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USDA/APHIS RIN: 0579-AC03 Publication ID: Fall 2009 
Title: Importation of Plants for Planting; Establishing a New Category of Plants for Planting Not Authorized for Importation Pending Risk Assessment(Rulemaking Resulting From a Section 610 Review) 
Abstract: This action would establish a new category in the regulations governing the importation of nursery stock, also known as plants for planting. This category would list taxa of plants for planting whose importation is not authorized pending risk assessment. We would allow foreign governments to request that a pest risk assessment be conducted for a taxon whose importation is not authorized pending risk evaluation. After the pest risk assessment was completed, we would conduct rulemaking to remove the taxon from the proposed category if determined appropriate by the risk assessment. We are also proposing to expand the scope of the plants regulated in the plants for planting regulations to include non-vascular plants. These changes would allow us to react more quickly to evidence that a taxon of plants for planting may pose a pest risk while ensuring that our actions are based on scientific evidence. 
Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
RFA Section 610 Review: Rulemaking Resulting From a Section 610 Review 
CFR Citation: 7 CFR 319 
Legal Authority: 7 USC 450; 7 USC 7701 to 7772; 7 USC 7781 to 7786; 21 USC 136 and 136a 
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: APHIS typically relies on inspection at a Federal plant inspection station or port of entry to mitigate the risks of pest introduction associated with the importation of plants for planting. Importation of plants for planting is further restricted or prohibited only if there is specific evidence that such importation could introduce a quarantine pest into the United States. Most of the taxa of plants for planting currently being imported have not been thoroughly studied to determine whether their importation presents a risk of introducing a quarantine pest into the United States. The volume and the number of types of plants for planting have increased dramatically in recent years, and there are several problems associated with gathering data on what plants for planting are being imported and on the risks such importation presents. In addition, quarantine pests that enter the United States via the importation of plants for planting pose a particularly high risk of becoming established within the United States. The current regulations need to be amended to better address these risks.

Summary of the Legal Basis: The Secretary of Agriculture may prohibit or restrict the importation or entry of any plant if the Secretary determines that the prohibition or restriction is necessary to prevent the introduction into the United States of a plant pest or noxious weed (7 U.S.C. 7712).

Alternatives: APHIS has identified one alternative to the approach we are considering. We could prohibit the importation of all nursery stock pending risk evaluation, approval, and notice-and-comment rulemaking, similar to APHIS's approach to regulating imported fruits and vegetables. This approach would lead to a major interruption in international trade and would have significant economic effects on both U.S. importers and U.S. consumers of plants for planting.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: Undetermined.

Risks: In the absence of some action to revise the nursery stock regulations to allow us to better address pest risks, increased introductions of plant pests via imported nursery stock are likely, causing extensive damage to both agricultural and natural plant resources.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  07/23/2009  74 FR 36403 
NPRM Comment Period End  10/21/2009   
Final Rule  07/00/2010   
Additional Information: Additional information about APHIS and its programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Arnold T. Tschanz
Senior Plant Pathologist, Plant Health Programs, PPQ
Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Unit 141, 4700 River Road, Unit 133,
Riverdale, MD 20737-1231
Phone:301 734-0627

 
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