[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 157 (Monday, August 17, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 41368-41369]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-19643]


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

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2009-0066]


Wood Packaging Material Used in Domestic Commerce; Pest 
Mitigation Relating to Firewood Movement; Public Meetings

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of public meetings.

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

SUMMARY: This is a notice to inform the public of four upcoming 
meetings to discuss mitigation measures that could be applied to wood 
packaging material (e.g., crates, dunnage, wooden spools, pallets, 
packing blocks) used in domestic commerce to decrease the risk of the 
artificial spread of plant pests such as the emerald ash borer and the 
Asian longhorned beetle. These and other plant pests that could be 
transported interstate by wood packaging material pose a serious threat 
to U.S. agriculture and to natural, cultivated, and urban forests. We 
will also be holding a meeting in order to solicit public comments and 
ideas concerning potential strategies for mitigating the risk of 
artificial spread of plant pests via the movement of firewood.

DATES: The meetings concerning wood packaging material will be held on 
August 27, 2009, in Washington, DC; on September 2, 2009, in Portland, 
OR; on September 15, 2009, in Houston, TX; and on September 29, 2009, 
in Grand Rapids, MI. The meetings in each location will be held from 9 
a.m. to noon. Registration will be from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for each 
meeting.
    The meeting concerning the creation of a Federal firewood strategy 
will be held on August 27, 2009, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Washington, 
DC. Registration will be from 12 noon to 1 p.m.

ADDRESSES: The public meetings regarding wood packaging material and 
the creation of a Federal firewood strategy will be held in Washington, 
DC. in the Jefferson Auditorium at the USDA South Building, 1400 
Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC. The remaining meetings 
regarding wood packaging material will be held at the following 
locations:
     Portland, OR. The Embassy Suites Hotel, 319 SW Pine 
Street, Portland, OR.
     Houston, TX. The Crowne Plaza Houston I-10 West, 14703 
Park Row, Houston, TX.
     Grand Rapids, MI. The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, 187 Monroe 
Avenue, NW., Grand Rapids, MI.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Paul Chaloux, National Emerald Ash 
Borer Program Manager, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 137, Riverdale, 
MD 20737-1236; (301) 734-0917.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Domestic Wood Packaging Material Public Meetings

    As part of its ongoing efforts to safeguard plant health, the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture (USDA) is considering options for 
strengthening our response to the risks of the artificial spread of 
plant pests such as the pine shoot beetle Tomicus piniperda 
(Scolytidae) and the Asian longhorned beetle Anaplophora glabripennis 
(Cerambycidae) that are associated with the interstate movement of wood 
packaging material (WPM).
    In order to provide individuals and organizations an opportunity to 
discuss options for strengthening our response to the risks associated 
with the interstate movement of WPM, the potential impacts of increased 
use of alternative packaging materials, the environmental issues 
relating to these options, and any other topics of concern, we plan to 
hold several public meetings. Our goal is to gather feedback and input 
from a wide range of stakeholders to assist us in making an informed 
decision regarding our objectives and direction in relation to the 
interstate movement of WPM. Topics for discussion at each meeting will 
include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:
     Pest risks. What is the magnitude of the pest risks 
associated with WPM moving interstate? What treatments or other 
measures would be effective in reducing pest risks associated with WPM 
moving interstate and to what degree would these risks be reduced by 
these approaches?
     Compliance. Would responsibility lie with the 
manufacturer, end user, shipper, or elsewhere for ensuring that WPM 
meets any standards that might be developed? How could APHIS best 
monitor compliance with any such standards? If treatment of some kind 
were required for all WPM moving interstate, would a phase-in period be 
required, and if so, how long should this period last?
     Alternative materials. To what extent could alternative 
packing materials (processed wood packaging materials, plastic packing 
materials, or other alternatives) be substituted for WPM in interstate 
commerce? What would the environmental, economic, and other impacts be 
of any such substitution?
     Environmental impacts. What would the environmental 
impacts be if treatment or other measures were required for WPM moving 
interstate?
     Cost. What would the economic impacts be if treatment or 
other measures were required for WPM moving interstate?

Federal Firewood Strategy Public Meeting

    In addition, we are seeking suggestions from the public regarding 
the creation of a Federal firewood strategy in order to better mitigate 
the pest risks associated with the movement of firewood within the 
United States. Specifically, we are seeking any potential strategies 
that may be used to

[[Page 41369]]

control the movement of invasive plant pests via the movement of 
firewood. There are many potential approaches to addressing this issue, 
including voluntary, regulatory, and outreach-based programs.
    On-site registration will begin at 8 a.m. on the day of each 
meeting concerning wood packaging material and at noon for the meeting 
concerning Federal firewood strategy. All participants must register on 
the day of the meeting. If you require special accommodations, such as 
a sign language interpreter, or if you have any questions regarding the 
meetings, please call or write the person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Persons attending the August 27, 2009, meetings in Washington, DC, 
will be required to sign in at the entrance to the USDA South Building 
located at 14th Street and Independence Avenue, entering through Wing 
7. Photo identification is required to gain access to the building. The 
nearest Metro station is the Smithsonian station on the Blue/Orange 
Lines, which is within walking distance.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 11th day of August 2009.
William H. Clay,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E9-19643 Filed 8-14-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P