[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 148 (Wednesday, August 3, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Page 44554]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-15287]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. 03-110-2]


Saltcedar; Availability of an Environmental Assessment and 
Finding of No Significant Impact

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service has prepared an environmental assessment relative to 
the control of saltcedar (Tamarix spp.). The environmental assessment 
considers the effects of, and alternatives to, the release of a 
nonindigenous leaf beetle, Diorhabda elongata, into the environment to 
reduce the severity of saltcedar infestations. The environmental 
assessment provides a basis for our conclusion that the release into 
the environment of the biological control agent will not present a risk 
of introducing plant pests into the United States or disseminating 
plant pests within the United States and will not have a significant 
impact on the quality of the human environment. Based on its findings 
of no significant impact, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection 
Service has determined that an environmental impact statement need not 
be prepared.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the environmental assessment and finding of no 
significant impact are available for public inspection 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.
    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: Dr. William Kauffman, Western Region 
Program Manager, PPQ, APHIS, 2150 Centre Avenue Building B, Fort 
Collins, CO 80526-8117; (970) 494-7565.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    On December 19, 2003, we published in the Federal Register (68 FR 
70755-70756, Docket No. 03-110-1) a notice advising the public that a 
draft environmental assessment had been prepared by the Animal and 
Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) relative to the release of a 
nonindigenous leaf beetle, Diorhabda elongata, into the environment to 
reduce the severity of saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) infestations, a major 
weed pest of watercourses and riparian habitats.
    We solicited comments on the draft environmental assessment for 30 
days, ending January 20, 2004. We received 37 comments by that date. 
The comments were from researchers, State plant organizations, 
individuals, and industry groups. Of the comments received, 13 were 
supportive and 1 was a request for an extension of the comment period. 
The remaining 23 commenters raised issues concerning water usage, 
endangered and protected species considerations, additional saltcedar 
eradication options, and projected results. We have taken the issues 
raised by the 23 commenters into consideration in formulating our final 
environmental assessment.
    The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact 
may be viewed on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ppd/es/
sltcedr.html. You may request paper copies of the environmental 
assessment and finding of no significant impact by calling or writing 
to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Please 
refer to the title of the environmental assessment and finding of no 
significant impact when requesting copies. The environmental assessment 
and finding of no significant impact are 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 and finding of no significant impact 
have been prepared in accordance with: (1) The National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, (2) as amended (43 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), 
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).

    Done in Washington, DC, this 28th day of July 2005 .
Elizabeth E. Gaston,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 05-15287 Filed 8-2-05; 8:45 am]
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