[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 208 (Friday, October 26, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 65321-65326]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-26504]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 14

[Docket No. FWS-HQ-LE-2012-0091; FF09L00200-FX.LE12240900000G2]
RIN 1018-AZ18


Importation, Exportation, and Transportation of Wildlife; User 
Fee Exemption Program for Low-Risk Importations and Exportations

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Interim rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Service is changing the inspection fees required for 
imports and exports of wildlife by certain licensed businesses. Our 
regulations set forth the fees that are required to be paid at the time 
of inspection of imports and exports of wildlife. In 2009, we 
implemented a new user fee system intended to recover the costs of the 
compliance portion of the wildlife inspection program. Since that time, 
we have been made aware that we may have placed an undue economic 
burden on businesses that exclusively trade in small volumes of low-
value, non-Federally protected wildlife parts and products. To address 
this issue, the Service is implementing a program that exempts certain 
businesses from the designated port base inspection fees as an interim 
measure while the Service reassesses its current user fee system.

DATES: This interim final rule is effective October 26, 2012. However, 
we will accept comments on this interim rule and the information 
collection requirements contained in this interim rule received or 
postmarked on or before December 26, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking portal at: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS-HQ-
LE-2012-0091.
     U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: Docket No. FWS-HQ-LE-2012-0091; Division of Policy and Directives 
Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, 
Mailstop 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We will not accept email or faxes. We will post all comments on 
http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any 
personal information that you provide to us (see the Public Comments 
section below for more information).
    Send comments on the information collection requirements contained 
in this interim rule to the Service Information Collection Clearance 
Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, MS 
2042-PDM, Arlington, VA 22203 (mail); or INFOCOL@fws.gov (email).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Garlick, Special Agent in 
Charge, Branch of Investigations, Office of Law Enforcement, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, telephone (703) 358-1949, fax (703) 358-1947.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Previous Federal Action

    On December 9, 2008, we published a final rule to clarify the 
import/export license and fee requirements, adjust the user fee 
schedule, and update license and user fee exemptions (73 FR 74615). 
This final rule became effective on January 8, 2009.

Background

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has oversight responsibilities 
under statutory and regulatory authority to regulate the importation, 
exportation, and transportation of wildlife. Consistent with this 
authority, we have established an inspection program to oversee the 
importation, exportation,

[[Page 65322]]

and transportation of wildlife and wildlife products. In support of our 
program activities, we promulgated regulations contained in title 50 of 
the Code of Federal Regulations in part 14 (50 CFR part 14) to provide 
individuals and businesses with guidelines and procedures to follow 
when importing or exporting wildlife, including parts and products. 
These regulations explain the requirements for individuals or 
businesses importing or exporting wildlife for commercial purposes, or 
for people moving their household goods, personal items, or pets, as 
well as the exemptions provided for specific activities or types of 
wildlife. The regulations at 50 CFR part 14 identify the specific ports 
and locations where these activities may be conducted and any fees that 
may be charged as a result of these activities.
    On December 9, 2008, the Service published a final rule (73 FR 
74615) implementing a new user fee system intended to recover the costs 
of the compliance portion of the wildlife inspection program. In 
developing the user fee system, the Service was guided by the 
Independent Offices Appropriations Act of 1952, codified at 31 U.S.C. 
9701 (``the User Fee Statute''), which mandates that services provided 
by Federal agencies are to be ``self-sustaining to the extent 
possible.'' We were also guided by the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) Circular No. A-25, Federal user fee policy, which establishes 
Federal policy regarding fees assessed for government services. It 
provides that user fees will be sufficient to recover the full cost to 
the Federal Government of providing the service, will be based on 
market prices, and will be collected in advance of, or simultaneously 
with, the rendering of services. The policy requires Federal agencies 
to recoup the costs of ``special services'' that provide benefits to 
identifiable recipients. The Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1540(f)) 
also authorizes the Service to charge and retain reasonable fees for 
processing applications and for performing reasonable inspections of 
importation, exportation, and transportation of wildlife. The benefit 
of user fees is the shift in the payment for services from taxpayers as 
a whole to those persons who are receiving the government services.
    The user fees currently apply primarily to commercial importers and 
exporters whose shipments of wildlife are declared to, and inspected 
and cleared by, Service wildlife inspectors, to ensure compliance with 
wildlife protection laws. These fees were not intended to fully fund 
the wildlife inspection program, which includes both a compliance 
monitoring function, involving services to the trade community, and a 
vital smuggling interdiction mission focused on detecting and 
disrupting illegal wildlife trade. The user fees appropriately focus 
only on recovering costs associated with services provided to importers 
and exporters engaged in legal wildlife trade. The inspection and 
clearance of wildlife imports and exports is a special service, 
provided to importers and exporters who are authorized to engage in 
activities not otherwise authorized for the general public. Our ability 
to effectively provide these inspection and clearance services and the 
necessary support for these services depends on inspection fees.
    In developing the user fee rule, we analyzed the actual total costs 
of providing services to the legal wildlife trade community during 
fiscal year 2005, as compared to the actual total money that we 
collected for activities authorized by the wildlife inspection program 
during fiscal year 2005. The total costs include wildlife inspector 
salaries and benefits, the appropriate portion of our managers' 
salaries and benefits, direct costs such as vehicle operation and 
maintenance, equipment purchase and replacement, data entry and 
computer support for the Service's electronic filing system, 
communications costs, office supplies, uniforms, and administrative 
costs and indirect costs such as office space. It was readily apparent 
that total inspection fees collected in 2005 fell well below the total 
costs associated with the wildlife trade compliance program during 
fiscal year 2005. The user fee system was developed to recover costs 
over a 5-year period that ended in 2012 with the understanding that the 
2012 fee schedule would continue to be used until the Service could 
complete a new economic assessment. Unforeseen administrative delays 
have resulted in postponement of this effort.
    However, since implementation of the new user fee system, we have 
been made aware that we might have placed an undue economic burden on 
businesses that exclusively trade in small volumes of low-value, non-
Federally protected wildlife parts and products. The continued 
expansion of the internet as a tool for commerce has made it not only 
possible, but imperative, in recent years for more and more 
businesses--especially small businesses--to sell directly to individual 
consumers. In the context of this business model, costs such as 
wildlife import/export inspection fees can be the tipping factor in the 
profitability and resulting viability of such business transactions. 
Global consumers increasingly expect to be able to order whatever they 
want whenever they want it from anywhere in the world, but some 
businesses dealing in small volumes of low-value wildlife products have 
been stymied in their ability to capitalize on, and compete in, these 
growing overseas markets.
    The Service conducted a review of import/export data in the Law 
Enforcement Management Information System (LEMIS) for shipments 
imported or exported between 2009 and 2011. Almost half of the more 
than 10,000 licensed businesses were exclusively importing or exporting 
wildlife that was not living, was not injurious, and did not require a 
permit or certificate under Federal wildlife laws. These businesses are 
required to pay the designated port base inspection fee, currently 
assessed at $93, for each import or export. Because of the nature of 
the wildlife, they do not pay the higher premium inspection fees for 
live or protected species.
    A further review of these nonliving, non-Federally protected 
wildlife shipments revealed that approximately 1,000 businesses 
exclusively imported or exported shipments the Service would consider 
to be small and of low value. The Service explored the value of 
shipments for which U.S. Customs and Border Protection currently allows 
informal declaration as part of the analysis of what could be 
considered a small shipment. The customs informal value is currently 
$2,000 except for most textile shipments, which must be valued at $250 
or less. Based upon the review of the 2009-2011 LEMIS data, the Service 
decided to use a quantity of 25 as the upper limit on quantity of 
wildlife parts and products when a shipment was valued at $5,000 or 
less. The 2009-2011 import/export data showed that shipment contents 
ranged in quantity from 1 to 25 wildlife items or specimens when the 
shipment had a total value of $5,000 or less. Our analysis showed that 
increasing the number of specimens per shipment drives per-shipment 
value beyond a threshold that could reasonably be considered ``low 
value.'' The designated port base inspection fee of $93 could be 
considered excessive compared to the value of shipments worth $5,000 or 
less.
    Service enforcement priorities establish that enforcement of 
Federal laws and regulations related to violations involving the import 
or export of non-Federal trust species of fish or wildlife is low 
priority. Because

[[Page 65323]]

our analysis indicates an undue economic burden may have been placed on 
businesses importing or exporting small volumes of low-value wildlife 
parts and products that are considered to be low risk for the Service, 
we have created a user fee exemption program as an interim measure 
while we work on a new economic analysis and determine any changes 
needed to the current user fee structure.
    With this rule, businesses that possess a valid Service import/
export license may request to participate in this fee exemption program 
through our electronic filing system (eDecs). Qualified licensees will 
need to create an eDecs filer account as an importer or exporter if 
they do not already have one and file their required documents 
electronically. In order to be an approved participating business in 
the program and receive an exemption from the designated port base 
inspection fee, the licensed business will need to certify that it will 
exclusively import or export nonliving wildlife that is not listed as 
injurious under 50 CFR part 16 and does not require a permit or 
certificate under 50 CFR parts 15 (Wild Bird Conservation Act), 17 
(Endangered Species Act), 18 (Marine Mammal Protection Act), 20 
(Migratory Bird Treaty Act), 21 (Migratory Bird Treaty Act), 22 (Bald 
and Golden Eagle Protection Act), or 23 (the Convention on 
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). The 
requesting business will also need to certify that it will exclusively 
import or export the above type of wildlife shipments where the 
quantity in each shipment of wildlife parts or products is 25 or fewer 
and the total value of each wildlife shipment is $5,000 or less.
    Any licensed business that has more than two wildlife shipments 
that were refused clearance in the 5 years prior to its request is not 
eligible for the program. In addition, any licensees that have been 
assessed a civil penalty, issued a Notice of Violation, or convicted of 
a misdemeanor or felony violation involving wildlife import or export 
will not be eligible to participate in the program. If an approved 
business fails to meet these criteria while participating in the 
program, the business will be removed from the program. While such a 
business would still be able to import or export wildlife, it would 
need to pay the applicable designated port base inspection fees for its 
shipments.

Need for an Interim Rule

    The current wildlife inspection fee schedule, which went into place 
at the beginning of 2009, was developed under the premise that all 
commercial entities engaged in wildlife trade should pay the actual 
costs of inspection services received. While implemented in January 
2009, these regulations had initially been developed over a multiyear 
period beginning in 2006. They were thus predicated upon economic 
conditions that were changing in dramatic ways as the rulemaking 
process came to fruition.
    Changing economic conditions have created a situation that may have 
unfairly disadvantaged smaller businesses without serving the interests 
of wildlife conservation. This situation was magnified with each year 
of the established fee schedule since 2009 as planned fee adjustments 
occurred in order to meet the goal of recovering the full costs of the 
wildlife inspection program from the businesses that engage in wildlife 
trade.
    Under that schedule, the minimum fee for the inspection of a 
``routine'' shipment that contains nonliving products made from species 
that move freely in trade (i.e., do not require a permit under Federal 
wildlife regulations and are not listed as injurious) now stands at 
$93. This cost must be paid regardless of the value or size of the 
shipment.
    Some importers and exporters shipping small shipments (shipments 
containing 1 to 25 items made from wildlife) have been able to absorb 
this cost without undue hardship by consolidating shipments, passing on 
costs to consumers, and making other adjustments in business practices. 
Other companies shipping small shipments have not readily been able to 
make such adjustments.
    These businesses have seen their per-shipment inspection fee 
increase steadily as a percentage of the value of the commodity being 
shipped. This escalation has taken place at a time when--because of the 
global economic downturn that followed on the heels of the 2008 U.S. 
financial crisis--businesses have not been able to make concomitant 
increases in retail prices paid by the consumer. In some cases, the 
inspection fee may even exceed the value of the product being shipped. 
With these inspection fees, some of these companies may no longer find 
it profitable to market their products overseas.
    The Service's inspection fee schedule may have resulted in 
inordinate and unsustainable inspection costs for imports and exports 
that have disproportionately undercut the ability of certain businesses 
to respond to growing pressure to deal directly with consumers via 
internet-based purchases and other small shipping practices and do so 
profitably.
    In adopting the 2008-2012 inspection fee schedule, the Service had 
assumed that it would be able to conduct routine reanalysis and 
adjustment of wildlife inspection fees so as to implement new fees 
reflective of economic realities that would be in place at the end of 
that 5-year period. Unforeseen administrative delays have resulted in 
the postponement of this effort and made it impossible for the Service 
to adjust for any unforeseen impact of its fee structure on certain 
U.S. businesses through the standard rulemaking procedure. Moreover, 
any impacts to businesses engaged primarily in low-volume shipments of 
wildlife have been magnified by the economic downturn. Under the 
Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 551-553), our normal practice is 
to publish regulations with a 30-day delay in effective date. But in 
this case, the Service is taking immediate action to address this 
possible fee inequity in advance of a planned reassessment of its 
wildlife inspection user fee schedule. We are using the ``good cause'' 
exemptions under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) and (d)(3) to issue this rule without 
first invoking the usual notice and public comment procedure and to 
make this rule effective upon publication.
    The ``good cause'' exemption is particularly relevant here because, 
as the Service begins the process for reexamining its fee structure, it 
needs to collect data regarding both the impact of changing the user 
fee structure on the business community and its ability to fully fund 
the wildlife inspection program. This interim rule will allow the 
Service to collect data with relatively low risk to the conservation 
goals of the Service and assist at least some businesses that may be 
currently experiencing an undue economic hardship. This interim rule 
does not add requirements on anyone; it merely relaxes fee requirements 
on as many as 1,000 licensees while more data are gathered. The Service 
is committed to finalizing this rule after careful consideration of 
both public comments and collection of additional data.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Including, for example, American Transfer & Storage Co. v. 
Interstate Commerce Com., 719 F.2d 1283, 1293-94 (5th Cir. 1983) 
(``* * * without interim rules before the final rules took effect, 
the Commission would have been deprived of useful knowledge and 
experience gained in observing how alternative procedures worked 
under the new MCA while considering other methods suggested by the 
public comments to the interim rules.); National Customs Brokers & 
Forwarders Ass'n of Am. v. United States, 18 C.I.T. 754, see 764 and 
765 (1994) (Customs' ``good cause'' exception argument pursuant to 
Sec.  553(b)(3)(B) is reasonable based on the context within which 
these regulations were promulgated. The ``good cause'' exception is 
fact or context-dependent. Mid-Tex Elec. Coop., Inc. v. Federal 
Energy Regulatory Comm'n, 822 F.2d 1123, 1132 (D.C. Cir. 1987). The 
interim status of the challenged regulations is a significant factor 
in the Court's conclusion.).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 65324]]

Public Comments

    You may submit your comments and materials concerning this interim 
rule by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. We request that you 
send comments only by the methods described in ADDRESSES. If you submit 
information via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire submission--
including any personal identifying information--will be posted on the 
Web site. If your submission is made via a hardcopy that includes 
personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your 
document that we withhold this information from public review. However, 
we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will post all 
hardcopy submissions on http://www.regulations.gov.
    Comments and materials we receive will be available for public 
inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by appointment, during 
normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of 
Law Enforcement (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget will 
review all significant rules. OIRA has determined that this rule is not 
significant.
    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while 
calling for improvements in the nation's regulatory system to promote 
predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most 
innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. 
The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches 
that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for 
the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and 
consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further 
that regulations must be based on the best available science and that 
the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open 
exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent 
with these requirements.

Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)

    Essentially all of the businesses that engage in commerce by 
importing or exporting wildlife or wildlife products would be 
considered small businesses according to the Small Business 
Administration. While this rule will have a beneficial economic effect 
on certain small businesses, we do not believe it will have a 
significant economic effect on a substantial number of small businesses 
as defined under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Our data indicate that 
approximately 1,000 of more than 10,000 licensed businesses could take 
advantage of the economic benefits provided by this fee exemption 
program. We do not believe that a Small Entity Compliance Guide is 
required because we have developed a user-friendly process of self-
certification to obtain the benefits of this program.
    Service enforcement priorities establish that enforcement of 
Federal laws and regulations related to violations involving the import 
or export of non-Federal trust species of fish or wildlife is low 
priority. Because an undue economic burden may have been placed on 
businesses importing or exporting small volumes of low-value wildlife 
parts and products that are considered to be low risk for the Service, 
we have created a fee exemption program for low-risk importations and 
exportations as an interim measure while we work on a new economic 
analysis and determine any changes needed to the current user fee 
structure.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 U.S.C. 804(2))

    This interim rule is not a major rule under the Small Business 
Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act as it will not have an annual 
effect on the economy of $100 million or more. Moreover, this rule will 
not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual 
industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic 
regions; in fact, it will decrease costs to certain businesses. This 
interim rule will reduce costs by creating a user fee exemption program 
for low-risk importations and exportations as an interim measure while 
we work on a new economic analysis and determine any changes needed to 
the current user fee structure.
    Finally, this rule will not have significant negative effects on 
competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the 
ability of U.S.-based companies to compete with foreign-based 
companies: It will have the opposite effect. The continued expansion of 
the internet as a tool for commerce has made it not only possible, but 
imperative, in recent years for more and more businesses--especially 
small businesses--to sell directly to individual consumers. In the 
context of this business model, costs such as wildlife import/export 
inspection fees can be a tipping factor in the profitability and 
resulting viability of such business transactions. Global consumers 
increasingly expect to be able to order whatever they want whenever 
they want it from anywhere in the world, but some businesses dealing in 
wildlife products have been stymied in their ability to capitalize on, 
and compete in, these growing overseas markets.
    With this interim rule, businesses that possess a valid Service 
import/export license may request to participate in a fee exemption 
program through our electronic filing system, thereby stimulating 
competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, and the 
ability for U.S.-based companies to compete with foreign-based 
companies.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.)

    Under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act:
    a. This interim rule will not significantly or uniquely affect 
small governments. A Small Government Agency Plan is not required. We 
are the lead Federal agency for implementing regulations that govern 
and monitor the importation and exportation of wildlife. Therefore, 
this interim rule has no effect on small governments' responsibilities.
    b. This interim rule will not produce a Federal requirement that 
may result in the combined expenditure by State, local, or tribal 
governments of $100 million or greater in any year, so it is not a 
``significant regulatory action'' under the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act. This interim rule will not result in any combined expenditure by 
State, local, or tribal governments. The inspection program for 
imported and exported wildlife products is solely a Federal 
responsibility.

Executive Order 12630 (Takings)

    Under Executive Order 12630, this interim rule does not have 
significant takings implications. A takings implication evaluation is 
not required. Under Executive Order 12630, this interim rule does not 
affect any constitutionally protected property rights. This interim 
rule will not result in the physical occupancy of property,

[[Page 65325]]

the physical invasion of property, or the regulatory taking of any 
property.

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    Under Executive Order 13132, this interim rule does not have 
significant Federalism effects. A Federalism impact summary statement 
is not required. This interim rule will not have a substantial direct 
effect on the States, on the relationship between the Federal 
Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various levels of government. The inspection 
program for imported and exported wildlife products is solely a Federal 
responsibility.

Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    Under Executive Order 12988, the Office of the Solicitor has 
determined that this interim rule does not overly burden the judicial 
system and meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the 
Order. Specifically, this interim rule has been reviewed to eliminate 
errors and ensure clarity, has been written to minimize disagreements, 
provides a clear legal standard for affected actions, and specifies in 
clear language the effect on existing Federal law or regulation.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

    We may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to respond 
to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB 
control number. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved 
the information collection requirements regarding the submission of FWS 
Form 3-177 electronically through our eDecs system, and assigned OMB 
Control Number 1018-0012, which expires on March 31, 2013. On October 
3, 2012, we published in the Federal Register (77 FR 60454) a notice of 
our intent to request that OMB renew approval for that information 
collection. In that notice, we solicited comments for 60 days, ending 
on December 3, 2012.
    This interim rule contains a new collection of information that we 
submitted to OMB for emergency review and approval under Sec. 3507(d) 
of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). Because our analysis indicates an 
undue economic burden may have been placed on businesses importing or 
exporting small volumes of low-value wildlife parts and products that 
are considered to be low risk for the Service, we have created a user 
fee exemption program as an interim measure while we work on a new 
economic analysis and determine any changes needed to the current user 
fee structure.
    With this interim rule, businesses that possess a valid Service 
import/export license may request to participate in this fee exemption 
program through our electronic filing system (eDecs). Qualified 
licensees will need to create an eDecs filer account as an importer or 
exporter if they do not already have one and file their required 
documents electronically. To be an approved participating business in 
the program and receive an exemption from the designated port base 
inspection fee, the licensed business will need to certify that it will 
exclusively import or export nonliving wildlife that is not listed as 
injurious under 50 CFR part 16 and does not require a permit or 
certificate under 50 CFR parts 15 (Wild Bird Conservation Act), 17 
(Endangered Species Act), 18 (Marine Mammal Protection Act), 20 
(Migratory Bird Treaty Act), 21 (Migratory Bird Treaty Act), 22 (Bald 
and Golden Eagle Protection Act), or 23 (the Convention on 
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). The 
requesting business will also need to certify that it will exclusively 
import or export the above type of wildlife shipments where the 
quantity in each shipment of wildlife parts or products is 25 or fewer 
and the total value of each wildlife shipment is $5,000 or less. Any 
licensed business that has more than two wildlife shipments that were 
refused clearance in the 5 years prior to its request is not eligible 
for the program. In addition, any licensees that have been assessed a 
civil penalty, issued a Notice of Violation, or convicted of a 
misdemeanor or felony violation involving wildlife import or export 
will not be eligible to participate in the program.
    We requested that OMB assign a new number for the fee exemption 
program. OMB approved our request for emergency approval and assigned 
OMB Control No. 1018-0152, which expires April 30, 2013.
    OMB Control No.: 1018-0152.
    Title: User Fee Exemption Program for Low-Risk Importations and 
Exportations, 50 CFR 14.94(k)(4).
    Service Form Number: None.
    Description of Respondents: Businesses that exclusively trade in 
small volumes of low-value, non-Federally protected wildlife parts and 
products.
    Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain a benefit.
    Frequency of Collection: On occasion.
    Total Annual Number of Responses: 1,000.
    Completion Time per Response: 1 minute.
    Total Annual Burden Hours: 17 hours.
    We will incorporate the burden associated with the fee exemption 
program into our renewal of OMB Control No. 1018-0012. When OMB 
approves our renewal, we will discontinue the new OMB control number.
    As part of our continuing efforts to reduce paperwork and 
respondent burdens, we invite the public and other Federal agencies to 
comment on any aspect of the reporting burden associated with the user 
fee exemption program. We specifically invite comments concerning:
     Whether or not the collection of information is necessary 
for the proper performance of our management functions involving CITES, 
including whether or not the information will have practical utility;
     The accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this 
collection of information;
     Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and
     Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of 
information on respondents.
    If you wish to comment on the information collection requirements 
of this interim rule, send your comments to the Service Information 
Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 
North Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM, Arlington, VA 22203 (mail); or 
INFOCOL@fws.gov (email).

National Environmental Policy Act

    This interim rule has been analyzed under the criteria of the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This interim rule does not 
amount to a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of 
the human environment. An environmental impact statement/evaluation is 
not required. This interim rule is categorically excluded from further 
NEPA requirements under part 516 of the Departmental Manual, Chapter 2, 
Appendix 1.10. This categorical exclusion addresses policies, 
directives, regulations, and guidelines that are of an administrative, 
financial, legal, technical, or procedural nature and whose 
environmental effects are too broad, speculative, or conjectural to 
lend themselves to meaningful analysis under NEPA.

[[Page 65326]]

Executive Order 13175 (Tribal Consultation) and 512 DM 2 (Government-
to-Government Relationship With Tribes)

    Under the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, ``Government-
to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments'' (59 
FR 22951), Executive Order 13175, and 512 DM 2, we have evaluated 
possible effects on federally recognized Indian tribes and have 
determined that there are no adverse effects. Individual tribal members 
must meet the same regulatory requirements as other individuals who 
import or export wildlife.

Executive Order 13211 (Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use)

    Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of 
Energy Effects when undertaking actions that significantly affect 
energy supply, distribution, and use. This interim rule will create a 
user fee exemption program for certain low-risk importations and 
exportations as an interim measure while we work on a new economic 
analysis and determine any changes needed to the current user fee 
structure. This interim rule is not a significant regulatory action 
under Executive Order 12866, and it is not expected to significantly 
affect energy supplies, distribution, and use. Therefore, this action 
is a not a significant energy action and no Statement of Energy Effects 
is required.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 14

    Animal welfare, Exports, Fish, Imports, Labeling, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation, Wildlife.

Regulation Promulgation

    For the reasons described above, we amend part 14, subchapter B of 
chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations as set forth 
below.

PART 14--IMPORTATION, EXPORTATION, AND TRANSPORTATION OF WILDLIFE

0
1. The authority citation for part 14 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 668, 704, 712, 1382, 1538(d)-(f), 1540(f), 
3371-3378, 4223-4244, and 4901-4916; 18 U.S.C. 42; 31 U.S.C. 9701.

0
2. Amend Sec.  14.94 by adding paragraph (k)(4) to read as follows:


Sec.  14.94  What fees apply to me?

* * * * *
    (k) * * *
    (4) Fee exemption program for low-risk importations and 
exportations--(i) Program criteria. Businesses that require an import/
export license under Sec.  14.93 may be exempt from the designated port 
base inspection fee as set forth in this paragraph (k)(4)(i). To 
participate in this program, you, the U.S. importer or exporter, must 
continue to pay the overtime fees, the nondesignated port base fees, or 
the import/export license and nondesignated port application fees, and 
your business must meet all of the following conditions:
    (A) Each shipment does not contain live wildlife.
    (B) Each shipment does not contain wildlife that requires a permit 
or certificate under parts 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, or 23 of this 
chapter or is listed under part 16 of this chapter.
    (C) Each shipment contains 25 or fewer wildlife parts and products 
containing wildlife.
    (D) Each wildlife shipment is valued at $5,000 or less.
    (E) Your business has not been assessed a civil penalty, issued a 
violation notice, or convicted of any misdemeanor or felony violations 
involving the import or export of wildlife.
    (F) Your business has had two or fewer wildlife shipments that were 
refused clearance in the 5 years prior to the receipt of your request 
by the Service.
    (G) Your business has not previously participated in the program 
and been removed for failure to meet the criteria.
    (ii) Program participation. To participate in the fee exemption 
program for low-risk importations and exportations, you must use the 
Service's electronic declaration filing system (eDecs) and take the 
following actions:
    (A) You must certify that you will exclusively import and export 
wildlife shipments that meet all the criteria in paragraph (k)(4)(i) of 
this section and renew this certification annually. Upon completion of 
the certification and review of the criteria by the Service, eDecs will 
notify you if you have been approved to participate in the program.
    (B) You must continue to meet the criteria in paragraph (k)(4)(i) 
of this section while participating in the program. If you fail to meet 
the criteria after approval, you will be removed from the program and 
must pay all applicable fees.
    (C) If approved to participate in the program you must file FWS 
Form 3-177 and all required accompanying documents electronically using 
eDecs for each shipment and meet all other requirements of this part.

    Dated: October 23, 2012.
Rachel Jacobson,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2012-26504 Filed 10-25-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P