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Proposed Rule

Tuberculosis in Cattle and Bison; State and Zone Designations

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AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

We are proposing to amend the bovine tuberculosis regulations by establishing two separate zones with different tuberculosis risk classifications in the State of Michigan and raising the designation of one of those zones from modified accredited to modified accredited advanced. We are proposing this action based on our determination that Michigan meets the requirements for zone recognition and that one of the zones meets the criteria for designation as modified accredited advanced.

DATES:

We will consider all comments that we receive on or before June 6, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by postal mail/commercial delivery or by e-mail. If you use postal mail/commercial delivery, please send four copies of your comment (an original and three copies) to: Docket No. 02-112-1, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3C71, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to Docket No. 02-112-1. If you use e-mail, address your comment to regulations@aphis.usda.gov. Your comment must be contained in the body of your message; do not send attached files. Please include your name and address in your message and “Docket No. 02-112-1” on the subject line.

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:

Dr. Joseph VanTiem, Senior Staff Veterinarian, National Animal Health Programs, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 43, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-7716.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Bovine tuberculosis is a contagious, infectious, and communicable disease caused by Mycobacterium bovis. It affects cattle, bison, deer, elk, goats, and other species, including humans. Bovine tuberculosis in infected animals and humans manifests itself in lesions of the lung, bone, and other body parts, causes weight loss and general debilitation, and can be fatal.

At the beginning of the 20th century, bovine tuberculosis caused more losses of livestock than all other livestock diseases combined. This prompted the establishment of the National Cooperative State/Federal Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication Program for bovine tuberculosis in livestock.

Federal regulations implementing this program are contained in 9 CFR part 77, “Tuberculosis” (referred to below as the regulations), and in the “Uniform Methods and Rules-Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication” (UMR), which is incorporated by reference into the regulations. The regulations restrict the interstate movement of cattle, bison, and captive cervids to prevent the spread of tuberculosis. We propose to amend the regulations to establish two tuberculosis classification zones within Michigan.

Conditions for Zone Recognition

Under §§ 77.3 and 77.4 of the regulations, in order to qualify for zone classification by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the State must meet the following requirements:

1. The State must have adopted and must be enforcing regulations that impose restriction on the intrastate movement of cattle, bison, and captive cervids that are substantially the same as those in place in part 77 for the interstate movement of those animals.

2. The designation of part of a State as a zone must otherwise be adequate to prevent the interstate spread of tuberculosis.

3. The zones must be delineated by the animal health authorities in the State making the request for zone recognition and must be approved by the APHIS Administrator.

4. The request for zone classification must demonstrate that the State has the legal and financial resources to implement and enforce a tuberculosis eradication program and has in place the infrastructure, laws, and regulations to require and ensure that State and Federal animal health authorities are notified of tuberculosis cases in domestic livestock or outbreaks in wildlife.

5. The request for zone classification must demonstrate that the State maintains, in each intended zone, clinical and epidemiological surveillance of animal species at risk of tuberculosis, at a rate that allows detection of tuberculosis in the overall population of livestock at a 2 percent prevalence rate with 95 percent confidence. The designated tuberculosis epidemiologist must review reports of all testing for each zone within the State within 30 days of the testing.

6. The State must enter into a memorandum of understanding with APHIS in which the State agrees to adhere to any conditions for zone recognition particular to that request.

Request for Zone Recognition in Michigan

Currently, the State of Michigan is classified as modified accredited for cattle and bison. However, we have received from the State of Michigan a request for zone recognition in which State animal health officials demonstrate that Michigan meets the requirements listed above for the requested zone recognition. Therefore, we propose to recognize two zones in Michigan as follows:

  • The smaller of the two zones would consist of Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Montmorency, Oscoda, Otsego, and Presque Isle Start Printed Page 16734Counties and those portions of Iosco and Ogemaw Counties that are north of the southernmost boundary of the Huron National Forest and the Au Sable State Forest.
  • The second zone in Michigan would consist of the remainder of the State.

The criteria for modified accredited advanced status are set forth in the definition of Modified accredited advanced State or zone in § 77.5 of the regulations. According to those criteria, the Administrator, upon his or her review may allow a State or zone with fewer than 30,000 herds to have up to 3 affected herds for each of the most recent 2 years, depending on the veterinary infrastructure, livestock demographics, and tuberculosis control and eradication measures in the State or zone. State animal health officials in Michigan have demonstrated to APHIS that, except for the smaller zone, Michigan now meets these criteria.

The criteria for modified accredited status are set forth in the definition of Modified accredited State or zone in § 77.5 of the regulations. According to those criteria, the Administrator, upon his or her review, may allow a State or zone with fewer than 10,000 herds to have up to 10 affected herds for the most recent year, depending on the veterinary infrastructure, livestock demographics, and tuberculosis control and eradication measures. State animal health officials in Michigan have demonstrated to APHIS that the smaller zone meets these criteria.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

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

Bovine tuberculosis is a communicable disease of cattle, bison, cervids and other species, including humans, and results in losses of meat and milk production among infected animals. As part of the Cooperative State/Federal Tuberculosis Eradication Program, which has virtually eliminated bovine tuberculosis from the Nation's livestock populations, the regulations classify each State according to its tuberculosis risk and place certain restrictions on the movement of cattle and bison from States with high-risk classifications.

Currently, the State of Michigan is classified as modified accredited for cattle and bison. We propose to amend the regulations to establish two classification zones within Michigan. Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Montmorency, Oscoda, Otsego, and Presque Isle Counties and those portions of Iosco and Ogemaw Counties that are north of the southernmost boundary of the Huron National Forest and the Au Sable State Forest would be classified as modified accredited. The designation of the remaining counties in the State would be raised from modified accredited to modified accredited advanced. We discuss below the projected effects of the proposed action.

As of January 2002, there were approximately 15,500 cattle operations in Michigan, totaling 990,000 head of cattle. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the reported total cash value of cattle in Michigan is $900.9 million as of that year. Over 98 percent of Michigan's cattle operations yield less than $750,000 in yearly revenues and are therefore considered small entities under criteria established by the Small Business Administration.

For those counties or portions of counties in the smaller zone that would remain under modified accredited status, there would be no change in production costs. These 11 counties contribute approximately 63,100 head of cattle to the statewide total, representing only 6.4 percent of total cattle production in Michigan. The counties or portions of counties in the larger zone that would be raised from modified accredited status to modified accredited advanced status would experience fewer interstate movement restrictions associated with pre-movement testing requirements. Decreased tuberculin testing would result in decreased production costs for the affected producers, thus providing the monetary benefit described below.

The approximate per head tuberculin testing cost is $6.33, based on an average Michigan herd consisting of 60 animals. This is compared to an average sale value of approximately $910 per head. Thus, savings resulting from reduced testing represent less than 1 percent of the per-head value. This benefit is relatively small when compared to the total size and significance of the cattle and bison industry in Michigan and the United States overall.

Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

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 proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. If this proposed rule is adopted: (1) All State and local laws and regulations that are in conflict with this rule will be preempted; (2) no retroactive effect will be given to this rule; and (3) administrative proceedings will not be required before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This proposed rule contains no new 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 9 CFR Part 77

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Accordingly, we propose to amend 9 CFR part 77 as follows:

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PART 77—TUBERCULOSIS

1. The authority citation for part 77 would continue to read as follows:

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Authority: 7 U.S.C. 8301-8317; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

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2. In § 77.9, paragraph (b) would be revised to read as follows:

Modified accredited advanced States or zones.
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(b) The following are modified accredited advanced zones: All of the State of Michigan except for the zone that comprises those counties or portions of counties in Michigan described in § 77.11(b).

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3. In § 77.11, paragraphs (a) and (b) would be revised to read as follows:

Modified accredited States or zones.

(a) The following are modified accredited States: None.

(b) The following are modified accredited zones: A zone in Michigan that comprises Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Montmorency, Oscoda, Otsego, and Presque Isle Counties and those portions of Iosco and Ogemaw Counties that are north of the southernmost boundary of the Huron National Forest and the Au Sable State Forest.

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Done in Washington, DC, this 1st day of April, 2003.

Peter Fernandez,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-8332 Filed 4-4-03; 8:45 am]

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