[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 99 (Wednesday, May 23, 2007)]
[Notices]
[Pages 28948-28949]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-10044]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Office of the Secretary

[Docket No. APHIS-2007-0065]


Declaration of Extraordinary Emergency Because of Plum Pox Virus

    An exotic plant virus, plum pox virus, has been confirmed in New 
York and Michigan. Plum pox virus is the most devastating viral disease 
of stone fruit worldwide, causing yield losses to growers and reducing 
the marketability of fruit. Previously, the disease was known to be 
present in the United States only in portions of several counties in 
south-central Pennsylvania.
    Plum pox virus is the cause of an extremely serious plant disease, 
affecting a number of Prunus species, including peach, nectarine, 
apricot, plum, and almond. Infection eventually results in severely 
reduced fruit production, and the fruit that is produced is often 
misshapen and blemished. There is no cure or treatment for the disease 
once a tree becomes infected. In Europe, where plum pox has been 
present for a number of years, the disease is considered to be the most 
serious disease affecting susceptible Prunus species. The disease is 
spread over short distances by a number of different aphid species, and 
over longer distances through the movement of infected budwood and 
nursery stock.
    Since the detection of plum pox virus in Pennsylvania in 1999, an 
aggressive eradication program has been conducted in that State, 
involving a cooperative effort between APHIS and the Pennsylvania 
Department of Agriculture. The program in Pennsylvania has resulted in 
significant success, with no spread of the disease outside of the 
general area in which it was first found in 1999, and with only trace 
amounts of plum pox virus being detected in 2005 and 2006. Following 
the detection of plum pox virus in Pennsylvania, APHIS has worked with 
States in which there was commercial production of peaches and other 
stone fruit to conduct a series of national surveys. Prior to 2006, the 
result of these surveys has always been negative.
    As a result of a cooperative survey conducted by APHIS and the New 
York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, plum pox virus was 
confirmed in Niagara County, NY, on July 7, 2006. A total of three 
infected trees were discovered in two commercial orchard locations. 
Cooperative surveys were also conducted in Michigan, in this case 
involving APHIS and the Michigan Department of Agriculture. As a result 
of these surveys, plum pox virus was detected in a single plum tree at 
the Michigan State University's Southwest Michigan Research and 
Education Center, a State-operated facility, on August 11, 2006.
    In order to prevent the spread of plum pox virus from these new 
detection sites, an aggressive eradication program will be necessary. 
The eradication program will involve removal of all infected trees and 
of all host trees within 500 meters, conducting delimiting and 
detection surveys over a period of several years to ensure that there 
are no additional infestations, and establishing appropriate safeguards 
to ensure that additional spread of plum pox virus does not occur while 
the eradication program is being completed. Following consultation with 
State

[[Page 28949]]

officials from both New York and Michigan, the Department has 
determined that the States do not have sufficient resources to 
effectively carry out an eradication program.
    The infestation of plum pox virus represents a threat to U.S. stone 
fruit crops. It constitutes a real danger to the national economy and a 
potential serious burden on interstate and foreign commerce. Therefore, 
the Department has determined that an extraordinary emergency exists 
because of the existence of plum pox virus in Michigan and New York.
    In accordance with 7 U.S.C. 7715, this declaration of extraordinary 
emergency authorizes the Secretary to: (1) Hold, seize, quarantine, 
treat, apply other remedial measures to, destroy, or otherwise dispose 
of, any plant, biological control organism, plant product, article, or 
means of conveyance that the Secretary has reason to believe is 
infected by or contains the plum pox virus; (2) quarantine, treat, or 
apply other remedial measures to any premises, including any plants, 
biological control organisms, plant products, articles, or means of 
conveyance on the premises, that the Secretary has reason to believe is 
infected by or contaminated with the plum pox virus; (3) quarantine any 
State or portion of a State in which the Secretary finds the plum pox 
virus or any plant, biological control organism, plant product, 
article, or means of conveyance that the Secretary has reason to 
believe is infected by or contaminated with the plum pox virus; and (4) 
prohibit or restrict the movement within a State of any plant, 
biological control organism, plant product, article, or means of 
conveyance when the Secretary determines that the prohibition or 
restriction is necessary to prevent the dissemination of the plum pox 
virus or to eradicate the plum pox virus. The Governors of New York and 
Michigan have been informed of these facts.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This declaration of extraordinary emergency shall 
become effective May 18, 2007.

Mike Johanns,
Secretary of Agriculture.
 [FR Doc. E7-10044 Filed 5-22-07; 8:45 am]
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