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Proposed Rule

Mediterranean Fruit Fly; Addition to Quarantined Areas

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Interim rule and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

We are amending the Mediterranean fruit fly regulations by adding a portion of Los Angeles County, CA, to the list of quarantined areas and restricting the interstate movement of regulated articles from the quarantined area. This action is necessary on an emergency basis to prevent the spread of the Mediterranean fruit fly into noninfested areas of the United States.

DATES:

This interim rule was effective October 15, 2001. We invite you to comment on this docket. We will consider all comments that we receive by December 18, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Please send four copies of your comment (an original and three copies) to: Docket No. 01-093-1, 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. 01-093-1.

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 dockets, are available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/​ppd/​rad/​webrepor.html.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Stephen A. Knight, Senior Staff Officer, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 36, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-8247.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), is one of the world's most destructive pests of numerous fruits and vegetables. The Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) can cause serious economic losses. Heavy infestations can cause complete loss of crops, and losses of 25 to 50 percent are not uncommon. The short life cycle of this pest permits the rapid development of serious outbreaks.

The Mediterranean fruit fly regulations contained in 7 CFR 301.78 through 301.78-10 (referred to below as the regulations) restrict the interstate movement of regulated articles from quarantined areas to prevent the spread of Medfly to noninfested areas of the United States. Recent trapping surveys by inspectors of California State and county agencies and by inspectors of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have revealed that an infestation of Medfly has occurred in the Hyde Park area of Los Angeles County, CA.

The regulations in § 301.78-3 provide that the Administrator of APHIS will list as a quarantined area each State, or each portion of a State, in which the Medfly has been found by an inspector, in which the Administrator has reason to believe that the Medfly is present, or that the Administrator considers necessary to regulate because of its inseparability for quarantine enforcement purposes from localities in which the Medfly has been found.

Less than an entire State will be designated as a quarantined area only if the Administrator determines that the State has adopted and is enforcing restrictions on the intrastate movement of regulated articles that are equivalent to those imposed on the interstate movement of regulated articles, and the designation of less than the entire State as a quarantined area will prevent the interstate spread of the Medfly. The boundary lines for a portion of a State being designated as quarantined are set up approximately four-and-one-half miles from the detection sites. The boundary lines may vary due to factors such as the location of Medfly host material, the location of transportation centers such as bus stations and airports, the patterns of persons moving in that State, the number and patterns of distribution of the Medfly, and the use of clearly identifiable lines for the boundaries.

In accordance with these criteria and the recent Medfly findings described above, we are amending § 301.78-3 by adding a portion of Los Angeles County, CA, to the list of quarantined areas. The new quarantined area is described in the rule portion of this document.

Emergency Action

This rulemaking is necessary on an emergency basis to prevent the Medfly from spreading to noninfested areas of the United States. Under these circumstances, the Administrator has determined that prior notice and opportunity for public comment are contrary to the public interest and that there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553 for making this rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

We will consider comments that are received within 60 days of publication of this rule in the Federal Register. After the comment period closes, we will publish another document in the Federal Register. The document will include a discussion of any comments we receive and any amendments we are making to the rule as a result of the comments.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12866. For this action, the Office of Management and Budget has waived its review process required by Executive Order 12866.

In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 603, we have performed an initial regulatory flexibility analysis, which is set out below, regarding the effects of this interim rule on small entities. We do not currently have all the data necessary for a comprehensive analysis of the effects of this interim rule on small entities. Therefore, we are inviting comments concerning potential effects. In particular, we are interested in Start Printed Page 53124determining the number and kind of small entities that may incur benefits or costs from the implementation of this interim rule.

Under the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701-7772), the Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to regulate the interstate movement of articles to prevent the spread of injurious plant pests in the United States.

This interim rule amends the Medfly regulations by adding a portion of Los Angeles County, CA, to the list of quarantined areas. This action is necessary on an emergency basis to prevent the spread of the Medfly into noninfested areas of the United States.

This rule restricts the interstate movement of regulated articles from the newly quarantined area. The portion of Los Angeles County, CA, subject to quarantine under this rule is a predominantly residential area with many apartment buildings. Available information indicates that there are no entities in the quarantined area that sell, process, handle, or move regulated articles. Such entities would include fruit sellers, nurseries, growers, packinghouses, certified farmer's markets, and swapmeets.

The alternative to this interim rule was to make no changes in the regulations. After consideration, we rejected this alternative because if no action was taken, the Medfly would spread to noninfested areas of the continental United States.

This interim rule contains no information collection or recordkeeping requirements.

Executive Order 12372

This program/activity is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance under No. 10.025 and is subject to Executive Order 12372, which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. (See 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V.)

Executive Order 12988

This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule: (1) Preempts all State and local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule; (2) has no retroactive effect; and (3) does not require administrative proceedings before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

National Environmental Policy Act

An environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact have been prepared for this interim rule. The site-specific environmental assessment and programmatic Medfly environmental impact statement provide a basis for our conclusion that the implementation of integrated pest management to achieve eradication of the Medfly would not have a significant impact on human health or the natural environment. Based on the finding of no significant impact, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that an environmental impact statement need not be prepared.

The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact were prepared in accordance with: (1) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), (2) regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), (3) USDA regulations implementing NEPA (7 CFR part 1b), and (4) APHIS' NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372).

Copies of the environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact are available for public inspection at USDA, room 1141, South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. Persons wishing to inspect copies are requested to call ahead on (202) 690-2817 to facilitate entry into the reading room. In addition, copies may be obtained by writing to the individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or viewed on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/​ppd/​es/​ppq/​hydepkea.pdf.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This interim rule contains no information collection or recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

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List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 301

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Accordingly, we are amending 7 CFR part 301 as follows:

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PART 301—DOMESTIC QUARANTINE NOTICES

1. The authority citation for part 301 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 7 U.S.C. 166, 7711, 7712, 7714, 7731, 7735, 7751, 7752, 7753, and 7754; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

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Section 301.75-15 also issued under Sec. 204, Title II, Pub. L. 106-113, 113 Stat. 1501A-293; sections 301.75-15 and 301.75-16 also issued under Sec. 203, Title II, Pub. L. 106-224, 114 Stat. 400 (7 U.S.C. 1421 note).

2. In § 301.78-3, paragraph (c) is revised to read as follows:

Quarantined Areas.
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(c) The areas described below are designated as quarantined areas:

California

Los Angeles County. That portion of the county in the Hyde Park area bounded by a line beginning at the intersection of La Brea Avenue and Interstate Highway 10; then east along Interstate Highway 10 to Alameda Street; then south along Alameda Street to Washington Boulevard; then east along Washington Boulevard to Sante Fe Avenue; then south along Sante Fe Avenue to Truba Avenue; then south along Truba Avenue to Tweedy Boulevard; then west along Tweedy Boulevard to Alameda Street; then south along Alameda Street to 103rd Street; then west along 103rd Street to Wilmington Avenue; then south along Wilmington Avenue to Interstate Highway 105; then west along Interstate Highway 105 to Hawthorne Boulevard; then north along Hawthorne Boulevard to La Brea Avenue; then north along La Brea Avenue to the point of beginning.

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Done in Washington, DC, this 15th day of October 2001 .

Bobby R. Acord,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. 01-26329 Filed 10-18-01; 8:45 am]

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