[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 173 (Wednesday, September 9, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 46409-46411]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-21669]


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

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2008-0015]


Citrus Greening and Asian Citrus Psyllid; Availability of an 
Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: We are advising the public that an environmental assessment 
has been prepared by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 
relative to a proposed control program for citrus greening disease and 
the Asian citrus psyllid. The environmental assessment documents our 
review and analysis of the potential environmental impacts associated 
with the implementation of this program. We are making this 
environmental assessment available to the public for review and 
comment.

[[Page 46410]]


DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 
November 9, 2009.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2008-0015 to submit or view comments and 
to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send two copies of 
your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2008-0015, 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-2008-0015.
    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: Mr. Patrick Gomes, APHIS, PPQ, 920 
Main Campus Drive, Suite 200, Raleigh, NC 27606-5213; (919) 855-7313.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Citrus greening, also known as huanglongbing disease of citrus, is 
considered to be one of the most serious citrus diseases in the world. 
Citrus greening is a bacterial disease caused by strains of the 
bacterial pathogen ``Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus'' that attacks 
the vascular system of host plants. The bacteria are phloem-limited, 
inhabiting the food-conducting tissue of the host plant, and causes 
yellow shoots, blotchy mottling and chlorosis, reduced foliage, and tip 
dieback of citrus plants. Citrus greening greatly reduces production, 
destroys the economic value of the fruit, and can kill trees. Once a 
tree is infected with citrus greening, there is no cure for the 
disease. In areas of the world where citrus greening is endemic, citrus 
trees decline and die within a few years and may never produce usable 
fruit. Citrus greening was first detected in the United States in 
Miami-Dade County, FL, in 2005, and is only known to be present in the 
United States in the States of Florida and Georgia, two parishes in 
Louisiana, and two counties in South Carolina.
    The bacterial pathogen causing citrus greening can be transmitted 
by grafting, and under laboratory conditions, by dodder. There also is 
some evidence that seed transmission may occur. The pathogen can also 
be transmitted by two insect vectors in the family Psyllidae: 
Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), and Trioza 
erytreae (del Guercio), the African citrus psyllid. ACP can also cause 
economic damage to citrus in groves and nurseries by direct feeding. 
Both adults and nymphs feed on young foliage, depleting the sap and 
causing galling or curling of leaves. High populations feeding on a 
citrus shoot can kill the growing tip. ACP is currently present in 
Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Louisiana, 
Mississippi, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, and Texas. Based on regular 
surveys of domestic commercial citrus-producing areas, the African 
citrus psyllid is not present in the United States.
    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the 
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has undertaken measures 
to control the artificial spread of citrus greening to noninfested 
areas of the United States since its introduction in 2005. On September 
16, 2005, APHIS issued a Federal Order designating one affected county 
in Florida as a quarantined area, and imposing restrictions on the 
interstate movement all citrus greening and ACP host material from this 
area.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ To view the September 2005 Federal Order or any other 
Federal order referenced in this document, go to http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/citrus_greening/regs.shtml.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In January 2006, we issued an environmental assessment titled 
``Citrus Greening Control Program in Florida Nurseries'' (January 
2006).\2\ This document assessed the environmental impacts associated 
with the use of the pesticide treatments acetamiprid, chlorpyrifos, 
fenpropathrin, imidacloprid, kaolin, and a cyfluthrin/imidacloprid 
mixture as part of a disease control program for citrus greening and 
ACP.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ To view the 2006 environmental assessment, go to http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/ea/downloads/citrusgreening1-06ea.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    On November 2, 2007, we issued a revised order that designated 
additional counties in Florida as areas quarantined for citrus 
greening, and that quarantined 32 counties in Texas, the entire States 
of Florida and Hawaii, the entire Territory of Guam, and the entire 
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for ACP. The November 2007 order also 
contained treatments that could be performed on ACP regulated articles 
to allow their movement from a quarantined area to areas of the United 
States other than commercial citrus-producing States. The order stated 
that, prior to movement, host material (other than Bergera (Murraya) 
koenigii, or curryleaf) had to be treated using an Environmental 
Protection Agency-approved product labeled for use in nurseries. The 
articles had to subsequently be treated with a drench containing 
imidacloprid as the active ingredient within 30 days prior to movement 
and with a foliar spray with a product containing acetamiprid, 
chlorpyrifos, or fenpropathrin as the active ingredient within 10 days 
prior to movement. Provided that it did not originate from an area 
quarantined for citrus greening, curryleaf could be moved interstate to 
any State following treatment with methyl bromide according to the 
APHIS-approved treatment schedule MB T101-n-2, found in 7 CFR part 305.
    We accompanied this revised order with a notice \3\ published in 
the Federal Register on November 2, 2007 (72 FR 62204-62205; Docket No. 
APHIS-2007-0135), in which we announced to the public the availability 
of an environmental assessment titled ``Movement of Regulated Articles 
from Citrus Greening and Asian Citrus Psyllid Quarantine Zones'' 
(October 2007). The assessment evaluated the possible environmental 
impacts associated with implementation of the revised Federal Order, 
and, in particular, the treatment schedules specified within it.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ To view the notice and the environmental assessment, go to 
http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2007-0135.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Since issuance of these documents, we have issued six additional 
Federal Orders to designate new areas as quarantined areas for citrus 
greening or ACP. In these orders, we have added irradiation treatment 
at 400 gray as an approved treatment for ACP host articles, provided 
that the articles do not originate from an area that is quarantined for 
citrus greening. The latest Federal Order was issued on July 29, 2009.
    Concurrent with the issuance of these Federal Orders, we have also 
received requests from citrus industry representatives and State plant 
health officials in several States with

[[Page 46411]]

commercial citrus production to examine the efficacy of in-ground 
granular applications containing dinotefuran and foliar sprays 
containing bifenthrin, deltamethrin, dinotefuran, or a mixture of 
imidacloprid and cyfluthrin as pesticide treatments for ACP. We have 
found them to be effective in treating regulated nursery stock for ACP.
    Accordingly, we have completed an assessment of the environmental 
impacts anticipated from a control program that would incorporate the 
provisions of the latest Federal order, the use of these new granular 
applications and foliar sprays as treatments for ACP, and additional 
measures that are currently not included in the July 29, 2009 Federal 
Order but that we consider necessary to prevent the spread of citrus 
greening and ACP to currently unaffected areas of the United States.
    APHIS' review and analysis of these potential environmental impacts 
are documented in detail in an environmental assessment titled 
``Quarantine and Interstate Movement of Citrus Greening and Asian 
Citrus Psyllid'' (July 2009). We are making this assessment available 
to the public for review and comment. We will consider all comments 
that we receive on or before the date listed under the heading DATES at 
the beginning of this notice.
    The environmental assessment may be viewed on the Regulations.gov 
Web site or in our reading room (see ADDRESSES above for instructions 
for accessing the document on Regulations.gov and information on the 
location and hours of the reading room). You may request paper copies 
of the environmental assessment by calling or writing to the person 
listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Please refer to title of 
the assessment when requesting copies.
    The environmental assessment has 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 1b), and (4) APHIS' NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR 
part 372).

    Done in Washington, DC, this 2nd day of September 2009.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E9-21669 Filed 9-8-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P