[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 190 (Monday, October 1, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 59709-59712]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-24112]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
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Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 190 / Monday, October 1, 2012 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 59709]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 301

[Docket No. APHIS-2008-0015]
RIN 0579-AC85


Citrus Greening and Asian Citrus Psyllid; Quarantine and 
Interstate Movement Regulations

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We are adopting as a final rule, with several changes, an 
interim rule that quarantined the States of Florida and Georgia, Puerto 
Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, two parishes in Louisiana, and two 
counties in South Carolina due to the presence of citrus greening and 
quarantined Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Louisiana, 
Mississippi, Puerto Rico, Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, three 
counties in South Carolina, portions of one county in Arizona, and all 
of three and portions of an additional three counties in California due 
to the presence of Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), a vector of the 
bacterial pathogen that causes citrus greening. The rule also 
established restrictions on the interstate movement of regulated 
articles from the quarantined areas. In this final rule, we are making 
several nonsubstantive editorial amendments to the interim rule to 
improve its clarity and facilitate regulatory compliance. This final 
rule also provides notice that we have quarantined American Samoa and 
the Northern Mariana Islands for ACP, have extended the boundaries of 
the quarantined area for ACP in California to incorporate all of one 
and portions of another additional county, and have quarantined 
portions of one county in Texas and an area comprising portions of two 
counties in California for citrus greening.

DATES: Effective October 31, 2012.

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

    Citrus greening, also known as Huanglongbing disease of citrus, is 
considered to be one of the most serious citrus diseases in the world. 
Citrus greening is a bacterial disease caused by strains of the 
bacterial pathogen ``Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus'' that attacks 
the vascular system of host plants. The pathogen is phloem-limited, 
inhabiting the food-conducting tissue of the host plant, and causes 
yellow shoots, blotchy mottling and chlorosis, reduced foliage, and tip 
dieback of citrus plants. Citrus greening greatly reduces production, 
destroys the economic value of the fruit, and can kill trees. Once 
infected, there is no cure for a tree with citrus greening disease. In 
areas of the world where the disease is endemic, citrus trees decline 
and die within a few years and may never produce usable fruit.
    The bacterial pathogen causing citrus greening can be transmitted 
by grafting and, under laboratory conditions, by parasitic plants. 
There also is some evidence that seed transmission may occur. The 
pathogen can also be transmitted by two insect vectors in the family 
Psyllidae: Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), 
and Trioza erytreae (del Guercio), the African citrus psyllid. ACP can 
also 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. High populations feeding 
on a citrus shoot can kill the growing tip. The African citrus psyllid 
is not known to exist in the United States.
    In an interim rule \1\ published in the Federal Register and 
effective on June 17, 2010 \2\ (75 FR 34322-34336, Docket No. APHIS-
2008-0015), we amended our domestic quarantine regulations in 7 CFR 
part 301 by adding a new subpart, ``Citrus Greening and Asian Citrus 
Psyllid'' (Sec. Sec.  301.76 through 301.76-11, referred to below as 
the regulations). The interim rule quarantined the States of Florida 
and Georgia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, two parishes in 
Louisiana, and two counties in South Carolina due to the presence of 
citrus greening and quarantined Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Guam, 
Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, Texas, the U.S. Virgin 
Islands, three counties in South Carolina, portions of one county in 
Arizona, and all of three and portions of an additional three counties 
in California due to the presence of Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), a 
vector of the bacterial pathogen that causes citrus greening. The 
interim rule also established restrictions on the interstate movement 
of regulated articles from the quarantined areas. The interim rule was 
necessary on an emergency basis in order to prevent the spread of the 
plant pathogen and its vector to noninfested areas of the United 
States.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ To view the interim rule, its supporting and related 
materials, and the comments we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2008-0015.
    \2\ Section 301.76-4 of that rule was effective on September 15, 
2010, rather than June 17, 2010.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We solicited comments concerning the interim rule for 60 days, 
ending August 16, 2010. We received five comments by that date, from 
State departments of agriculture, commercial citrus nurseries, and a 
commercial distributor of citrus plants. The comments received are 
discussed below, by topic.

Regulated Articles

    In Sec.  301.76-2 of the interim rule, we designated all plant 
parts, including leaves (except fruit), of several genera and species, 
including Murraya paniculata (orange jasmine), as regulated articles 
for ACP and citrus greening.
    One commenter agreed that orange jasmine is a host of ACP and 
citrus greening. Moreover, the commenter stated that recent studies 
conducted by American, Brazilian, and Chinese phytopathologists have 
determined that orange jasmine that is infected with citrus greening 
may spread the disease to other plants if ACP serves as the means of 
transmission. However, the commenter stated that the same

[[Page 59710]]

researchers had also found titer levels of the bacterial pathogen 
associated with citrus greening in these newly infected plants to be 
low, and to decrease over time. (Titers are antibodies for a particular 
pathogen that are present within an organism's vascular system.) For 
this reason, the commenter suggested that APHIS should reevaluate 
whether to consider orange jasmine a regulated article for citrus 
greening.
    We agree with the commenter that recent studies suggest that, if 
citrus greening is transmitted from an orange jasmine plant to other 
host plants, these host plants do not exhibit high densities of the 
bacterial pathogen associated with the disease. However, the 
preponderance of available scientific evidence, including the evidence 
cited by the commenter, suggests that orange jasmine can serve as a 
source of transmission of citrus greening. Hence we are making no 
change to the regulations in response to this comment.

Labeling Requirements

    In Sec.  301.76-4 of the interim rule, in order to forestall the 
inadvertent but unauthorized noncommercial interstate movement of 
regulated nursery stock from an area quarantined for citrus greening, 
we required all nursery stock offered for commercial sale in such an 
area to be affixed with a plastic or metal tag with a prominent and 
legible statement alerting consumers to Federal prohibitions on the 
movement of the article. Alternatively, if the article is sold in a box 
or container, we allowed the statement to be printed on the box or 
container. We stated that the operator of the site of propagation of 
the nursery stock and the person offering the plants for commercial 
sale are jointly responsible for all such labeling.
    One commenter stated that we should allow the statement to be 
printed on the back of existing identification tags required under 
State and local regulations.
    Provided that the statement is prominently and legibly displayed, 
it may be printed on the back of such tags.
    Another commenter pointed out that, as written, Sec.  301.76-4 
would require nursery stock produced in an area that is not quarantined 
for citrus greening, but shipped to a quarantined area for commercial 
sale, to be labeled prior to shipment or to be labeled by the person 
offering the plant for commercial sale. The commenter stated that 
commercial retailers of citrus nursery stock are unlikely to label 
their inventory; hence, it would fall to producers to label the nursery 
stock prior to shipment. The commenter further stated that smaller 
producers in the citrus industry often do not know the final 
destination of their nursery stock prior to shipment. The commenter 
concluded that Sec.  301.76-4 would effectively require such producers 
to label their entire inventory, unless they were certain the nursery 
stock would not be shipped to an area quarantined for citrus greening. 
Accordingly, the commenter suggested that we modify the section so that 
all producers who ship regulated nursery stock interstate would have to 
label their plants, or so that the requirement would pertain to 
regulated nursery stock that is produced within an area quarantined for 
citrus greening, rather than offered for commercial sale within such an 
area.
    Requiring all regulated nursery stock that will be moved in 
interstate commerce to be labeled in accordance with Sec.  301.76-4 
would place an undue burden on producers in areas that are not 
quarantined for citrus greening who ship primarily or exclusively to 
areas of the United States that also are not quarantined for this 
disease, and lacks a basis in risk.
    Nursery stock that is offered for commercial sale in an area 
quarantined for citrus greening may not be safeguarded in a manner that 
precludes citrus greening from being introduced to the plants; this 
risk of introduction is especially pronounced for nursery stock offered 
for sale in an area quarantined both for citrus greening and for ACP, 
citrus greening's vector for short-distance spread. Accordingly, a 
regulated plant that was produced in an area that is not quarantined 
for citrus greening may become infected with the disease while it is 
being offered for commercial sale within such a quarantined area. Hence 
we consider it necessary to require that all consumers who purchase the 
regulated nursery stock within the quarantined area be alerted to 
Federal prohibitions on the interstate movement of the articles.
    Finally, we appreciate the commenter's concern that commercial 
retailers may be disinclined to label such nursery stock in accordance 
with Sec.  301.76-4. To that end, we have been working with commercial 
retailers since issuance of the interim rule to find methods to ensure 
that means exist for the retailers to comply with the provisions of 
Sec.  301.76-4 in a manner that is not economically burdensome or 
disruptive.

Conditions for Interstate Movement

    Section 301.76-6 of the interim rule contained regulations 
governing the interstate movement of regulated articles from areas 
quarantined for ACP, but not for citrus greening. Paragraph (b) 
provides for the issuance of limited permits for the interstate 
movement of regulated nursery stock to areas of the United States other 
than American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, and those portions of 
Arizona, California, and South Carolina not quarantined due to the 
presence of ACP or citrus greening, if certain conditions were 
fulfilled.
    One of these conditions was that the nursery stock be treated for 
ACP with an APHIS-approved soil drench or in-ground granular 
application no more than 30 days and no fewer than 20 days before 
shipment, followed by an APHIS-approved foliar spray no more than 10 
days before shipment. Treatments must be applied according to their 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) label, including directions on 
application, restrictions on place of application and other 
restrictions, and precautions, and including statements pertaining to 
worker protection standards.
    The interim rule also required the nursery stock to be moved in a 
container sealed with an agricultural seal placed by an inspector.
    Several commenters stated that these conditions unnecessarily 
hindered interstate commerce.
    Two commenters pointed out that, in requiring application of soil 
drenches or granular applications no more than 30 days and no fewer 
than 20 days before shipment of articles, we were providing a 10-day 
timeframe for such application. The commenters stated that this 
timeframe was insufficient for smaller producers, who often did not 
know the expected date of interstate movement of an article that far in 
advance. While recognizing the need for optimal absorption of the soil 
drench, the commenters requested a longer window of time for the 
application of that treatment.
    The same commenters also stated that, by requiring the articles to 
be sealed in a shipping container and inspectors to seal each container 
with an agricultural seal prior to movement, we were, in effect, 
limiting shipment of the articles to normal business hours (8 a.m. to 
4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday). The commenters stated that their 
shipments traditionally have tended to occur overnight or in the early 
morning. Because of these economic considerations, the commenters 
questioned whether the conditions were strictly necessary, especially 
for nursery stock that is not destined for an area in which ACP could 
become established.
    The points raised by these commenters were addressed in an interim 
rule published in the Federal

[[Page 59711]]

Register and effective on April 27, 2011 (76 FR 23449-23459, Docket No. 
APHIS-2010-0048). In that rule, we amended the regulations to provide 
that soil drenches may be applied no more than 90 but no less than 30 
days prior to shipment, thus widening the window of time for 
applications to 60 days. We also amended the regulations to provide 
that nursery stock does not have to be moved interstate in a sealed 
shipping container unless it will transit a commercial citrus-producing 
area.

Miscellaneous Changes

    We are making several nonsubstantive editorial amendments to 
various provisions of the June 2009 interim rule in order to improve 
their clarity and facilitate regulatory compliance. These changes are 
described below.
    In Sec.  301.76-1 of the interim rule, we defined citrus greening 
as ``a plant disease caused by several strains of the uncultured, 
phloem-limited bacterial pathogen `Candidatus Liberibacter 
asiaticus'.'' This definition, while accurate, did not specify that 
citrus greening is also commonly referred to as Huanglongbing disease 
of citrus by the international taxonomic community. We are amending the 
definition to specify that the disease is known by both names.
    In the interim rule, paragraph (a) of Sec.  301.76-6 provided for 
the issuance of certificates for the unrestricted movement of any 
regulated article from an area quarantined only for ACP, if, among 
other conditions, the article was treated with methyl bromide prior to 
movement. While the preamble of the rule noted that EPA and State and 
local environmental authorities may not authorize the use of methyl 
bromide on certain regulated articles, the regulatory text for 
paragraph (a) of Sec.  301.76-6 did not. We are adding a footnote 
containing this information to paragraph (a).
    As we mentioned above, in the interim rule, paragraph (b) of Sec.  
301.76-6 provided for the issuance of limited permits for the 
interstate movement of regulated nursery stock from an area quarantined 
only for ACP, subject to certain conditions. As we also mentioned 
above, one of these conditions required the nursery stock to be affixed 
prior to movement with a plastic or metal tag on which the statement 
``Limited permit: USDA-APHIS-PPQ. Not for distribution in American 
Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, or those portions of AZ, CA, and SC 
not quarantined due to the presence of Asian citrus psyllid or citrus 
greening'' is prominently and legibly displayed, or to be otherwise 
labeled with this statement. We stated that the limited permit 
statement was necessary in order to help prevent the introduction of 
ACP into areas with commercial citrus production but without 
established populations of ACP through the movement of regulated 
nursery stock.
    However, since the interim rule was issued, established populations 
of ACP have been detected in two additional commercial citrus-producing 
areas, Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa. In the April 2011 
interim rule mentioned earlier in this document, we amended the 
regulations governing the statement on the limited permit to reflect 
the presence of ACP in American Samoa. In this final rule, we are again 
amending it to reflect the presence of ACP in Northern Mariana Islands.
    In the interim rule, Sec.  301.76-7 provided for the issuance of 
limited permits from areas quarantined for citrus greening. Paragraph 
(a) of Sec.  301.76-7 provided for the issuance of limited permits for 
the interstate movement of regulated nursery stock for immediate 
export, if, among other conditions, the nursery stock is treated with 
an APHIS-approved soil drench or in-ground granular application, 
followed by an APHIS-approved foliar spray; with methyl bromide; or 
with irradiation. We intended these treatment options to mirror those 
contained in Sec.  301.76-6 for regulated nursery stock moved 
interstate from an area quarantined only for ACP. However, while Sec.  
301.76-6 authorized regulated nursery stock to be treated with APHIS-
approved soil drenches, granular applications, and foliar sprays, or 
fumigated with methyl bromide, it did not authorize nursery stock to be 
treated with irradiation. We are amending Sec.  301.76-7 accordingly. 
(The April 2011 interim rule referenced above redesignated paragraph 
(a) as paragraph (b); hence we would amend paragraph (b) of Sec.  
301.76-7.)

Notice of Quarantine

    In Sec.  301.76-3 of the interim rule, paragraph (c) provided that 
a State or territory within the United States will be designated a 
quarantined area for ACP in which an established population of ACP has 
been detected. Paragraph (b) of Sec.  301.76-3 provided that we may 
designate less than an entire State or territory as a quarantined area 
for ACP if the State or territory has adopted and is enforcing 
restrictions on the intrastate movement of regulated articles that are 
equivalent to those imposed by the regulations on the interstate 
movement of regulated articles; and if the designation of less than the 
entire State or territory will still prevent the interstate spread of 
ACP.
    As we mentioned above, we have detected established populations of 
ACP in American Samoa and Northern Mariana Islands; neither of these 
territories has adopted intra-territorial restrictions on the movement 
of regulated articles. We have also detected established populations of 
ACP in Ventura County and Santa Barbara County, CA, and detected citrus 
greening in portions of Hidalgo County, TX, and an area comprising 
portions of Los Angeles County and Orange County, CA.
    Accordingly, we are designating both American Samoa and Northern 
Mariana Islands, in their entireties, as quarantined areas for ACP, and 
are expanding the quarantined area for ACP in California to include 
Ventura County in its entirety and portions of Santa Barbara County. We 
are also designating portions of Hidalgo County, TX, and an area 
comprising portions of Los Angeles County and Orange County, CA, as 
quarantined areas for citrus greening. The updated list of quarantined 
areas is available on the Internet, at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/citrus_greening/index.shtml.
    Therefore, for the reasons given in the interim rule and in this 
document, we are adopting the interim rule as a final rule, with the 
changes discussed in this document.
    This final rule also affirms the information contained in the 
interim rule regarding Executive Orders 12372 and 12988, and the 
Paperwork Reduction Act.
    Further, this action has been determined to be not significant for 
the purposes of Executive Orders 12866, and, therefore, has not been 
reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This final rule follows an interim rule that quarantined the States 
of Florida and Georgia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, two 
parishes in Louisiana, and two counties in South Carolina due to the 
presence of citrus greening and quarantined Alabama, Florida, Georgia, 
Guam, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, Texas, the U.S. 
Virgin Islands, three counties in South Carolina, portions of one 
county in Arizona, and all of three and portions of an additional three 
counties in California due to the presence of Asian citrus psyllid, a 
vector of the bacterial pathogen that causes citrus greening. In this 
final rule, the list of quarantined areas for Asian citrus psyllid is 
being updated to

[[Page 59712]]

include American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and all of one 
and portions of another additional county in California. Likewise, the 
list of quarantined areas for citrus greening is being updated to 
include portions of one county in Texas and an area comprising portions 
of two counties in California. The analysis that accompanies this rule 
considers the economic effects of the regulations on the current 
quarantined area and the benefits of imposing the quarantine.
    Expected benefits and costs are examined, in accordance with 
Executive Orders 12866 and 13563, including expected economic impacts 
for small entities as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
    In the interim rule, APHIS imposed measures to prevent the spread 
of citrus greening and ACP to other commercial citrus-producing areas 
by prohibiting or restricting the movement of host material outside of 
areas quarantined for the pest or the disease. Although the majority of 
affected establishments in the quarantined areas are small entities, 
the effects of the interim rule on these businesses were minor. 
Affected entities were nursery operations and other production sites in 
Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Louisiana, 
Mississippi, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin 
Islands that produce citrus trees, orange jasmine, curryleaf, and other 
articles regulated by the rule.
    This final rule designates American Samoa and the Northern Mariana 
Islands as quarantined areas for ACP, and extends the boundaries of the 
quarantine area for ACP in California to include all of one county 
(Ventura County) and portions of another additional county (Santa 
Barbara County). Producers in these areas that have relied on markets 
in commercial citrus-producing areas that are not currently quarantined 
for ACP or citrus greening will suffer the loss of those markets. 
However, it is unlikely that producers of citrus nursery stock in these 
areas currently produce citrus nursery stock intended for markets 
outside of the quarantine area. The effort to mitigate the further 
spread of ACP and citrus greening will serve to benefit to other citrus 
producing areas.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 301

    Agricultural commodities, Plant diseases and pests, Quarantine, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

    Accordingly, the interim rule amending 7 CFR parts 301 and 305 that 
was published at 75 FR 34322 on June 10, 2011, is adopted as a final 
rule, with the following changes:

PART 301--DOMESTIC QUARANTINE NOTICES

0
1. The authority citation for part 301 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7701-7772 and 7781-7786; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, 
and 371.3.
    Section 301.75-15 issued under Sec. 204, Title II, Public Law 
106-113, 113 Stat. 1501A-293; sections 301.75-15 and 301.75-16 
issued under Sec. 203, Title II, Public Law 106-224, 114 Stat. 400 
(7 U.S.C. 1421 note).

0
2. In Sec.  301.76-1, the definition of citrus greening is revised to 
read as follows:


Sec.  301.76-1  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Citrus greening. A plant disease, also commonly referred to as 
Huanglongbing disease of citrus, that is caused by several strains of 
the uncultured, phloem-limited bacterial pathogen ``Candidatus 
Liberibacter asiaticus''.
* * * * *


Sec. Sec.  301.76-6, 301.76-7, 301.76-8, and 301.76-9  [Amended]

0
3. In Sec. Sec.  301.76-6, 301.76-7, 301.76-8, and 301.76-9, footnotes 
3 through 7 are redesignated as footnotes 4 through 8, respectively.
0
4. Section 301.76-6 is amended as follows:
0
a. In paragraph (a)(1), by adding a footnote 3; and
0
b. In paragraph (c)(1)(iv), by removing the words ``Northern Mariana 
Islands or''.
    The addition reads as follows:


Sec.  301.76-6  Additional conditions for issuance of certificates and 
limited permits for regulated articles moved interstate from areas 
quarantined for Asian citrus psyllid, but not for citrus greening.

    (a) * * *
    (1) The article is treated with methyl bromide \3\ in accordance 
with 7 CFR part 305 of this chapter.
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    \3\ EPA and State and local environmental authorities may 
restrict the use of methyl bromide on certain articles.
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* * * * *


Sec.  301.76-7  [Amended]

0
5. In Sec.  301.76-7, paragraph (b)(1) is amended by removing the words 
``or irradiation''.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 26th day of September 2012.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-24112 Filed 9-28-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P