[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 40 (Thursday, February 28, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Page 10739]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-3809]


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Notices
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.

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Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 40 / Thursday, February 28, 2008 / 
Notices

[[Page 10739]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2007-0118]


Imported Fire Ant; Availability of a Final 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 a final environmental 
assessment and finding of no significant impact have been prepared by 
the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service relative to the release 
into areas quarantined for imported fire ant of five additional species 
of phorid flies for use as biological control agents. The final 
environmental assessment documents our review and analysis of 
environmental impacts associated with, and alternatives to, the release 
of these biological control agents. Based on its finding of no 
significant impact, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has 
determined that an environmental impact statement need not be prepared.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Charles L. Brown, Imported Fire 
Ant Quarantine Program Manager, Pest Detection and Management Programs, 
PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 134, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 
734-4838.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren, Solenopsis 
richteri Forel, and hybrids of these species) is an aggressive, 
stinging insect that, in large numbers, can seriously injure and even 
kill livestock, pets, and humans. The imported fire ant, which is not 
native to the United States, feeds on crops and builds large, hard 
mounds that damage farm and field machinery. The imported fire ant 
regulations (contained in 7 CFR 301.81 through 301.81-10 and referred 
to below as the regulations) are intended to prevent the imported fire 
ant from spreading throughout its ecological range within the country. 
The regulations quarantine infested States or infested areas within 
States and restrict the interstate movement of regulated articles to 
prevent the artificial spread of the imported fire ant.
    In addition to the movement restrictions in the regulations, the 
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and its State 
cooperators release three species of phorid flies (Pseudacteon 
species), a natural enemy of the imported fire ant, into quarantined 
areas. These flies parasitize the imported fire ant, killing those that 
are parasitized. Those ants that are not parasitized are affected 
behaviorally by the presence of the flies because their presence 
reduces fire ant foraging. A decrease in foraging activity facilitates 
competition from native fire ants that might otherwise be excluded from 
food sources in fire ant territory.
    On November 13, 2007, we published in the Federal Register (72 FR 
63874, Docket No. APHIS-2007-0118) a notice \1\ in which we announced 
the availability for review and comment of a draft environmental 
assessment, entitled ``Field Release of Phorid Flies (Pseudacteon 
species) for the Biological Control of Imported Fire Ants'' (July 
2007), that examined the potential environmental impacts associated 
with releasing five additional species of phorid flies into areas 
quarantined for imported fire ant within the Commonwealth of Puerto 
Rico and the following States: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, 
Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, 
South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
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    \1\ To view the notice, the environmental assessment, the 
finding of no significant impact, and the comment we received, go to 
http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/
main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2007-0118. 
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    We solicited comments on the draft environmental assessment for 30 
days ending December 13, 2007. We received one comment by that date, 
from a private citizen, but the commenter did not address the action 
examined in the assessment (namely, the release of the additional 
species of phorid flies).
    In this document, we are advising the public of our decision and 
finding of no significant impact regarding the release of five 
additional species of phorid flies for the biological control of 
imported fire ants. Accordingly, we are also advising the public that 
we have adopted the draft environmental assessment, without change, as 
a final environmental assessment entitled ``Field Release of Phorid 
Flies (Pseudacteon species) for the Biological Control of Imported Fire 
Ants'' (January 2008).
    The final environmental assessment and finding of no significant 
impact may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site \2\ or in our 
reading room at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th Street and 
Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Persons wishing to view the 
final environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact are 
requested to call ahead on (202) 690-2817 to facilitate entry into the 
reading room. You may request paper copies of the final 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 final environmental assessment when 
requesting copies.
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    \2\ See footnote 1.
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    The final environmental assessment and finding of no significant 
impact have been prepared in accordance with: (1) The National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq.), (2) 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 1), and (4) 
APHIS' NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372).

    Done in Washington, DC, this 22nd day of February 2008.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E8-3809 Filed 2-27-08; 8:45 am]
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