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Notice

Notice of Request for Extension of Approval of an Information Collection

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AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Extension of approval of an information collection; comment request.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's intention to request an extension of approval of an information collection in support of the plant pest, noxious weed, and garbage regulations.

DATES:

We invite you to comment on this docket. We will consider all comments that we receive by April 17, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Please send your comment and three copies to: Docket No. 99-104-1, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Suite 3C03, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to Docket No. 99-104-1.

You may read any comments that we receive on this docket in our reading room. The reading room is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 690-2817 before coming.

APHIS documents published in the Federal Register, and related information, including the names of organizations and individuals who have commented on APHIS rules, are available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/​ppd/​rad/​webrepor.html.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For information regarding the plant pest and noxious weed regulations, contact Ms. Polly Lehtonen, Botanist, Biological Assessment and Taxonomic Support, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-4394. For information regarding the garbage regulations, contact Dr. Elizabeth Klontz, Veterinary Medical Officer, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 129, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-7633. For copies of more detailed information on the information collection, contact Ms. Cheryl Groves, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 734-5086.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Plant Pest, Noxious Weed, and Garbage Regulations.

OMB Number: 0579-0054.

Expiration Date of Approval: February 29, 2000.

Type of Request: Extension of approval of an information collection.

Abstract: The Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), U. S. Department of Agriculture, is responsible for preventing plant pests and noxious weeds from entering the United States, preventing the spread of pests and weeds not widely distributed in the United States, and eradicating those introduced pests and weeds when eradication is feasible. PPQ is also responsible for preventing plant and animal diseases and pests from entering the United States in waste material derived from, or associated with, fruits, vegetables, meats, or other plant or animal matter commonly referred to as garbage.

The introduction and establishment of new plant and animal pests and diseases or noxious weeds in the United States could cause multimillion dollar losses to U.S. agriculture.

To prevent this from happening, we engage in a number of information collection activities under 7 CFR parts 330 and 360, and 9 CFR part 94, § 94.5, that are designed to allow us to determine whether shipments of regulated articles (such as certain plants and soil) represent a possible risk of introducing or disseminating plant pests or noxious weeds into the United States.

Our primary means of obtaining this vital information is requiring individuals to apply to us for a permit to import regulated articles or to move Start Printed Page 8113these articles interstate. The permit application contains such information as the nature and amount of items to be imported or moved interstate, the country or locality of origin, the intended destination, and the intended port of entry in the United States.

Such data enable us to evaluate the risks associated with the proposed importation or interstate movement of plant pests, noxious weeds, and soil and to develop risk-mitigating conditions, if necessary, for the proposed importation or interstate movement.

We also require the owners or operators of certain garbage-handling facilities to apply to us for a permit so that they can be approved to process regulated garbage in such a way that it no longer poses a threat of disseminating plant pests or livestock and poultry diseases within the United States. We also employ compliance agreements in our programs to help ensure that garbage handlers and others use appropriate mitigation measures. Without these information gathering procedures, we would have no way of detecting and intercepting shipments that pose a potential risk to U.S. agriculture.

We are asking the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve the continued use of this information collection activity.

The purpose of this notice is to solicit comments from the public (as well as affected agencies) concerning our information collection. These comments will help us:

(1) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

(2) Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

(3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

(4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through use, as appropriate, of automated, electronic, mechanical, and other collection technologies; e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

Estimate of burden: The public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average .80896 hours per response.

Respondents: Importers and shippers of plant pests, noxious weeds, and other regulated articles; State plant health authorities; owners/operators of regulated garbage-handling facilities.

Estimated annual number of respondents: 39,962.

Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 1.1643.

Estimated annual number of responses: 46,530.

Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 37,641 hours. (Due to rounding, the total annual burden hours may not equal the product of the annual number of responses multiplied by the average reporting burden per response.)

All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

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Done in Washington, DC, this 11th day of February 2000.

Bobby R. Acord,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. 00-3834 Filed 2-16-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-34-U