[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 150 (Friday, August 3, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 46373-46374]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-19029]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2012-0060]


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

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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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 release of Symnus coniferarum to control hemlock woolly adelgid. 
The environmental assessment considers the effects of, and alternatives 
to, the release of Symnus coniferarum into the eastern 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 
September 4, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0060-0001.

[[Page 46374]]

     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to 
Docket No. APHIS-2012-0060, 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-
0060 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: Dr. Shirley A. Wager-Page, Chief, Pest 
Permitting Branch, Registration, Identification, Permitting, and Plant 
Safeguarding, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-
1236; (301) 851-2323.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing 
to issue permits for the release of Scymnus coniferarum, a native 
predaceous beetle from the western United States, into the eastern 
United States for use as a biological control agent to reduce the 
severity of hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) infestations on 
hemlock.
    Hemlock woolly adelgid was accidentally introduced to the eastern 
United States from Asia. Although native to the western United States, 
in the eastern United States, hemlock woolly adelgid is a destructive 
pest of the eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), where it causes needle 
loss, abortion of buds, and the eventual death of infested trees.
    Four predatory beetles have been introduced to the eastern United 
States as biological controls of hemlock woolly adelgid with two of 
these considered established in the eastern United States. However, 
because hemlock woolly adelgid has a multigenerational lifestyle with 
multiple forms appearing at different times during the year, a group of 
natural predators similar to that found in areas in which it is native 
is needed in order to provide more efficient control. Therefore, APHIS 
is proposing to issue permits for the release of S. coniferarum into 
the eastern United States in order to reduce the severity and extent of 
hemlock woolly adelgid infestations.
    The proposed biological control agent, S. coniferarum, is a small 
lady beetle about 2 millimeters long and covered in fine, short hairs. 
In the wild it feeds on all hemlock woolly adelgid stages except nymphs 
that are in diapause during the summer. Because the larvae of S. 
coniferarum primarily target the egg stage of the hemlock woolly 
adelgid in late spring to early summer, the release of S. coniferarum 
will provide a predator that the spring generation of hemlock woolly 
adelgid currently lacks in the eastern United States.
    APHIS' review and analysis of the potential environmental effects 
associated with the proposed action are documented in detail in an 
environmental assessment (EA) entitled ``Release of the Predatory 
Beetle Scymnus coniferarum (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), for Biological 
Control of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae) in the Eastern 
United States'' (February 2012). 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. (Instructions for accessing Regulations.gov and 
information on the location and hours of the reading room are provided 
under the heading ADDRESSES at the beginning of this notice.) In 
addition, copies may be obtained by calling or writing to the 
individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    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 30th day of July 2012.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-19029 Filed 8-2-12; 8:45 am]
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