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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 regulations that provide for the payment of compensation to owners of commercial stone fruit orchards and fruit tree nurseries whose trees or nursery stock were destroyed to eradicate plum pox.

DATES:

We will consider all comments that we receive on or before February 3, 2004.

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. 03-107-1, 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. 03-107-1. 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. 03-107-1” 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:

For information regarding the plum pox regulations, contact Mr. Stephen Poe, Operations Officer, Pest Detection and Management Programs, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 134, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-8899. For copies of more detailed information on the information collection, contact Mrs. Celeste Sickles, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 734-7477.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Plum Pox Compensation.

OMB Number: 0579-0159.

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

Abstract: The Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701-7772) authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture, either independently or in cooperation with the States, to carry out operations or measures to detect, eradicate, suppress, control, prevent, or retard the spread of plant pests, such as plum pox, that are new to or not widely distributed within the United States.

Plum pox is an extremely serious viral disease of plants that can affect many Prunus (stone fruit) species, including plum, peach, apricot, almond, nectarine, and sweet and tart cherry. A number of wild and ornamental Prunus species may also be susceptible to this disease. Infection eventually results in severely reduced fruit production, and the fruit that is produced is often misshapen and blemished. Plum pox virus is transmitted locally by a variety of aphid species, as well as by budding and grafting with infected plant material, and spreads over longer distances through movement of infected budwood, nursery stock, and other plant parts.

There are no known effective methods for treating trees or other plant material infected with plum pox, nor are there any known effective prophylactic treatments to prevent the disease from occurring in trees exposed to the disease due to their proximity to infected trees or other plant material. Without effective treatments, the only option for preventing the spread of the disease is the destruction of infected and exposed trees and other plant material.

The regulations in “Subpart—Plum Pox” (7 CFR 301.74-301.74-5) quarantine areas of the United States where plum pox has been detected, restrict the interstate movement of host material from quarantined areas, and provide for compensation to owners of commercial stone fruit orchards and fruit tree nurseries whose trees or nursery stock were destroyed to eradicate plum pox.

Section 310.74-5 requires applicants for the payment of compensation to complete a form.

We are asking the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve our use of this information collection activity for an additional 3 years.

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 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 information collection, 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 information collection 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 0.16666 hours per response.

Respondents: Eligible owners of stone fruit orchards and fruit tree nurseries in Pennsylvania. Start Printed Page 68016

Estimated annual number of respondents: 6.

Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 1.

Estimated annual number of responses: 6.

Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 1 hour. (Due to averaging, the total annual burden hours may not equal the product of the annual number of responses multiplied by the 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 1st day of December 2003.

Kevin Shea,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-30231 Filed 12-4-03; 8:45 am]

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