[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 44 (Wednesday, March 6, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 14509-14510]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-05141]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2012-0060]


Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No 
Significant Impact 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 and finding 
of no significant impact relative to the release of Scymnus coniferarum 
to control hemlock woolly adelgid. 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 133, Riverdale, MD 
20737-1236; (301) 851-2323.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    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.
    On August 3, 2012, we published in the Federal Register (77 FR 
46373-46374, Docket No. APHIS-2012-0060) 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 eastern United States.
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    \1\ To view the notice, EA, and FONSI go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0060.
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    We solicited comments on the EA for 30 days ending September 4, 
2012. We received 10 comments by that date. Nine of the commenters were 
supportive of the proposed action. The remaining 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 S. coniferarum into 
the eastern United States for use as a biological control agent to 
reduce the severity of hemlock woolly adelgid infestations. The 
finding, which is based on the EA, reflects our

[[Page 14510]]

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 1b); 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. 2013-05141 Filed 3-5-13; 8:45 am]
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