[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 159 (Thursday, August 16, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 49409-49410]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-20174]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2012-0052]


Oral Rabies Vaccine Trial; Availability of an Environmental 
Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

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 and finding 
of no significant impact relative to an oral rabies vaccination field 
trial in New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Vermont, and West Virginia. 
Based on its finding of no significant impact, the Animal and Plant 
Health Inspection Service has determined that an environmental impact 
statement need not be prepared.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Richard Chipman, Rabies Program 
Coordinator, Wildlife Services, APHIS, 59 Chennell Drive, Suite 7, 
Concord, NH 03301; (603) 223-9623. To obtain copies of the 
environmental assessment or finding of no significant impact, contact 
Ms. Beth Kabert, Environmental Coordinator, Wildlife Services, 140-C 
Locust Grove Road, Pittstown, NJ 08867; (908) 735-5654, fax (908) 735-
0821, email: beth.e.kabert@aphis.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Wildlife Services (WS) program in the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service (APHIS) cooperates with Federal agencies, State and 
local governments, and private individuals to research and implement 
the best methods of managing conflicts between wildlife and human 
health and safety, agriculture, property, and natural resources. 
Wildlife-borne diseases that can affect domestic animals and humans are 
among the types of conflicts that APHIS-WS addresses. Wildlife is the 
dominant reservoir of rabies in the United States.
    On July 9, 2012, we published in the Federal Register (77 FR 40322-
40323, Docket No. APHIS-2012-0052) a notice \1\ in which we announced 
the availability, for public review and comment, of an environmental 
assessment (EA) that examined the potential environmental impacts 
associated with the proposed field trial to test the safety and 
efficacy of an experimental oral rabies vaccine for wildlife in New 
Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Vermont, and West Virginia.
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    \1\ To view the notice, the comments we received, the EA, and 
the FONSI, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-
2012-0052.
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    We solicited comments on the EA for 30 days ending August 8, 2012. 
We received nine comments by that date. They were from private citizens 
(including five comments from the same individual), a foreign 
government, a Federal agency, and a State department of health. Three 
commenters expressed support for the proposed field trial. One 
commenter indicated we should prepare an environmental impact statement 
rather than an EA for this action but did not provide a reason for 
doing so. Other issues raised by commenters include concerns regarding 
possible effects on public health and whether the field trial is 
necessary. The comments, and APHIS' responses to the comments, are 
presented in an appendix to the EA (see footnote 1).
    In this document, we are advising the public of our finding of no 
significant impact (FONSI) regarding the implementation of a field 
trial to test the safety and efficacy of the AdRG1.3 wildlife rabies 
vaccine in New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Vermont, and West Virginia, 
including portions of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest 
Service National Forest System lands, but excluding Wilderness Areas. 
The finding, which is based on the EA, reflects our determination that 
the distribution of this experimental wildlife rabies vaccine will not 
have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment.
    The EA and FONSI may be viewed on the APHIS Web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/regulations/ws/ws_nepa_environmental_documents.shtml and on the Regulations.gov Web site (see footnote 1). 
Copies of the EA and

[[Page 49410]]

FONSI are also available for public inspection at USDA, Room 1141, 
South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, 
DC, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except 
holidays. Persons wishing to inspect copies are requested to call ahead 
on (202) 799-7039 to facilitate entry into the reading room. In 
addition, copies may be obtained as described under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.
    The EA and FONSI have 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 13th day of August 2012.
Peter Fernandez,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-20174 Filed 8-13-12; 4:15 pm]
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