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Notice

Notice of Request for Extension of Approval of an Information Collection

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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:

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 associated with regulations for the importation of fruits and vegetables.

DATES:

We will consider all comments that we receive on or before February 22, 2005.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

  • EDOCKET: Go to http://www.epa.gov/​feddocket to submit or view public comments, access the index listing of the contents of the official public docket, and to access those documents in the public docket that are available electronically. Once you have entered EDOCKET, click on the “View Open APHIS Dockets” link to locate this document.
  • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send four copies of your comment (an original and three copies) to Docket No. 04-123-1, 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. 04-123-1.
  • 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. 04-123-1” on the subject line.

Reading Room: 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.

Other Information: You may view APHIS documents published in the Federal Register and related information, including the names of groups and individuals who have commented on APHIS dockets, on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/​ppd/​rad/​webrepor.html.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For information on regulations associated with the importation of fruits and vegetables, contact Ms. Jeanne Van Dersal, Senior Import Specialist, Phytosanitary Issues Management, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 140, Riverdale MD 20737; (301) 734-6653. 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: Importation of Fruits and Vegetables.

OMB Number: 0579-0136.

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 to regulate the importation of plants, plant products, and other articles into the United States to prevent the introduction of plant pests and noxious weeds.

The regulations in Subpart—Fruits and Vegetables (7 CFR 319.56 through 319.56-8) authorize a number of fruits and vegetables to be imported into the United States, under specified conditions, from certain parts of the world. These fruits and vegetables include cole and mustard crops from Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Peru; rhubarb from Guatemala; parsley from Israel and Nicaragua; salicornia from Mexico; mint and rosemary from Nicaragua; Swiss chard from Peru; cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and watermelon from Brazil and Venezuela; Belgian endive, chicory, and endive from Panama; pineapple from South Africa; and peppers from Spain.

Before entering the United States, all of these fruits and vegetables are subject to inspection and disinfection at their port of first arrival to ensure that no plant pests are inadvertently brought into the United States. These precautions, along with other requirements, help ensure that these commodities do not introduce exotic plant pests, such as fruit flies, into the United States.

The regulations require the use of certain information collection activities, including the completion of import permits, phytosanitary inspection certificates, and fruit fly monitoring records.

We are asking the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve our use of these information collection activities 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 Start Printed Page 76448validity 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 0.7322 hours per response.

Respondents: U.S. importers of fruits and vegetables and plant health officials of exporting countries.

Estimated annual number of respondents: 822.

Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 2.2311.

Estimated annual number of responses: 1,834.

Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 1,343 hours. (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 14th day of December, 2004.

Elizabeth E. Gaston,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. 04-27880 Filed 12-20-04; 8:45 am]

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