User Fees for Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection Services
On May 13, 2016, the Air Transport Association of America filed suit against the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), claiming APHIS' 2015 final rule setting fee structures for its Agricultural Quarantine Inspection (AQI) program (Docket No. APHIS- 2013-0021, effective December 28, 2015) violated the Administrative Procedure Act. In its March 28, 2018 Order, the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia rejected challenges based on the calculations and methods for setting the fees and APHIS' adoption of the final rule. However, the Court also held that APHIS improperly relied on an expired provision in the relevant statute to justify its ability to levy a fee to support a reserve account. In so doing, the Court did ``not evaluate or rule on the agency's current argument that it has authority to fund a reserve'' pursuant to other statutory authority. In this clarification to the final rule, APHIS clarifies that, while we accept the court's holding that congressional authority under one specific provision of the statute to maintain a reasonable balance in the reserve account expired in 2002, this expiration does not abrogate our authority to collect for a reserve, as that authorization is written into other provisions of the statute. This interpretation is consistent with APHIS' long-standing precedent as set forth in prior rulemakings. The agency is only seeking comments related to the legal authority for the reserve component of AQI User Fee Program and is not reexamining any other aspect of the program at this time, including the AQI User Fee calculation.
Notice of Request for Reinstatement of an Information Collection; National Animal Health Monitoring System; Swine 2020 Study
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's intention to request the reinstatement of an information collection to conduct the National Animal Health Monitoring System's Swine 2020 Study.
Phytophthora ramorum; Regulated Areas, Regulated Establishments, and Testing Protocols
We are amending the Phytophthora ramorum regulations to remove regulated areas for P. ramorum from the regulations, as well as all regulatory requirements specific to such areas. We are revising the inspection and sampling requirements for certain nurseries that are in areas quarantined for P. ramorum and that ship regulated nursery stock interstate to have them take into consideration additional potential sources of P. ramorum inoculum at the nurseries. Finally, we are establishing conditions under which we would regulate nurseries located outside of the quarantined areas for P. ramorum, if sources of P. ramorum inoculum are detected at those nurseries and the nurseries ship certain articles interstate. These changes will provide regulatory relief to nurseries in areas that are regulated for P. ramorum, while also ensuring that nurseries that may pose a risk of disseminating P. ramorum through the interstate movement of regulated nursery stock are subject to measures that address this risk.
Notice of Proposed Revision To Import Requirements for the Importation of Fresh Fragrant Pears From China Into the United States
We are advising the public that we have prepared a pest risk analysis relative to the importation into the United States of fragrant pears from an additional area of production in China. Based on the findings of the analysis, we are proposing to authorize the importation of fragrant pears from this additional area of production in China and revise the conditions under which fragrant pears from authorized areas of production in China may be imported into the United States. We are making the pest risk analysis available to the public for review and comment.
Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Preliminary Pest Risk Assessment for Permit for Release of Genetically Engineered Citrus Tristeza Virus
We are reopening the comment period for our notice that made available a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) and preliminary pest risk assessment (PRA) regarding the potential environmental impacts and plant pest risk associated with the proposed environmental release of genetically engineered Citrus tristeza virus. We have updated the EIS and PRA in light of recently published scientific research regarding the vectoring of Citrus tristeza virus, and are making the updated EIS and PRA available for public review and comment. This action will allow interested persons additional time to prepare and submit comments on these revised documents.
Notice of Availability of Proposed Changes to the National Poultry Improvement Plan Program Standards
We are advising the public that proposed changes to the National Poultry Improvement Plan Program Standards are available for review and comment.
Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment; Importation of Plants in Approved Growing Media Into the United States
We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is making available a draft programmatic environmental assessment for the importation of plants in approved growing media. The programmatic environmental assessment considers the potential environmental effects of a standardized set of pest risk mitigations for routine market requests to import plants in approved growing media. The programmatic environmental assessment would eliminate the need to prepare a unique environmental assessment for each routine market request, thereby making the process for approving imports of plants in approved growing media simpler and more efficient. We are making the programmatic environmental assessment available to the public for review and comment.
BASF Plant Science, LP; Availability of a Draft Plant Pest Risk Assessment and Draft Environmental Assessment for Canola Genetically Engineered for Altered Oil Profile and Resistance to an Imidazolinone Herbicide
We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is making available for public comment a draft plant pest risk assessment (PPRA) and draft environmental assessment (EA) for canola designated as event LBFLFK, which has been genetically engineered (GE) to allow for the synthesis of long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, from oleic acid in canola seed. The GE canola has also been genetically engineered for resistance to an imidazolinone herbicide. We are making the draft PPRA and draft EA available for public review and comment.
Evaluation and Recognition of the Animal Health Status of Compartments
We are proposing to establish standards to allow us to recognize compartments for animal disease status, consistent with World Organization for Animal Health international standards. Under this proposed rule, when a foreign government submits a request for recognition of a compartment, we would conduct a disease risk assessment based on a list of eight factors that closely parallel those we use when conducting regionalization evaluations, and we would provide for public notice of and comment on the risk assessment. We would also add provisions for imposing import restrictions and/or prohibitions when a compartment we have recognized as disease-free experiences an outbreak and for lifting those sanctions once the outbreak has been controlled. These proposed standards would provide a tool that may be used to preserve international trade when regionalization is not feasible.