[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 44 (Wednesday, March 6, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 14508-14509]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-05140]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2012-0061]


Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No 
Significant Impact for the Field Release of Aphelinus glycinis for the 
Biological Control of the Soybean Aphid in the Continental United 
States

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

[[Page 14509]]


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 the release of Aphelinus glycinis 
for the biological control of soybean aphid, Aphis glycines, in the 
continental United States. 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: Dr. Shirley A. Wager-Page, Chief, Pest 
Permitting Branch, Registration, Identification, Permitting, and Plant 
Safeguarding, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 134, Riverdale, MD 
20737-1236; (301) 851-2323.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The soybean aphid, Aphis glycinis, which is native to Asia, was 
found in North America in 2000 and has since become a major pest in 
America. It infested 42 million acres alone in 2003, resulting in 
decreased soybean yields and greatly increased control costs. The 
soybean aphid has invaded most soybean production regions in North 
America, including numerous U.S. States and three Canadian Provinces.
    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing 
to issue permits for the field release of the insect Aphelinus glycinis 
to reduce the severity of soybean damage from infestations of soybean 
aphid in the United States. Permitting the release of this parasite 
species is necessary to determine its impact on soybean aphid 
populations and its ability to survive in the target area.
    On August 3, 2012, we published in the Federal Register (77 FR 
46373, Docket No. APHIS-2012-0061) 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 release of this biological control agent 
into the continental United States.
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    \1\ To view the notice, EA, and FONSI go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0061.
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    We solicited comments on the EA for 30 days ending September 4, 
2012. We received one comment, from a private citizen. The commenter 
opposed the proposed action but did not offer a rationale or any 
information apart from that opposition.
    In this document, we are advising the public of our finding of no 
significant impact (FONSI) regarding the release of Aphelinus glycinis 
into the continental United States for use as a biological control 
agent to reduce the severity of soybean aphid infestations. The 
finding, which is based on the EA, reflects our determination that 
release of this biological control agent will not have a significant 
impact on the quality of the human environment.
    The EA and FONSI may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site (see 
footnote 1). Copies of the EA and 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 by 
calling or writing to the individual listed 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 1); and (4) 
APHIS' NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372).

    Done in Washington, DC, this 28th day of February 2013.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-05140 Filed 3-5-13; 8:45 am]
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