[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 186 (Monday, September 28, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 49360-49361]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-23326]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2009-0059]


Availability of an Environmental Assessment for a Biological 
Control Agent for Japanese Beetle

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service has prepared an environmental assessment relative to 
the control of Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica). The environmental 
assessment considers the effects of, and alternatives to, the release 
of a bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis japonensis, into the continental 
United States for the use of biological control to reduce the severity 
of infestations of Japanese beetle on turfgrass. We are making the 
environmental assessment available to the public for review and 
comment.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 
October 28, 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-2009-0059 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-2009-0059, 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-2009-0059.
    Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on the 
environmental assessment 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

[[Page 49361]]

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. James L. White, Pest Permitting 
Branch, Registration, Identification, Permitting, and Plant 
Safeguarding, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 
20737-1237; (301) 734-8713.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing 
to issue permits for the release of a bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis 
japonensis, into the continental United States for the biological 
control of the larval stage of Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica).
    Japanese beetle is native to Japan where it is not a significant 
pest and was first discovered in the United States in 1916 near 
Riverton, NJ. APHIS has administered regulations regarding Japanese 
beetle since 1979 to prevent its spread to new areas. Currently, 28 
States and the District of Columbia are quarantined under 7 CFR 301.48 
because of the presence of Japanese beetle.
    To control Japanese beetle, turf care professionals and homeowners 
use large quantities of several chemical insecticides. While these 
chemicals can be effective, their use can result in potential 
environmental and health issues. Currently, there are very few 
biological control options for Japanese beetle control. While these 
natural products do not present the potential environmental impact that 
standard insecticides do, they tend to provide inconsistent grub pest 
control at best.
    Thus, a permit application has been submitted to APHIS for the 
purpose of releasing a soil dwelling bacterium, B. thuringiensis 
japonensis to reduce the severity of infestations of Japanese beetle in 
the United States in turfgrass. The field tests requested will be 
performed in five States: Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, 
and Rhode Island. Additional locations in different States may be 
authorized if a finding of no significant impact is reached for the 
environmental assessment (EA).
    APHIS' review and analysis of the proposed action are documented in 
detail in a draft EA titled ``Field Release of Bacillus thuringiensis 
apnensis, a Bacterium for Biological Control of Japanese Beetle, 
Popillia japonica (Cloeoptera:Scarabaeidae), in Five States'' (February 
2009). We are making the EA 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 EA may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site or in our 
reading room (see ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing 
Regulations.gov and information on the location and hours of the 
reading room). You may request paper copies of the EA by calling or 
writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. 
Please refer to the title of the EA when requesting copies.
    The EA 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 22nd day of September 2009.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E9-23326 Filed 9-25-09; 8:45 am]
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