[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 201 (Tuesday, October 20, 2009)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 53673-53674]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-25184]


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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 201 / Tuesday, October 20, 2009 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 53673]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 330

[Docket No. APHIS-2008-0076]


Environmental Impact Statement; Movement of Plant Pests, 
Biological Control Organisms, and Associated Articles

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

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SUMMARY: We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service intends to prepare an environmental impact statement 
relative to proposed regulatory requirements that are being developed 
for the movement of plant pests, biological control organisms, and 
associated articles. This notice identifies potential issues and 
alternatives that will be studied in the environmental impact statement 
and requests public comment to further delineate the scope of those 
issues and alternatives.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 
November 19, 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-2008-0076) to submit or view comments.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send two copies of 
your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2008-0076, 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-2008-0076.
    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: Dr. David A. Bergsten, APHIS 
Interagency NEPA Contact, Environmental Services, PPD, APHIS, 4700 
River Road, Unit 149, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238; (301) 734-6103.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The purpose of the regulations in ``Subpart --Movement of Plant 
Pests'' (7 CFR 330.200 through 330.212, referred to below as the 
regulations) is to prevent the dissemination of plant pests within the 
United States by regulating their importation and interstate movement.
    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is planning 
to revise its regulations regarding the movement of plant pests. APHIS 
intends to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) analyzing 
the potential environmental impacts associated with proposed regulatory 
requirements for movement not only of plant pests, but also of 
biological control organisms, and associated articles.
    Under the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq., referred to 
below as the Act) the Secretary of Agriculture has broad authority to 
carry out operations or measures to detect, control, eradicate, 
suppress, prevent, or retard the spread of plant pests. Section 411(a) 
of the Act provides that ``no person shall import, enter, export, or 
move in interstate commerce any plant pest, unless the importation, 
entry, exportation, or movement is authorized under general or specific 
permit and is in accordance with such regulations as the Secretary may 
issue to prevent the introduction of plant pests into the United 
States.'' Moreover, section 412(a) of the Act provides that the 
Secretary may prohibit or restrict the importation, entry, exportation, 
or movement in interstate commerce of, among other things, any 
biological control organism, if the Secretary determines that the 
prohibition or restriction is necessary to prevent the introduction 
into or the dissemination within the United States of a plant pest or 
noxious weed.
    Accordingly, APHIS has the authority to regulate not only plant 
pests, but also biological control organisms, noxious weeds, and 
associated articles. APHIS is therefore considering revising the 
regulations to establish provisions for the movement and environmental 
release of biological control organisms and associated articles. APHIS 
is also considering revising the regulations for the movement of soil, 
and establishing regulations governing the biocontainment facilities in 
which plant pests, biological control organisms, and associated 
articles are held. The impacts associated with these changes to the 
regulations will also be analyzed in a programmatic EIS.
    In addition to establishing a regulatory framework for the movement 
of new organisms and articles in a manner that protects U.S. 
agriculture, these proposed regulations would help clarify the existing 
requirements for the importation and domestic movement of plant pests. 
APHIS may also consider including within the proposed regulations other 
mitigating measures with the potential to equally reduce pest risk. We 
are requesting public comment to help us identify or confirm potential 
alternatives and environmental issues that should be examined in the 
EIS. We have identified three broad alternatives that we plan to 
consider in the EIS, as follows:
     Take no action. This would be characterized as no change 
in the existing regulations that apply to the movement of plant pests 
(while not contributing to the further mitigation of pest risk, the 
analysis of the no action alternative provides a baseline and is 
required by the National Environmental Policy Act and its implementing 
regulations).
     Revise requirements for movement of plant pests consistent 
with the scope of the Plant Protection Act (preferred alternative). 
This would be characterized by amendment or revision of the plant pest 
regulations to also cover biological control organisms and associated 
articles. It would also include revisions to the regulations for the 
movement of soil and the establishment

[[Page 53674]]

of regulations for biocontainment facilities.
     Implement a comprehensive risk reduction program (more 
expansive regulations to address specific risk categories). This would 
be characterized as a broad risk mitigation strategy that could involve 
various options such as increased inspection, regulations specific to a 
certain organism or group of related organisms, or extensive 
biocontainment requirements. While not the preferred alternative at 
this time, the risk mitigation strategy considered within this 
alternative could provide the basis at some point for future Agency 
regulatory actions, either to establish a new and more appropriate 
regulatory framework for the movement of plant pests, biological 
control organisms, and associated articles, or to augment the existing 
regulations with more effective mitigation measures to address the risk 
of such movement.
    We will examine the potential effects on the human environment of 
each alternative. We are also interested in comments that identify 
other issues that should be examined in the EIS. Potential issues 
include other new mitigation measures, logistical considerations, 
environmental regulations and constraints, and harmonization of 
regulatory efforts.
    The EIS will be prepared in accordance with: (1) The National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 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).
    Comments regarding the proposed scope of the EIS are welcome and 
will be considered fully. When APHIS has completed a draft EIS, a 
notice announcing its availability and an invitation to comment on it 
will be published in the Federal Register.
    Done in Washington, DC, this 14\th\ day of October, 2009.

Kevin Shea
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E9-25184 Filed 10-19-09: 8:45 am]
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