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Tuberculosis in Cattle and Bison; State and Zone Designations; Texas

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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 bovine tuberculosis regulations regarding State and zone classifications by raising the designation of Texas from modified accredited advanced to accredited-free. We have determined that Texas meets the criteria for designation as an accredited-free State.

DATES:

This interim rule is effective September 29, 2006. We will consider all comments that we receive on or before December 4, 2006.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov, select “Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service” from the agency drop-down menu, then click “Submit.” In the Docket ID column, select APHIS-2006-0145 to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically. Information on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing documents, submitting comments, and viewing the docket after the close of the comment period, is available through the site's “User Tips” link.
  • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send four copies of your comment (an original and three copies) to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0145, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0145.

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: Additional information about APHIS and its programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Kathy Orloski, Epidemiologist, National Tuberculosis Eradication Program, National Center for Animal Health Programs, VS, APHIS, 2150 Centre Avenue, Building B, M/S 3E20, Fort Collins, CO 80526-8117, (970) 494-7221.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Bovine tuberculosis is a contagious and infectious granulomatous disease caused by Mycobacterium bovis. It affects cattle, bison, deer, elk, goats, and other warm-blooded species, including humans. Tuberculosis in infected animals and humans manifests itself in lesions of the lung, lymph nodes, bone, and other body parts, causes weight loss and general debilitation, and can be fatal. At the beginning of the past century, 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 tuberculosis in livestock. Through this program, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) works cooperatively with the national livestock industry and State animal health agencies to eradicate tuberculosis from domestic livestock in the United States and prevent its recurrence.

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. Subpart B of the regulations contains requirements for the interstate movement of cattle and bison not known to be infected with or exposed to tuberculosis. The interstate movement requirements depend upon whether the animals are moved from an accredited-free State or zone, modified accredited advanced State or zone, modified accredited State or zone, Start Printed Page 58253accreditation preparatory State or zone, or nonaccredited State or zone.

Request for Accredited-free Status in Texas

The entire State of Texas has been classified as modified accredited advanced for cattle and bison since June 3, 2002. Prior to that date, all of the State, except for a portion of El Paso and Hudspeth Counties, had been classified as an accredited-free zone; the zone in El Paso and Hudspeth Counties had been classified as modified accredited advanced. However, we have received from the State of Texas a request to be recognized as an accredited-free State for cattle and bison.

With regard to cattle and bison, State animal health officials in Texas have demonstrated to APHIS that Texas meets the criteria for accredited-free status set forth in the definition of accredited-free State or zone in § 77.5 of the regulations. In accordance with these conditions, Texas has demonstrated that the zone within the State that had been previously classified as accredited-free has zero percent prevalence of affected cattle or bison herds and has had no findings of tuberculosis in any cattle or bison herds in the 2 years since the depopulation of the last affected herd in the zone. Similarly, with respect to the zone in El Paso and Hudspeth Counties that was not previously accredited-free, Texas has demonstrated that the zone has zero percent prevalence of affected cattle or bison herds and has had no findings of tuberculosis in any cattle or bison herds for the previous 5 years. Additionally, the State complies with the conditions of the UMR.

Therefore, we are amending the regulations to remove Texas from the list of modified accredited advanced States in § 77.9(a) and adding it to the list of accredited-free States in § 77.7(a).

Nonsubstantive Correction

In § 77.9(b), the words “The following are modified accredited advanced zones:” appear as the introductory text of the paragraph and are repeated at the beginning of paragraph (b)(1). We are amending paragraph (b)(1) in this rule to eliminate that duplication.

Immediate Action

Immediate action is warranted to accurately reflect the current tuberculosis status of Texas as an accredited-free State. This action will provide prospective cattle and bison buyers with accurate and up-to-date information, which may affect the marketability of cattle and bison since some prospective buyers prefer to buy cattle and bison from accredited-free 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 action effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

We will consider comments we receive during the comment period for this interim rule (see DATES above). 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.

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 under Executive Order 12866.

We are amending the bovine tuberculosis regulations regarding State and zone classifications by raising the designation of Texas from modified accredited advanced to accredited-free. We have determined that Texas meets the criteria for designation as an accredited-free State.

Cattle or bison that originate in an accredited-free State or zone may be moved interstate without restriction, whereas sexually intact cattle and bison not from an accredited herd are required to have one negative test within 60 days prior to being moved interstate from a modified accredited advanced State or zone. Thus, raising Texas's designation to accredited-free will eliminate the costs of that testing for herd owners in the State. Tuberculosis testing, which includes veterinary fees and handling expenses, costs approximately $10 to $15 per test. The average per-head value of cattle in Texas was $840 in 2005, so the cost of testing represented between 1.2 and 1.8 percent of that average value. These cost savings, while beneficial, will not represent a significant monetary savings. Of course, the more a particular herd owner is involved in interstate movement, the greater the cost savings will be.

Cattle and bison are moved interstate for slaughter, for use as breeding stock, or for feeding. In 2002, there were 13.979 million cattle and calves in Texas and approximately 122,194 farms with sales of cattle and calves. Over 99 percent of herd owners would be considered small businesses. Changing the status of Texas may enhance the marketability of cattle and bison from the State, since some prospective cattle and bison buyers prefer to buy cattle and bison from accredited-free States. This may also result in some beneficial economic impact on some small entities. However, based on our experience in similar designations of other States, the impact should not be significant.

Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action will 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 rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule: (1) Preempts all State and local laws and regulations that are in conflict 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.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This 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 are amending

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PART 77—TUBERCULOSIS

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1. The authority citation for part 77 continues 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 § 77.7, paragraph (a) is amended by adding the word “Texas,” immediately after the word “Tennessee,”.

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3. Section 77.9 is amended as follows:

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a. In paragraph (a), by removing the words “and Texas”.

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b. In paragraph (b)(1), by removing the words “The following are modified accredited advanced zones:”.

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Done in Washington, DC, this 28th day of September 2006.

W. Ron DeHaven,

Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. E6-16299 Filed 10-2-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-34-P