[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 116 (Monday, June 19, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 27786-27792]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-12646]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2012-0076]


Plants for Planting Whose Importation Is Not Authorized Pending 
Pest Risk Analysis; Notice of Addition of Taxa of Plants for Planting 
to List of Taxa Whose Importation Is Not Authorized Pending Pest Risk 
Analysis

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: We are advising the public that we are adding 22 taxa of 
plants for planting that are quarantine pests and 34 taxa of plants for 
planting that are hosts of 8 quarantine pests to our lists of taxa of 
plants for planting whose importation is not authorized pending pest 
risk analysis. A previous notice made datasheets that detailed the 
scientific evidence we evaluated in making the determination that the 
taxa are quarantine pests or hosts of quarantine pests available to the 
public for review and comment. This notice responds to the comments we 
received and makes available final versions of the datasheets, with 
changes in response to comments.

DATES: Effective June 19, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Indira Singh, Botanist, Plants for 
Planting Policy, IRM, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, 
MD 20737-1236; (301) 851-2020 or Ms. Lydia Colon, Senior Regulatory 
Specialist, Plants for Planting Policy, IRM, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River 
Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 851-2302.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Under the regulations in ``Subpart--Plants for Planting'' (7 CFR 
319.37 through 319.37-14, referred to below as the regulations), the 
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits or restricts the importation 
of plants for planting (including living plants, plant parts, seeds, 
and plant cuttings) to prevent the introduction of quarantine pests 
into the United States. Quarantine pest is defined in Sec.  319.37-1 as 
a plant pest or noxious weed that is of potential economic importance 
to the United States and not yet present in the United States, or 
present but not widely distributed and being officially controlled.

[[Page 27787]]

    The regulations in Sec.  319.37-2a provide for the listing of 
plants for planting whose importation is not authorized pending pest 
risk analysis (NAPPRA) in order to prevent the introduction of 
quarantine pests into the United States. Those regulations establish 
two lists of taxa whose importation is NAPPRA: A list of taxa of plants 
for planting that are quarantine pests, and a list of taxa of plants 
for planting that are hosts of quarantine pests. For taxa of plants for 
planting that have been determined to be quarantine pests, the list 
includes the names of the taxa, which will be NAPPRA from all countries 
and regions. For taxa of plants for planting that are hosts of 
quarantine pests, the list includes the names of the taxa, the foreign 
places from which the taxa's importation is not authorized, and the 
quarantine pests of concern.
    Paragraph (b) of Sec.  319.37-2a describes the process for adding 
taxa to the NAPPRA lists. In accordance with that process, we published 
a notice \1\ in the Federal Register on May 6, 2013 (78 FR 26316-26317, 
Docket No. APHIS-2012-0076) that announced our determination that 22 
taxa of plants for planting are quarantine pests and 37 taxa of plants 
for planting are hosts of 9 quarantine pests. That notice also made 
available datasheets that detail the scientific evidence we evaluated 
in making the determination that the taxa are quarantine pests or hosts 
of a quarantine pest.
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    \1\ To view the notice, the datasheets, and the comments we 
received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-
2012-0076.
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    We solicited comments concerning the notice and the datasheets for 
60 days ending July 5, 2013. We reopened and extended the deadline for 
comments until August 12, 2013, in a document published in the Federal 
Register on July 12, 2013 (78 FR 41908). We received 26 comments by 
that date. They were from producers, importers, industry groups, 
representatives of State and foreign governments, and private citizens. 
They are discussed below by topic.

General Comments

Sound Science
    One commenter expressed concern regarding the quality of scientific 
literature used to justify the listing of taxa to the NAPPRA category, 
citing a perceived lack of original evidence and data. The commenter 
further stated that the Center for Plant Health Science Technology 
(CPHST) of APHIS' Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program must be 
involved in literature reviews and the process to remove taxa from the 
NAPPRA list.
    The literature searches used to develop the NAPPRA datasheets are 
designed to determine whether the pest of concern qualifies as a 
quarantine pest, that damage to U.S. agriculture and/or the environment 
is likely from introduction of the quarantine pest, and that the hosts 
of the listed quarantine pest are natural hosts and not artificially or 
laboratory induced. The types of references used were defined in the 
original NAPPRA rule, and included such review articles as those 
produced by the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection 
Organization and the Weed Science Society of America, both well-
respected pest description and management organizations. Review 
articles provide stakeholders with information to determine the damage 
potential of the pest, nomenclature, and its quarantine status. These 
reviews provide references to scientific articles used to justify a 
taxon's inclusion on the NAPPRA list. All datasheets for NAPPRA listing 
are reviewed by qualified PPQ staff, including CPHST staff. CPHST staff 
have also been involved in the review of NAPPRA datasheets and will be 
involved in the event of removal of plant taxa from the NAPPRA 
category. Within CPHST, the science and technology division is 
responsible for conducting pest risk assessments (PRA). The purpose of 
the PRA is to determine the risk of quarantine pests following the 
pathway and to develop appropriate phytosanitary measures that reduce 
the pest risk to an acceptable level.
Harmonization With Canada
    Several commenters stated that the United States should seek 
greater harmonization with Canada in terms of regulated taxa and 
countries of origin for regulated taxa. One commenter stated this is 
especially important due to the possibility of transshipment when a 
taxon is prohibited from all places except Canada.
    To the greatest extent possible, we are working towards harmonizing 
our NAPPRA listings with those of Canada. For example, APHIS exempts 
particular plant taxa from Canada from NAPPRA if Canada is free of the 
quarantine pest for which the plants are hosts and when Canada's import 
regulations are harmonized with those of the United States or when 
Canada has significant trade history with the United States in a 
particular taxa. However, some differences will probably always exist 
due to differences in national priorities and acceptable levels of 
protection with respect to certain pests. While transshipment remains a 
concern when an exporter is not truthful about the origin of the plant 
material being moved, third country plants that have entered Canada 
that are on the NAPPRA list of the United States are prohibited from 
ever being exported to the United States and vice versa. APHIS relies 
on the national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Canada as well 
as other NPPOs to prevent unauthorized transshipments just as we rely 
on exporters to truthfully state the origin of shipments.
    One commenter stated that, for many of the taxa listed in the May 
2013 notice, the taxa originate in the United States and are grown in 
Canada. Therefore, the commenter stated that these plants should be 
eligible for re-export to the United States without the burden of a 
required PRA.
    While taxa may have been exported only from the United States, 
there is the possibility that they may have been exposed to pests of 
concern by being commingled with other taxa of either Canadian origin 
or third country origin that have NAPPRA status for the United States. 
Therefore, we believe a PRA is necessary for such taxa before being re-
exported to the United States.
Federal Orders
    One commenter stated that a Federal order should not be used to 
list taxa on the NAPPRA list without first conducting a formal PRA.
    When we find evidence that the importation of a taxon of plants for 
planting that is currently being imported poses a risk of introducing a 
quarantine pest, we restrict or prohibit its importation through the 
issuance of a Federal import quarantine order, also referred to as a 
Federal order. The information and restrictions in the Federal order 
for plants for planting are based on a technical evaluation document 
that contains the same information found in the NAPPRA datasheet. The 
Federal order is used to rapidly take action to prevent the 
introduction of a quarantine pest, and is generally followed by notice 
and an opportunity for public comment. If comments present information 
that leads us to determine that the importation of the taxon does not 
pose a risk of introducing a quarantine pest into the United States, 
APHIS will rescind the Federal order and not add the taxon to the 
NAPPRA list.
Significant Trade
    Certain taxa that are hosts of quarantine pests are exempt from 
NAPPRA listing when there is ``significant trade'' between the

[[Page 27788]]

exporting country and the United States. We defined significant trade 
as the importation of 10 or more plants of a taxon in each of the 
previous 3 fiscal years. However, one commenter suggested that, due to 
ebbs and flows in importation, significant trade should instead be 
defined as the importation of 10 or more plants for 3 of the last 5 or 
10 years. The commenter also suggested that plant taxa imported under a 
current Departmental permit or a controlled import permit (CIP) be 
either exempt from NAPPRA listing or count toward the 10 or more 
threshold for determining significant trade.
    We are open to reconsidering how we define significant trade. 
However, if we were to consider the commenter's suggestion for 
redefining significant trade as the importation of 10 or more plants 
for 3 out of 5 years, we would most likely also consider raising the 
base number of plants from 10 to a higher level to differentiate trade 
from random imports. Imports under a Departmental permit or CIP are not 
counted toward the 10 or more threshold for determining significant 
trade because these imports are generally prohibited taxa and are not 
available for general import. While these imports are likely to 
continue, they must adhere to additional conditions or mitigations to 
reduce pest risk.
    One commenter stated that banning plants from a country with no 
scientific evidence that it harbors the quarantine pest of concern does 
not satisfy the APHIS requirement of ``necessity'' and that the 
datasheets used to place a taxon on the NAPPRA list must provide 
scientific evidence that the excluded countries are likely to harbor 
the pest. Several commenters stated that certain taxa from specific 
countries should be exempted from NAPPRA listing because the pest of 
concern is not present in that country and/or the host plant has not 
been a source of pest introductions. Some commenters requested that, if 
exemption could not be accomplished, a more thorough review of the 
literature used to justify listing the taxa be undertaken.
    Our policy in implementing the NAPPRA category is to prevent the 
importation of hosts from any country, regardless of current pest 
status, with the following exceptions: (1) Taxa of hosts of quarantine 
pests whose importation we proposed to allow to continue under a 
Federal order; (2) hosts of quarantine pests currently being imported 
from a country in which the pest is not present; and (3) taxa from 
countries with significant trade in those taxa with the United States. 
If a country has significant trade in a taxon that is a host of a 
quarantine pest, we undertake measures other than addition to the 
NAPPRA category to address the risk associated with that taxon when 
such measures are available. In general, it is appropriate to add hosts 
of quarantine pests from all countries to the NAPPRA category because 
pests can spread quickly from country to country through the movement 
of plants for planting, and the importation of plants for planting is a 
high-risk pathway for the introduction of quarantine pests. For taxa 
that have not previously been imported, we are following International 
Plant Protection Convention guidelines by requiring a PRA prior to the 
importation of a plant taxon from a new country or region. As mentioned 
previously, the datasheets used to justify adding a taxon to the NAPPRA 
category already include a literature review that establishes the 
scientific evidence that the taxon is either a quarantine pest or a 
host of a quarantine pest. The datasheets also take into account 
available import history as evidence of significant trade in the taxon 
between the exporting country and the United States in order to make 
NAPPRA policy decisions. A country may submit copies of issued 
phytosanitary certificates as evidence of significant import history to 
demonstrate that a pest of concern is not present in that country and/
or a taxon has not been a source of pest introductions.
    Several commenters asked that certain taxa from specific countries 
be exempted from NAPPRA listing due to significant trade in those taxa 
between the exporting country and the United States or because the taxa 
are currently being imported under a Departmental permit or CIP.
    If sufficient data can be provided for APHIS to verify that 
significant trade exists, we will consider amending the datasheet and 
publishing a Federal Register notice indicating the host plant may be 
imported from a particular country without being subject to a PRA. For 
example, based on additional information presented after the 
publication of the NAPPRA final notice published on April 18, 2013, we 
have determined that the import history for Hibiscus spp. from Denmark 
meets the threshold for significant trade. Based on comments received 
on the May 2013 notice, we have determined that Annona, Camellia, 
Cercidiphyllum, and Pennisetum spp. from Canada also meet the threshold 
for significant trade. Therefore, we are exempting Hibiscus spp. from 
Denmark and Annona, Camellia, Cercidiphyllum, and Pennisetum spp. from 
Canada from NAPPRA listing. The importation of taxa under a 
Departmental permit or CIP is not considered to be trade because the 
taxa are not subject to the same restrictions as commercial shipments 
of taxa.
    One commenter stated that many of the listed taxa are produced 
under controlled conditions, including clean stock programs and 
rigorous phytosanitary conditions, and that it is in the interest of 
the producer/distributor to ensure that plants and seed are free of 
pests and diseases prior to export. Two commenters asked if there could 
be some way to continue shipments of host taxa with the added assurance 
of a survey or testing regime to determine freedom from specific 
quarantine pests.
    If an exporting country does not have enough of an import history 
with the United States to qualify for the significant trade exemption, 
they can request that a PRA be conducted that would identify possible 
pest and disease mitigations. Such mitigations may include clean stock 
programs or a rigorous surveillance regime.
Removal of Taxa
    One commenter stated that data collection must be improved and that 
if a taxon is placed on the NAPPRA list as a result of faulty data, the 
error must be quickly and transparently corrected to prevent disruption 
to trade. The commenter further stated that a plant taxon must be 
removed from the NAPPRA category if a mitigation is presented that 
addresses the quarantine pest that justified the taxon's inclusion on 
the NAPPRA list. The commenter also asked for clarification on the 
process by which stakeholders may contact APHIS to remove a taxon 
erroneously added to the NAPPRA list.
    The identification of trade that was not recorded in our import 
databases is one of the purposes of publishing proposed NAPPRA 
candidates in the Federal Register for public comment. This information 
is utilized to make adjustments to host/country combinations placed on 
NAPPRA. If a taxon has been determined to have been added to the NAPPRA 
list erroneously, stakeholders may submit evidence in support of that 
conclusion during the NAPPRA notice's comment period. They may also 
submit that information to the program contact(s) listed in the Federal 
Register notice. As stated previously, a PRA may be conducted to 
identify possible pest and disease mitigations for a taxon that has 
been determined to be the host of a quarantine pest. Under these

[[Page 27789]]

mitigations, a taxon may be imported into the United States.
Precautionary Principle
    One commenter stated that APHIS should avoid the ``precautionary 
principle,'' which the commenter described as prohibiting the broad 
importation of taxa until proof of no or low risk is determined. The 
commenter cites the prohibition of all species of a plant genus when 
only a subset or a single species of that genus has been found to be 
associated with a pathogen.
    When a plant is added to the NAPPRA list, a datasheet is prepared 
containing scientific evidence that the plant is a host of a plant pest 
or pathogen of quarantine significance, or that the plant itself is a 
pest of quarantine significance. It has been APHIS' policy to regulate 
hosts of quarantine pests at the genus level for decades. When a new 
species is identified as a host, additional scientific studies will 
often identify other host species within that genus. Therefore, 
regulating all species within the genus is the preferred course of 
action until a PRA is conducted. As noted previously, we are not 
prohibiting the importation of taxa on the NAPPRA list indefinitely. 
NAPPRA listing only requires that a PRA be conducted to remove host 
plants from NAPPRA listing and to ensure that all quarantine pests that 
may follow that pathway are appropriately mitigated prior to 
importation.
Partnership With Industry
    One commenter stated that APHIS must include industry in the NAPPRA 
process in order for the process to be successful. However, the 
commenter also stated that industry does not have the capacity to 
review the literature sources used to justify a taxon's inclusion on 
the NAPPRA list and should not be required to do so. One commenter 
stated that they would like the opportunity to work on joint pest risk 
assessments with APHIS to increase the ability to respond to pest 
threats.
    APHIS has always welcomed industry cooperation in its programs and 
would especially welcome the expertise, knowledge, and overseas 
experience of industry members in identifying quarantine pests, their 
distribution, natural hosts, and potential mitigations that would allow 
for the continued importation of hosts from established trading 
partners. APHIS does not require stakeholders to review literature 
sources. However, if contradictory scientific information is known but 
not considered in the data sheet, then this information should be 
presented as a public comment. If a stakeholder does not have access to 
the sources cited in the literature review, copies can be made 
available upon request. We release draft PRAs on the APHIS Web site for 
stakeholder consultation prior to their publication.
Timeline of PRAs
    Two commenters expressed concern about the amount of time it takes 
to complete a PRA, stating that this results in taxa being prohibited 
unnecessarily and that APHIS should look for better and faster ways of 
conducting PRAs. One commenter stated that requiring a PRA is likely to 
be expensive to the exporting industry as well as causing a significant 
time delay.
    We strive to complete all PRAs in a timely manner. However, the 
length of time it takes to complete a PRA is dependent on several 
factors, some of which are not in APHIS' control:
     The availability of data on the taxon;
     The timeliness with which the foreign NPPO responds to our 
requests for information; and
     The prioritization of APHIS' limited resources available 
for developing PRAs.
    If a foreign country wishes to be able to conduct trade in a taxon 
with the United States, we would expect that its NPPO would provide 
information to APHIS in a timely manner, thus helping to reduce the 
time necessary to complete the PRA and any expenses resulting from a 
delay. Industry could help foreign NPPOs by working with them to 
assemble and provide the necessary information. We do not anticipate 
that requiring a PRA would result in significant expense to the 
exporting industry, as we do not require the importer to pay money to 
complete a PRA. In addition, importers that have established a history 
of significant trade in a taxon will be able to continue importing that 
taxon without interruption.
Plants for Planting Regulations Overhaul
    One commenter asked why we took public comment on the taxa listed 
in the May 2013 notice because these taxa will be included in a future 
comprehensive revision to the plants for planting regulations 
(Sec. Sec.  319.37 through 319.37-14) where public comment will also be 
solicited.
    The revision to the plants for planting regulations is merely a 
restructuring of the current regulations by moving specific 
restrictions on the importation of taxa to the Plants for Planting 
Manual. It also adds a framework for integrated pest management 
measures. However, that revision does not change any specific 
restrictions on the movement of taxa on the NAPPRA list. Therefore, it 
is more appropriate to address public comments regarding the May 2013 
NAPPRA notice in this document.
Potential Economic Effects
    Several commenters expressed concern that the addition of taxa to 
the NAPPRA lists could have a negative impact on the U.S. industry by 
making it difficult to access new plant varieties.
    The fundamental underlying principle of NAPPRA is to safeguard U.S. 
agriculture with the least possible effect on trade. While there is the 
possibility that the addition of taxa to the NAPPRA lists may make it 
more difficult to access new plant varieties, the negative impact that 
it could have on U.S. industry is outweighed by the devastating effect 
the introduction of quarantine pests into the United States could have 
on U.S. agriculture. Taxa added to the NAPPRA list are only prohibited 
entry to the United States if they are determined to be quarantine 
pests or until a PRA is conducted that has identified appropriate 
mitigation measures to prevent the introduction of quarantine pests for 
which they are hosts. In addition, an importer may apply for a CIP to 
import small quantities of a prohibited or restricted taxon for 
developmental purposes.

Specific Comments

    We made available datasheets detailing the scientific evidence we 
considered in making the determination that 22 taxa of plants for 
planting are quarantine pests and 37 are hosts of 9 quarantine pests. 
The comments are discussed below by taxon.
    Abies, Larix, Picea, and Pinus. One commenter asked why the 
importation of Abies, Larix, Picea, and Pinus is restricted only for 
those plants imported from Europe and Japan when these genera, which 
are hosts of Dendroctonus micans, are being imported from other 
countries where D. micans is known to occur.
    While the commenter is correct that Abies, Larix, Picea, and Pinus 
spp. were not included on the NAPPRA list in the May 2013 notice, this 
is because those genera were already prohibited entry in either the 
April 2013 NAPPRA notice or in previous rulemaking. The regulations 
currently prohibit the importation of Abies spp. from all countries 
except Canada, while Larix, Picea, and Pinus spp. were added to the 
NAPPRA list in the April 2013 NAPPRA notice. Therefore, it was not 
necessary to relist

[[Page 27790]]

Abies, Larix, Picea, and Pinus spp. in the May 2013 NAPPRA notice.
    Callistephus. One commenter stated that chrysanthemum stem necrosis 
virus (CSNV) is not likely to enter the United States from Canada on 
Callistephus plants because Canada is free of the pathogen; imports of 
Callistephus plants to Canada are only from the United States, which is 
free of the pathogen; and propagation is via seed, which is not known 
to carry the pathogen.
    In the May 2013 NAPPRA notice, we added Callistephus, 
Chrysanthemum, and Eustoma spp. to the NAPPRA list because they have 
been proven to be hosts for CSNV. Due to additional information 
received since publication of the previous notice, we have decided to 
remove all three genera from the NAPPRA list while we conduct a 
commodity import evaluation document (CIED) for Chrysanthemum. We will 
address CSNV in that CIED and release the results of the analysis when 
it is complete.
    Camellia. One commenter stated that the pest datasheets supporting 
the listing of Camellia under NAPPRA are problematic because they base 
that rationale on one paper and a British PRA, both of which do not 
provide adequate scientific justification that Camellia is a host of 
Phytophthora kernoviae.
    The paper referred to by the commenter was written by Dr. Clive 
Brasier, a well-known and respected authority on the genus Phytophthora 
who also discovered and named the new taxon P. kernoviae. Based on this 
expertise, we consider this reference scientifically adequate. The 
datasheet does not cite the PRA mentioned by the commenter as a 
reference documenting Camellia as a host for P. kernoviae. Camellia is 
already listed as NAPPRA from all countries, except Canada, for citrus 
longhorned beetle (Anoplophora chinensis, CLB) and is also regulated 
for P. ramorum. Therefore, removing Camellia from the NAPPRA list as a 
host of P. kernoviae would not remove this taxon from the NAPPRA list.
    Cercidiphyllum. One commenter asked why importations of 
Cercidiphyllum from the Netherlands are not listed as NAPPRA. The 
commenter stated that Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora 
glabripennis, ALB) has been discovered there and that plants from the 
Netherlands are high risk due to that country's practices of importing 
large plants in soil and consolidating plants.
    Based upon significant import history, Cercidiphyllum from the 
Netherlands is excluded from the NAPPRA list. However, a Federal order 
published on May 9, 2013, and effective on May 20, 2013 (DA-2013-18) 
established mitigations for countries, including the Netherlands, where 
ALB and CLB are present. Cercidiphyllum from the Netherlands is 
enterable into the United States only under the conditions of the CLB/
ALB Federal order.
    Chrysanthemum. Several commenters objected to the temporary hold on 
importations of Chrysanthemum plants for planting from all countries 
except Canada. In particular, the commenters objected to the hold on 
importations of Chrysanthemum from the Netherlands due to the presence 
in that country of CSNV. One commenter stated that a hold on imports of 
Chrysanthemum should not be applied to countries where the distribution 
of CSNV is unknown. Two commenters stated that the screening and 
certification process for CSNV in the Netherlands is sufficient to 
detect the pathogen and that CSNV has either not been found within 
mother plants from production areas within the country or that CSNV is 
not present within the European Union, of which the Netherlands is a 
part. Therefore, the commenters state that the risk of introducing CSNV 
to the United States via Chrysanthemum breeding stock from the 
Netherlands is minimal and that Chrysanthemum growers within the United 
States will be harmed by not having access to new cultivars. One 
commenter stated that free trade and competition will be harmed, 
leading to a monopoly that will eventually harm the flower industry.
    We agree with many of the commenters on the need to look at the 
Chrysanthemum regulations in general. As stated previously, we are 
therefore removing Chrysanthemum from the NAPPRA list and conducting a 
CIED for Chrysanthemum. CSNV disease will be addressed in that 
evaluation. We will release the results of that analysis when it is 
completed.
    On August 3, 2012, APHIS published an advanced notice of proposed 
rulemaking \2\ in the Federal Register to solicit public comment on 
whether and how we should amend our process for responding to domestic 
chrysanthemum white rust (CWR) outbreaks and the importation of plant 
material that is a host of CWR. One commenter stated that we should let 
this process continue before taking further regulatory action. The 
commenter also stated that, if this is not possible, the NAPPRA 
provisions should only be applied to chrysanthemum imports from Brazil, 
Iran, and Japan for the immediate future. The commenter further stated 
that excluding cut flowers from the NAPPRA restrictions is not based on 
sound science because cut flowers can also be hosts for CSNV.
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    \2\ http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0001.
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    The CIED we are conducting for chrysanthemum will also address CWR.
    One commenter asked that the genus Chrysanthemum be included on the 
NAPPRA list and a PRA conducted to assess the risk of introducing CSNV 
on chrysanthemum cuttings.
    As mentioned above, we are removing Chrysanthemum from the NAPPRA 
list while we conduct a CIED. The CIED will address CSNV.
    One commenter asked that APHIS provide advance notice to industry 
when new regulations are approved in order to minimize trade 
disruptions for chrysanthemum growers.
    Any changes to our regulations regarding Chrysanthemum as a result 
of the CIED will be communicated to the industry prior to going into 
effect.
    Eucalyptus. One commenter asked that the ban on eucalyptus plants 
from Australia be lifted, but did not present any evidence for why the 
ban is unfounded.
    We are not making any changes based on this comment.
    Fagus and Ilex. In the datasheets accompanying the May 2013 NAPPRA 
notice, we inadvertently omitted the Netherlands from the list of 
countries authorized to export Fagus and Ilex species. Those omissions 
have been corrected.
    Hedera. One commenter asked for a more thorough review of the 
literature justifying the NAPPRA listing of the genus Hedera. The 
commenter stated that there appears to be no scientific justification 
for listing Hedera as a natural host of P. kernoviae other than a 
statement that stem necrosis has been observed. Two commenters stated 
that Hedera spp. have been imported from Denmark and the Netherlands 
without pest problems and that this should preclude NAPPRA listing of 
Hedera due to its presence in trade.
    We would be happy to review any additional literature sources or 
other scientific information presented by the commenters to support 
their objection to listing Hedera. However, Hedera was added to the 
NAPPRA list via the NAPPRA notice published in April 2013 and is 
currently regulated under NAPPRA as a host of CLB. It is only 
authorized for importation into the United States from certain 
countries. We inadvertently omitted one of those countries, Kenya, from 
the list of countries authorized for importation in the datasheets made 
available with the

[[Page 27791]]

May 2013 NAPPRA notice. We are correcting that omission in this notice.
    Pennisetum. One commenter stated that exports of Pennisetum spp. 
from Canada should be exempt from NAPPRA restrictions for Indian peanut 
clump and peanut clump viruses because Canada is free from these 
pathogens of concern, all propagative material imported from Canada 
originates either in Canada or the United States, and there has been 
ongoing trade of Pennisetum spp. between the United States and Canada 
for several years.
    Based upon significant trade history documented by the NPPO of 
Canada since publication of the May 2013 NAPPRA notice, we have 
determined Pennisetum from Canada meets the threshold to be considered 
exempt from NAPPRA listing. As with Pennisetum, additional 
documentation from the NPPO of Canada has also confirmed significant 
trade history in Annona, Camellia, and Cercidiphyllum spp. between 
Canada and the United States. Therefore, these genera from Canada will 
also be exempt from NAPPRA listing.
    Vaccinium. Several commenters expressed concern regarding the 
addition of the genus Vaccinium to the NAPPRA list. One commenter 
stated that the NAPPRA listing of Vaccinium from all countries except 
Canada and Australia would create a competitive disadvantage for U.S. 
growers who would be unable to access the latest Vaccinium varieties. 
One commenter stated that, since Vaccinium spp. are already subject to 
a quarantine period of two growing seasons following importation, 
imports of Vaccinium spp. should only be excluded from countries where 
P. kernoviae is known to occur. The commenter requested that, if 
Vaccinium cannot be excluded from the NAPPRA listing, small quantities 
be allowed to be imported for evaluation and plant breeding purposes 
under a CIP stating the plants will be maintained under quarantine and 
tested for the presence of P. kernoviae in cooperation with USDA 
inspectors.
    Vaccinium spp. are not consistently being exported from any country 
except Canada and Australia. Therefore, we do not believe adding 
Vaccinium to the NAPPRA list for all countries except Canada and 
Australia would negatively impact U.S. growers. However, we are not 
indefinitely prohibiting Vaccinium spp. or any other host taxon from 
importation through NAPPRA. Host taxa (genus or species) listed as 
NAPPRA only require a PRA before trade in those taxa can be initiated 
to ensure that all quarantine pests of the host that may follow this 
pathway are appropriately mitigated. An importer may also apply for a 
CIP to import small quantities of a prohibited or restricted taxon for 
experimental or developmental purposes provided that adequate pest 
mitigation measures can be identified and implemented.
    Two commenters stated that APHIS should remove Vaccinium from the 
NAPPRA list as a host of P. kernoviae because the data sheet used to 
add Vaccinium to the NAPPRA list does not provide evidence that the 
entire genus is a host of the pathogen. The commenters stated that the 
pathogen justifying the prohibition of Vaccinium spp., P. kernoviae, 
has only been associated with a single Vaccinium species, V. myrtillus 
(bilberry), and that the pathogen has only been found in the United 
Kingdom, Ireland, and New Zealand. Therefore, only bilberry from those 
countries should be added to the NAPPRA list.
    As stated previously, APHIS' policy is to regulate hosts of 
quarantine pests at the genus level. This is because many pests or 
pathogens are not specific to one particular species within a taxon. 
When a new host species is identified as a host, additional scientific 
studies will often identify other host species within that genus. 
Therefore, regulating all species within the genus is the preferred 
course of action until a PRA is conducted. Only countries where 
significant trade with the United States in Vaccinium spp. has been 
established will be exempt from NAPPRA listing.
Quarantine Pests
    One commenter asked for clarification of a statement made in the 
datasheet for Moniliophthora perniciosa that ``geographical variations 
within the pathogen impact resistance.'' The commenter asked whether 
this means there are geographical variations in the virulence of the 
pathogen.
    Evidence does seem to suggest that the pathogen may be more 
virulent in some regions than in others. A PRA conducted for a host 
taxon from a country where M. perniciosa is present would provide more 
information regarding virulence as well as any possible mitigations 
related to that information.
    One commenter stated that Monochamus alternatus is also present in 
Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Taiwan, and Hong Kong and asked why host taxa 
from those countries, specifically Acer and Cryptomeria, were not 
included on the NAPPRA list.
    Acer is already listed on the NAPPRA list for all countries except 
Canada, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, and Cryptomeria is already 
listed on the NAPPRA list for all countries except Canada. These 
additions were made in the April 2013 NAPPRA notice.
    Phytophthora kernoviae. One commenter asked that exemption from 
NAPPRA listing be considered for tissue culture when testing is 
conducted that shows freedom from specific pests. The commenter cited a 
study suggesting that it is possible to test tissue cultures for the 
presence of P. kernoviae.
    While properly tissue-cultured plants are pest-free, plants that 
are infected with disease prior to tissue culture are likely to be 
infected when the plant comes out of tissue culture as well. Plants 
that are added to the NAPPRA list may be hosts of quarantine plant 
pests for which tissue culturing is not an adequate mitigation, or for 
which there may be special requirements for tissue culturing. In order 
to fully consider whether tissue culture is an adequate mitigation for 
all the pests associated with a taxon of plants for planting, we would 
need to conduct a PRA. Therefore, we cannot exempt the importation of 
tissue cultures of plant taxa listed as NAPPRA.
    One commenter stated that restricting the importation of host plant 
taxa based on the occurrence of P. kernoviae in only one location in 
England does not warrant restrictions on the importation of host taxa 
from all countries.
    As mentioned in the datasheet made available with the May 6, 2013, 
NAPPRA notice, P. kernoviae has been found in Ireland and New Zealand 
as well as in England. This may be evidence of the spread of the pest 
through the global movement of plants. This, coupled with the number of 
confirmed hosts and the lack of specific control measures available for 
the disease, led us to add host taxa from all countries without 
significant trade in those host taxa to the NAPPRA list. When 
requested, a PRA will help determine the risk of this pest on host 
material from a country without a history of significant trade.
ALB and CLB
    Two commenters stated that host taxa of ALB and CLB should be 
exempted from NAPPRA listing when host plants and cuttings are less 
than 10 mm in diameter, a size that is not susceptible to ALB and CLB 
infestation. One commenter stated that this exemption should also apply 
to host plants and cuttings when imported from countries where ALB and 
CLB are not present.
    We have used the biology of the pest to institute sufficient 
phytosanitary measures to mitigate the risk for taxa that are being 
traded in significant

[[Page 27792]]

amounts from countries where we have import history to determine the 
presence of other quarantine pests. We are not, however, exempting any 
plant material less than 10mm in diameter from an ALB or CLB host taxon 
from the NAPPRA category, as NAPPRA listing does not address mitigation 
measures for pests. In order to authorize the importation of plant 
material from a new source, we would need to conduct a PRA to analyze 
all the relevant risks associated with their importation. A PRA is 
required to determine all quarantine pests that would follow that host 
pathway and to determine appropriate phytosanitary measures, including 
size exemptions, for all pests of concern.

Summary of Changes

    Therefore, in accordance with the regulations in Sec.  319.37-
2a(b)(2), we are adding 22 taxa of plants for planting that are 
quarantine pests and 34 taxa of plants for planting that are hosts of 8 
quarantine pests to the list of taxa whose importation is NAPPRA. These 
taxa include all taxa listed in the May 2013 notice except for 
Callistephus, Chrysanthemum, and Eustoma spp., which we are removing 
from the NAPPRA list. A complete list of taxa added to the NAPPRA list 
and the restrictions placed on their importation can be found at the 
address in footnote 1 of this document or on the PPQ Web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/plant_imports/Q37/nappra/index.shtml. We are also exempting Hibiscus spp. from Denmark and 
Annona, Camellia, Cercidiphyllum, and Pennisetum spp. from Canada from 
NAPPRA listing.

    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.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 13th day of June 2017.
Michael C. Gregoire,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-12646 Filed 6-16-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-34-P