in accordance with these management methods would satisfy the 
conditions for the issuance of a certificate for interstate movement 
from a quarantined area if they meet the transportation requirements in 
Sec.  301.50-5(a)(2).

Interstate Movement During the Shoot Feeding Stage (July 1 Through 
October 31)

    The regulations in Sec.  301.50-5(a)(1)(v) provide that a 
certificate will be issued for the interstate movement of a pine log 
with bark attached, pine lumber with bark attached, or a pine stump 
from a quarantined area if the source tree has been felled during the 
period of July through October; Sec.  301.50-5(a)(2)(iii) additionally 
provides that articles meeting that condition may be transported 
without restrictions if they are shipped interstate during the period 
of July through October. No treatment or inspection is required; these 
measures are presumed not to be necessary due to the fact that adult 
PSB are only found in pine branch shoots during the shoot feeding 
stage. This fact also means that PSB would not be present in any pine 
bark products generated from logs that were felled and debarked during 
the period of July through October and moved interstate from a 
quarantined area during that same period, especially considering that 
stockpiles of loose bark are not known to attract PSB. However, we 
neglected to include pine bark products in Sec.  301.50-5(a)(1)(v) when 
we established that paragraph in an interim rule effective and 
published in the Federal Register on May 13, 1993 (58 FR 28333-28335, 
Docket No. 92-139-3).
    Accordingly, this proposed rule would amend Sec.  301.50-5(a)(1)(v) 
to add pine bark products generated from source trees felled and 
debarked during the period of July through October to the list of 
regulated articles for which a certificate for interstate movement from 
a quarantined area may be issued without treatment or inspection if the 
source tree has been felled during the period of July through October. 
We would also amend Sec.  301.50-5(a)(2)(iii) to add pine bark products 
generated from source trees felled and debarked during the source 
feeding stage to the parallel list of regulated articles in that 
paragraph.
    In addition, we would make two minor changes to paragraph Sec.  
301.50-5(a)(2)(iii). We would add language to indicate that the 
articles from trees felled during the period of July through October 
must be moved interstate during the period of July through October of 
the year in which the source tree was felled in order to be eligible 
under that paragraph to move under a certificate. This change would 
clarify the regulations. We would also replace all the references in 
the regulations to the period July through October with references to 
the period July 1 through

[[Page 32735]]

October 31, to make the duration of the period of time in question 
clearer.

Management Method for the Interstate Movement of Pine Bark Products

    The management method APHIS has determined to be effective for pine 
bark products moved interstate during the overwintering and the spring 
flight stages draws on several means of mitigating the risk of 
spreading PSB that is associated with such movement, including 
mechanical debarking of the pine logs, grinding of the pine bark into 
pieces of 1 inch or less in size, and composting.
    Mechanically debarking pine logs, a common process which produces 
pine bark as a byproduct, can be assumed to kill almost all PSB that 
may be present in the pine logs when a ring debarker or a Rosser head 
debarker is used. Ring debarkers consist of a ring of cutting heads or 
knives that are mounted on a series of arms in a circular position; the 
cutting heads rotate around the log as it is fed through the ring. The 
rings have a variable pressure capacity, so they relax or constrict to 
accommodate the different dimensions and contours of each log. Rosser 
head debarkers consist of a unit in which the log is turned while a 
moving cutter head debarks it.
    While no research has yet been conducted regarding the mortality 
rate for PSB that results from mechanical debarking, research on 
mortality rates for two beetles that are of a size similar to PSB, Ips 
typographus and I. calligraphus, indicates that mechanical debarking 
produces mortality rates of 93 percent and 99 percent, respectively, 
for those beetles.\2\
    After pine logs are debarked, the resulting pine bark products may 
be processed, either by bark grinding or by composting. If the pine 
bark is ground into pieces of 1 inch in diameter or less, we believe 
the grinding process is sufficient to mitigate the risk of spreading 
PSB via the interstate movement of the pine bark. One study using 
unprocessed, composted pine bark whose surface was infested with 
Tribolium confusum duVal (Coleoptera; Tenebrionidae) found no survivors 
after the bark was ground in a manner simulating final bark mulch 
processing.\3\ Another investigator reported similar results using 
loblolly pine with infestations of Ips spp.\4\
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    \2\ Dubbel, V. 1993. Survival rate of spruce bark beetles with 
machine debarking. Allgemeine Forst Zeitschrift: 48(7): 359-360; and 
Haack, R.A. (unpublished data).
    \3\ Barak, A.V. 1999. Pine Shoot Beetle compliance: Cooperative 
Investigation with Webb Brothers Inc., Sherburne, NY. USDA/APHIS 
unpublished report, USDA/APHIS Otis Plant Protection Center, Otis 
ANGB, MA.
    \4\ Haack, R.A. (unpublished data).
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    Composting procedures can raise the temperature of pine bark 
products to 120 [deg]F (49 [deg]C), which is sufficient to kill PSB. 
However, experiments by APHIS's Center for Plant Health Science and 
Technology (CPHST) indicate that care must be taken to ensure that all 
parts of a pile of composting pine bark reach this temperature, as the 
exterior portions of a pile will not compost. CPHST has developed a 
procedure for composting pine bark that addresses this problem and 
ensures that the composting process is lethal to PSB:
     The pile of pine bark to be composted must be at least 200 
cubic yards in size.
     The compost pile must remain undisturbed until the 
interior temperature of the pile reaches 120 [deg]F (49 [deg]C) and 
remains at or over that temperature for 4 consecutive days.
     After the 4-day period is completed, the outer layer of 
the compost pile must be removed to a depth of 3 feet.
     A second compost pile must be started using the cover 
material previously removed as a core. Core material must be removed 
from the first compost pile and used to cover the second compost pile 
to a depth of 3 feet.
     The second compost pile must remain undisturbed until the 
interior temperature of the pile reaches 120 [deg]F (49 [deg]C) and 
remains at or over that temperature for 4 consecutive days. After this 
4-day period, the composting procedure is complete.
     Previously composted material generated using this 
procedure may be used as cover material for subsequent compost piles. A 
compost pile that uses previously composted material as cover material 
must remain undisturbed until the interior temperature of the pile 
reaches 120 [deg]F (49 [deg]C) and remains at or over that temperature 
for 4 consecutive days. After this 4-day period, the composting 
procedure is complete.
    The procedures we are proposing to allow as an alternative to 
fumigation with methyl bromide for the management of pine bark products 
generated from trees felled during the overwintering stage and the 
spring flight stage of the life cycle of PSB are described below.

Management Procedure For the Overwintering Stage (November 1 Through 
March 31)

    During this stage, PSB bore into the bark of pine trees and 
overwinter at the base of those trees. Research on PSB overwintering 
behavior in small-diameter Scotch pine trees indicates up to 97 percent 
of adults choose overwintering sites on the bases of those trees that 
are 4 inches or less above the duff layer.\5\ Pine trees are typically 
cut 4 to 6 inches above the duff layer when harvested; thus, if any PSB 
are present in pine trees that are harvested during the overwintering 
period, most or all of them are not present in the pine logs that are 
removed from the harvesting site.
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    \5\ Petrice, T.R., R.A. Haack and T.M. Poland. 2002. Selection 
of overwintering sites by Tomicus piniperda (Coleoptera: Scolytidae) 
during fall shoot departure. J. Entomol. Sci. 37(1): 48-59.
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    As mentioned above, Scotch pine is the preferred host for PSB. In 
general, PSB prefers to overwinter in 2-3 needle hard pines, such as 
Scotch pine, red pine, and jack pine, rather than white pine, which is 
a 5-needle soft pine. When overwintering, PSB chooses sites close to 
the ground on preferred hosts first. If those sites are too crowded, it 
will either overwinter higher on the tree in a preferred host or close 
to the ground in a nonpreferred host. Thus, in crowded conditions, PSB 
may be present at locations higher than 4 inches above the duff layer 
on hard pines. However, it is unlikely that PSB would be present in 
high concentrations on soft pines, regardless of crowding conditions, 
and it is highly unlikely that PSB would be present more than 4 inches 
above the duff layer.
    Given the above considerations, we are proposing to allow 
inspectors to issue a certificate for the interstate movement of pine 
bark products from white pines from a quarantined area during the 
overwintering period if the pines are harvested with a stump height of 
4 inches above the duff layer and the pine logs are subsequently 
mechanically debarked with a ring debarker or a Rosser head debarker. 
PSB is highly unlikely to be present in white pines at more than 4 
inches above the duff layer, and the debarking process further 
mitigates the risk of spreading PSB via interstate movement of pine 
bark products from quarantined areas.
    Because PSB is more likely to be present 4 inches above the duff 
layer in hard pines, we are proposing to allow inspectors to issue a 
certificate for the interstate movement of pine bark products from 
Scotch pines, red pines, and jack pines from a quarantined area during 
the overwintering period if the pines are harvested with a stump height 
of 4 inches above the duff layer, the pine logs are subsequently 
mechanically debarked with a ring debarker or a Rosser head debarker, 
and the resulting pine bark products are either ground

[[Page 32736]]

into pieces of 1 inch or less in size or composted in accordance with 
the procedure described above.

Management Procedure for the Spring Flight Stage (April 1 to June 30)

    During this period, PSB attempts to establish broods in dead and 
dying pine logs, meaning that any pine logs or any material generated 
from pine logs may be infested with PSB. Therefore, we are proposing to 
allow an inspector to issue a certificate for the interstate movement 
of pine bark products generated from white pine, Scotch pine, red pine, 
and jack pine from a quarantined area if the logs from which the pine 
bark products were generated were mechanically debarked with a Ring 
debarker and the pine bark was subsequently either ground into pieces 
of 1 inch or less in size or composted in accordance with the procedure 
described above.

Miscellaneous Changes

    We are proposing to add the management method described above for 
the overwintering and spring flight stages to Sec.  301.50-10 in a new 
paragraph (d). Currently, the section heading for Sec.  301.50-10 is 
``Treatments.'' Because the management method requires mitigations that 
are not typically classified as treatments, such as mechanical 
debarking, we would amend this section heading to read ``Treatments and 
management method.'' In addition, paragraph (a)(1)(i) of Sec.  301.50-5 
currently requires that regulated articles to be moved interstate must 
be treated in accordance with Sec.  301.50-10; we would amend this 
paragraph to reflect the fact that Sec.  301.50-10 would contain a 
management method in addition to treatments.

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.
    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 603, we have performed an initial 
regulatory flexibility analysis, which is set out below, regarding the 
effects of this proposed rule on small entities. We do not currently 
have all the data necessary for a comprehensive analysis of the effects 
of this proposed rule on small entities. Therefore, we are inviting 
comments concerning potential effects. In particular, we are interested 
in information on the costs of the stump cutting, debarking, bark 
grinding, and composting processes that serve as components of the 
management plan described in this proposed rule.
    In accordance with the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701-7772), 
the Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to promulgate regulations to 
prevent the dissemination of plant pests or noxious weeds within the 
United States.
    We are proposing to amend the PSB regulations to allow pine bark 
products to be moved interstate from quarantined areas during the shoot 
feeding stage (July 1 through October 31) of the PSB's life cycle 
without treatment. We are proposing this change because PSB is not 
present in pine bark products during this stage. We are also proposing 
to establish a management method to allow pine bark products to be 
moved interstate from quarantined areas during the overwintering stage 
(November 1 through March 31) and spring flight stage (April 1 through 
June 30) of the PSB's life cycle.
    The regulations currently require that pine bark products be 
fumigated with methyl bromide before a certificate can be issued 
allowing the interstate movement of pine bark products from a 
quarantined area into a nonquarantined area. The pine logging and 
processing industry does not consider fumigation with methyl bromide a 
viable treatment option due to its costs. This proposed rule would 
establish a pine bark product management method under which a 
certificate would be issued for the interstate movement of pine bark 
products from a quarantined area without the use of methyl bromide. 
Only mechanical procedures or composting would be required, and at some 
times pine bark products would be allowed to move without treatment. 
This proposed rule has the strong backing of the pine bark industry as 
well as the National Plant Board. APHIS, along with the National Plant 
Board, has found that the mechanical methods, composting, and specific 
handling procedures this proposal would require provide the necessary 
protection against the artificial spread of PSB into noninfested areas.
    The groups affected by this action would be any logging, sawmill, 
paper mill, wood chip-energy, and wood chip-mulch operations in the 405 
counties currently quarantined because of PSB.\6\ The proposed rule 
would benefit all of these operations, allowing them to move pine bark 
products out of a quarantined area without the economic burden of first 
fumigating the bark products with methyl bromide.
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    \6\ Under Sec.  301.50-3, part or all of 13 States are 
quarantined for PSB: Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, 
New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, West 
Virginia, and Wisconsin.
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    States in the northeast region, specifically Maine, New Hampshire, 
New York, and Vermont, would benefit from this regulation due to the 
significant contribution the forest industry makes to their economies. 
According to a study published by the North East State Foresters 
Association in March 2001, forest-based manufacturing in this 4-State 
region provides employment for almost 97,000 people and generates $15.7 
billion annually in receipts.\7\
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    \7\ The Economic Importance of the Northeast's Forests, North 
East State Foresters Association (NESFA), March 2001.
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    The forest industry relies heavily on the wood chip processors to 
remove waste bark. The waste pine chips are used for landscaping 
material, burned to produce energy, or used to produce paper. Not only 
do the sawmill and logging operations benefit from this waste removal, 
but the wood chip industry is able to package and sell the bark to 
consumers for landscaping needs. Turning this waste into mulch or other 
products is financially and environmentally beneficial to the forest 
industry and consumers.

Treatment Costs

    Putting aside the environmental impact of using methyl bromide and 
the consumer's possible reluctance to purchase mulch treated with 
methyl bromide, the treatment costs alone of fumigation with methyl 
bromide are prohibitive. The average cost of fumigating a 48-foot 
tractor-trailer loaded with mulch with methyl bromide according to the 
treatment schedule in Sec.  301.50-10(a) is estimated to be $1,435.\8\ 
Considering that a 48-foot tractor trailer holds between 82 and 96 
yards of mulch, the cost of fumigation with methyl bromide is 
approximately $14.95 to $17.50 per yard.
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    \8\ Based on information provided by the Michigan State 
University, Agricultural Extension Service. Cost includes labor and 
materials; sealing of 48-ft. trailer; monitoring of fumigant (4-5 
lbs. per 1,000 cubic ft.); aeration of trailer; and loading and 
unloading of pine mulch and nuggets.
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    The treatment costs are so high that the wood chip industry is 
unable to absorb these costs, as pine mulch retails for $16 a yard. The 
wood chip industry would have to pass these treatment costs on to 
consumers, approximately doubling the retail price of mulch to $32 per 
yard. Wood chip processors in areas quarantined for PSB are unable to 
compete with wood chip processors in nonquarantined areas due to the 
treatment costs. Sawmill and logging

[[Page 32737]]

operations are forced to dispose of the wood chips themselves.
    Precise cost estimates for the management plan for pine bark 
products could not be obtained. However, for 4 months of the year, pine 
bark products would be able to be moved without restrictions. With 
regard to the other mitigations that would be required in the pine bark 
products management plan, most loggers already cut pine trees more than 
4 inches above the stump, and most pine logs are already debarked using 
a mechanical debarker, meaning that the costs associated with these 
procedures should be low, if they impose any new burden at all. Pine 
bark mulch is typically made either by bark grinding or composting; 
without data on bark processors' current bark grinding and composting 
procedures, it is difficult to estimate what, if any, costs would be 
associated with implementing the management method for pine bark 
processors. However, we believe that any additional costs would still 
be far lower than the cost of fumigation with methyl bromide.

Impact on Small Entities

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires that agencies specifically 
consider the economic impact of their regulations on small entities. 
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has established size criteria 
using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) to 
determine which economic entities meet the definition of a small firm.
    Most businesses that would be affected by this proposed rule belong 
to one of two NAICS categories: (1) Logging firms, which would fall 
within NAICS category 113310, ``Logging,'' and (2) sawmills and other 
wood processing firms, which would fall within NAICS category 321113, 
``Sawmills.'' Firms in both of these categories are considered by the 
SBA to be small entities if they employ fewer than 500 people. Using 
the data provided by the National Agricultural Statistics Service's 
2002 Census of Agriculture, we can assume that most firms in these 
categories would be considered small entities. We do not have any 
specific data regarding how many firms that would be affected by the 
proposed rule are considered to be small entities; we invite public 
comment on this issue.
    We believe that this proposed rule would have a positive impact on 
all affected entities, because we believe the management method in this 
proposed rule would dramatically lower treatment costs for pine bark 
products derived from trees during 8 months of the year and eliminate 
such costs entirely for pine bark products derived from trees felled 
during 4 months of the year. We welcome comments from affected entities 
on the possible economic impacts of this proposed rule.
    This proposed rule contains no new information collection or 
recordkeeping requirements (see ``Paperwork Reduction Act'' below).

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 new 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 proposed to amend 7 CFR part 301 to read 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. 7701-7772; 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.  301.50-1, a new definition of pine bark products would 
be added in alphabetical order to read as follows:


Sec.  301.50-1  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Pine bark products. Pieces of pine bark including bark chips, bark 
nuggets, bark mulch and bark compost.
* * * * *


Sec.  301.50-2  [Amended]

    3. In Sec.  301.50-2, paragraph (a) would be amended by removing 
the words ``Bark nuggets (including bark chips)'' and adding the words 
``Bark products'' in their place.
    4. Section 301.50-5 would be amended as follows:
    a. In paragraph (a)(1)(i), by adding the words ``, or, if pine bark 
products, produced according to the requirements of the management 
method in Sec.  301.50-10(d) of this subpart'' after the word 
``subpart''.
    b. In paragraph (a)(1)(v), by removing the words ``July through 
October'' and adding the words ``July 1 through October 31'' in their 
place; and by adding the words ``or if the regulated article is pine 
bark products produced from a tree felled and debarked during the 
period of July 1 through October 31'' before the word ``; and''.
    c. By revising paragraph (a)(2)(iii) to read as set forth below.


Sec.  301.50-5  Issuance and cancellation of certificates and limited 
permits.

    (a) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (iii) The pine log with pine bark attached, pine lumber with bark 
attached, or pine stump from a tree felled during the period of July 1 
through October 31, or the pine bark products produced from a tree 
felled and debarked during the period of July 1 through October 31, 
will be shipped interstate from the quarantined area during the period 
of July 1 through October 31 of the same year in which the source tree 
was felled; and
* * * * *
    5. Section 301.50-10 would be amended as follows:
    a. By revising the section heading to read as set forth below.
    b. In paragraph (a), by removing the words ``pine bark nuggets 
(including bark chips)'' and adding the words ``pine bark products'' in 
their place.
    c. By adding a new paragraph (d) to read as set forth below.


Sec.  301.50-10  Treatments and management method.

* * * * *
    (d) Management method for pine bark products. The following 
procedures are authorized for use with pine bark products derived from 
white pine (Pinus strobus), Scotch pine (P. sylvestris), red pine (P. 
resinosa), and jack pine (P. banksiana) trees. Pine bark products will 
only be considered to have been produced in accordance with this 
management method if the following procedures are followed:

[[Page 32738]]

    (1) For pine bark products produced from trees felled during the 
period November 1 through March 31:
    (i) The trees must be harvested at a height of 4 inches or more 
above the duff line; and
    (ii) The trees must have been mechanically debarked with a ring 
debarker or a Rosser head debarker; and
    (iii) For Scotch pine, red pine, and jack pine, the bark must 
either be ground into pieces of 1 inch or less in size or composted in 
accordance with the procedure in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.
    (2) For pine bark products produced from trees felled during the 
period April 1 through June 30:
    (i) The trees must have been mechanically debarked with a ring 
debarker or a Rosser head debarker; and
    (ii) The bark must either be ground into pieces of 1 inch or less 
in size or composted in accordance with the procedure in paragraph 
(d)(3) of this section.
    (3) Composting for pine bark products for the management method in 
this paragraph (d) must be performed as follows:
    (i) The pile of pine bark to be composted must be at least 200 
cubic yards in size; and
    (ii) The compost pile must remain undisturbed until the interior 
temperature of the pile reaches 120 [deg]F (49 [deg]C) and remains at 
or over that temperature for 4 consecutive days; and
    (iii) After the 4-day period is completed, the outer layer of the 
compost pile must be removed to a depth of 3 feet; and
    (iv) A second compost pile must be started using the cover material 
previously removed as a core. Core material must be removed from the 
first compost pile and used to cover the second compost pile to a depth 
of 3 feet; and
    (v) The second compost pile must remain undisturbed until the 
interior temperature of the pile reaches 120 [deg]F (49 [deg]C) and 
remains at or over that temperature for 4 consecutive days. After this 
4-day period, the composting procedure is complete.
    (vi) Previously composted material generated using this procedure 
may be used as cover material for subsequent compost piles. A compost 
pile that uses previously composted material as cover material must 
remain undisturbed until the interior temperature of the pile reaches 
120 [deg]F (49 [deg]C) and remains at or over that temperature for 4 
consecutive days. After this 4-day period, the composting procedure is 
complete.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 31st day of May 2005.
Elizabeth E. Gaston,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 05-11150 Filed 6-3-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P