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Add the Republic of Georgia to List of Regions Where African Swine Fever Exists

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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 regulations concerning the importation of animals and animal products by adding the Republic of Georgia to the list of regions where African swine fever exists. We are taking this action because outbreaks of African swine fever have been confirmed in various locations throughout Georgia. This action will restrict the importation of pork and pork products into the United States from Georgia and is necessary to prevent the introduction of African swine fever into the United States.

DATES:

This interim rule is effective retroactively to June 5, 2007. We will consider all comments that we receive on or before November 19, 2007.

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-2007-0108 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-2007-0108, 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-2007-0108.

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:

Mr. Javier Vargas, Animal Scientist, Regionalization Evaluation Services Staff, National Center for Import and Export, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 38, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-0756.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The regulations in 9 CFR part 94 (referred to below as the regulations) govern the importation of specified animals and animal products to prevent the introduction into the United States of various animal diseases, including rinderpest, foot-and-mouth disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, swine vesicular disease, classical swine fever, and African swine fever (ASF). These are dangerous and destructive communicable diseases of ruminants and swine.

Section 94.8 of the regulations lists regions of the world where ASF exists or is reasonably believed to exist and imposes restrictions on the importation of pork and pork products into the United States from those regions.

On June 5, 2007, the Republic of Georgia reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) 11 outbreaks of ASF in various areas throughout the country. The source of the outbreak is unknown. Therefore, in order to prevent the introduction of ASF into the United States, we are amending the regulations by adding Georgia to the list of regions in § 94.8 where ASF exists or is reasonably believed to exist. As a result of this action, the importation into the United States of pork or pork products from Georgia will be restricted. We are imposing this restriction retroactively to June 5, 2007, which is that the presence of ASF in Georgia was confirmed.

Emergency Action

This rulemaking is necessary on an emergency basis to prevent the introduction of ASF into the United 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 rule 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 interim 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.

This interim rule amends the regulations by adding the Republic of Georgia to the list of regions in which ASF exists. This action is necessary on an emergency basis to prevent the introduction of ASF into the United States.

The rule will restrict the importation of pork and pork products from Georgia. Georgia is a net importer of swine and swine products. The country's exports of pork products represent less than 0.1 percent of the world export of these products. The United States, Canada, and Mexico did not import any pork or pork products from Georgia during the period of January 2006 through March 2007. Since no pork or pork products have been imported into the United States from Georgia during this time Start Printed Page 53102period, it is unlikely that this interim rule will have any substantial effects on trade, or on large or small businesses.

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 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 inconsistent with this rule; (2) has retroactive effect to June 5, 2007; and (3) does not require administrative proceedings before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This interim rule contains no 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 94

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Accordingly, we are amending

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PART 94—RINDERPEST, FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE, FOWL PEST (FOWL PLAGUE), EXOTIC NEWCASTLE DISEASE, AFRICAN SWINE FEVER, CLASSICAL SWINE FEVER, AND BOVINE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHY: PROHIBITED AND RESTRICTED IMPORTATIONS

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1. The authority citation for part 94 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 7 U.S.C. 450, 7701-7772, 7781-7786, and 8301-8317; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

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[Amended].
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2. In § 94.8, the introductory text is amended by adding the word “Georgia,” after the word “Cuba.”

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Done in Washington, DC, this 12th day of September 2007.

Kevin Shea,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. E7-18315 Filed 9-17-07; 8:45 am]

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