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USDA/APHIS RIN: 0579-AC98 Publication ID: Fall 2010 
Title: Plant Pest Regulations; Update of General Provisions 
Abstract: We are proposing to revise our regulations regarding the movement of plant pests. We are proposing to regulate the movement of not only plant pests, but also biological control organisms and associated articles. We are proposing risk-based criteria regarding the movement of biological control organisms, and are proposing to exempt certain types of plant pests from permitting requirements for their interstate movement and movement for environmental release. We are also proposing to revise our regulations regarding the movement of soil, and to establish regulations governing the biocontainment facilities in which plant pests, biological control organisms, and associated articles are held. This proposed rule replaces a previously published proposed rule, which we are withdrawing as part of this document. This proposal would clarify the factors that would be considered when assessing the risks associated with the movement of certain organisms, facilitate the movement of regulated organisms and articles in a manner that also protects U.S. agriculture, and address gaps in the current regulations. 
Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 7 CFR 318 to 319; 7 CFR 330; 7 CFR 352 
Legal Authority: 7 USC 450; 7 USC 2260; 7 USC 7701 to 7772; 7 USC 7781 to 7786; 7 USC 8301 to 8817; 19 USC 136; 21 USC 111; 21 USC 114a; 21 USC 136 and 136a; 31 USC 9701; 42 USC 4331 to 4332 
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: APHIS is preparing a proposed rule to revise its regulations regarding the movement of plant pests. The revised regulations would address the importation and interstate movement of plant pests, biological control organisms, and associated articles and the release into the environment of biological control organisms. The revision would also address the movement of soil and establish regulations governing the biocontainment facilities in which plant pests, biological control organisms, and associated articles are held. This proposal would clarify the factors that would be considered when assessing the risks associated with the movement of certain organisms, facilitate the movement of regulated organisms and articles in a manner that also protects U.S. agriculture, and address gaps in the current regulations.

Summary of the Legal Basis: Under section 411(a) of the Plant Protection Act (PPA), no person shall import, enter, export, or move in interstate commerce any plant pest, unless the importation, entry, exportation, or movement is authorized under a general or specific permit and in accordance with such regulations as the Secretary of Agriculture may issue to prevent the introduction of plant pests into the United States or the dissemination of plant pests within the United States. Under section 412 of the PPA, the Secretary may restrict the importation or movement in interstate commerce of biological control organisms by requiring the organisms to be accompanied by a permit authorizing such movement and by subjecting the organisms to quarantine conditions or other remedial measures deemed necessary to prevent the spread of plant pests or noxious weeds. That same section of the PPA also gives the Secretary explicit authority to regulate the movement of associated articles.

Alternatives: The alternatives we considered were taking no action at this time or implementing a comprehensive risk reduction plan. This latter alternative would be characterized as a broad risk mitigation strategy that could involve various options such as increased inspection, regulations specific to a certain organism or group of related organisms, or extensive biocontainment requirements. We decided against the first alternative because leaving the regulations unchanged would not address the needs identified immediately above. We decided against the latter alternative, because available scientific information, personnel, and resources suggest that it would be impracticable at this time.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: Undetermined at this time.

Risks: Unless we issue such a proposal, the regulations will not provide a clear protocol for obtaining permits that authorize the movement and environmental release of biological control organisms. This, in turn, could impede research to explore biological control options for various plant pests and noxious weeds known to exist within the United States, and could indirectly lead to the further dissemination of such pests and weeds. Moreover, unless we revise the soil regulations, certain provisions in the regulations will not adequately address the risk to plants, plant parts, and plant products within the United States that such soil might present.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement  10/20/2009  74 FR 53673 
Notice Comment Period End  11/19/2009   
NPRM  01/00/2011   
NPRM Comment Period End  03/00/2011   
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: Local, State, Tribal 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Organizations  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:
Shirley Wager-Page
Chief, Pest Permitting Branch, Plant Health Programs, PPQ
Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
4700 River Road, Unit 131,
Riverdale, MD 20737-1236
Phone:301 851-2323

 
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