[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 97 (Thursday, May 20, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 28232-28233]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-12024]


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

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2010-0029]


Availability of an Environmental Assessment for a Biological 
Control Agent for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service has prepared an environmental assessment relative to 
the control of hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae). The 
environmental assessment considers the effects of, and alternatives to, 
the release of an insect, Laricobius osakensis, into the continental 
United States for use as a biological control agent to reduce the 
severity of hemlock woolly adelgid infestations. 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 June 
21, 2010.

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-2010-0029) to submit or view comments 
and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
    Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send one copy of 
your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2010-0029, 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-2010-0029.
    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

[[Page 28233]]

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. Shirley A. Wager-Page, Chief, Pest 
Permitting Branch, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 
20737-1237; (301) 734-8453.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing 
to issue permits for the release of an insect, Laricobius osakensis, 
into the continental United States for use as a biological control 
agent to reduce the severity of hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) 
infestations.
    HWA, an introduced insect pest destructive to forest and ornamental 
hemlock trees, was first discovered in Virginia in 1951. HWA now 
infests 18 States due to the movements of infested nursery plants as 
well as non-human modes of dispersal that include birds, deer, and 
wind. HWA feeds at the bases of hemlock needles, causing them to dry 
out and resulting in needle loss. This prevents trees from producing 
new buds for the next year's growth, and leads to branch dieback and, 
often, the eventual death of the tree. HWA infestation is fatal to 
eastern hemlocks of all ages, regardless of health prior to 
infestation, with tree mortality occurring between four and ten or more 
years after infestation, depending on environmental conditions.
    Existing HWA management options include chemical control and 
silvicultural control, which, in this instance, would involve close 
management of trees on a site-by-site basis. However, these management 
measures can be expensive, temporary, or have non-target impacts. Thus, 
a permit application has been submitted to APHIS for the purpose of 
releasing an insect, L. osakensis, into the continental United States 
for use as a biological control agent to reduce the severity of HWA 
infestations.
    APHIS' review and analysis of the proposed action are documented in 
detail in an environmental assessment (EA) titled ``Proposed Field 
Release of Laricobius osakensis (Coleoptera: Derodontidae), a Predatory 
Beetle for Biological Control of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges 
tsugae), in the Continental United States'' (December 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 14\th\ day of May 2010.

Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-12024 Filed 5-19-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-S