[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 150 (Friday, August 3, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 46339-46340]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-19024]


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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. 77, No. 150 / Friday, August 3, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 46339]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 319

[Docket No. APHIS-2012-0001]
RIN 0579-AD67


Chrysanthemum White Rust Regulatory Status and Restrictions

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We are soliciting public comment on whether and how we should 
amend our process for responding to domestic chrysanthemum white rust 
(CWR) outbreaks and the importation of plant material that is a host of 
CWR. Domestically, CWR host plants must be surveyed and, if found to be 
infected with CWR, must undergo quarantine, destruction, treatment, or 
other sanitation measures called for in our National Management Plan. 
The importation of CWR host plants for planting from a number of 
countries and localities is currently prohibited to prevent the 
introduction of CWR into the United States. In addition, importation of 
cut flowers of CWR host plants from countries where CWR is known to 
occur is currently restricted. We are reevaluating our current 
regulatory strategy in order to improve the effectiveness and economic 
efficiency of our programs. After evaluating public comment on the 
issues presented in this document, we will determine whether to propose 
changes to our existing regulations.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 
October 2, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0001-0001.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to 
Docket No. APHIS-2012-0001, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, 
APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-
1238.
    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may 
be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2012-
0001 or in our reading room, which 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) 799-7039 before coming.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Lynn Evans-Goldner, National 
Program Manager, Emergency and Domestic Programs, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 
River Road Unit 160, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 851-2286.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Puccinia horiana P. Henn. is a filamentous rust fungus and obligate 
parasite that is the causal agent of chrysanthemum white rust (CWR), an 
economically important disease in both field-grown and greenhouse-grown 
chrysanthemum plants, as well as cut flower production. APHIS considers 
P. horiana a quarantine pest. Reports of CWR occurrences within the 
United States trigger eradication protocols in accordance with the CWR 
National Management Plan for Eradication.\1\ Currently, the regulations 
in 7 CFR 319.37-2(a) prohibit the entry into the United States of 
plants for planting that are hosts of CWR from all countries where CWR 
is known to occur, unless imported under the specific conditions of a 
departmental permit in 7 CFR 319.372(c). Under 7 CFR 319.37-5(c), 
importations of CWR host plants for planting imported from all other 
countries are required to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate 
with an additional declaration stating that the plants and place of 
production have been inspected and found free of the causal agent of 
CWR. Under Sec.  319.37-7, imported host material that meets the 
conditions of Sec.  319.37-5(c) must be grown under the conditions of a 
postentry quarantine growing agreement at an approved location for 6 
months and be inspected by an inspector prior to being released from 
quarantine.
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    \1\ The CWR National Management Plan for Eradication is 
available on the APHIS Web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/cwr/downloads/cwrplan.pdf.
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    The regulations in 7 CFR 319.74 restrict the entry into the United 
States of cut flowers of CWR host plants from countries where CWR is 
known to occur. Consignments of cut flowers of CWR host plants imported 
from these countries must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate 
with an additional declaration stating that the place of production and 
the consignment have been inspected and found free of the causal agent 
of CWR.
    Despite these regulations, detections of CWR within the United 
States continue to occur, leading to costly eradication measures that 
must be undertaken by both Federal and State agencies. In addition, 
many stakeholders no longer consider the causal agent of CWR to be a 
pest of quarantine significance due to its limited host range, its 
frequent detection within the United States, and the availability of 
treatment/control measures within countries where it is present, and 
have expressed interest in revisiting the regulatory status of CWR. For 
these reasons, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) 
is considering potential changes to our domestic CWR eradication 
program and the CWR import regulations in an effort to improve the 
effectiveness and economic efficiency of our programs.
    We are publishing this advance notice of proposed rulemaking in 
order to request public comment as we reconsider our regulatory 
strategy for CWR. We are currently considering four options for the 
future of the CWR program. The options under consideration are:
    1. Continuing to manage CWR as a quarantine pest with the objective 
of continuing to eradicate new infestations. This option would maintain 
the current status of CWR with no changes to the program.
    2. Revising the current regulations to designate CWR as a regulated 
non-quarantine pest. A regulated non-quarantine pest is a pest whose 
presence in plants for planting affects the intended use of those 
plants with an

[[Page 46340]]

economically unacceptable impact and would therefore require regulation 
within the United States and on all similar plant material imported 
into the United States to ensure a low prevalence of CWR in production 
facilities. Designating CWR as a regulated non-quarantine pest would 
allow for the creation of a certification program for both domestic 
propagators and propagators in foreign countries who want to export 
cuttings of CWR hosts into the United States. This certification would 
provide a level of protection against the possible shipment of CWR 
infected cuttings from approved foreign facilities. Designating CWR as 
a regulated non-quarantine pest would mean discontinuing the current 
process for responding to domestic CWR outbreaks and the removal of CWR 
from our list of actionable quarantine pests.
    3. No longer managing CWR as a quarantine pest whose presence 
requires an eradication-oriented response, but maintaining port of 
entry restrictions for chrysanthemums destined to those States where 
CWR is not present and where these States have established an official 
control program under the Federally Regulated State-Managed 
Phytosanitary Program. Any State wishing to establish an official 
control program would have to conduct a survey demonstrating that CWR 
does not already exist in the state, conduct periodic nursery 
inspections illustrating the continued absence of CWR in growing 
operations, and issue State level regulations which controls the 
importation of CWR host material into the State and allows for the 
eradication of CWR if detected within the State. Once a State's 
official control program is approved by APHIS, any potential host of 
CWR with that State as its intended final destination would be 
inspected at the U.S. port and refused entry into the State if CWR is 
found. However, potential CWR hosts arriving at ports, and destined for 
States which do not have an official control program for CWR, would not 
be inspected or regulated for CWR. Additional information regarding The 
Federally Recognized State Managed Phytosanitary Program is available 
on the APHIS Web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/frsmp/index.shtml.
    4. Completely removing CWR as a quarantine pest whose presence 
requires an eradication-oriented response, thus allowing propagators 
and growers to manage CWR as a quality pest of chrysanthemum without 
Federal restrictions requiring eradication of this pest.
    We welcome comments on these options, particularly on the 
advantages and disadvantages of each option and the commenter's 
preferred option. If none of the options under consideration seem 
appropriate, we encourage the submission of new options or suggestions 
that we may have overlooked, as well as comments on the advantages of 
these new options or suggestions.
    This action has been determined to be not significant for the 
purposes of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, has not been reviewed 
by the Office of Management and Budget.

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 150dd, 150ee, 150ff, 151-167; 7 CFR 2.22, 
2.80, and 371.2(c).

    Done in Washington, DC, this 30th day of July.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-19024 Filed 8-2-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P