[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 35 (Thursday, February 22, 2007)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 7923-7926]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-3013]



========================================================================
Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 
Prices of new books are listed in the first FEDERAL REGISTER issue of each 
week.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 35 / Thursday, February 22, 2007 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 7923]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 301

[Docket No. APHIS-2006-0170]


Witchweed Quarantine Regulations; Regulated Areas in North 
Carolina and South Carolina

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA

ACTION: Interim rule and request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We are amending the list of regulated areas in the witchweed 
quarantine and regulations by adding or removing areas in North 
Carolina and South Carolina. These changes affect five counties in 
North Carolina and two counties in South Carolina. These actions are 
necessary in order to prevent the artificial spread of witchweed from 
areas where the weed has been detected and to remove restrictions that 
are no longer necessary on the interstate movement of regulated 
articles from areas where witchweed has been eradicated.

DATES: This interim rule is effective February 15, 2007. We will 
consider all comments that we receive on or before April 23, 2007.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://
www.regulations.gov, select ``Animal and Plant Health Inspection 
Service'' from the agency drop-down menu, then click ``Submit.'' In the 
Docket ID column, select APHIS-2006-0170 to submit or view public 
comments and to view supporting and related materials available 
electronically. Information on using Regulations.gov, including 
instructions for accessing documents, submitting comments, and viewing 
the docket after the close of the comment period, is available through 
the site's ``User Tips'' link.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send four copies 
of your comment (an original and three copies) to Docket No. APHIS-
2006-0170, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-
03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state 
that your comment refers to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0170.
    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: Additional information about APHIS and its 
programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Alan V. Tasker, Noxious Weeds 
Program Manager, Invasive Species and Pest Management, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 
River Road Unit 134, Riverdale, MD 20737-1237; (301) 734-5708.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Witchweed (Striga spp.) is a parasitic plant that attacks some of 
the most important crops in the United States (corn, sorghum, sugar 
cane, and rice), feeding off the roots of its host and causing 
degeneration. Within the United States, witchweed is only found in 
parts of North Carolina and South Carolina.
    The witchweed quarantine and regulations, contained in 7 CFR 301.80 
through 301.80-10 (referred to below as the regulations), quarantine 
affected areas within the States of North Carolina and South Carolina 
and restrict the interstate movement of certain articles from regulated 
areas in those States for the purpose of preventing the spread of 
witchweed.
    Section 301.80-2(a) provides that the Deputy Administrator will 
designate as regulated areas each quarantined State, or each portion of 
a quarantined State, in which witchweed has been found, in which there 
is reason to believe that witchweed is present, or that it is deemed 
necessary to regulate because of its proximity to infestation or its 
inseparability for quarantine enforcement purposes from infested 
localities. The regulations impose restrictions on the interstate 
movement of regulated articles from the regulated areas. Regulated 
areas, which are listed in Sec.  301.80-2a, are designated as either 
suppressive areas or generally infested areas. Suppressive areas are 
those portions of the regulated areas where eradication of infestation 
is undertaken as an objective. Currently, all the regulated areas 
listed in Sec.  301.80-2a are designated as suppressive areas.
    Less than an entire quarantined State will be designated as a 
regulated area only if the Deputy Administrator is of the opinion that: 
(1) The State has adopted and is enforcing restrictions on the 
intrastate movement of the regulated articles that are substantially 
the same as those imposed on the interstate movement of regulated 
articles and (2) the designation of less than the entire State as a 
regulated area will prevent the interstate spread of witchweed.

Changes to the List of Regulated Areas

    In this interim rule, we are amending the list of regulated areas 
in Sec.  301.80-2a by removing areas in Cumberland, Pender, Robeson, 
and Sampson Counties, NC, and Horry and Marion Counties, SC, from the 
list of suppressive areas. We are taking this action because we have 
determined that witchweed no longer occurs in these areas; therefore, 
we no longer need to list these areas as suppressive areas for the 
purpose of preventing the spread of witchweed. This action relieves 
restrictions on the movement of regulated articles from these areas 
that are no longer necessary.
    In addition to removing areas from the list of regulated areas in 
Sec.  301.80-2a, we are also adding several areas to the list and 
revising the descriptions of several areas on the list. Specifically, 
we are adding 4 farms in Cumberland County, NC, 1 farm in Pender 
County, NC, 3 farms in Robeson County, NC, 5 farms in Sampson County, 
NC, 17 farms in Horry County, SC, and 9 farms in Marion County, SC, as 
suppressive areas. We are also expanding the large suppressive areas in 
Bladen, Robeson, and Sampson Counties, NC. We are

[[Page 7924]]

taking these actions because we have determined that witchweed occurs 
in these areas; therefore, we need to list these areas as suppressive 
areas for the purpose of preventing the artificial spread of witchweed. 
As a result of these actions, the restrictions described in Sec.  
301.80-3 of the regulations on the interstate movement of regulated 
articles from suppressive areas will apply to the movement of regulated 
articles from the farms we are designating as suppressive areas. The 
entire regulated area is described in the rule portion of this 
document.

Immediate Action

    Immediate action is necessary to update the list of areas in order 
to: (1) Relieve restrictions on the interstate movement of regulated 
articles from areas that are no longer infested with witchweed, and (2) 
prevent the spread of witchweed from newly infested areas into 
uninfested areas. Under these circumstances, the Administrator has 
determined that prior notice and opportunity for public comment are 
contrary to the public interest and that there is good cause under 5 
U.S.C. 553 for making this action effective less than 30 days after 
publication in the Federal Register.
    We will consider comments we receive during the comment period for 
this interim rule (see DATES above). After the comment period closes, 
we will publish another document in the Federal Register. The document 
will include a discussion of any comments we receive and any amendments 
we are making to the rule.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This 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.
    Since 1951, witchweed has been found in 38 counties in North and 
South Carolina; only 7 counties are currently infested, and witchweed 
has not been allowed to spread beyond the borders of North Carolina and 
South Carolina. From 1956 to 2006, the number of infested acres has 
been reduced from 450,000 to around 2,494, i.e., 2,097 acres in North 
Carolina and 397 acres in South Carolina (table 1).\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ USDA, APHIS, PPQ, Program Aid No. 1783, page 5, and 
``Witchweed Eradication Project Status at the End of 2005,'' survey 
data, David Patterson (personal communication).

                        Table 1.--New Farms Designated as Suppressive Areas in This Rule
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                     Value of
                                                                     Number of                     production in
                             County                                    farms          Acreage      the county in
                                                                                                   2006 ($1,000)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bladen Co., NC..................................................               1           571.3          $5,734
Cumberland Co., NC..............................................               5           963.3           2,108
Pender Co., NC..................................................               1             4.6           3,085
Robeson Co., NC.................................................               3           499.3          11,527
Sampson Co., NC.................................................               5            58.5           9,102
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    North Carolina total........................................              15           2,097      \1\ 31,556
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
Horry Co., SC...................................................              17           237.2           4,211
Marion Co., SC..................................................              12           159.5           1,462
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    South Carolina total........................................              29           396.7      \2\ 5,673
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: USDA, NASS, Crop Values, 2005 Summary, Pr 2(06), February 2006; http://www.nass.usda.gov/QuickStats/
 Crops, and ``Witchweed Eradication Project Status at the End of 2005,'' North Carolina Department of
  Agriculture and Consumer Services.
\1\ 16% of State total.
\2\ 8.5% of State total.

    If witchweed is allowed to spread throughout the United States, it 
could cause an estimated $1.08 billion in annual control costs plus an 
additional 10 percent in yield losses for U.S. corn alone.\2\ The value 
of corn production in North Carolina and South Carolina in 2006 was 
about $264 million. Using these figures, preventing the further spread 
of witchweed prevents an estimated $39.6 million in costs for North 
Carolina and South Carolina and an estimated $3.7 billion in costs for 
the entire United States. In comparison, the costs of controlling 
witchweed have been relatively low.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Sand, P.F. and J.D. Manley, ``The Witchweed Eradication 
Program, Survey, Regulatory and Control,'' pp. 141-150 in P.F. Sand, 
R.E. Eplee, and R.G. Westbrooks [eds.] ``Witchweed Research and 
Control in the United States,'' Weed Science Society of America, 
Champaign, IL (1990).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Real expenditures ranged from a high of $18.95 million in 1961 to a 
low of $1.32 million estimated for 2002.
    In North Carolina, approximately 73 percent of the costs of control 
activities are funded by the Federal Government, with the remainder 
funded by the State. In South Carolina, 100 percent of all control 
activities are funded by the Federal Government.
    Control activities include the use of pre- and post-emergence 
herbicides to kill witchweed and weed hosts. Agricultural producers 
with witchweed infestations receive free herbicide applications, which 
not only get rid of witchweed but also control other weeds throughout 
the growing season, and free ethylene gas treatments. Ethylene gas is a 
plant growth promoter that increases yields of cultivated crops.
    The witchweed eradication program has had a positive economic 
impact on agricultural producers with manageable witchweed 
infestations. Agricultural producers only bear costs associated with 
the movement of regulated articles from suppressive areas into non-
suppressive areas. For example, crops with soil attached after 
harvesting must be cleaned in order to remove witchweed seeds. In 
addition, producers moving regulated articles must arrange for 
inspection to obtain a certificate or limited permit or enter into a 
compliance agreement, which will allow them to issue certificates and 
limited permits. Agricultural machinery must also be cleaned and 
treated prior to movement, but 100 percent of machinery treatment and 
cleaning expenses are covered by the Federal Government.
    Although data were unavailable, quarantine compliance costs borne 
directly by agricultural producers are apparently very small.

[[Page 7925]]

    The rule will affect at least 29 entities located within the newly 
expanded suppressive areas in North Carolina and South Carolina. In the 
suppressive areas of North Carolina, roughly 15 to 20 percent of the 
agricultural producers grow corn, 20 to 25 percent grow soybeans, 30 
percent grow cotton, and the remaining 25 to 35 percent grow tobacco, 
sweet potatoes, peanuts, and other crops. We assume a similar mix of 
crops is produced in the suppressive areas of South Carolina.
    The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) defines a small 
agricultural producer as one with annual sales receipts of $750,000 or 
less. During 2000-2005, 85 percent of the agricultural producers in 
North Carolina had annual sales of $99,999 or less, and 15 percent had 
annual sales of $100,000 or more.
    We do not know the specific size of these 29 farms. However, based 
on agricultural State statistics, the majority (i.e., 83 percent) of 
North Carolina and South Carolina farms had less than $100,000 in 
annual sales. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the majority of 
these farms are small according to SBA criteria.
    These farms are required to incur quarantine compliance costs. 
However, the annual reduction in infested acres has undoubtedly 
benefited growers by reducing control costs and yield losses 
attributable to witchweed. In addition, discounted benefits for small 
North Carolina and South Carolina corn producers may be much larger 
than the discounted costs associated with the program.
    Continuing to regulate an area that is not infested with witchweed, 
therefore, would represent an unnecessary cost on small entities in the 
area. Similarly, not regulating an area infested with witchweed could 
jeopardize the future success of a program with a proven and cost-
effective track record.
    Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and 
Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action will 
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 rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. This rule: (1) Preempts all State and local laws and 
regulations that are inconsistent with this rule; (2) has no 
retroactive effect; and (3) does not require administrative proceedings 
before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule contains no 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.

0
Accordingly, we are amending 7 CFR part 301 as follows:

PART 301--DOMESTIC QUARANTINE NOTICES

0
1. The authority citation for part 301 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7701-7772 and 7781-7786; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, 
and 371.3.
    Section 301.75-15 issued under Sec. 204, Title II, Public Law 
106-113, 113 Stat. 1501A-293; sections 301.75-15 and 301.75-16 
issued under Sec. 203, Title II, Public Law 106-224, 114 Stat. 400 
(7 U.S.C. 1421 note).


0
2. In Sec.  301.80-2a, the entries for North Carolina and South 
Carolina are revised to read as follows:


Sec.  301.80-2a  Regulated areas; generally infested and suppressive 
areas.

* * * * *

NORTH CAROLINA

    (1) Generally infested areas. None.
    (2) Suppressive areas.
    Bladen County. That area located north and east of the Cape Fear 
River.
    The Hardison, H.B., farm located on a field road 0.25 mile 
northwest of its intersection with State Secondary Road 1719 and 0.2 
mile west of its intersection with State Secondary Road 1797.
    Cumberland County. That area bounded on the west by the Cape Fear 
River, then by a line running east and northeast along the Fayetteville 
city limits to U.S. Highway 301, then northeast on U.S. Highway 301 to 
Interstate 95, then northeast on Interstate 95 to U.S. Highway 13, then 
east and northeast on U.S. Highway 13 to the Cumberland-Sampson County 
line.
    The Barker, P.R., farm located on the south side of State Secondary 
Road 2242, 0.2 mile south of Interstate 95 on State Secondary Road 
2252.
    The Jackson, Ellis, farm located on the west side of State 
Secondary Road 1003 and 0.4 mile south of its intersection with N.C. 
Highway 59.
    The Lovick, Eugene, farm located on the north side of State 
Secondary Road 1732 and 0.9 mile west of its intersection with U.S. 
Highway 301.
    The McLaughlin, Cornell, farm located on the south side of State 
Secondary Road 2221 and 0.2 mile east of its intersection with State 
Secondary Road 2367.
    The Thigpen, William, farm located on the south side of State 
Secondary Road 2212 and 1 mile west of its intersection with N.C. 
Highway 87.
    Pender County. The Cones Folly farm located along a farm road 2.3 
miles south of its intersection with State Secondary Road 1201 and 2.2 
miles southeast of its intersection with State Secondary Road 1200.
    Robeson County. That area bounded on the west by the Robeson 
County/Scotland County line; then by a line running east along the 
Robeson County/Hoke County line to N.C. Highway 211; then southeast on 
N.C. Highway 211 to the Robeson County/Bladen County line; then south 
along the Robeson County/Bladen County line and the Robeson County/
Columbus County line to U.S. Highway 74; then northwest on U.S. Highway 
74 to N.C. Highway 41; then south on N.C. Highway 41 to the South 
Carolina State line; and then northwest along the South Carolina State 
line to the Robeson County/Scotland County line. (This area may be more 
generally described as that part of Robeson County lying south and west 
of N.C. Highway 211, bounded by U.S. Highway 74 east of N.C. Highway 41 
and by the South Carolina line west of N.C. Highway 41.)
    The Brown, James, farm located on the south side of a private road 
known as Reola Drive, 0.1 mile east of its intersection with State 
Secondary Road 1823, which intersection is 0.7 mile south of the 
intersection of State Secondary Road 1823 with State Secondary Road 
1774.
    The Buie, Joshua, farm located on a farm road 0.8 mile south of its 
intersection with State Secondary Road 1529 and 0.3 mile southwest of 
the right of way of Interstate Highway 95.
    The Lewis, Knox, farm located on the south side of State Secondary 
Road 1752, 0.5 mile east of its intersection with State Secondary Road 
1318.
    Sampson County. That area bounded on the north by N.C. Highway 24 
and on the east by U.S. Highway 701.
    The Brady-Johnson, William, property located on a private road in 
the town of Salemburg, 0.1 mile north of its

[[Page 7926]]

intersection with Church Street and 0.1 mile west of its intersection 
with N.C. Highway 242.
    The Carter, Raeford, farm located on the west side of State 
Secondary Road 1144, 0.2 mile north of its intersection with State 
Secondary Road 1143.
    The Lucas, June, estate located at the end of State Secondary Road 
1496, 1.0 mile northwest of its intersection with State Secondary Road 
1233.
    The Parker, David, farm located on the northwest side of the 
intersection of a private road known as David Parker Lane and State 
Secondary Road 1301, 0.5 mile north of the intersection of State 
Secondary Road 1301 with N.C. Highway 24.
    The Riley, Troy Lee, property located 0.05 mile west of the end of 
a private road known as Stage Coach Lane, 0.2 mile north of the 
intersection of Stage Coach Lane and N.C. Highway 24, in the town of 
Autryville.

SOUTH CAROLINA

    (1) Generally infested areas. None.
    (2) Suppressive areas.
    Horry County. The Bell, Richard, farm located on the east side of 
State Highway 90, 5.7 miles north of its intersection with State 
Highway 22.
    The Chestnut, Jacob T., farm located on the west side of an unpaved 
road known as Short Cut Road, 0.2 mile north of its junction with an 
unpaved road known as Pint Circle Road, 0.4 mile east of its junction 
with and 0.8 mile north of its junction with State Highway 90.
    The Cribbs, L.V., farm located on the west side of an unpaved road 
known as Causey Road, 3.3 miles north of its intersection with a 
secondary road known as Sandplant Road and 2.1 miles west of its 
intersection with State Highway 76.
    The Cribbs, L.V., farm located on the east side of an unpaved road 
known as Causey Road, 2.8 miles north of its intersection with a 
secondary road known as Sandplant Road and 2.1 miles west of its 
intersection with State Highway 76.
    The Gerald, Kenneth, farm located on the south side of a secondary 
highway known as Lake Swamp Road, 0.4 mile east of its intersection 
with a secondary highway known as Nichols Highway South and 1.6 miles 
south of its intersection with State Highway 917.
    The Gerald, Ravenell, farm located on the north side of an unpaved 
road known as Farming Dale Road, 0.6 mile north of its junction with 
State Highway 917 and 1.1 miles east of its intersection with a 
secondary highway known as Nichols Highway.
    The Hammonds, Austin J., farm located on the north side of a 
secondary road known as Sandplant Road, 1.5 miles west of its 
intersection with State Highway 76 and 1.7 miles north of its 
intersection with State Highway 9.
    The Livingston, Pittman, farm located on the east side of State 
Highway 90, 2.2 miles north of its junction with State Highway 22.
    The Mae, Blossie, farm located on the west side of an unpaved road 
known as Dela Road, 0.3 mile south of its intersection with a secondary 
road known as Pint Circle Road, 0.2 mile west of its intersection with 
State Highway 90, and 3.5 miles north of its intersection with State 
Highway 22.
    The McDaniel, Ellis, farm located on the south side of State 
Highway 917, 1.4 miles west of its intersection with a secondary 
highway known as Nichols Highway.
    The Smith, Tommy G., farm located on the south side of a secondary 
road known as Old Chesterfield Road, 0.5 mile east of its intersection 
with State Highway 90 and 2.7 miles north of its intersection with 
State Highway 22.
    The Strickland, Quincy, farm located on the north side of State 
Highway 917, 1.2 miles west of its intersection with a secondary 
highway known as Nichols Highway.
    The Stroud, J.B., farm located on the east side of an unpaved road 
known as Providence Drive, 1.3 miles north of its junction with an 
unpaved road known as Tranquil Road, 0.5 mile west of its junction with 
a secondary highway known as Nichols Highway North and 2.3 miles north 
of its intersection with State Highway 917.
    The Vault, Bennie, farm located on the west side of an unpaved road 
known as Strawberry Road, 0.5 mile south of its junction with State 
Highway 90.
    Vereen, Isiah, farm located on the west side of an unpaved road 
known as West Shore Road, 1.6 miles south of its junction with State 
Highway 90.
    Vereen, Lula, farm located on the north side of a secondary road 
known as Dogwood Road, 1.6 miles north of its intersection with State 
Highway 22, then 0.7 mile east of its intersection with State Highway 
90.
    The Willoughby, Shane, farm located on the north side of an unpaved 
road known as Farming Dale Road, 0.4 mile north of its junction with 
State Highway 917 and 1.1 miles east of its intersection with a 
secondary highway known as Nichols Highway.
    The Worley, Floyd C., farm located on both sides of a secondary 
road known as Sandplant Road, 1.1 miles west of its intersection with 
State Highway 76 and 1.7 miles north of its intersection with State 
Highway 9.
    Marion County. The Baxley, Warner, farm located on the west side of 
Penderboro Road, 1.6 miles north of its intersection with the State 
Highway 501 Bypass.
    The Best Woods Road and Bubba Road farm located on both sides of 
Best Woods Road, 1.4 miles south of its intersection with State Highway 
76.
    The Erwin, Harold, farm located on the west side of the State 
secondary road known as Laughin Road, 1 mile north of its intersection 
with State Highway 76.
    The Gerald, Issaic, farm located on the west side of a secondary 
road known as Foxworth Road, 0.3 mile northwest of its intersection 
with Secondary Road 9.
    The Holmes, Issaic, farm located on the east side of an unpaved 
road known as Phill Road, 0.5 mile south of its junction with State 
Highway 9 and 5 miles east of its intersection with State Highway 41-A.
    The Johnson, J. D., farm located on the west side of an unpaved 
road known as Harold Road, 0.6 mile north of its intersection with Old 
Mullins Road and 1.3 miles west of its intersection with North Main 
Street in Nichols.
    The Keen, Davis, Estate farm located on the south side of an 
unpaved road known as Frazier Road, 0.7 mile northwest of its 
intersection with Secondary Road 9.
    The Porter, Hubert, farm located on the south side of an unpaved 
road known as Bubba Road, 1.3 miles south from its intersection with 
State Highway 76.
    The Richardson, Billy, farm located on the east side of Secondary 
Road 908, 0.8 mile north of its intersection with State Highway 378.
    The Rogers, Paul, farm located on the north side of an unpaved road 
known as Tobacco Barn Road, 0.8 mile west of its intersection with a 
State secondary road known as E. Sellers Road and 1.7 miles north of 
its intersection with State Highway 41-A.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 15th day of February 2007.
Elizabeth E. Gaston,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E7-3013 Filed 2-21-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P