[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 105 (Friday, June 1, 2007)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 30460-30462]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-10559]



Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 319

[Docket No. APHIS-2006-0129]
RIN 0579-AC32

Wood Packaging Material; Treatment Modification

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Interim rule and request for comments.


SUMMARY: We are amending the regulations for the importation of 
unmanufactured wood articles to bring the methyl bromide treatment 
schedule into alignment with current international phytosanitary 
standards. This action is necessary because international phytosanitary 
standards have changed and the regulations need to be updated to 
reflect current standards.

DATES: This interim rule is effective June 1, 2007. We will consider 
all comments that we receive on or before July 31, 2007.

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-2006-0129 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. APHIS-
2006-0129, 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. APHIS-2006-0129.
    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.

Specialist, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-
1231; (301) 734-0627.


[[Page 30461]]


    The regulations in ``Subpart-Logs, Lumber, and Other Unmanufactured 
Wood Articles'' (7 CFR 319.40 through 319.40-11, referred to below as 
the regulations) govern the importation of various logs, lumber, and 
other unmanufactured wood products into the United States. The 
regulations in Sec.  319.40-3 cover general permits, including the 
requirements for articles that may be imported without specific permits 
or importer documents. Paragraph (b) of that section covers the 
requirements for regulated wood packaging material, including 
requirements for treating wood packaging material. The treatment and 
other requirements of Sec.  319.40-3(b) are intended to be consistent 
with the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15, 
``Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging Material in International 
Trade'' (ISPM 15). ISPM 15 is an international standard for wood 
packaging material established by the International Plant Protection 
Convention (IPPC). Under ISPM 15 and our regulations, all regulated 
wood packaging material must be appropriately treated and marked under 
an official program developed and overseen by the national plant 
protection organization of the country of export.
    One of the treatments in Sec.  319.40-3(b) is fumigation with 
methyl bromide. The methyl bromide treatment schedule in the 
regulations is the schedule that was in ISPM 15 at the time the 
regulations became effective. However, in April 2006, the membership of 
the IPPC--which includes the United States--adopted an amendment to 
ISPM 15 that modified the methyl bromide treatment standard to improve 
its efficacy. The modification changed the exposure time from 16 to 24 
hours and adjusted the concentration readings per cubic meter 
accordingly; the dosage rate of methyl bromide remains unchanged. As a 
member of the standards committee of the IPPC, we agreed with this 
change to the standard. Therefore, in order for our regulations to 
remain consistent with ISPM 15 and provide for a more effective 
treatment, we are amending the methyl bromide treatment schedule that 
appears in Sec.  319.40-3(b). The updated schedule is presented in the 
regulatory text at the end of this document.

Immediate Action

    Immediate action is necessary to update the regulations so that the 
prescribed treatment for wood packaging materials is consistent with 
international standards. Under these circumstances, the Administrator 
has determined that prior notice and opportunity for public comment are 
contrary to the public interest and that there is good cause under 5 
U.S.C. 553 for making this action effective less than 30 days after 
publication in the Federal Register.
    We will consider comments we receive during the comment period for 
this interim rule (see DATES above). After the comment period closes, 
we will publish another document in the Federal Register. The document 
will include a discussion of any comments we receive and any amendments 
we are making to the rule.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12866. The rule 
has been determined to be not significant for the purposes of Executive 
Order 12866 and, therefore, has not been reviewed by the Office of 
Management and Budget.
    We are amending the regulations for the importation of 
unmanufactured wood articles to bring the methyl bromide treatment 
schedule into alignment with current international phytosanitary 
standards. This action is necessary because international phytosanitary 
standards have changed and the regulations need to be updated to 
reflect current standards.
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to evaluate the 
potential effects of their proposed and final rules on small 
businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. 
Section 603 of the Act requires an agency to prepare and make available 
for public comment an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) 
describing the expected impact of a proposed rule on small entities, 
unless the head of the agency certifies that the rule will not, if 
promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial number 
of small entities. APHIS has prepared this IRFA in order that the 
public may have the opportunity to offer comments on expected small-
entity effects of this interim rule. We address here items as required 
by section 603(b) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
    This rule will affect foreign exporters of goods that are shipped 
using wood packaging materials. No U.S. entities involved in the 
production or supply of unmanufactured wood packaging materials are 
expected to be negatively impacted by this rule because the revised 
treatment must occur in the country of origin. The impact on foreign 
entities is not expected to be large because only the treatment time 
and concentration reading have been changed; the methyl bromide dosage 
rate remains the same. It is possible that these foreign entities might 
pass on additional treatment costs, if any, to U.S. buyers. We welcome 
information that the public may offer that would either confirm or 
challenge the Agency's determination that effects, if any, on U.S. 
entities will be minimal.
    The interim rule has no mandatory reporting, recordkeeping, or 
other compliance requirements for U.S. entities, other than the 
requirements that normally pertain to commodity importation. APHIS has 
not identified any duplication, overlap, or conflict of the interim 
rule with other Federal rules.
    We do not foresee the interim rule having a significant economic 
impact on small entities, and therefore have not proposed significant 
alternatives to minimize impacts. The rule will simply align the U.S. 
methyl bromide treatment requirements for wood packaging materials with 
the standards established by the IPPC.
    This interim rule will benefit the United States by reducing the 
risk of introduction of pests via unmanufactured wood packaging 
materials. It may impact foreign exporters of goods to the United 
States who use unmanufactured wood packaging materials, which in turn 
may affect importers of these goods. However, cost increases, if any, 
due to the revised treatment requirements are not expected to 
significantly affect domestic entities and thus will not have a 
measurable impact on the flow of trade. We welcome information that the 
public may offer that would allow the Agency to better determine the 
effect, if any, that the interim rule will have on U.S. small entities.

Executive Order 12988

    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. This rule: (1) Preempts all State and local laws and 
regulations that are inconsistent with this rule; (2) has no 
retroactive effect; and (3) does not require administrative proceedings 
before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

National Environmental Policy Act

    Section 1508.4 of the Council on Environmental Quality's (CEQ) 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementing regulations 
define categorical exclusion as a ``category of actions which do not 
individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human 
environment and which

[[Page 30462]]

have been found to have no such effect in procedures adopted by a 
Federal agency in implementation of these regulations (section 1507.3) 
and for which, therefore, neither an environmental assessment nor an 
environmental impact statement is required.''
    The changes to the treatment schedule do not increase the 
application rate for methyl bromide, but they do increase the length of 
time for the fumigation. The increase in time to 24 hours does not 
require more usage of methyl bromide if the fumigation enclosure is 
sealed well and the fumigation is conducted properly. The decrease in 
required concentrations over time within the fumigation enclosure in 
the revised treatment schedule makes allowance for additional 
adsorption of methyl bromide to the wood that occurs over the extended 
time period. APHIS also notified the Environmental Protection Agency 
(EPA) of this change. The EPA responded that it does not consider the 
change to be significant. Based on this information, we have determined 
this revision meets the definition of a categorically excluded action 
under CEQ's regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of 
NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), USDA regulations implementing NEPA (7 
CFR part 1b), and (4) APHIS' NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 
    The record of categorical exclusion determination may be viewed on 
the Regulations.gov Web site or in our reading room. (Instructions for 
accessing Regulations.gov and information on the location and hours of 
the reading room are provided under the heading ADDRESSES at the 
beginning of this proposed rule.) In addition, copies may be obtained 
by calling or writing to the individual listed under FOR FURTHER 

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This interim rule contains no information collection or 
recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 
(44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 319

    Coffee, Cotton, Fruits, Imports, Logs, Nursery stock, Plant 
diseases and pests, Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Rice, Vegetables.

Accordingly, we are amending 7 CFR part 319 as follows:


1. The authority citation for part 319 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 450, 7701-7772, and 7781-7786; 21 U.S.C. 136 
and 136a; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

2. In Sec.  319.40-3, paragraph (b)(1)(ii), including the table, is 
revised to read as follows:

Sec.  319.40-3  General permits; articles that may be imported without 
either a specific permit or an importer document.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (ii) Fumigated with methyl bromide in an enclosed area for at least 
24 hours at the following dosage, stated in terms of grams of methyl 
bromide per cubic meter of the enclosure being fumigated. Following 
fumigation, fumigated products must be aerated to reduce the 
concentration of fumigant below hazardous levels, in accordance with 
the label instructions approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection 

                                                                      Minimum required concentration g/m3 after:
                Temperature ([deg]C/[deg]F)                  Dosage --------------------------------------------
                                                             (g/m3)   0.5 hr   2 hrs    4 hrs    12 hrs   24 hrs
 21/70 or above...........................................       48       36       36       31       28       24
16/61 or above............................................       56       42       42       36       32       28
10/50 or above............................................       64       48       48       42       36       32

    The minimum temperature should not be less than 10 [deg]C/50 [deg]F 
and the minimum exposure time should be 24 hours.
* * * * *

    Done in Washington, DC, this 25th day of May 2007.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E7-10559 Filed 5-31-07; 8:45 am]