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Notice

Notice of Request for Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy; Importation of Animals and Animal Products

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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 animals and animal products and byproducts to protect against the introduction of bovine spongiform encephalopathy into the United States.

DATES:

We will consider all comments that we receive on or before November 26, 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-2007-0091 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 Start Printed Page 54891comment (an original and three copies) to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0091, 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-2007-0091.

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:

For information on regulations for the importation of animals and animal products and byproducts to prevent the introduction of bovine spongiform encephalopathy into the United States, contact Dr. Freeda Isaac, Assistant Director of Imports, National Center for Import and Export, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 39, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 734-6479. 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: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy; Importation of Animals and Animal Products.

OMB Number: 0579-0234.

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

Abstract: Under the Animal Health Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 8301 et seq.), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates the importation of animals and animal products into the United States to guard against the introduction of animal diseases. The regulations in 9 CFR parts 93, 94, 95, and 96 (referred to below as the regulations) govern the importation of certain animals, birds, poultry, meat, other animal products and byproducts, hay, and straw into the United States in order to prevent the introduction of various animal diseases, including bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), a chronic degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of cattle.

With some exceptions, APHIS' regulations prohibit or restrict the importation of live ruminants and certain ruminant products and byproducts from the following three categories of regions with regard to BSE: (1) Those regions in which BSE is known to exist; (2) those regions that present an undue risk of introducing BSE into the United States because their import requirements are less restrictive than those that would be acceptable for import into the United States and/or because the regions have inadequate surveillance; and (3) those regions that present a minimal risk of introducing BSE into the United States via live ruminants and ruminant products and byproducts.

To help ensure that BSE is not introduced into the United States, the regulations allow, under specified conditions, the importation of certain live ruminants and ruminant products and byproducts. These requirements necessitate the use of several information collection activities, including certification statements for the importation of ruminants and ruminant products, permits for animals destined for immediate slaughter or for movement to designated feedlots; the placing of seals on certain conveyances, the identification of individuals authorized to break the seals, and agreements entered into by slaughtering establishments or feedlots with APHIS; identification of animals; a certificate of processing from the government of the exporting region regarding the source of all raw material of animal origin in the imported products; and an APHIS Veterinary Services' veterinary import permit.

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 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 1.349469965 hours response.

Respondents: U.S. importers; foreign exporters of animals and animal products and byproducts; full-time, salaried veterinary officials of exporting regions; herd owners; feedlot and slaughter facility personnel; APHIS accredited and State veterinary authorities.

Estimated annual number of respondents: 9,800.

Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 17.32653061.

Estimated annual number of responses: 169,800.

Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 229,140 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 21st day of September 2007 .

Kevin Shea,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. E7-19090 Filed 9-26-07; 8:45 am]

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