Notice of Intent To Include Four Native U.S. Freshwater Turtle Species in Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), 64553-64562 [2014-25768]

Download as PDF tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 210 / Thursday, October 30, 2014 / Proposed Rules incremental NGCC generation identified under building block 2 (given that under the proposal, generation from building block 2 was assumed to reduce carbon intensity by replacing generation from 2012 levels). The rationale for this approach would be that the BSER for all fossil generation includes replacing that generation with incremental RE and EE. Moreover, this approach acknowledges that, taken by itself, such incremental generation would not necessarily replace the highest-emitting generation, but would likely replace a mix of existing fossil generating technologies. b. Prioritize replacement of historical fossil steam generation. A second alternative approach would be similar to the one described above, but the adjustment would reflect incremental RE and EE first replacing fossil steam generation below 2012 levels rather than replacing all fossil generation on a pro rata basis. Subsequent to replacing fossil steam generation, if there were any remaining incremental RE or EE, it would replace gas turbine generation levels and the corresponding emissions. Therefore, the reduction in carbon intensity observed from this type of adjustment would be more than that estimated in the proposal’s goal-setting formula and more than the alternative approach above, in section III.C.1.a, because incremental and avoided generation would replace generation from higher-emitting fossil steam sources first. The rationale for this alternative approach would be based on the view that, as part of the BSER, because fossil steam generation has higher carbon intensity, it should be replaced before NGCC generation. By identifying the two alternative approaches above and providing more detailed data by which to assess them, the EPA is seeking additional engagement during the public comment process and supporting the ability of stakeholders to provide comment. The EPA is requesting comment on whether a formula change of this nature would better reflect the emission reduction potential from incremental RE and EE. In particular, the EPA is seeking comment on how the amount of incremental RE and EE in the June 2014 proposal relate to potential future generation increases from existing fossil sources. The EPA is also soliciting comment on approaches where some portion of such incremental generation is calculated to replace future increases in existing fossil generation with the remainder assumed to replace historical existing fossil generation. The EPA is also requesting comment on how to treat a state in which the incremental RE and EE exceeds historical fossil steam VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Oct 29, 2014 Jkt 235001 generation levels. Together, the approach in the proposal and the alternative approach in this document reflect a range of possible emission rate impacts that could be expected through the application of the incremental RE and EE in the state goal calculation. The EPA is seeking comment on which approach better reflects the BSER. At the same time, we note that the alternative state goal formula approaches listed here may raise a number of additional considerations. These approaches, for example, would increase the collective stringency of the state goals, which would likely increase both the costs and benefits of the proposed rule. As noted above, at least some of these alternative applications of the targetsetting equation would result in many states having tighter rate-based goals. Therefore, in considering any of these changes, the EPA would also consider how they relate to other issues discussed in this document, as well as in the original proposal, particularly inclusion of new NGCC units in the state goal calculation and alternatives to the 2020–2029 glide path. While the goal-setting formula adjustments described here would tighten the state goals, the glide path adjustments discussed previously would have the offsetting effect of reducing the stringency of the goals. The EPA welcomes comment specifically on the potential changes identified in this document in terms both of the rationale for these changes and of their effects on the stringency of the state goals. 2. Alternatives to the 2012 Data Year A number of stakeholders have raised concerns over the use of 2012 as the single data year for calculating interim and final goals. The EPA has identified several approaches that stakeholders may want to consider and upon which we are requesting comment. The EPA is seeking comment on whether we should use a different single data year or the average of a combination of years (such as 2010, 2011, and 2012) to calculate the state fossil fuel emission rates used in state goal calculations. The agency is also seeking comment on whether statespecific circumstances exist that could justify using different data years for individual states, as opposed to using the same data year, or combination of years, consistently across states. Stakeholders have also expressed interest in obtaining eGRID data for years prior to 2012 in order to foster comparison with results from the 2012 dataset. The EPA is adding, to the docket for this action, data for the years 2010 and 2011 that are based on the PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 64553 same information sources and presented in the same format as the 2012 dataset used for the June 2014 proposed rule. We are also making these data available at: http://www2.epa.gov/ cleanpowerplan/. Dated: October 27, 2014. Janet G. McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation. [FR Doc. 2014–25845 Filed 10–29–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 23 [Docket No. FWS–HQ–ES–2013–0052] RIN 1018–AZ53 Notice of Intent To Include Four Native U.S. Freshwater Turtle Species in Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Proposed rule: Notice of intent to amend CITES Appendix III. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to include the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina), Florida softshell turtle (Apalone ferox), smooth softshell turtle (Apalone mutica), and spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera) in Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES or Convention), including live and dead whole specimens, and all readily recognizable parts, products, and derivatives. Listing these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species (including their subspecies, except Apalone spinifera atra, which is already included in Appendix I of CITES) in Appendix III of CITES is necessary to allow us to adequately monitor international trade in these species; to determine whether exports are occurring legally, with respect to State and Federal law; and to determine whether further measures under CITES or other laws are required to conserve these species. DATES: To ensure that we are able to consider your comment on this proposed rulemaking action, you must send it by December 29, 2014. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods: SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\30OCP1.SGM 30OCP1 64554 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 210 / Thursday, October 30, 2014 / Proposed Rules • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS–HQ–ES–2013– 0052. • U.S. Mail or Hand-Delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS–HQ–ES–2013–0052; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. We will post all comments on http:// www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Public Comments section below for more information). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Craig Hoover, Chief, Wildlife Trade and Conservation Branch, Division of Management Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: IA; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803; telephone 703–358–2095; facsimile 703–358–2298. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Public Comments We intend that any final action resulting from this proposal will be based on accurate information and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request comments or suggestions on this proposed rule. We particularly seek comments concerning: (1) Biological, trade, or other relevant data concerning any threats (or lack thereof) to these species (including subspecies) and regulations that may be addressing those threats. (2) Additional information concerning the range, distribution, and population size of these species (including subspecies). (3) Any information on the biological or ecological requirements of these species (including subspecies). (4) Any information regarding legal or illegal collection of or trade in these species (including subspecies). You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed rule by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. We will not consider comments sent by email or fax or to an address not listed in ADDRESSES. If you submit a comment via http:// www.regulations.gov, your entire comment, including any personal identifying information, will be posted on the Web site. If you submit a hardcopy comment that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this information from VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Oct 29, 2014 Jkt 235001 public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will post all hardcopy comments on http://www.regulations.gov. Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by appointment, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, at: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, Division of Management Authority, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041– 3803; telephone 703–358–2095. Background CITES, an international treaty, regulates the import, export, re-export, and introduction from the sea of certain animal and plant species. CITES was negotiated in 1973 in Washington, DC, at a conference attended by delegations from 80 countries. The United States ratified the Convention on September 13, 1973, and it entered into force on July 1, 1975, after it had been ratified by the required 10 countries. Currently 180 countries have ratified, accepted, approved, or acceded to CITES; these countries are known as Parties. The text of the Convention and the official list of all species included in its three Appendices are available from the CITES Secretariat’s Web site at http:// www.cites.org or upon request from the Division of Management Authority at the address provided in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT above. Section 8A of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), designates the Secretary of the Interior as the U.S. Management Authority and U.S. Scientific Authority for CITES. These authorities have been delegated to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The original U.S. regulations implementing CITES took effect on May 23, 1977 (42 FR 10465, February 22, 1977), after the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) was held. The CoP meets every 2 to 3 years to vote on proposed resolutions and decisions that interpret and implement the text of the Convention and on amendments to the list of species in the CITES Appendices. The last major revision of U.S. CITES regulations was in 2014 (79 FR 30399, May 27, 2014) and incorporated provisions from applicable resolutions and decisions adopted at meetings of the Conference of the Parties up to and including the fifteenth meeting (CoP15), which took place in 2010. In 2008, through a direct final rule, we incorporated certain provisions adopted at CoP14 regarding PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 international trade in sturgeon caviar (73 FR 40983, July 17, 2008). The Service’s International Wildlife Trade Program convened a freshwater turtle workshop in St. Louis in September 2010 to discuss the pressing management, regulatory, scientific, and enforcement needs associated with the harvest and trade of freshwater turtles in the United States. As a follow up to one of the recommendations put forth at the St Louis Workshop in 2010 the Service hosted a workshop in Baton Rouge, LA in November 2011 for all 16 States with turtle farms to develop best management practices for turtle farms operating in the United States. Information on these workshops can be found on our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/international/ animals/freshwater-turtles.html or from DMA (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). CITES Appendices Species covered by the Convention are listed in one of three Appendices. Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction that are or may be affected by international trade, and are generally prohibited from commercial trade. Appendix II includes species that, although not necessarily threatened with extinction now, may become so unless the trade is strictly controlled. It also lists species that must be regulated so that trade in other listed species may be brought under effective control (e.g., because of similarity of appearance to other listed species). Appendix III includes native species, identified by any Party, that are regulated to prevent or restrict exploitation, where the Party requests the help of other Parties to monitor and control the trade of the species. To include a species in or remove a species from Appendices I or II, a Party must propose an amendment to the Appendices for consideration at a meeting of the CoP. The adoption of such a proposal requires approval of at least two-thirds of the Parties present and voting. However, a Party may add a native species to Appendix III independently at any time, without the vote of other Parties, under Articles II and XVI of the Convention. Likewise, if the status of an Appendix-III species improves or new information shows that it no longer needs to be listed, the listing country can remove the species from Appendix III without consulting the other CITES Parties. Inclusion of native U.S. species in Appendix III provides the following benefits: (1) An Appendix-III listing ensures the assistance of the other CITES Parties, through the implementation of E:\FR\FM\30OCP1.SGM 30OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 210 / Thursday, October 30, 2014 / Proposed Rules tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS CITES permitting requirements in controlling international trade in these species. (2) Listing these species in Appendix III enhances the enforcement of State and Federal conservation measures enacted for the species by regulating international trade in the species. Shipments containing CITES-listed species receive greater scrutiny from border officials in both the exporting and importing countries. When a shipment containing a non-listed species is exported from the United States, it is a lower inspection priority for the Service than a shipment containing a CITES-listed species. Many foreign countries have limited legal authority and resources to inspect shipments of non-CITES-listed wildlife. Appendix-III listings for U.S. species will give these importing countries the legal basis to inspect such shipments, and to deal with CITES and national violations when they detect them. (3) Another practical outcome of listing a species in Appendix III is that better records are kept and international trade in the species is better monitored. We will gain and share improved information on such trade with State fish and wildlife agencies, and others who have jurisdiction over resident populations of the Appendix-III species. They will then be able to better determine the impact of trade on the species and the effectiveness of existing State management activities, regulations, and cooperative efforts. International trade data and other relevant information gathered as a result of an Appendix-III listing will help policymakers determine whether we should propose the species for inclusion in Appendix II, or remove it from or retain it in Appendix III. (4) When any live CITES-listed species (including an Appendix-III species) is exported (or imported), it must be packed and shipped according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animals Regulations to reduce the risk of injury and cruel treatment. This requirement helps to ensure the survival and health of the animals when they are shipped internationally. Criteria for Listing a Native U.S. Species in Appendix III Article II, paragraph 3, of CITES states that ‘‘Appendix III shall include all species which any Party identifies as being subject to regulation within its jurisdiction for the purpose of preventing or restricting exploitation, and as needing the cooperation of other parties in the control of trade.’’ Article XVI, paragraph 1, of the Convention VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Oct 29, 2014 Jkt 235001 states further that ‘‘any Party may at any time submit to the Secretariat a list of species which it identifies as being subject to regulation within its jurisdiction for the purpose mentioned in paragraph 3 of Article II. Appendix III shall include the names of the Parties submitting the species for inclusion therein, the scientific names of the species so submitted, and any parts or derivatives of the animals or plants concerned that are specified in relation to the species for the purposes of subparagraph (b) of Article I.’’ At the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP9), held in the United States in 1994, the Parties adopted Resolution Conf. 9.25 (amended at the 10th, 14th, 15th, and 16th meetings of the CoP), which provides further guidance to Parties for the listing of their native species in Appendix III. The Resolution, which is the basis for our criteria for listing species in Appendix III provided in our regulations at 50 CFR 23.90(c), recommends that a Party: (a) Ensure that (i) the species is native to its country; (ii) its national regulations are adequate to prevent or restrict exploitation and to control trade, for the conservation of the species, and include penalties for illegal taking, trade, or possession and provisions for confiscation; and (iii) its national enforcement measures are adequate to implement these regulations; (b) Determine that, notwithstanding these regulations and measures, circumstances indicate that the cooperation of the Parties is needed to control illegal trade; and (c) Inform the Management Authorities of other range States, the known major importing countries, the Secretariat, and the Animals Committee or the Plants Committee that it is considering the inclusion of the species in Appendix III and seek their opinion on the potential effects of such inclusion. Therefore, we apply the following criteria in deciding to list U.S. species in Appendix III as outlined in 50 CFR 23.90(c): (1) The species must be native to the United States. (2) The species must be protected under State, Tribal, or Federal regulations to prevent or restrict exploitation and control trade, and the laws or regulations are being implemented. (3) The species is in international trade, and circumstances indicate that the cooperation of other Parties would help to control illegal trade. (4) We must inform the Management Authorities of other range countries, the PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 64555 known major importing countries, the Secretariat, and the Animals Committee or the Plants Committee that we are considering the listing and seek their opinions on the potential effects of the listing. CITES does not allow the exclusion of particular parts or derivatives for any species listed in Appendix I or the exclusion of parts or derivatives of animal species in Appendix II. However, Article XVI of the Convention allows for either all specimens of a species or only certain identifiable parts or derivatives of a specimen (in addition to whole specimens) to be listed in Appendix III. For example, the current listing in CITES Appendix III of Cedrela odorata (Spanish cedar) by Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, and Peru includes only logs, sawn wood, and veneer sheets. Therefore, if the criteria listed above are met, we could designate specific parts or products (e.g., turtle meat) of a species for inclusion in Appendix III, rather than inclusion of all parts and derivatives, if we inform the CITES Secretariat of the limited listing. U.S. Procedure and Submission of Information to the CITES Secretariat For this listing proposal of four native U.S. freshwater turtle species, we will consult with and solicit comments from all States and Tribes where the species occurs and all other range countries pursuant to 50 CFR 23.90(e)(1). After reviewing the information submitted in response to this proposal, we will make a final decision on whether to include these four species in CITES Appendix III. We will publish our decision in the Federal Register. If we decide to list these four species in CITES Appendix III, we will notify the CITES Secretariat. The listings will take effect 90 days after the CITES Secretariat informs the CITES Parties of the listings. Change in Status of Appendix-III Species Based on New Information We monitor the trade of all species listed in Appendix III by the United States and periodically evaluate whether each species continues to meet the listing criteria contained in 50 CFR 23.90(c). If the following occurs, we will consider removing the species from Appendix III: (1) We determine that international trade in the species is very limited (as a general guide, fewer than 5 shipments per year or fewer than 100 individual animals or plants); and (2) we determine that trade (legal and illegal) in the species is not a concern. If, after monitoring the trade of any species listed in Appendix III by the United States and evaluating its status, E:\FR\FM\30OCP1.SGM 30OCP1 64556 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 210 / Thursday, October 30, 2014 / Proposed Rules tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS we determine that the species meets the CITES criteria for listing in Appendix I or II, based on the criteria contained in 50 CFR 23.89, we will consider whether to propose the species for inclusion in Appendix I or II. Practical Effects of Listing a Native U.S. Species in Appendix III Permits and other requirements: The export of an Appendix-III species listed by the United States requires an export permit issued by the Service’s Division of Management Authority (DMA). DMA will issue a permit only if the applicant obtained the specimen(s) legally, in compliance with applicable U.S. laws, including relevant State and Tribal wildlife laws and regulations, and live specimens are packed and shipped in accordance with the IATA Live Animals Regulations to reduce the risk of injury, damage to health, or cruel treatment. DMA, in determining if an applicant legally obtained a specimen, may consult relevant State, Tribal, and Federal agencies. Since the conservation and management of these species is primarily under the jurisdiction of State and Tribal agencies, we may consult those agencies to ensure that specimens destined for export were obtained in compliance with State and Tribal laws and regulations. Unlike species listed in Appendices I and II, no scientific nondetriment finding is required from the Service’s Division of Scientific Authority (DSA) for export of an Appendix-III species. However, DSA will monitor and evaluate the trade, to decide if there is a conservation concern that would require any further action on our part. With a few exceptions, any shipment containing wildlife must be declared to a Service Wildlife Inspector upon import, export, or re-export, and must comply with all applicable regulations. Permits, Findings, and Fees: To apply for a CITES permit, an individual or business is required to submit a completed CITES export permit application to DMA (with check or money order to cover the application fee). You may obtain information about CITES permits from our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/international/ or from DMA (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). We will review the application to decide if the export meets the criteria in 50 CFR 23.60. In addition, live animals must be shipped to reduce the risk of injury, damage to health, or cruel treatment. We carry out this CITES requirement by stating clearly on all CITES permits that shipments must comply with the IATA Live Animals Regulations. The Service’s VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Oct 29, 2014 Jkt 235001 Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) is authorized to inspect shipments of CITES-listed species at the time of export to ensure that they comply with these regulations. Additional information on permit requirements is available from DMA (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT); additional information on declaration of shipments, inspection, and clearance of shipments is available upon request from the OLE: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: OLE; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803; telephone 703–358–1949; facsimile 703–358–2271. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800–877–8339. Previous Federal Actions In a notice published in the Federal Register in 1975, we proposed listing the Cuatro Cienegas spiny softshell turtle (Trionyx ater, also known as Apalone spinifera atra) as endangered pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (40 FR 44329, September 26, 1975), since this softshell turtle was already included in Appendix I of the Convention. In a subsequent notice published in the Federal Register (41 FR 24062, June 14, 1976), we listed the Cuatro Cienegas spiny softshell turtle as endangered pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973. In a notice published in the Federal Register a few years later (47 FR 39219, September 7, 1982), we invited comments on a proposal to delist the T. ater (also known as A. s. atra) from Appendix I. The basis of the proposal was that T. ater was becoming genetically swamped by T. spiniferus, currently known as A. spinifera. In a follow-up notice (47 FR 57524, December 27, 1982), we decided it would be premature to propose removal of the Cuatro Cienegas spiny softshell turtle from Appendix I and it currently remains in that Appendix. In a 2002 Federal Register notice (67 FR 19207, April 18, 2002), we stated our tentative positions on recommendations for species proposals for the United States to consider for submission for CoP12. Pending additional information and consultations, the United States was undecided on a proposal to include the Florida softshell turtle (Apalone ferox), the smooth softshell turtle (Apalone mutica), and the spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera) in Appendix II. In a notice published in the Federal Register in 2009 (74 FR 33460, July 13, 2009), the United States was undecided, pending additional information and PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 consultations, on submitting a proposal at CoP15 to include these three species of North American softshell turtles in Appendix II. Ultimately, we did not propose to include any of the softshell species in the CITES Appendices at CoP15. In a notice published in the Federal Register on April 11, 2012 (77 FR 21798), we stated our tentative positions on recommendations for species proposals for the United States to consider submitting at CoP16. Pending receipt of additional significant information, we indicated that the United States was not likely to submit for consideration at CoP16 a proposal to include the Florida softshell turtle, the smooth softshell turtle, and the spiny softshell turtle in Appendix II. We also stated that we would not submit a proposal to include the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) in Appendix III because inclusion of a species in Appendix III is a unilateral decision and does not require a proposal to be brought forward to the CoP. Ultimately, we did not propose to include any of the softshell species in the CITES Appendices at CoP16. Summary of Threats Common Snapping Turtle Populations are known to be robust throughout much of the species’ range, and the common snapping turtle is among the most widely distributed turtle species in the United States. Threats to the common snapping turtle, besides habitat degradation and destruction, include (in no particular order) collecting, the impact on eggs and newly emerged hatchlings (primarily) of subsidized predators (i.e., predation magnified as a result of human activity, e.g., cats, dogs, raccoons), road mortality, and pollution (van Dijk, 2011, no pagination). The reproductive parameters of the species are such that populations are ‘‘severely constrain[ed]’’ in their ability to recover from long-term and persistent off-take (Congdon, Dunham, and Sels 1994, p. 397). In general the species is marked by a lifehistory strategy of slow recruitment, late maturity, long lifespan, and high adult survivorship. Any given population’s persistence is dependent on high adult survivorship, which makes the species vulnerable to directed anthropogenic activities, such as collecting (Congdon, Dunham, and Sels 1994, p. 397). Table 1 shows recent trends in exportations of live common snapping turtles and meat harvested from these turtles. E:\FR\FM\30OCP1.SGM 30OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 210 / Thursday, October 30, 2014 / Proposed Rules 64557 TABLE 1—U.S. EXPORTATIONS OF LIVE COMMON SNAPPING TURTLES AND COMMON SNAPPING TURTLE MEAT 2009– 2011 2009 Live common snapping turtles exported from the United States ................................................ Common snapping turtle meat (in kg) exported from the United States .................................... Although a significant proportion of these live specimens and meat originated from turtle farms, the level of wild harvest necessary to maintain farm production is unknown. While export levels vary from year to year, since at least 1990, the trend has been a significant increase in common snapping turtle exports over an extended period of time (Hoover, C. 1998 and USFWS, LEMIS database as cited in Weissgold, B., unpublished, 2010). Florida Softshell Turtle Eggs are vulnerable to predation by a variety of terrestrial species, and hatchlings are equally vulnerable to predation by other turtles, birds, and fish. Adults are less vulnerable, but may be taken by alligators. The species is considered vulnerable to (in no particular order) overcollection for human consumption, the impact of subsidized predators (i.e., predation magnified as a result of human activity, e.g., cats, dogs, raccoons), habitat destruction, and road mortality, and as 2010 655,549 36.29 709,869 27.22 2011 811,717 46.52 by-catch from freshwater fishing activities (Buhlmann, Tuberville, and Gibbons 2008; p. 119, and Bonin, Devaux, and Dupre 2006, p. 129; and Ernst and Lovich 2009, p. 612). While in Florida the species does not appear to be in danger, it is the most intensively harvested freshwater turtle in Florida, and locally severe declines or extirpations from over-fishing might be possible (Meylan and Moler 2006, p. 166). Table 2 shows recent trends in exportations of Florida softshell turtles and eggs harvested from these turtles. TABLE 2—U.S. EXPORTATIONS OF FLORIDA SOFTSHELL TURTLES AND FLORIDA SOFTSHELL TURTLE EGGS 2009–2011 2009 Live Florida softshell turtles exported from the United States .................................................... Florida softshell turtle eggs exported from the United States ..................................................... Although a portion of these specimens and eggs were shipped from turtle farms, the level of wild harvest necessary to maintain farm production is unknown. While export levels vary from year to year, since at least 1995, the trend suggests that the potential remains for significant exports in the future for human consumption and stocking of farms in East Asia, particularly China. The Service is not aware of any evidence indicating that this trend will reverse. Smooth Softshell Turtle Both eggs and juveniles are vulnerable to a wide assortment of predators, although adults are generally only vulnerable to human and alligator predation (Buhlmann, Tuberville, and Gibbons 2008, p. 144). In recent years, smooth softshell turtle populations have declined due to river channelization, siltation, and water pollution (retrieved September 2, 2014, from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Rare Species Guide at http:// www.dnr.state.mn.us/rsg/profile .html?action=elementDetail &selectedElement=ARAAG01020). U.S. export data show that 200 live smooth softshell turtles were exported in 2009 sourced from the wild, and none were exported in 2010 or 2011. While export levels vary from year to year, we believe that the potential remains for significant exports in the 2010 214,787 67,200 209,453 66,100 2011 367,629 130,624 future based on overseas demand principally, but not limited to, China. Spiny Softshell Turtle Populations are in decline in many areas due to (in no particular order) pollution, habitat degradation, and collection as a food source (Buhlmann, Tuberville, and Gibbons 2008, p. 141; and Ernst and Lovich 2009, p. 634). Table 3 shows the recent trend in exportations of spiny softshell turtles. While export levels vary from year to year, we believe that the potential remains for significant exports in the future. The Service is not aware of any evidence indicating that this trend will reverse. TABLE 3—U.S. EXPORTATIONS OF SPINY SOFTSHELL TURTLES 2009–2011 2009 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Live spiny softshell turtles exported from the United States ....................................................... Species and Subspecies for Listing in Appendix III We propose to list these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species, including their subspecies, except A. s. atra: common snapping turtle, Florida softshell turtle, smooth softshell turtle, and the spiny softshell turtle in VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Oct 29, 2014 Jkt 235001 Appendix III of CITES, including live and dead whole specimens, and all readily recognizable parts and derivatives. The term ‘‘readily recognizable’’ is defined in our regulations at 50 CFR 23.5 and means any specimen that appears from a visual, physical, scientific, or forensic examination or test; an accompanying PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 2010 2011 46,117 56,056 55,713 document, packaging, mark, or label; or any other circumstances to be a part, product, or derivative of any CITES wildlife or plant, unless such part, product, or derivative is specifically exempt from the provisions of CITES or 50 CFR part 23. Listing these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species in Appendix III of CITES is necessary to E:\FR\FM\30OCP1.SGM 30OCP1 64558 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 210 / Thursday, October 30, 2014 / Proposed Rules allow us to adequately monitor international trade in these species; to determine whether exports are occurring legally, with respect to State, Tribal, and Federal law; and to determine whether further measures under CITES or other laws are required to conserve these species. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Common Snapping Turtle The common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina, Linnaeus 1758) is the second-largest freshwater turtle species native to the United States. Currently two subspecies are widely recognized: C. s. osceola (Stejneger, 1918), distributed in the Florida peninsula, and C. s. serpentina (Linnaeus, 1758), distributed throughout the remainder of the species range, which encompasses most of the eastern two-thirds of the United States and portions of southern Canada, including Nova Scotia. The species has been introduced into the wild outside its range both within and outside the United States, including into the wild in China and Taiwan, where it is also bred on turtle farms. The common snapping turtle is easily recognized by a roughly textured black to grey carapace (top shell), a long tail studded with large saw-toothed tubercles, large claws, and a large head with strong jaws and a sharp beak. The species is readily distinguished from the alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temmincki) because the latter has a larger head, hooked beak, a smooth tail, and three distinct keels on the carapace. There are other morphological differences as well. The common snapping turtle inhabits a wide variety of freshwater habitats, including rivers, ponds, lakes, swamps, and marshes, although it prefers slowmoving aquatic habitats with mud or sand bottoms, abundant vegetation, and submerged tree branches, trunks, and brush. Common snapping turtles feed on a wide variety of both plants and animals (Ernst and Lovich 2009, pp. 9, 132–133). Irrespective of the taxonomic differentiation of the common snapping turtle, all currently recognized common snapping turtle subspecies would be included in the CITES Appendix-III listing. Florida Softshell Turtle The Florida softshell turtle (Apalone ferox, Schneider 1783) is one of three species of softshell turtle native to the United States. The Florida softshell, the largest North American softshell turtle, occurs from southern South Carolina, through southern Georgia and Florida, and west into the extreme southern VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Oct 29, 2014 Jkt 235001 portions of Alabama. No subspecies are currently recognized. Females may reach a Maximum Carapace Length (SCLmax) of 67.3 centimeters, over twice the size of males, which may reach 32.4 centimeters SCLmax. The leathery skin-covered carapace has rough, rounded tubercles (bumps) on its front edge; the limbs are grey to brown with lighter-colored mottling. The feet are webbed, and the species has an extended nose tip. In large specimens, the head can grow disproportionately large compared to the body. The Florida softshell inhabits calm waters, including rivers, swamps, marshes, lakes, and ponds. The species may spend extended periods of time submerged, buried in the silty or sandy bottom. The Florida softshell is largely carnivorous, eating a variety of aquatic and sometimes terrestrial animals, although vegetation may also be consumed (Ernst and Lovich 2009, p. 611). Smooth Softshell Turtle The smooth softshell turtle (Apalone mutica, Le Sueur 1827) is the smallest of the three softshell species native to the United States. The species is generally found in streams, rivers, and channels. It inhabits the Ohio River drainage (Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois), the upper Mississippi River watershed (Minnesota and Wisconsin), the Missouri River in the Dakotas, south through the watershed and eventually spreading to the western Florida Panhandle, and west to Central Texas (including all States between these areas). The smooth softshell is considered extinct in Pennsylvania, where it previously inhabited the Allegheny River. An isolated population exists in New Mexico’s Canadian River drainage. Two subspecies are recognized: The smooth softshell turtle (A. m. mutica; Le Sueur 1827) and the Gulf Coast smooth softshell turtle (A. m. calvata; Webb 1959). Females may reach 35.6 centimeters SCLmax and males may reach 26.6 centimeters SCLmax. The carapaces of males may have blotchy dark markings, and a yellow stripe is present on each side of the head; females have darkly mottled carapaces, and the yellow head stripe may be faint or nonexistent in older animals. The smooth softshell has webbed feet and an extended nose tip. The species is fully aquatic, only leaving the water to nest or bask. Smooth softshells consume insect larvae, other aquatic invertebrates, small fish, and plant material (Ernst and Lovich 2009, pp. 619–620). Irrespective of the taxonomic differentiation of the smooth softshell turtle, all currently recognized smooth PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 softshell turtle subspecies would be included in the CITES Appendix-III listing. Spiny Softshell Turtle The spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera, Le Sueur 1827) is a small softshell with webbed feet and large claws. It has a leathery shell colored from brown to sand to grey, with dark black ocelli or blotches and a pair of light stripes on the side of its head. Limbs are grey and may have dark streaks or spots. The population of the spiny softshell in the United States is divided into six subspecies: The spiny softshell turtle (A. s. spinifera, Le Sueur 1827), Gulf Coast spiny softshell (A. s. aspera, Agassiz 1857), Texas spiny softshell (A. s. emoryi, Agassiz 1857), Guadalupe spiny softshell (A. s. guadalupensis, Webb 1962), western spiny softshell (A. s. hartwegi, Conant and Goin 1948), and pallid spiny softshell (A. s. pallida, Webb 1962). An additional subspecies, the Cuatro Cienegas spiny softshell (A. s. atra [=Apalone atra], Webb and Legler 1960), occurs in Mexico and is listed in Appendix I of CITES and as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (as Trionyx ater) (50 CFR 17.11(h)). The spiny softshell inhabits the largest range of the three softshell turtles of North America, occurring from New York, south to Florida, west through Texas to New Mexico, and over most of the midwestern United States, including to the States bordering the Great Lakes, and extreme southern portions of Canada, and naturally in northern portions of Mexico. It has also been introduced widely in other parts of Mexico. Disjunct populations also are found from New Mexico to California and in Montana and Wyoming. Isolated populations are found in a number of States. The spiny softshell inhabits creeks and rivers, but also occurs in other types of water bodies, including artificial bodies, so long as the bottom is sandy or muddy to support its burrowing behavior. The species is almost entirely aquatic and largely carnivorous; its reported list of food items is extensive and includes insects, molluscs, and other invertebrates, fish, amphibians, and small snakes. It will also consume plant material (Ernst and Lovich 2009, pp. 632–633). Conservation The common snapping turtle (since 2012) and spiny softshell turtle (since 2011) are considered to be of ‘‘Least Concern’’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with the population trend being stable. The Florida softshell turtle (since 2011) and E:\FR\FM\30OCP1.SGM 30OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 210 / Thursday, October 30, 2014 / Proposed Rules the smooth softshell (since 2011) turtle are also considered to be of ‘‘Least Concern’’ by the IUCN, but with the population trend being unknown. These four native U.S. freshwater turtle species are protected to varying degrees by State and Tribal laws within the United States, with significant differences in levels and types of protection. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Common Snapping Turtle Personal collection and commercial harvest of the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) is permitted in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. In Arizona, where the species has been introduced, an unlimited number may be collected. In Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, and West Virginia, collection for personal use is permitted; however, commercial harvest and trade is not permitted. In Connecticut and Massachusetts, collection and trade is allowed, with a 4 inch and 6 inch minimum shell length requirement for trade, respectively. Delaware requires limits on take to individuals with 8 inches or greater curved carapace length along with harvest equipment restrictions in place. North Dakota allows for harvest as specified on the appropriate permit. Personal harvest and commercial trade are prohibited in the District of Columbia, and Florida prohibits harvest from the wild (including eggs) or commercial trade in wild-caught specimens. In Illinois, commercial harvest is prohibited; however, aquaculture is allowed, and limited harvest for personal use is permitted in some areas. Florida Softshell Turtle Commercial harvest and trade of the Florida softshell turtle is permitted in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. In Florida, one specimen per day per person may be taken from the wild, but commercial sale is not permitted. There are exceptions with specific requirements and limitations for commercial aquaculture. Smooth Softshell Turtle Personal collection and commercial harvest of the smooth softshell turtle are permitted in Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Oct 29, 2014 Jkt 235001 Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Collection for personal use is permitted in Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, and West Virginia; however, commercial harvest and trade are not permitted. In Florida, State regulations allow one specimen per day per person to be taken from the wild, but commercial sale is not permitted; there are exceptions with specific requirements and limitations for commercial aquaculture. In Illinois, commercial harvest is prohibited; however, aquaculture is allowed as well as limited harvest for personal use in some areas. Spiny Softshell Turtle Collection for personal use and commercial harvest of the spiny softshell turtle are permitted in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. In Arizona, where the species has been introduced, an unlimited number may be collected. Collection for personal use is permitted in Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, and West Virginia; however, commercial harvest and trade are not permitted. In Florida, one specimen per day per person may be taken from the wild, but commercial sale is not permitted. There are exceptions with specific requirements and limitations for commercial aquaculture. In Illinois, commercial harvest is prohibited; however, aquaculture is allowed, as well as limited harvest for personal use in some areas. Federal Status Under section 3372(a)(1) of the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 (16 U.S.C. 3371–3378), it is unlawful to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase any wildlife taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law, treaty, or regulation of the United States. This prohibition would apply in instances where these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species were unlawfully collected from Federal lands, such as those Federal lands within the range of these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species that are managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or other Federal agency. It is unlawful under section 3372(a)(2)(A) of the Lacey Act to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 64559 or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any wildlife taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law or regulation of any State. Because many State laws and regulations regulate the take of these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species, certain acts with these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species acquired unlawfully under State law could result in a violation of the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 and thus provide for Federal enforcement action due to a violation of State law. Decision To Propose To List Four Native U.S. Freshwater Turtle Species Based on the recommendations contained in Resolution Conf. 9.25 (Rev. CoP16) and the listing criteria provided in our regulations at 50 CFR 23.90, these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species, including all subspecies, qualify for listing in CITES Appendix III. Declines have been documented or locally severe declines may be possible in at least some portions of the range of these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species, although the Florida softshell seems to be resistant to high levels of commercial harvest. Its take in Florida is regulated and it is a species of special concern in South Carolina. Although snapping turtle populations are known to be vigorous throughout much of the species’ range, long-term persistent take makes the species vulnerable to decline. Existing laws have not been completely successful in preventing the unauthorized collection and trade of these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species. Listing these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species, including their subspecies, except the Cuatro Cienegas spiny softshell turtle which is already listed in Appendix I, in Appendix III is necessary to allow us to adequately monitor international trade in these taxa; to determine whether exports are occurring legally, with respect to State law; and to determine whether further measures under CITES or other laws are required to conserve these species and subspecies. An Appendix-III listing would lend additional support to State wildlife agencies in their efforts to regulate and manage these species, improve data gathering to increase our knowledge of trade in these species, and strengthen State and Federal wildlife enforcement activities to prevent poaching and illegal trade. Furthermore, listing these species in Appendix III would enlist the assistance of other Parties in our efforts to monitor and control trade in these species and subspecies. E:\FR\FM\30OCP1.SGM 30OCP1 64560 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 210 / Thursday, October 30, 2014 / Proposed Rules Required Determinations tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 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. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs 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 rulemaking in a manner consistent with these requirements. Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 U.S.C. 802(2)), whenever an agency is required to publish a notice of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the effect of the rule on small entities (i.e., small businesses, small organizations, and small government jurisdictions). However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of an agency certifies the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Department of the Interior certifies that this action would not have a significant effect on a substantial number of small entities for the reasons discussed below. This proposed rule establishes the means to monitor the international trade VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Oct 29, 2014 Jkt 235001 in species native to the United States and does not impose any new or changed restriction on the trade of legally acquired specimens. Based on current exports of these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species, we estimate that the costs to implement this rule will be less than $100,000 annually due to the costs associated with obtaining permits. According to the Small Business Administration, small entities include small organizations, such as independent nonprofit organizations; small governmental jurisdictions, including school boards and city and town governments that serve fewer than 50,000 residents; and small businesses (13 CFR 121.201). Small businesses include manufacturing and mining concerns with fewer than 500 employees, wholesale trade entities with fewer than 100 employees, retail and service businesses with less than $5 million in annual sales, general and heavy construction businesses with less than $27.5 million in annual business, special trade contractors doing less than $11.5 million in annual business, and agricultural businesses with annual sales less than $750,000. This proposed rule: (a) Would not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. (b) Would not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions. (c) Would not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. 658(5)–(7). ‘‘Federal intergovernmental mandate’’ includes a regulation that ‘‘would impose an enforceable duty upon State, local, or Tribal governments,’’ with two exceptions. It excludes ‘‘a condition of federal assistance.’’ It also excludes ‘‘a duty arising from participation in a voluntary Federal program,’’ unless the regulation ‘‘relates to a then-existing Federal program under which $500,000,000 or more is provided annually to State, local, and Tribal governments under entitlement authority,’’ if the provision would ‘‘increase the stringency of conditions of assistance’’ or ‘‘place caps upon, or otherwise decrease, the Federal Government’s responsibility to provide funding’’ and the State, local, or Tribal governments ‘‘lack authority’’ to adjust accordingly. ‘‘Federal private sector mandate’’ includes a regulation that ‘‘would impose an enforceable duty upon the private sector, except (i) a condition of Federal assistance; or (ii) a duty arising from participation in a voluntary Federal program.’’ This proposed rule would not impose a legally binding duty on non-Federal Government entities or private parties and would not impose an unfunded mandate of more than $100 million per year or have a significant or unique effect on State, local, or Tribal governments or the private sector because we, as the lead agency for CITES implementation in the United States, are responsible for the authorization of shipments of live wildlife, or their parts and products, that are subject to the requirements of CITES. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501), the Service makes the following findings: (a) This rulemaking would not produce a Federal mandate. In general, a Federal mandate is a provision in legislation, statute, or regulation that would impose an enforceable duty upon State, local, or Tribal governments, or the private sector, and includes both ‘‘Federal intergovernmental mandates’’ and ‘‘Federal private sector mandates.’’ These terms are defined in 2 U.S.C. This proposed rule does not contain any new collections of information that require approval by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. Information that we would collect under this proposed rule on FWS Form 3–200– 27 is covered by an existing OMB approval and has been assigned OMB control number 1018–0093, which expires on May 31, 2017. We may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) E:\FR\FM\30OCP1.SGM 30OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 210 / Thursday, October 30, 2014 / Proposed Rules National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) The Service has analyzed this proposed rule in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) regulations implementing NEPA, at 40 CFR 1508.4, define a ‘‘categorical exclusion’’ as a category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment and which have been found to have no such effect on the human environment. CEQ’s regulations further require Federal agencies to adopt NEPA procedures, including the adoption of categorical exclusions for which neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is required (40 CFR 1507.3). The Service has determined that this rulemaking is categorically excluded from further environmental analysis under NEPA in accordance with the Department’s NEPA regulations at 43 CFR 46.210(i), which categorically excludes ‘‘[p]olicies, directives, regulations, and guidelines: That are of an administrative, financial, legal, technical, or procedural nature.’’ In addition, the Service has determined that none of the extraordinary circumstances listed under the Department’s regulations at 43 CFR 46.215, in which a normally excluded action may have a significant environmental effect, applies to this proposed rule. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Takings (Executive Order 12630) In accordance with Executive Order (E.O.) 12630 (‘‘Government Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Private Property Rights’’), we have determined that this proposed rule would not have significant takings implications since there are no changes in what may be exported. Federalism (Executive Order 13132) In accordance with E.O. 13132 (Federalism), this proposed rule would not have significant Federalism effects. A Federalism assessment is not required because this proposed rule would 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. Although this VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Oct 29, 2014 Jkt 235001 proposed rule would generate information that would be beneficial to State wildlife agencies, we do not anticipate that any State monitoring or control programs would need to be developed to fulfill the purpose of this proposed rule. We have consulted the States, through the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, on this proposed action. The CITES Technical Work Group, comprising representatives from States in different regions of the United States, of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies has concluded that including these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species in CITES Appendix III is warranted in order to help ensure conservation of these species in the wild and to assist State agencies in regulating harvest and trade. Further, formal and informal consultation with various interested parties regarding this proposal has generally resulted in support for the proposal. These proposed changes will help us more effectively conserve these species and will help those affected by CITES to understand how to conduct lawful international trade in wildlife and wildlife products. Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988) The Department, in promulgating this rulemaking, has determined that it will not unduly burden the judicial system and that it meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988. Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes In accordance with the President’s memorandum of April 29, 1994, Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments (59 FR 22951), E.O. 13175, and the Department of the Interior’s manual at 512 DM 2, we have a responsibility to communicate meaningfully with Federally recognized Indian Tribes on a government-togovernment basis. In accordance with Secretarial Order 3206 of June 5, 1997 (American Indian Tribal Rights, FederalTribal Trust Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act), we readily acknowledge our responsibilities to work directly with Tribes in developing programs for healthy ecosystems, to acknowledge that Tribal lands are not subject to the same controls as Federal public lands, to remain sensitive to PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 64561 Indian culture, and to make information available to Tribes. We determined that this proposed action will not interfere with the Tribes’ ability to manage themselves or their funds or to regulate these turtle species on Tribal lands. Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (Executive Order 13211) E.O. 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking actions that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, and use. This proposed action is not expected to significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, or use. Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action, and no Statement of Energy Effects is required. Clarity of the Rule We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988, and by the Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain language. This means that each rule we publish must: (a) Be logically organized; (b) Use the active voice to address readers directly; (c) Use clear language rather than jargon; (d) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and (e) Use lists and tables wherever possible. If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us comments by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. To better help us revise the proposed rule, your comments should be as specific as possible. For example, you should tell us the numbers of the sections or paragraphs that are unclearly written, which sections or sentences are too long, the sections where you feel lists or tables would be useful, etc. References Cited A complete list of all references cited in this proposed rule is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov or upon request from the Division of Management Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Author The primary author of this proposed rule is Clifton A. Horton, Division of Management Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). E:\FR\FM\30OCP1.SGM 30OCP1 64562 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 210 / Thursday, October 30, 2014 / Proposed Rules Proposed Amendment to CITES Appendix III tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Our regulations at 50 CFR 23.90 require us to publish a proposed rule and, if appropriate, a final rule for a CITES Appendix-III listing, even though the final rule would not result in any changes to the Code of Federal Regulations. Accordingly, for the reasons provided in this document, we propose to ask the CITES Secretariat to amend Appendix III of CITES to include for the United States these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species, including VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Oct 29, 2014 Jkt 235001 their subspecies (except the Cuatro Cienegas spiny softshell turtle, which is in Appendix I): The common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina), Florida softshell turtle (Apalone ferox), smooth softshell turtle (Apalone mutica), and spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera). After analysis of any comments received on the proposed rule, we will publish our final decision in the Federal Register. If we adopt a final rule, we will contact the CITES Secretariat prior to publishing the rule to clarify the PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 exact time period required by the Secretariat to inform the Parties of the listing, so that the effective date of the final rule coincides with the effective date of the listing in Appendix III. The listing would take effect 90 days after the CITES Secretariat informs the Parties of the listing. Dated: October 7, 2014. Stephen Guertin, Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2014–25768 Filed 10–29–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P E:\FR\FM\30OCP1.SGM 30OCP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 210 (Thursday, October 30, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 64553-64562]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-25768]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 23

[Docket No. FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0052]
RIN 1018-AZ53


Notice of Intent To Include Four Native U.S. Freshwater Turtle 
Species in Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in 
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule: Notice of intent to amend CITES Appendix III.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to 
include the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina), Florida 
softshell turtle (Apalone ferox), smooth softshell turtle (Apalone 
mutica), and spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera) in Appendix III 
of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild 
Fauna and Flora (CITES or Convention), including live and dead whole 
specimens, and all readily recognizable parts, products, and 
derivatives. Listing these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species 
(including their subspecies, except Apalone spinifera atra, which is 
already included in Appendix I of CITES) in Appendix III of CITES is 
necessary to allow us to adequately monitor international trade in 
these species; to determine whether exports are occurring legally, with 
respect to State and Federal law; and to determine whether further 
measures under CITES or other laws are required to conserve these 
species.

DATES: To ensure that we are able to consider your comment on this 
proposed rulemaking action, you must send it by December 29, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:

[[Page 64554]]

     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-HQ-
ES-2013-0052.
     U.S. Mail or Hand-Delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: Docket No. FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0052; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Headquarters, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-
3803.

We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally 
means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see 
the Public Comments section below for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Craig Hoover, Chief, Wildlife Trade 
and Conservation Branch, Division of Management Authority, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: IA; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls 
Church, VA 22041-3803; telephone 703-358-2095; facsimile 703-358-2298. 
If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Public Comments

    We intend that any final action resulting from this proposal will 
be based on accurate information and as effective as possible. 
Therefore, we request comments or suggestions on this proposed rule. We 
particularly seek comments concerning:
    (1) Biological, trade, or other relevant data concerning any 
threats (or lack thereof) to these species (including subspecies) and 
regulations that may be addressing those threats.
    (2) Additional information concerning the range, distribution, and 
population size of these species (including subspecies).
    (3) Any information on the biological or ecological requirements of 
these species (including subspecies).
    (4) Any information regarding legal or illegal collection of or 
trade in these species (including subspecies).
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed 
rule by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. We will not consider 
comments sent by email or fax or to an address not listed in ADDRESSES.
    If you submit a comment via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire 
comment, including any personal identifying information, will be posted 
on the Web site. If you submit a hardcopy comment 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 comments on http://www.regulations.gov.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by 
appointment, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays, at: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, 
Division of Management Authority, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 
22041-3803; telephone 703-358-2095.

Background

    CITES, an international treaty, regulates the import, export, re-
export, and introduction from the sea of certain animal and plant 
species. CITES was negotiated in 1973 in Washington, DC, at a 
conference attended by delegations from 80 countries. The United States 
ratified the Convention on September 13, 1973, and it entered into 
force on July 1, 1975, after it had been ratified by the required 10 
countries. Currently 180 countries have ratified, accepted, approved, 
or acceded to CITES; these countries are known as Parties.
    The text of the Convention and the official list of all species 
included in its three Appendices are available from the CITES 
Secretariat's Web site at http://www.cites.org or upon request from the 
Division of Management Authority at the address provided in FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT above.
    Section 8A of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), designates the Secretary of the Interior as the 
U.S. Management Authority and U.S. Scientific Authority for CITES. 
These authorities have been delegated to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service. The original U.S. regulations implementing CITES took effect 
on May 23, 1977 (42 FR 10465, February 22, 1977), after the first 
meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) was held. The CoP meets 
every 2 to 3 years to vote on proposed resolutions and decisions that 
interpret and implement the text of the Convention and on amendments to 
the list of species in the CITES Appendices. The last major revision of 
U.S. CITES regulations was in 2014 (79 FR 30399, May 27, 2014) and 
incorporated provisions from applicable resolutions and decisions 
adopted at meetings of the Conference of the Parties up to and 
including the fifteenth meeting (CoP15), which took place in 2010. In 
2008, through a direct final rule, we incorporated certain provisions 
adopted at CoP14 regarding international trade in sturgeon caviar (73 
FR 40983, July 17, 2008).
    The Service's International Wildlife Trade Program convened a 
freshwater turtle workshop in St. Louis in September 2010 to discuss 
the pressing management, regulatory, scientific, and enforcement needs 
associated with the harvest and trade of freshwater turtles in the 
United States. As a follow up to one of the recommendations put forth 
at the St Louis Workshop in 2010 the Service hosted a workshop in Baton 
Rouge, LA in November 2011 for all 16 States with turtle farms to 
develop best management practices for turtle farms operating in the 
United States. Information on these workshops can be found on our Web 
site at http://www.fws.gov/international/animals/freshwater-turtles.html or from DMA (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

CITES Appendices

    Species covered by the Convention are listed in one of three 
Appendices. Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction that 
are or may be affected by international trade, and are generally 
prohibited from commercial trade. Appendix II includes species that, 
although not necessarily threatened with extinction now, may become so 
unless the trade is strictly controlled. It also lists species that 
must be regulated so that trade in other listed species may be brought 
under effective control (e.g., because of similarity of appearance to 
other listed species). Appendix III includes native species, identified 
by any Party, that are regulated to prevent or restrict exploitation, 
where the Party requests the help of other Parties to monitor and 
control the trade of the species.
    To include a species in or remove a species from Appendices I or 
II, a Party must propose an amendment to the Appendices for 
consideration at a meeting of the CoP. The adoption of such a proposal 
requires approval of at least two-thirds of the Parties present and 
voting. However, a Party may add a native species to Appendix III 
independently at any time, without the vote of other Parties, under 
Articles II and XVI of the Convention. Likewise, if the status of an 
Appendix-III species improves or new information shows that it no 
longer needs to be listed, the listing country can remove the species 
from Appendix III without consulting the other CITES Parties.
    Inclusion of native U.S. species in Appendix III provides the 
following benefits:
    (1) An Appendix-III listing ensures the assistance of the other 
CITES Parties, through the implementation of

[[Page 64555]]

CITES permitting requirements in controlling international trade in 
these species.
    (2) Listing these species in Appendix III enhances the enforcement 
of State and Federal conservation measures enacted for the species by 
regulating international trade in the species. Shipments containing 
CITES-listed species receive greater scrutiny from border officials in 
both the exporting and importing countries. When a shipment containing 
a non-listed species is exported from the United States, it is a lower 
inspection priority for the Service than a shipment containing a CITES-
listed species. Many foreign countries have limited legal authority and 
resources to inspect shipments of non-CITES-listed wildlife. Appendix-
III listings for U.S. species will give these importing countries the 
legal basis to inspect such shipments, and to deal with CITES and 
national violations when they detect them.
    (3) Another practical outcome of listing a species in Appendix III 
is that better records are kept and international trade in the species 
is better monitored. We will gain and share improved information on 
such trade with State fish and wildlife agencies, and others who have 
jurisdiction over resident populations of the Appendix-III species. 
They will then be able to better determine the impact of trade on the 
species and the effectiveness of existing State management activities, 
regulations, and cooperative efforts. International trade data and 
other relevant information gathered as a result of an Appendix-III 
listing will help policymakers determine whether we should propose the 
species for inclusion in Appendix II, or remove it from or retain it in 
Appendix III.
    (4) When any live CITES-listed species (including an Appendix-III 
species) is exported (or imported), it must be packed and shipped 
according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live 
Animals Regulations to reduce the risk of injury and cruel treatment. 
This requirement helps to ensure the survival and health of the animals 
when they are shipped internationally.

Criteria for Listing a Native U.S. Species in Appendix III

    Article II, paragraph 3, of CITES states that ``Appendix III shall 
include all species which any Party identifies as being subject to 
regulation within its jurisdiction for the purpose of preventing or 
restricting exploitation, and as needing the cooperation of other 
parties in the control of trade.'' Article XVI, paragraph 1, of the 
Convention states further that ``any Party may at any time submit to 
the Secretariat a list of species which it identifies as being subject 
to regulation within its jurisdiction for the purpose mentioned in 
paragraph 3 of Article II. Appendix III shall include the names of the 
Parties submitting the species for inclusion therein, the scientific 
names of the species so submitted, and any parts or derivatives of the 
animals or plants concerned that are specified in relation to the 
species for the purposes of subparagraph (b) of Article I.''
    At the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES 
(CoP9), held in the United States in 1994, the Parties adopted 
Resolution Conf. 9.25 (amended at the 10th, 14th, 15th, and 16th 
meetings of the CoP), which provides further guidance to Parties for 
the listing of their native species in Appendix III. The Resolution, 
which is the basis for our criteria for listing species in Appendix III 
provided in our regulations at 50 CFR 23.90(c), recommends that a 
Party:
    (a) Ensure that (i) the species is native to its country; (ii) its 
national regulations are adequate to prevent or restrict exploitation 
and to control trade, for the conservation of the species, and include 
penalties for illegal taking, trade, or possession and provisions for 
confiscation; and (iii) its national enforcement measures are adequate 
to implement these regulations;
    (b) Determine that, notwithstanding these regulations and measures, 
circumstances indicate that the cooperation of the Parties is needed to 
control illegal trade; and
    (c) Inform the Management Authorities of other range States, the 
known major importing countries, the Secretariat, and the Animals 
Committee or the Plants Committee that it is considering the inclusion 
of the species in Appendix III and seek their opinion on the potential 
effects of such inclusion.
    Therefore, we apply the following criteria in deciding to list U.S. 
species in Appendix III as outlined in 50 CFR 23.90(c):
    (1) The species must be native to the United States.
    (2) The species must be protected under State, Tribal, or Federal 
regulations to prevent or restrict exploitation and control trade, and 
the laws or regulations are being implemented.
    (3) The species is in international trade, and circumstances 
indicate that the cooperation of other Parties would help to control 
illegal trade.
    (4) We must inform the Management Authorities of other range 
countries, the known major importing countries, the Secretariat, and 
the Animals Committee or the Plants Committee that we are considering 
the listing and seek their opinions on the potential effects of the 
listing.
    CITES does not allow the exclusion of particular parts or 
derivatives for any species listed in Appendix I or the exclusion of 
parts or derivatives of animal species in Appendix II. However, Article 
XVI of the Convention allows for either all specimens of a species or 
only certain identifiable parts or derivatives of a specimen (in 
addition to whole specimens) to be listed in Appendix III. For example, 
the current listing in CITES Appendix III of Cedrela odorata (Spanish 
cedar) by Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, and Peru includes only 
logs, sawn wood, and veneer sheets. Therefore, if the criteria listed 
above are met, we could designate specific parts or products (e.g., 
turtle meat) of a species for inclusion in Appendix III, rather than 
inclusion of all parts and derivatives, if we inform the CITES 
Secretariat of the limited listing.

U.S. Procedure and Submission of Information to the CITES Secretariat

    For this listing proposal of four native U.S. freshwater turtle 
species, we will consult with and solicit comments from all States and 
Tribes where the species occurs and all other range countries pursuant 
to 50 CFR 23.90(e)(1). After reviewing the information submitted in 
response to this proposal, we will make a final decision on whether to 
include these four species in CITES Appendix III. We will publish our 
decision in the Federal Register. If we decide to list these four 
species in CITES Appendix III, we will notify the CITES Secretariat. 
The listings will take effect 90 days after the CITES Secretariat 
informs the CITES Parties of the listings.

Change in Status of Appendix-III Species Based on New Information

    We monitor the trade of all species listed in Appendix III by the 
United States and periodically evaluate whether each species continues 
to meet the listing criteria contained in 50 CFR 23.90(c). If the 
following occurs, we will consider removing the species from Appendix 
III: (1) We determine that international trade in the species is very 
limited (as a general guide, fewer than 5 shipments per year or fewer 
than 100 individual animals or plants); and (2) we determine that trade 
(legal and illegal) in the species is not a concern. If, after 
monitoring the trade of any species listed in Appendix III by the 
United States and evaluating its status,

[[Page 64556]]

we determine that the species meets the CITES criteria for listing in 
Appendix I or II, based on the criteria contained in 50 CFR 23.89, we 
will consider whether to propose the species for inclusion in Appendix 
I or II.

Practical Effects of Listing a Native U.S. Species in Appendix III

    Permits and other requirements: The export of an Appendix-III 
species listed by the United States requires an export permit issued by 
the Service's Division of Management Authority (DMA). DMA will issue a 
permit only if the applicant obtained the specimen(s) legally, in 
compliance with applicable U.S. laws, including relevant State and 
Tribal wildlife laws and regulations, and live specimens are packed and 
shipped in accordance with the IATA Live Animals Regulations to reduce 
the risk of injury, damage to health, or cruel treatment. DMA, in 
determining if an applicant legally obtained a specimen, may consult 
relevant State, Tribal, and Federal agencies. Since the conservation 
and management of these species is primarily under the jurisdiction of 
State and Tribal agencies, we may consult those agencies to ensure that 
specimens destined for export were obtained in compliance with State 
and Tribal laws and regulations. Unlike species listed in Appendices I 
and II, no scientific non-detriment finding is required from the 
Service's Division of Scientific Authority (DSA) for export of an 
Appendix-III species. However, DSA will monitor and evaluate the trade, 
to decide if there is a conservation concern that would require any 
further action on our part. With a few exceptions, any shipment 
containing wildlife must be declared to a Service Wildlife Inspector 
upon import, export, or re-export, and must comply with all applicable 
regulations.
    Permits, Findings, and Fees: To apply for a CITES permit, an 
individual or business is required to submit a completed CITES export 
permit application to DMA (with check or money order to cover the 
application fee). You may obtain information about CITES permits from 
our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/international/ or from DMA (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). We will review the application to decide 
if the export meets the criteria in 50 CFR 23.60.
    In addition, live animals must be shipped to reduce the risk of 
injury, damage to health, or cruel treatment. We carry out this CITES 
requirement by stating clearly on all CITES permits that shipments must 
comply with the IATA Live Animals Regulations. The Service's Office of 
Law Enforcement (OLE) is authorized to inspect shipments of CITES-
listed species at the time of export to ensure that they comply with 
these regulations. Additional information on permit requirements is 
available from DMA (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT); additional 
information on declaration of shipments, inspection, and clearance of 
shipments is available upon request from the OLE: U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service Headquarters, MS: OLE; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 
22041-3803; telephone 703-358-1949; facsimile 703-358-2271. If you use 
a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

Previous Federal Actions

    In a notice published in the Federal Register in 1975, we proposed 
listing the Cuatro Cienegas spiny softshell turtle (Trionyx ater, also 
known as Apalone spinifera atra) as endangered pursuant to the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973 (40 FR 44329, September 26, 1975), since 
this softshell turtle was already included in Appendix I of the 
Convention. In a subsequent notice published in the Federal Register 
(41 FR 24062, June 14, 1976), we listed the Cuatro Cienegas spiny 
softshell turtle as endangered pursuant to the Endangered Species Act 
of 1973. In a notice published in the Federal Register a few years 
later (47 FR 39219, September 7, 1982), we invited comments on a 
proposal to delist the T. ater (also known as A. s. atra) from Appendix 
I. The basis of the proposal was that T. ater was becoming genetically 
swamped by T. spiniferus, currently known as A. spinifera. In a follow-
up notice (47 FR 57524, December 27, 1982), we decided it would be 
premature to propose removal of the Cuatro Cienegas spiny softshell 
turtle from Appendix I and it currently remains in that Appendix.
    In a 2002 Federal Register notice (67 FR 19207, April 18, 2002), we 
stated our tentative positions on recommendations for species proposals 
for the United States to consider for submission for CoP12. Pending 
additional information and consultations, the United States was 
undecided on a proposal to include the Florida softshell turtle 
(Apalone ferox), the smooth softshell turtle (Apalone mutica), and the 
spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera) in Appendix II. In a notice 
published in the Federal Register in 2009 (74 FR 33460, July 13, 2009), 
the United States was undecided, pending additional information and 
consultations, on submitting a proposal at CoP15 to include these three 
species of North American softshell turtles in Appendix II. Ultimately, 
we did not propose to include any of the softshell species in the CITES 
Appendices at CoP15.
    In a notice published in the Federal Register on April 11, 2012 (77 
FR 21798), we stated our tentative positions on recommendations for 
species proposals for the United States to consider submitting at 
CoP16. Pending receipt of additional significant information, we 
indicated that the United States was not likely to submit for 
consideration at CoP16 a proposal to include the Florida softshell 
turtle, the smooth softshell turtle, and the spiny softshell turtle in 
Appendix II. We also stated that we would not submit a proposal to 
include the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) in Appendix 
III because inclusion of a species in Appendix III is a unilateral 
decision and does not require a proposal to be brought forward to the 
CoP. Ultimately, we did not propose to include any of the softshell 
species in the CITES Appendices at CoP16.

Summary of Threats

Common Snapping Turtle

    Populations are known to be robust throughout much of the species' 
range, and the common snapping turtle is among the most widely 
distributed turtle species in the United States. Threats to the common 
snapping turtle, besides habitat degradation and destruction, include 
(in no particular order) collecting, the impact on eggs and newly 
emerged hatchlings (primarily) of subsidized predators (i.e., predation 
magnified as a result of human activity, e.g., cats, dogs, raccoons), 
road mortality, and pollution (van Dijk, 2011, no pagination). The 
reproductive parameters of the species are such that populations are 
``severely constrain[ed]'' in their ability to recover from long-term 
and persistent off-take (Congdon, Dunham, and Sels 1994, p. 397). In 
general the species is marked by a life-history strategy of slow 
recruitment, late maturity, long lifespan, and high adult survivorship. 
Any given population's persistence is dependent on high adult 
survivorship, which makes the species vulnerable to directed 
anthropogenic activities, such as collecting (Congdon, Dunham, and Sels 
1994, p. 397).
    Table 1 shows recent trends in exportations of live common snapping 
turtles and meat harvested from these turtles.

[[Page 64557]]



      Table 1--U.S. Exportations of Live Common Snapping Turtles and Common Snapping Turtle Meat 2009-2011
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       2009            2010            2011
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Live common snapping turtles exported from the United States....         655,549         709,869         811,717
Common snapping turtle meat (in kg) exported from the United               36.29           27.22           46.52
 States.........................................................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Although a significant proportion of these live specimens and meat 
originated from turtle farms, the level of wild harvest necessary to 
maintain farm production is unknown. While export levels vary from year 
to year, since at least 1990, the trend has been a significant increase 
in common snapping turtle exports over an extended period of time 
(Hoover, C. 1998 and USFWS, LEMIS database as cited in Weissgold, B., 
unpublished, 2010).

Florida Softshell Turtle

    Eggs are vulnerable to predation by a variety of terrestrial 
species, and hatchlings are equally vulnerable to predation by other 
turtles, birds, and fish. Adults are less vulnerable, but may be taken 
by alligators. The species is considered vulnerable to (in no 
particular order) overcollection for human consumption, the impact of 
subsidized predators (i.e., predation magnified as a result of human 
activity, e.g., cats, dogs, raccoons), habitat destruction, and road 
mortality, and as by-catch from freshwater fishing activities 
(Buhlmann, Tuberville, and Gibbons 2008; p. 119, and Bonin, Devaux, and 
Dupre 2006, p. 129; and Ernst and Lovich 2009, p. 612). While in 
Florida the species does not appear to be in danger, it is the most 
intensively harvested freshwater turtle in Florida, and locally severe 
declines or extirpations from over-fishing might be possible (Meylan 
and Moler 2006, p. 166).
    Table 2 shows recent trends in exportations of Florida softshell 
turtles and eggs harvested from these turtles.

       Table 2--U.S. Exportations of Florida Softshell Turtles and Florida Softshell Turtle Eggs 2009-2011
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       2009            2010            2011
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Live Florida softshell turtles exported from the United States..         214,787         209,453         367,629
Florida softshell turtle eggs exported from the United States...          67,200          66,100         130,624
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Although a portion of these specimens and eggs were shipped from turtle 
farms, the level of wild harvest necessary to maintain farm production 
is unknown. While export levels vary from year to year, since at least 
1995, the trend suggests that the potential remains for significant 
exports in the future for human consumption and stocking of farms in 
East Asia, particularly China. The Service is not aware of any evidence 
indicating that this trend will reverse.

Smooth Softshell Turtle

    Both eggs and juveniles are vulnerable to a wide assortment of 
predators, although adults are generally only vulnerable to human and 
alligator predation (Buhlmann, Tuberville, and Gibbons 2008, p. 144). 
In recent years, smooth softshell turtle populations have declined due 
to river channelization, siltation, and water pollution (retrieved 
September 2, 2014, from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 
Rare Species Guide at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/rsg/profile.html?action=elementDetail&selectedElement=ARAAG01020).
    U.S. export data show that 200 live smooth softshell turtles were 
exported in 2009 sourced from the wild, and none were exported in 2010 
or 2011. While export levels vary from year to year, we believe that 
the potential remains for significant exports in the future based on 
overseas demand principally, but not limited to, China.

Spiny Softshell Turtle

    Populations are in decline in many areas due to (in no particular 
order) pollution, habitat degradation, and collection as a food source 
(Buhlmann, Tuberville, and Gibbons 2008, p. 141; and Ernst and Lovich 
2009, p. 634).
    Table 3 shows the recent trend in exportations of spiny softshell 
turtles. While export levels vary from year to year, we believe that 
the potential remains for significant exports in the future. The 
Service is not aware of any evidence indicating that this trend will 
reverse.

                         Table 3--U.S. Exportations of Spiny Softshell Turtles 2009-2011
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     2009             2010             2011
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Live spiny softshell turtles exported from the United States.          46,117           56,056           55,713
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Species and Subspecies for Listing in Appendix III

    We propose to list these four native U.S. freshwater turtle 
species, including their subspecies, except A. s. atra: common snapping 
turtle, Florida softshell turtle, smooth softshell turtle, and the 
spiny softshell turtle in Appendix III of CITES, including live and 
dead whole specimens, and all readily recognizable parts and 
derivatives. The term ``readily recognizable'' is defined in our 
regulations at 50 CFR 23.5 and means any specimen that appears from a 
visual, physical, scientific, or forensic examination or test; an 
accompanying document, packaging, mark, or label; or any other 
circumstances to be a part, product, or derivative of any CITES 
wildlife or plant, unless such part, product, or derivative is 
specifically exempt from the provisions of CITES or 50 CFR part 23. 
Listing these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species in Appendix 
III of CITES is necessary to

[[Page 64558]]

allow us to adequately monitor international trade in these species; to 
determine whether exports are occurring legally, with respect to State, 
Tribal, and Federal law; and to determine whether further measures 
under CITES or other laws are required to conserve these species.

Common Snapping Turtle

    The common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina, Linnaeus 1758) is 
the second-largest freshwater turtle species native to the United 
States. Currently two subspecies are widely recognized: C. s. osceola 
(Stejneger, 1918), distributed in the Florida peninsula, and C. s. 
serpentina (Linnaeus, 1758), distributed throughout the remainder of 
the species range, which encompasses most of the eastern two-thirds of 
the United States and portions of southern Canada, including Nova 
Scotia. The species has been introduced into the wild outside its range 
both within and outside the United States, including into the wild in 
China and Taiwan, where it is also bred on turtle farms. The common 
snapping turtle is easily recognized by a roughly textured black to 
grey carapace (top shell), a long tail studded with large saw-toothed 
tubercles, large claws, and a large head with strong jaws and a sharp 
beak.
    The species is readily distinguished from the alligator snapping 
turtle (Macrochelys temmincki) because the latter has a larger head, 
hooked beak, a smooth tail, and three distinct keels on the carapace. 
There are other morphological differences as well. The common snapping 
turtle inhabits a wide variety of freshwater habitats, including 
rivers, ponds, lakes, swamps, and marshes, although it prefers slow-
moving aquatic habitats with mud or sand bottoms, abundant vegetation, 
and submerged tree branches, trunks, and brush. Common snapping turtles 
feed on a wide variety of both plants and animals (Ernst and Lovich 
2009, pp. 9, 132-133).
    Irrespective of the taxonomic differentiation of the common 
snapping turtle, all currently recognized common snapping turtle 
subspecies would be included in the CITES Appendix-III listing.

Florida Softshell Turtle

    The Florida softshell turtle (Apalone ferox, Schneider 1783) is one 
of three species of softshell turtle native to the United States. The 
Florida softshell, the largest North American softshell turtle, occurs 
from southern South Carolina, through southern Georgia and Florida, and 
west into the extreme southern portions of Alabama. No subspecies are 
currently recognized. Females may reach a Maximum Carapace Length 
(SCLmax) of 67.3 centimeters, over twice the size of males, which may 
reach 32.4 centimeters SCLmax. The leathery skin-covered carapace has 
rough, rounded tubercles (bumps) on its front edge; the limbs are grey 
to brown with lighter-colored mottling. The feet are webbed, and the 
species has an extended nose tip. In large specimens, the head can grow 
disproportionately large compared to the body. The Florida softshell 
inhabits calm waters, including rivers, swamps, marshes, lakes, and 
ponds. The species may spend extended periods of time submerged, buried 
in the silty or sandy bottom. The Florida softshell is largely 
carnivorous, eating a variety of aquatic and sometimes terrestrial 
animals, although vegetation may also be consumed (Ernst and Lovich 
2009, p. 611).

Smooth Softshell Turtle

    The smooth softshell turtle (Apalone mutica, Le Sueur 1827) is the 
smallest of the three softshell species native to the United States. 
The species is generally found in streams, rivers, and channels. It 
inhabits the Ohio River drainage (Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois), the 
upper Mississippi River watershed (Minnesota and Wisconsin), the 
Missouri River in the Dakotas, south through the watershed and 
eventually spreading to the western Florida Panhandle, and west to 
Central Texas (including all States between these areas). The smooth 
softshell is considered extinct in Pennsylvania, where it previously 
inhabited the Allegheny River. An isolated population exists in New 
Mexico's Canadian River drainage. Two subspecies are recognized: The 
smooth softshell turtle (A. m. mutica; Le Sueur 1827) and the Gulf 
Coast smooth softshell turtle (A. m. calvata; Webb 1959). Females may 
reach 35.6 centimeters SCLmax and males may reach 26.6 centimeters 
SCLmax. The carapaces of males may have blotchy dark markings, and a 
yellow stripe is present on each side of the head; females have darkly 
mottled carapaces, and the yellow head stripe may be faint or 
nonexistent in older animals. The smooth softshell has webbed feet and 
an extended nose tip. The species is fully aquatic, only leaving the 
water to nest or bask. Smooth softshells consume insect larvae, other 
aquatic invertebrates, small fish, and plant material (Ernst and Lovich 
2009, pp. 619-620).
    Irrespective of the taxonomic differentiation of the smooth 
softshell turtle, all currently recognized smooth softshell turtle 
subspecies would be included in the CITES Appendix-III listing.

Spiny Softshell Turtle

    The spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera, Le Sueur 1827) is a 
small softshell with webbed feet and large claws. It has a leathery 
shell colored from brown to sand to grey, with dark black ocelli or 
blotches and a pair of light stripes on the side of its head. Limbs are 
grey and may have dark streaks or spots. The population of the spiny 
softshell in the United States is divided into six subspecies: The 
spiny softshell turtle (A. s. spinifera, Le Sueur 1827), Gulf Coast 
spiny softshell (A. s. aspera, Agassiz 1857), Texas spiny softshell (A. 
s. emoryi, Agassiz 1857), Guadalupe spiny softshell (A. s. 
guadalupensis, Webb 1962), western spiny softshell (A. s. hartwegi, 
Conant and Goin 1948), and pallid spiny softshell (A. s. pallida, Webb 
1962). An additional subspecies, the Cuatro Cienegas spiny softshell 
(A. s. atra [=Apalone atra], Webb and Legler 1960), occurs in Mexico 
and is listed in Appendix I of CITES and as endangered under the U.S. 
Endangered Species Act (as Trionyx ater) (50 CFR 17.11(h)).
    The spiny softshell inhabits the largest range of the three 
softshell turtles of North America, occurring from New York, south to 
Florida, west through Texas to New Mexico, and over most of the 
midwestern United States, including to the States bordering the Great 
Lakes, and extreme southern portions of Canada, and naturally in 
northern portions of Mexico. It has also been introduced widely in 
other parts of Mexico. Disjunct populations also are found from New 
Mexico to California and in Montana and Wyoming. Isolated populations 
are found in a number of States. The spiny softshell inhabits creeks 
and rivers, but also occurs in other types of water bodies, including 
artificial bodies, so long as the bottom is sandy or muddy to support 
its burrowing behavior. The species is almost entirely aquatic and 
largely carnivorous; its reported list of food items is extensive and 
includes insects, molluscs, and other invertebrates, fish, amphibians, 
and small snakes. It will also consume plant material (Ernst and Lovich 
2009, pp. 632-633).
Conservation
    The common snapping turtle (since 2012) and spiny softshell turtle 
(since 2011) are considered to be of ``Least Concern'' by the 
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with the 
population trend being stable. The Florida softshell turtle (since 
2011) and

[[Page 64559]]

the smooth softshell (since 2011) turtle are also considered to be of 
``Least Concern'' by the IUCN, but with the population trend being 
unknown.
    These four native U.S. freshwater turtle species are protected to 
varying degrees by State and Tribal laws within the United States, with 
significant differences in levels and types of protection.

Common Snapping Turtle

    Personal collection and commercial harvest of the common snapping 
turtle (Chelydra serpentina) is permitted in Alabama, Arkansas, 
Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, 
Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, 
Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South 
Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
    In Arizona, where the species has been introduced, an unlimited 
number may be collected. In Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, 
Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, and West Virginia, collection for 
personal use is permitted; however, commercial harvest and trade is not 
permitted. In Connecticut and Massachusetts, collection and trade is 
allowed, with a 4 inch and 6 inch minimum shell length requirement for 
trade, respectively. Delaware requires limits on take to individuals 
with 8 inches or greater curved carapace length along with harvest 
equipment restrictions in place. North Dakota allows for harvest as 
specified on the appropriate permit.
    Personal harvest and commercial trade are prohibited in the 
District of Columbia, and Florida prohibits harvest from the wild 
(including eggs) or commercial trade in wild-caught specimens. In 
Illinois, commercial harvest is prohibited; however, aquaculture is 
allowed, and limited harvest for personal use is permitted in some 
areas.

Florida Softshell Turtle

    Commercial harvest and trade of the Florida softshell turtle is 
permitted in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. In Florida, one 
specimen per day per person may be taken from the wild, but commercial 
sale is not permitted. There are exceptions with specific requirements 
and limitations for commercial aquaculture.

Smooth Softshell Turtle

    Personal collection and commercial harvest of the smooth softshell 
turtle are permitted in Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, 
Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, 
Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
    Collection for personal use is permitted in Indiana, Kansas, 
Mississippi, and West Virginia; however, commercial harvest and trade 
are not permitted.
    In Florida, State regulations allow one specimen per day per person 
to be taken from the wild, but commercial sale is not permitted; there 
are exceptions with specific requirements and limitations for 
commercial aquaculture. In Illinois, commercial harvest is prohibited; 
however, aquaculture is allowed as well as limited harvest for personal 
use in some areas.

Spiny Softshell Turtle

    Collection for personal use and commercial harvest of the spiny 
softshell turtle are permitted in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, 
Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, 
South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
    In Arizona, where the species has been introduced, an unlimited 
number may be collected. Collection for personal use is permitted in 
Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, 
and West Virginia; however, commercial harvest and trade are not 
permitted. In Florida, one specimen per day per person may be taken 
from the wild, but commercial sale is not permitted. There are 
exceptions with specific requirements and limitations for commercial 
aquaculture. In Illinois, commercial harvest is prohibited; however, 
aquaculture is allowed, as well as limited harvest for personal use in 
some areas.

Federal Status

    Under section 3372(a)(1) of the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 (16 
U.S.C. 3371-3378), it is unlawful to import, export, transport, sell, 
receive, acquire, or purchase any wildlife taken, possessed, 
transported, or sold in violation of any law, treaty, or regulation of 
the United States. This prohibition would apply in instances where 
these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species were unlawfully 
collected from Federal lands, such as those Federal lands within the 
range of these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species that are 
managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, or other Federal agency.
    It is unlawful under section 3372(a)(2)(A) of the Lacey Act to 
import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in 
interstate or foreign commerce any wildlife taken, possessed, 
transported, or sold in violation of any law or regulation of any 
State. Because many State laws and regulations regulate the take of 
these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species, certain acts with 
these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species acquired unlawfully 
under State law could result in a violation of the Lacey Act Amendments 
of 1981 and thus provide for Federal enforcement action due to a 
violation of State law.

Decision To Propose To List Four Native U.S. Freshwater Turtle Species

    Based on the recommendations contained in Resolution Conf. 9.25 
(Rev. CoP16) and the listing criteria provided in our regulations at 50 
CFR 23.90, these four native U.S. freshwater turtle species, including 
all subspecies, qualify for listing in CITES Appendix III. Declines 
have been documented or locally severe declines may be possible in at 
least some portions of the range of these four native U.S. freshwater 
turtle species, although the Florida softshell seems to be resistant to 
high levels of commercial harvest. Its take in Florida is regulated and 
it is a species of special concern in South Carolina. Although snapping 
turtle populations are known to be vigorous throughout much of the 
species' range, long-term persistent take makes the species vulnerable 
to decline. Existing laws have not been completely successful in 
preventing the unauthorized collection and trade of these four native 
U.S. freshwater turtle species. Listing these four native U.S. 
freshwater turtle species, including their subspecies, except the 
Cuatro Cienegas spiny softshell turtle which is already listed in 
Appendix I, in Appendix III is necessary to allow us to adequately 
monitor international trade in these taxa; to determine whether exports 
are occurring legally, with respect to State law; and to determine 
whether further measures under CITES or other laws are required to 
conserve these species and subspecies. An Appendix-III listing would 
lend additional support to State wildlife agencies in their efforts to 
regulate and manage these species, improve data gathering to increase 
our knowledge of trade in these species, and strengthen State and 
Federal wildlife enforcement activities to prevent poaching and illegal 
trade. Furthermore, listing these species in Appendix III would enlist 
the assistance of other Parties in our efforts to monitor and control 
trade in these species and subspecies.

[[Page 64560]]

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. The Office of Information and Regulatory 
Affairs 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 rulemaking in a manner 
consistent with these requirements.

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

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), as 
amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 
U.S.C. 802(2)), whenever an agency is required to publish a notice of 
rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare and make 
available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that 
describes the effect of the rule on small entities (i.e., small 
businesses, small organizations, and small government jurisdictions). 
However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of 
an agency certifies the rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Department of the 
Interior certifies that this action would not have a significant effect 
on a substantial number of small entities for the reasons discussed 
below.
    This proposed rule establishes the means to monitor the 
international trade in species native to the United States and does not 
impose any new or changed restriction on the trade of legally acquired 
specimens. Based on current exports of these four native U.S. 
freshwater turtle species, we estimate that the costs to implement this 
rule will be less than $100,000 annually due to the costs associated 
with obtaining permits.
    According to the Small Business Administration, small entities 
include small organizations, such as independent nonprofit 
organizations; small governmental jurisdictions, including school 
boards and city and town governments that serve fewer than 50,000 
residents; and small businesses (13 CFR 121.201). Small businesses 
include manufacturing and mining concerns with fewer than 500 
employees, wholesale trade entities with fewer than 100 employees, 
retail and service businesses with less than $5 million in annual 
sales, general and heavy construction businesses with less than $27.5 
million in annual business, special trade contractors doing less than 
$11.5 million in annual business, and agricultural businesses with 
annual sales less than $750,000. This proposed rule:
    (a) Would not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million 
or more.
    (b) Would not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government 
agencies, or geographic regions.
    (c) Would not have significant adverse effects on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of 
U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

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

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 
1501), the Service makes the following findings: (a) This rulemaking 
would not produce a Federal mandate. In general, a Federal mandate is a 
provision in legislation, statute, or regulation that would impose an 
enforceable duty upon State, local, or Tribal governments, or the 
private sector, and includes both ``Federal intergovernmental 
mandates'' and ``Federal private sector mandates.'' These terms are 
defined in 2 U.S.C. 658(5)-(7). ``Federal intergovernmental mandate'' 
includes a regulation that ``would impose an enforceable duty upon 
State, local, or Tribal governments,'' with two exceptions. It excludes 
``a condition of federal assistance.'' It also excludes ``a duty 
arising from participation in a voluntary Federal program,'' unless the 
regulation ``relates to a then-existing Federal program under which 
$500,000,000 or more is provided annually to State, local, and Tribal 
governments under entitlement authority,'' if the provision would 
``increase the stringency of conditions of assistance'' or ``place caps 
upon, or otherwise decrease, the Federal Government's responsibility to 
provide funding'' and the State, local, or Tribal governments ``lack 
authority'' to adjust accordingly. ``Federal private sector mandate'' 
includes a regulation that ``would impose an enforceable duty upon the 
private sector, except (i) a condition of Federal assistance; or (ii) a 
duty arising from participation in a voluntary Federal program.'' This 
proposed rule would not impose a legally binding duty on non-Federal 
Government entities or private parties and would not impose an unfunded 
mandate of more than $100 million per year or have a significant or 
unique effect on State, local, or Tribal governments or the private 
sector because we, as the lead agency for CITES implementation in the 
United States, are responsible for the authorization of shipments of 
live wildlife, or their parts and products, that are subject to the 
requirements of CITES.

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

    This proposed rule does not contain any new collections of 
information that require approval by Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. Information that we 
would collect under this proposed rule on FWS Form 3-200-27 is covered 
by an existing OMB approval and has been assigned OMB control number 
1018-0093, which expires on May 31, 2017. We may not conduct or 
sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of 
information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

[[Page 64561]]

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)

    The Service has analyzed this proposed rule in accordance with the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The Council on 
Environmental Quality's (CEQ) regulations implementing NEPA, at 40 CFR 
1508.4, define a ``categorical exclusion'' as a category of actions 
which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on 
the human environment and which have been found to have no such effect 
on the human environment. CEQ's regulations further require Federal 
agencies to adopt NEPA procedures, including the adoption of 
categorical exclusions for which neither an environmental assessment 
nor an environmental impact statement is required (40 CFR 1507.3). The 
Service has determined that this rulemaking is categorically excluded 
from further environmental analysis under NEPA in accordance with the 
Department's NEPA regulations at 43 CFR 46.210(i), which categorically 
excludes ``[p]olicies, directives, regulations, and guidelines: That 
are of an administrative, financial, legal, technical, or procedural 
nature.'' In addition, the Service has determined that none of the 
extraordinary circumstances listed under the Department's regulations 
at 43 CFR 46.215, in which a normally excluded action may have a 
significant environmental effect, applies to this proposed rule.

Takings (Executive Order 12630)

    In accordance with Executive Order (E.O.) 12630 (``Government 
Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Private 
Property Rights''), we have determined that this proposed rule would 
not have significant takings implications since there are no changes in 
what may be exported.

Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

    In accordance with E.O. 13132 (Federalism), this proposed rule 
would not have significant Federalism effects. A Federalism assessment 
is not required because this proposed rule would 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. Although this 
proposed rule would generate information that would be beneficial to 
State wildlife agencies, we do not anticipate that any State monitoring 
or control programs would need to be developed to fulfill the purpose 
of this proposed rule. We have consulted the States, through the 
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, on this proposed action. The 
CITES Technical Work Group, comprising representatives from States in 
different regions of the United States, of the Association of Fish and 
Wildlife Agencies has concluded that including these four native U.S. 
freshwater turtle species in CITES Appendix III is warranted in order 
to help ensure conservation of these species in the wild and to assist 
State agencies in regulating harvest and trade.
    Further, formal and informal consultation with various interested 
parties regarding this proposal has generally resulted in support for 
the proposal. These proposed changes will help us more effectively 
conserve these species and will help those affected by CITES to 
understand how to conduct lawful international trade in wildlife and 
wildlife products.

Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

    The Department, in promulgating this rulemaking, has determined 
that it will not unduly burden the judicial system and that it meets 
the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments (59 FR 22951), E.O. 13175, and the Department of the 
Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, we have a responsibility to communicate 
meaningfully with Federally recognized Indian Tribes on a government-
to-government basis. In accordance with Secretarial Order 3206 of June 
5, 1997 (American Indian Tribal Rights, Federal-Tribal Trust 
Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act), we readily 
acknowledge our responsibilities to work directly with Tribes in 
developing programs for healthy ecosystems, to acknowledge that Tribal 
lands are not subject to the same controls as Federal public lands, to 
remain sensitive to Indian culture, and to make information available 
to Tribes. We determined that this proposed action will not interfere 
with the Tribes' ability to manage themselves or their funds or to 
regulate these turtle species on Tribal lands.

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

    E.O. 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy 
Effects when undertaking actions that significantly affect energy 
supply, distribution, and use. This proposed action is not expected to 
significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, or use. Therefore, 
this action is not a significant energy action, and no Statement of 
Energy Effects is required.

Clarity of the Rule

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988, and by the 
Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain 
language. This means that each rule we publish must:
    (a) Be logically organized;
    (b) Use the active voice to address readers directly;
    (c) Use clear language rather than jargon;
    (d) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and
    (e) Use lists and tables wherever possible.
    If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us 
comments by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. To better help us 
revise the proposed rule, your comments should be as specific as 
possible. For example, you should tell us the numbers of the sections 
or paragraphs that are unclearly written, which sections or sentences 
are too long, the sections where you feel lists or tables would be 
useful, etc.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in this proposed rule is 
available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov or upon request 
from the Division of Management Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Author

    The primary author of this proposed rule is Clifton A. Horton, 
Division of Management Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

[[Page 64562]]

Proposed Amendment to CITES Appendix III

    Our regulations at 50 CFR 23.90 require us to publish a proposed 
rule and, if appropriate, a final rule for a CITES Appendix-III 
listing, even though the final rule would not result in any changes to 
the Code of Federal Regulations. Accordingly, for the reasons provided 
in this document, we propose to ask the CITES Secretariat to amend 
Appendix III of CITES to include for the United States these four 
native U.S. freshwater turtle species, including their subspecies 
(except the Cuatro Cienegas spiny softshell turtle, which is in 
Appendix I): The common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina), Florida 
softshell turtle (Apalone ferox), smooth softshell turtle (Apalone 
mutica), and spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera).
    After analysis of any comments received on the proposed rule, we 
will publish our final decision in the Federal Register. If we adopt a 
final rule, we will contact the CITES Secretariat prior to publishing 
the rule to clarify the exact time period required by the Secretariat 
to inform the Parties of the listing, so that the effective date of the 
final rule coincides with the effective date of the listing in Appendix 
III. The listing would take effect 90 days after the CITES Secretariat 
informs the Parties of the listing.

     Dated: October 7, 2014.
Stephen Guertin,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-25768 Filed 10-29-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P