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Notice

Determination of Pest-Free Areas Within the States of Ceará and Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil; Request for Comments

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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:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

We are advising the public that we have received a request from the Government of Brazil to recognize 7 municipalities in the State of Ceará and 13 municipalities in the State of Rio Grande do Norte as pest-free areas for the South American cucurbit fly. After reviewing the documentation submitted in support of that request, the Administrator has determined that those municipalities meet the criteria in our regulations for recognition as pest-free areas. We are making that determination, as well as an evaluation document we have prepared in connection with this action, available for review and comment.

DATES:

We will consider all comments we receive on or before May 2, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

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. Juan A. Roman, Import Specialist, Commodity Import Analysis and Operations, Plant Health Programs, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-8758.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Under the regulations in “Subpart—Fruits and Vegetables” (7 CFR 319.56 through 319.56-47, referred to below as the regulations), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits or restricts the importation of fruits and vegetables into the United States from certain parts of the world to prevent plant pests from being introduced into and spread within the United States. Start Printed Page 11383

Section 319.56-4 of the regulations contains a performance-based process for approving the importation of commodities that, based on the findings of a pest risk analysis, can be safely imported subject to one or more of the designated phytosanitary measures listed in paragraph (b) of that section. One of the designated phytosanitary measures is that the fruits or vegetables are imported from a pest-free area in the country of origin that meets the requirements of § 319.56-5 for freedom from that pest and are accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate stating that the fruits or vegetables originated in a pest-free area in the country of origin.

Under the regulations in § 319.56-5, APHIS requires that determinations of pest-free areas be made in accordance with the criteria for establishing freedom from pests found in International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 4, “Requirements for the establishment of pest-free areas.” The international standard was established by the International Plant Protection Convention of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization and is incorporated by reference in our regulations in 7 CFR 300.5. In addition, APHIS must also approve the survey protocol used to determine and maintain pest-free status, as well as protocols for actions to be performed upon detection of a pest. Pest-free areas are subject to audit by APHIS to verify their status.

APHIS has received a request from the Government of Brazil to recognize additional areas of that country as being free of Anastrepha grandis, the South American cucurbit fly. (APHIS currently recognizes two municipalities in the State of Rio Grande do Norte as free of Anastrepha grandis.) Specifically, the Government of Brazil asked that we recognize the municipalities of Aracati, Icapuí, Itaiçaba, Jaguaruana, Limoeiro do Norte, Quixerê, and Russas in the State of Ceará and the municipalities of Açu, Afonso Bezerra, Alto do Rodrigues, Areia Branca, Baraúna, Camaubais, Grossos, Ipanguaçu, Mossoró, Porto do Mangue, Serra do Mel, Tibau, and Upanema in the State of Rio Grande do Norte as areas that are free of Anastrepha grandis.

In accordance with our regulations and the criteria set out in ISPM No. 4, we have reviewed and approved the survey protocols and other information provided by Brazil relative to its system to establish freedom, phytosanitary measures to maintain freedom, and system for the verification of the maintenance of freedom. Because this action concerns the expansion of a currently recognized pest-free area in Brazil from which melons are authorized for importation into the United States, our review of the information presented by Brazil in support of its request is examined in a commodity import evaluation document (CIED) titled “Expansion of Pest-free Areas for the Importation of Melon from Brazil.”

The CEID may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site or in our reading room (see ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing Regulations.gov and information on the location and hours of the reading room). You may request paper copies of the CIED by calling or writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Therefore, in accordance with § 319.56-5(c), we are announcing the Administrator's determination that the municipalities of Aracati, Icapuí, Itaiçaba, Jaguaruana, Limoeiro do Norte, Quixerê, and Russas in the State of Ceará and the municipalities of Açu, Afonso Bezerra, Alto do Rodrigues, Areia Branca, Baraúna, Camaubais, Grossos, Ipanguaçu, Mossoró, Porto do Mangue, Serra do Mel, Tibau, Upanema in the State of Rio Grande do Norte meet the criteria of § 319.56-5(a) and (b) with respect to freedom from Anastrepha grandis. After reviewing the comments we receive on this notice, we will announce our decision regarding the status of those municipalities with respect to their freedom from Anastrepha grandis. If the Administrator's determination remains unchanged, we will add those municipalities to the list of pest-free areas.

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Done in Washington, DC, this 26th day of February 2008.

Kevin Shea,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. E8-4054 Filed 2-29-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-34-P