[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 97 (Thursday, May 20, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 28233-28234]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-12026]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2010-0028]


Availability of an Environmental Assessment for a Biological 
Control Agent for Asian Citrus Psyllid

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 Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri Kuwayama). The 
environmental assessment considers the effects of, and alternatives to, 
the release of an insect, Tamarixia radiata, into the continental 
United States for use as a biological control agent to reduce the 
severity of Asian citrus psyllid 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-2010-0028) 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-2010-0028, 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-2010-0028.
    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 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, Tamarixia radiata, into 
the continental United States for use as a biological control agent to 
reduce the severity of Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) infestations.
    ACP, a serious pest of citrus, was first discovered in Florida in 
1998. By 2001 it had spread to 31 counties within the State, primarily 
due to the movements of infested nursery plants. In that year ACP was 
also accidentally introduced into Puerto Rico and Texas. It was 
subsequently discovered in Hawaii in 2006, Guam in 2007, in Alabama, 
Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and California in 
2008, in portions of one county in Arizona in 2009, and in the U.S. 
Virgin Islands in 2010.

[[Page 28234]]

    ACP is of particular concern since it is a carrier of Huanglongbing 
disease (citrus greening), which is considered to be one of the most 
serious citrus diseases in the world. Citrus greening is a bacterial 
disease that attacks the vascular system of its host plant, causing 
yellow shoots, blotchy mottling and chlorosis, reduced foliage, and tip 
dieback. Citrus greening greatly reduces production, destroys the 
economic value of citrus fruit, and can kill trees. Once infected, 
there is no cure for a tree with citrus greening. In areas of the world 
where citrus greening is established, citrus trees decline and die 
within a few years and may never produce usable fruit.
    In addition to transmitting citrus greening, ACP can 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. Large populations of ACP feeding on a citrus 
shoot can kill the growing tip.
    Alternative ACP management options include chemical control and the 
release of an alternative biological control agent, an encyrtid wasp, 
(Diaphorencyrtus aligarhensis). 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, T. radiata, into the continental United States for use as a 
biological control agent to reduce the severity of ACP infestations.
    APHIS' review and analysis of the proposed action are documented in 
detail in an environmental assessment (EA) titled ``Proposed Release of 
a Parasitoid (Tamarixia radiate Waterston) for the Biological Control 
of Asian Citrus Psyllid (Diaphorina citri Kuwayama) in the Continental 
United States'' (November 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. 2010-12026 Filed 5-19-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-S