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Rule

Karnal Bunt; Regulated Areas

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Affirmation of interim rule as final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting as a final rule, without change, an interim rule that amended the Karnal bunt regulations by adding certain areas in Arizona and Texas to the list of regulated areas either because they were found during detection and delineating surveys to contain a bunted wheat kernel, or because they fell within the 3-mile-wide buffer zone around fields or areas affected with Karnal bunt. The interim rule also removed certain individual fields and other areas in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas from the list of regulated areas, either because detection and delineating surveys showed them to be free of Karnal bunt, or because they had not been used to produce Karnal bunt host crops within the last 5 years, or because they had been used to produce Karnal bunt host crops in 1 or more years following initial regulation and the crops have been tested and found free of Karnal bunt. The interim rule was necessary to help prevent the spread of Karnal bunt into noninfected areas of the United States and to relieve restrictions that are no longer warranted.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

The interim rule became effective on October 3, 2002.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Robert G. Spaide, Senior Program Manager, Surveillance and Emergency Programs Planning and Coordination, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 134, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 734-7819.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Karnal bunt is a fungal disease of wheat (Triticum aestivum), durum wheat (Triticum durum), and triticale (Triticum aestivum X Secale cereale), a hybrid of wheat and rye. Karnal bunt is caused by the smut fungus Tilletia indica (Mitra) Mundkur and is spread primarily through the movement of infected seed. Some countries in the international wheat market regulate Karnal bunt as a fungal disease requiring quarantine; therefore, without measures taken by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), United States Department of Agriculture, to prevent its spread, the presence of Karnal bunt in the United States could have significant consequences with regard to the export of wheat to international markets.

Upon detection of Karnal bunt in Arizona in March of 1996, Federal quarantine and emergency actions were imposed to prevent the interstate spread of the disease to other wheat producing areas in the United States. The quarantine continues in effect, although it has since been modified, both in terms of its physical boundaries and in terms of its restrictions on the production and movement of regulated articles from regulated areas. The regulations regarding Karnal bunt are set forth in 7 CFR 301.89-1 through 301.89-16 (referred to below as the regulations).

In an interim rule effective and published in the Federal Register on October 3, 2002 (67 FR 61975-61980, Docket No. 02-037-1), we amended the regulations by adding certain areas in Start Printed Page 56530Arizona and Texas to the list of regulated areas in § 301.89-3(f), either because they were found during detection and delineating surveys to contain a bunted wheat kernel, or because they fell within the 3-mile-wide buffer zone around fields or areas affected with Karnal bunt. We also removed certain individual fields and other areas in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas from the list of regulated areas in § 301.89-3(f), either because recently completed detection and delineating surveys showed them to be free of Karnal bunt, or because they had not been used to produce Karnal bunt host crops within the last 5 years, or because they had been used to produce Karnal bunt host crops in 1 or more years following initial regulation and the crops have been tested and found free of Karnal bunt. The interim rule was necessary to help prevent the spread of Karnal bunt into noninfected areas of the United States and to relieve restrictions that are no longer warranted.

Comments on the interim rule were required to be received on or before December 2, 2002. We received two comments by that date. The comments were from State departments of agriculture. Both commenters supported the interim rule. However, one commenter stated that it was important for APHIS to communicate the deregulation of the areas as described in the interim rule through immediate updates to all Karnal bunt fact sheets, maps, manuals, Web sites, and other resources for information.

Currently, APHIS has procedures in place for ensuring that this type of information is updated promptly. APHIS uses its Internet site, on which we make available materials such as press releases, maps, and fact sheets, to communicate the type of information noted by the commenter, and such updates are routinely communicated to APHIS personnel involved in regulatory programs. While it is perhaps most important that the deregulated areas be removed from the list of regulated areas in § 301.89-3(f), we do make every effort to ensure that related materials such as fact sheets, etc., are updated promptly.

Therefore, for the reasons given in the interim rule and in this document, we are adopting the interim rule as a final rule without change.

This action also affirms the information contained in the interim rule concerning Executive Order 12866 and the Regulatory Flexibility Act, Executive Orders 12372 and 12988, and the Paperwork Reduction Act.

Further, for this action, the Office of Management and Budget has waived its review under Executive Order 12866.

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List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 301

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PART 301—DOMESTIC QUARANTINE NOTICES

Accordingly, we are adopting as a final rule, without change, the interim rule that amended 7 CFR part 301 and that was published at 67 FR 61975-61980 on October 3, 2002.

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Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7701-7772; 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).

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Done in Washington, DC, this 25th day of September, 2003.

Peter Fernandez,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-24874 Filed 9-30-03; 8:45 am]

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