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Notice

Notice of Request for Extension of Approval of an Information Collection

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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 to protect endangered species of terrestrial plants and with regulations concerning procedures related to the forfeiture of plants or other property.

DATES:

We will consider all comments that we receive on or before July 25, 2011.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

Available supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site (follow the link above and click “View Docket Folder”) or in our reading room, which 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 to protect endangered species of terrestrial plants and concerning forfeiture procedures, contact Dr. John Veremis, National CITES Coordinator, Plant Safeguarding and Pest Identification, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 52, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 734-8891. For copies of more detailed information on the information collection, contact Mrs. Celeste Sickles, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2908.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Endangered Species Regulations and Forfeiture Procedures.

OMB Number: 0579-0076.

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

Abstract: Under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for enforcing provisions of the Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) that pertain to the importation, exportation, or reexportation of plants.

As part of this mission, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), USDA, administers regulations at 7 CFR part 355, “Endangered Species Regulations Concerning Terrestrial Plants.” In accordance with these regulations, any individual, nursery, or other entity wishing to engage in the business of importing, exporting, or reexporting terrestrial plants listed in the CITES regulations at 50 CFR 17.12 or 23.23 must obtain a protected plant permit from APHIS. Such entities include importers, exporters, or reexporters who sell, barter, collect, or otherwise exchange or acquire terrestrial plants as a livelihood or enterprise engaged in for gain or profit. The requirement does not apply to persons engaged in business merely as carriers or customhouse brokers.

To obtain a protected plant permit, entities must complete an application (PPQ Form 621) and submit it to APHIS for approval. When a permit has been issued, the plants covered by the permit may be imported into the United States, exported, or reexported, provided they are accompanied by documentation required by the regulations and provided all other conditions of the regulations are met.

Effectively regulating entities who are engaged in the business of importing, exporting, or reexporting endangered species of terrestrial plants requires the use of this application process, as well as the use of other information collection activities, such as notifying APHIS of the impending importation, exportation, or reexportation of the plants, marking containers used for the importation, exportation, and reexportation of the plants, and creating Start Printed Page 30091and maintaining records of importation, exportation, and reexportation.

APHIS also administers regulations at 7 CFR part 356, “Forfeiture Procedures,” which sets out procedures for the forfeiture of plants or other property by entities in violation of the Endangered Species Act or the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 (16 U.S.C. 3371 et seq.). Entities whose property is subject to forfeiture may file with APHIS a waiver of forfeiture procedures, a claim of ownership or interest in the seized property and a bond, a request for bonded release of property, a petition for remission or mitigation of forfeiture, or a request for release of property.

The information provided by these information collection activities is critical to APHIS' ability to carry out its responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act and the Lacey Act. These responsibilities include monitoring importation, exportation, and reexportation activities involving endangered species of plants, as well as the investigation of possible violations and the forfeiture of plants or other property.

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 collection of information, 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 collection of information 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 0.0929305 hours per response.

Respondents: U.S. importers and exporters of endangered species.

Estimated annual number of respondents: 16,579.

Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 4.9016828.

Estimated annual number of responses: 81,265.

Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 7,552 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 18th day of May 2011.

Kevin Shea,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. 2011-12749 Filed 5-23-11; 8:45 am]

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