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Notice

Determination of Pest-Free Areas in the Republic of South Africa; 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 the Republic of South Africa to recognize 16 additional magisterial districts in 3 provinces as pest-free areas for citrus black spot. After reviewing the documentation submitted in support of this request, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that these areas 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 September 25, 2009.

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. Phillip B. Grove, Regulatory Coordination Specialist, Regulatory Coordination and Compliance, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 156, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 734-6280.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Under the regulations in “Subpart-Fruits and Vegetables” (7 CFR 319.56 through 319.56-49, 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.

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 the Republic of South Africa to recognize additional areas of that country as being free of Guignardia citricarpa, citrus black spot.[1] Currently, we only allow importation of citrus fruit from the Republic of South Africa when it is grown in the Western Cape Province and the magisterial districts of Hartswater and Warrenton of the Northern Cape Province, which are areas that APHIS has determined to be free of citrus black spot.2 Specifically, the Government of the Republic of South Africa asked that we recognize the magisterial districts of Boshof, Fauresmith, Jacobsdal, Koffiefontein, and Philippolis in the Free State Province; Christiania and Taung in the North West Province; and Barkly-wes/west, Gordonia, Hay, Herbert, Hopetown, Kenhardt, Kimberely, Namakwaland, and Prieska in the Northern Cape Province as areas that are free of citrus black spot.

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 the Republic of South Africa 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 the Republic of South Start Printed Page 37000Africa from which citrus fruit is authorized for importation into the United States, our review of the information presented by the Republic of South Africa in support of its request is examined in a commodity import evaluation document (CIED) titled “Recognition of Additional Magisterial Districts as Citrus Black Spot Pest-Free Areas for the Republic of South Africa.”

The CIED 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 magisterial districts of Boshof, Fauresmith, Jacobsdal, Koffiefontein, and Philippolis in the Free State Province; Christiania and Taung in the North West Province; and Barkly-wes/west, Gordonia, Hay, Herbert, Hopetown, Kenhardt, Kimberely, Namakwaland, and Prieska in the Northern Cape Province meet the criteria of § 319.56-5(a) and (b) with respect to freedom from citrus black spot. After reviewing the comments we receive on this notice, we will announce our decision regarding the status of these areas with respect to their freedom from citrus black spot. If the Administrator's determination remains unchanged, we will add these areas in the Republic of South Africa to the list of pest-free areas.

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Done in Washington, DC, this 21st day of July 2009.

Kevin Shea,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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Footnotes

[FR Doc. E9-17794 Filed 7-24-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-34-P