[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 212 (Friday, November 2, 2007)]
[Pages 62204-62205]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-21679]

                                                Federal Register

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Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 212 / Friday, November 2, 2007 / 

[[Page 62204]]


Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2007-0135]

Citrus Greening and Asian Citrus Psyllid; Availability of an 
Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments.


SUMMARY: We are advising the public that an environmental assessment 
has been prepared by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 
relative to a new Federal order that restricts the interstate movement 
of regulated articles from areas quarantined for citrus greening 
disease and the Asian citrus psyllid. The environmental assessment 
documents our review and analysis of the potential environmental 
impacts associated with the implementation of the new Federal order. We 
are making this environmental assessment available to the public for 
review and comment.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 
December 3, 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-2007-0135 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'' 
    Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send four copies of your 
comment (an original and three copies) to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0135, 
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-2007-0135.
    Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on the 
environmental assessment 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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Stephen R. Poe, Senior Operations 
Officer, Emergency and Domestic Programs, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road 
Unit 134, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 734-8899.



    Citrus greening, also known as huanglongbing, is considered to be 
one of the most serious citrus diseases in the world. Citrus greening 
is a bacterial disease that attacks the vascular system of plants. The 
bacteria are phloem-limited and cause yellow shoots, blotchy mottling 
and chlorosis, reduced foliage, and tip dieback of citrus plants. It 
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 citrus greening is 
endemic, citrus trees decline and die within a few years and may never 
produce usable fruit. Citrus greening is widespread in Asia, Africa, 
and the Saudi Arabian Peninsula. It has been reported in Sao Paulo, 
Brazil. It was first detected in the United States in Miami-Dade 
County, Florida, in 2005, and now has been confirmed in 28 counties in 
    Citrus greening is transmitted by two insect vectors in the family 
Psyllidae: Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, the Asian citrus psyllid, and 
Trioza erytreae (del Guercio), the African citrus psyllid. It can also 
be transmitted by grafting, by dodder, and possibly by seed. Asian 
citrus psyllid can 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. 
More importantly, this psyllid is able to transmit an endocellular 
bacterium, Candidatus Liberobacter asiaticus, which causes citrus 
greening disease. Asian citrus psyllid is currently present in Florida, 
Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and several counties in Texas. The African 
citrus psyllid is not known to be present in the United States.
    On September 16, 2005, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection 
Service imposed restrictions on the interstate movement of all citrus 
greening host plant material and Asian citrus psyllid host plant 
material from quarantined areas in Florida in order to prevent the 
artificial spread of citrus greening and of Asian citrus psyllid. APHIS 
subsequently updated those restrictions by issuing a Federal order on 
May 3, 2006. This action was necessary due to the continuing spread of 
both Citrus greening and Asian citrus psyllid. Since that time, 
infestations of citrus greening have been confirmed in a total of 28 
counties in Florida. Asian citrus psyllid has now been confirmed in 
several counties in Texas, and throughout the States of Florida and 
Hawaii, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territory of Guam. 
APHIS is therefore issuing a new Federal order that updates and 
replaces the previous Federal order regarding quarantines to prevent 
the dissemination of citrus greening or Asian citrus psyllid.
    APHIS and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer 
Services have imposed restrictions on the movement of certain material 
from counties in Florida where citrus greening is present. Even with 
these actions, citrus greening has continued to expand its range within 
the State of Florida and Asian citrus psyllid has been found throughout 
Florida and in other areas of the United States, creating a greater 
range than had been anticipated. In order to protect the

[[Page 62205]]

domestic citrus industry, including the individual farmers who comprise 
the base of that industry, APHIS must act quickly to expand the Federal 
    APHIS has completed an assessment of the environmental impacts 
anticipated from the implementation of a new Federal order for the 
domestic quarantine of citrus greening disease and Asian citrus 
psyllid. There is now scientific evidence showing that orange jasmine 
(Murraya paniculata) and related species are hosts of citrus greening 
as well as the Asian citrus psyllid. Previously, orange jasmine was 
regulated only as a host of the Asian citrus psyllid. The new Federal 
order will add Murraya spp. to the citrus greening host list. The main 
difference in the new Federal order is the expansion of the citrus 
greening quarantined area in Florida and the distinction made between 
citrus greening and Asian citrus psyllid quarantine areas.
    APHIS' review and analysis of the potential environmental impacts 
associated with the implementation of the new Federal order are 
documented in detail in an environmental assessment titled ``Movement 
of Regulated Articles from a Citrus Greening Quarantine Zone'' (October 
2007). We are making this environmental assessment available to the 
public for review and comment. We will consider all comments that we 
receive on or before the date listed under the heading DATES at the 
beginning of this notice.
    Due to the serious and destructive nature of citrus greening 
disease, it is necessary to expand the number of counties in Florida 
from which the movement of plants that are hosts of citrus greening is 
present in order to prevent the further spread and infestation. It is 
also necessary to expand the areas quarantined due to the presence of 
Asian citrus psyllid so that host plants can be treated and inspected 
before being moved interstate. Since citrus greening is a highly 
injurious citrus disease, and the Asian citrus psyllid is harmful both 
as the insect vector of the disease and as a significant citrus pest in 
its own right, APHIS has determined that it may be necessary to 
immediately address both the disease and the associated insect pest. 
This will be accomplished by the restriction of hosts of citrus 
greening from areas where the disease is present, and the regulation 
and treatment of plants that are hosts of the psyllid from those areas 
where the insect is present and may be spread through the movement of 
infested nursery stock. Therefore, APHIS may have to begin the expanded 
citrus greening regulatory program in Florida immediately and issue a 
finding of no significant impact for the environmental assessment 
before the comment period on the environmental assessment concludes. 
Nevertheless, all comments received on the environmental assessment 
will be evaluated and responded to after the comment period has ended.
    The environmental assessment may be viewed on the Regulations.gov 
Web site or in our reading room (see ADDRESSES above for instructions 
for accessing Regulations.gov and information on the location and hours 
of the reading room). You may request paper copies of the environmental 
assessment by calling or writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT. Please refer to the title of the environmental 
assessment when requesting copies.
    The environmental assessment has 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 

    Done in Washington, DC this 30th day of October 2007.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E7-21679 Filed 11-1-07; 8:45 am]