[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 213 (Friday, November 3, 2006)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 64650-64651]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-18564]

Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.


Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 213 / Friday, November 3, 2006 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 64650]]


Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

9 CFR Parts 55 and 81

[Docket No. 00-108-5]
RIN 0579-AB35

Chronic Wasting Disease Herd Certification Program and Interstate 
Movement of Farmed or Captive Deer, Elk, and Moose; Petitions and 
Request for Comments

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of receipt of petitions and request for comments.


SUMMARY: We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service has received three petitions requesting that we 
delay implementation of, and reconsider provisions in, a recent final 
rule establishing a herd certification program and interstate movement 
restrictions for cervids to control the spread of chronic wasting 
disease. We are soliciting public comments on the petitions and the 
potential impacts of the actions they recommend.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 
December 4, 2006.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Dean E. Goeldner, Senior Staff 
Veterinarian, Ruminant Health Programs, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road, 
Unit 43, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-4916. Copies of the 
petitions are available at the Federal eRulemaking Portal, http://www.regulations.gov, as described under ADDRESSES below.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov, select ``Animal and Plant Health Inspection 
Service'' from the agency drop-down menu, then click ``Submit.'' In the 
Docket ID column, select APHIS-2006-0118 to submit or view public 
comments and to view supporting and related materials available 
electronically. Information on using Regulations.gov, including 
instructions for accessing documents, submitting comments, and viewing 
the docket after the close of the comment period, is available through 
the site's ``User Tips'' link.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send four copies 
of your comment (an original and three copies) to Docket No. 00-108-5, 
Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 
River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your 
comment refers to Docket No. 00-108-5.
    Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on this 
docket in our reading room. The reading room 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) 690-2817 before coming.
    Other Information: Additional information about APHIS and its 
programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In accordance with the Animal Health 
Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 8301 et seq.), the Secretary of Agriculture 
has the authority to issue orders and promulgate regulations to prevent 
the introduction into the United States and the dissemination within 
the United States of any pest or disease of livestock, and to pay 
claims growing out of the destruction of animals. The Animal and Plant 
Health Inspection Service's (APHIS') regulations in 9 CFR subchapter B 
govern cooperative programs to control and eradicate communicable 
diseases of livestock.
    On July 21, 2006, we published a final rule in the Federal Register 
(71 FR 41682-41707, Docket No. 00-108-3) amending 9 CFR subchapter B by 
establishing regulations in part 55 for a Chronic Wasting Disease Herd 
Certification Program to help eliminate chronic wasting disease (CWD) 
from the farmed or captive cervid herds in the United States (the CWD 
rule). Under that rule, owners of deer, elk, and moose herds who choose 
to participate would have to follow program requirements for animal 
identification, testing, herd management, and movement of animals into 
and from herds. We also amended 9 CFR subchapter B by establishing a 
new part 81 containing interstate movement requirements to prevent the 
spread of CWD.
    We recently received three petitions requesting a delay in the 
effective date of the CWD rule and reconsideration of several 
requirements of the rule. We are currently evaluating the merits of 
these petitions, and through this notice, we are making the petitions 
available for public review and requesting comments on them. On 
September 8, 2006, we also published a notice in the Federal Register 
delaying the effective date of the CWD rule until further notice (71 FR 
52983, Docket No. 00-108-4).
    On August 3, 2006, we received a petition from the Association of 
Fish and Wildlife Agencies. On August 4, 2006, we received a petition 
from the National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials, and on 
August 8, 2006, we received a petition from the United States Animal 
Health Association. The texts of all three petitions are available on 
the Federal eRulemaking Portal, as described under ADDRESSES.
    The primary issues addressed by all three petitions are the Federal 
preemption of State laws and regulations and the requirements our CWD 
rule established for the interstate movement of cervids. Under the CWD 
rule, during its first year of implementation, cervids could move 
interstate if they have been in an approved CWD Herd Certification 
program, and thus subject to monitoring for CWD and other requirements, 
for at least 1 year. The CWD rule increases this length-of-time 
requirement in succeeding years of implementation, so the time animals 
must be in a herd certification program in order to move interstate 
gradually increases to 2 years, then 3, then 4, then 5 years. It was 
the intent of the CWD rule to provide a consistent, nationwide standard 
for the interstate movement of cervids, replacing a variety of 
differing State standards. Existing State laws and regulations 
addressing movement of cervids vary in the amount of time that the 
animals must have been in a certification program prior to entry, and 
some States do not allow the entry of

[[Page 64651]]

any cervids. The gradual escalation of the Federal standard in the CWD 
rule to 5 years was intended to achieve the desired level of risk 
control represented by 5 years of program participation and disease-
free surveillance and monitoring, but to do so in a gradual manner that 
would not cause widespread economic harm to producers by making it 
impossible for some of them to move animals interstate until 5 years 
after they join the CWD Herd Certification Program.
    The petitioners raised two points with regard to this Federal 
standard for interstate movement. First, they cited it as an unexpected 
and unnecessary Federal preemption of existing State standards. They 
stated that during development of the CWD proposed rule they believed 
that any Federal interstate movement requirement would serve as a 
minimum standard, and would apply only if States did not set their own 
standards for length-of-time. Second, the petitioners questioned 
whether the Federal standard provided adequate protection, especially 
during the first 2 years of program implementation. The petitioners 
suggested that sound science and the known epidemiology of CWD require 
that animals be monitored for CWD for more than 1 or 2 years before 
they can be considered safe to move interstate.
    The public is invited to comment on any of the issues raised by the 
petitions. To aid our evaluation of these issues, we particularly 
invite comments in the following areas.
     Consider the alternatives of implementing a Federal 
interstate movement standard versus allowing individual State standards 
to apply. What hardships or benefits would each alternative impose? 
Please provide details where possible.
     With respect to the spread of CWD, in addition to the 
requirements established by the APHIS CWD rule, what additional 
safeguards do States need to mitigate or reduce risk of disease 
transmission, and why are they needed?
     What practical or operational problems may be expected 
from the final rule and from the alternatives suggested by the 
petitions? How could they be alleviated?
     Are there any alternatives that could address the 
petitioners' concerns, other than allowing the movement requirements of 
individual States to take precedence over the Federal standard?
    After evaluating the petitions and any public comments received in 
response to this document, APHIS will publish a document in the Federal 
Register announcing what action, if any, we will take in response to 
the petitions.

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 8301-8317; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 31st day of October 2006.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
 [FR Doc. E6-18564 Filed 11-2-06; 8:45 am]