[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 231 (Friday, December 1, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 69530-69531]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-20392]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2006-0126]


Request for Information; Potential Sites for a Sterile Fruit Fly 
Production Facility or Potential Alternate Sources of Sterile Fruit 
Flies

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 (APHIS) is exploring options for the construction of 
a multispecies exotic fruit fly facility and/or the privatization of 
sterile fly production to provide backup capacity for our sterile fruit 
fly programs and emergency needs. APHIS recognizes the need to maintain 
a backup for sterile fruit fly production to respond to emergency 
outbreaks when they occur, and to ensure current preventive release 
programs in California, Florida, and Texas remain effective. In this 
notice, we are soliciting the submission of information from interested 
persons regarding potential sites for the production of sterile fruit 
flies or alternate sources of those flies.

DATES: We will consider all submissions of information that we receive 
on or before January 2, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Any information should be submitted, in writing, to the 
person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Michael B. Stefan, Director, Fruit 
Fly Exclusion and Detection Programs, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 
137, Riverdale, MD 20737-1229; (301) 734-4387.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On February 17, 2006, we published in the Federal Register (71 FR 
8563, Docket No. APHIS-2006-0007) a notice \1\ advising the public we 
had prepared a draft document titled ``Exotic Fruit Fly Strategic Plan 
FY 2006-2010'' and made it available to the public for review and 
comment. Appendix A of that document discussed the potential actions we 
could take in response to the closing of the sterile Mediterranean 
fruit fly (Medfly) production facility in Waimanalo, HI. The following 
options were presented: (1) Do not replace the facility; (2) build a 
new production facility in Hawaii; (3) partner with California 
Department of Food and Agriculture to expand their sterile fruit fly 
production facility in Hawaii; or (4) build a multispecies facility in 
the continental United States or on foreign soil. Most of the comments 
we received on the draft strategic plan agreed on the need for a 
multispecies exotic fruit fly facility to provide backup capacity for 
our sterile fruit fly programs and emergency needs. Additionally, 
several

[[Page 69531]]

commenters suggested potential sites for the new facility.
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    \1\ To view the draft strategic plan and the comments we 
received, go to http://www.regulations.gov, click on the ``Advanced 
Search'' tab, and select ``Docket Search.'' In the Docket ID field, 
enter APHIS-2006-0007, then click on ``Submit.'' Clicking on the 
Docket ID link in the search results page will produce a list of all 
documents in the docket.
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    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recognizes 
the need to maintain a backup for sterile Medfly and Mexican fruit fly 
(Mexfly) production to respond to emergency outbreaks when they occur, 
and to ensure that the current preventive release programs in 
California, Florida, and Texas remain effective. Specifically, we 
believe we need the capacity to produce 550 million sterile Medflies 
per week and the ability to maintain and produce 150 million sterile 
Mexflies per week as a second species. We are exploring our options for 
meeting these needs, including the construction of a multispecies 
rearing facility or the privatization of sterile fly production.
    In order to further explore our options, we are requesting 
information from the public regarding options through which we could 
(1) produce sterile Medflies and Mexflies at an APHIS-managed rearing 
facility or at a facility operated by a privately owned company or a 
State or foreign government or (2) purchase sterile Medflies and 
Mexflies from a facility operated by a privately owned company or a 
State or foreign government. APHIS is open to considering locations 
both within and outside the continental United States as backup sources 
for sterile fruit flies.
    Production of sterile fruit flies requires the maintenance of a 
fertile colony of fruit flies in the facility, and although containment 
mechanisms are maintained in any production facility, the risk of 
fertile flies escaping into the local environs can pose a pest risk. 
Accordingly, any new sterile fruit fly production facility--public or 
private--would have to be located either in an area that will not 
support the establishment of the species of fruit flies being produced 
or an area that is already infested with the species of fruit flies 
being produced. We welcome any information or suggestions regarding 
potential locations for the construction of a multispecies facility 
within or outside the continental United States.
    Because the ease of transporting and distributing sterile fruit 
flies must be considered, we invite information about potential sites 
where transportation accommodations are of such a nature to allow for 
the ease of daily shipments to all target release areas of the sterile 
fruit flies produced. A favorable location would be one where the air 
transportation accommodations would not entail more than one connecting 
flight from the production site to the target release area. We are open 
to information regarding potential locations within or outside the 
continental United States that would accommodate this need.
    In addition, minimizing construction costs and time is desirable. 
Any potential economic savings in land acquisition, facility 
construction, and maintenance costs for a new facility will be a high 
priority in the selection of a site. Any information or suggestions 
about potential locations on tribal land, retired military bases, or 
other locations within or outside the United States would be useful. 
Any suggestions for other ways to help minimize construction costs and 
time would also be welcome.
    Recent advances in research and development of sterile insect 
technologies necessitate that any new facility should be able to adapt 
to and incorporate any new technologies (e.g., adapt to new space 
requirements, accommodate different filter systems, etc.) where 
appropriate. We invite information about recent advances in research 
and development of sterile insect technologies, specifically any 
information regarding new, more effective and efficient, technologies 
that would be desirable to incorporate into a new production facility.
    We are seeking detailed data and information from the public in 
response to this notice, which we will use as a resource in our 
exploration of options for construction of a multispecies rearing 
facility and/or privatization of sterile fly production.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 22nd day of November 2006.
W. Ron DeHaven,
Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
 [FR Doc. E6-20392 Filed 11-30-06; 8:45 am]
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