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Notice

Notice of Request for Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; User Fee Regulations

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Start Preamble

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 the collection of user fees.

DATES:

We will consider all comments that we receive on or before July 6, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/​#!docketDetail;​D=​APHIS-2015-0031 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) 799-7039 before coming.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For information on user fees, contact Ms. Serina Eckwood, Auditor, Review and Analysis Branch, Financial Management Division, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 55, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 851-2604. For copies of more detailed information on the information collection, contact Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2727.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: User Fee Regulations.

OMB Control Number: 0579-0094.

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

Abstract: Section 2509 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990, as amended, authorizes the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to collect user fees for agricultural quarantine and inspection (AQI) services, for providing for the inspection and certification of plants and plant products offered for export or transiting the United States, and for providing veterinary diagnostic services and services related to the importation and exportation of animals and animal products.Start Printed Page 25996

Although certain AQI functions, but not the laws or regulations upon which they are premised, were transferred from APHIS to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) bureau of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, APHIS remains responsible for the regulations related to AQI activities, including the user fee regulations. APHIS also remains responsible for administration of the user fee programs.

Neither APHIS nor CBP receives an appropriation to fund activities that are considered AQI services; instead, user fees are calculated and assessed to ensure full cost recovery of each user fee program. If the information was not collected, the agencies would not be able to perform the services since the fees collected are necessary to fund the work.

Requesters of services usually are repeat customers, and, in many cases, request that we bill them for our services. Also, the 1996 Debt Collection Improvement Act requires that agencies collect tax identification numbers (TINs) from all persons doing business with the Government for purposes of collecting delinquent debts. Without a TIN, service cannot be provided on a credit basis.

The requests for services are in writing, by telephone, or in person. The information contained in each request identifies the specific service requested and the time in which the requester wishes the service to be performed. This information is necessary in order for animal import centers and port offices to schedule the work and to calculate the fees due.

APHIS is responsible for ensuring that fees collected are correct and that they are remitted in full and in a timely manner. To ensure this, the party (ticketing agents for transportation companies) responsible for collecting and remitting fees must allow APHIS personnel to verify the accuracy of the fees collected and remitted, and otherwise determine compliance with the statute and regulations. We also require that whoever is responsible for making fee payments advise us of the name, address, and telephone number of a responsible officer who is authorized to verify fee calculations, collections, and remittances.

This information collection is necessary for APHIS to effectively collect fees, ensure remittances in a timely manner, and determine proper credit for payment of international air passenger, aircraft clearance, commercial truck, commercial railroad car, commercial vessel, phytosanitary certificate, import/export, and veterinary diagnostic user fees.

For this extension of approval, we have adjusted the estimated annual number of respondents from 51,981 to 151,409, and we have increased the estimated annual number of responses from 295,881 to 6,965,268. As a result, the estimated total annual burden on respondents has increased from 15,998 hours to 270,225 hours. The increases are due to an increase in respondents because more people are participating in the animal import and export business.

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 0.0388 hours per response.

Respondents: Arriving international passengers, owners and operators of arriving international means of conveyances, and importers/exporters who import or export animals and animal products.

Estimated annual number of respondents: 151,409.

Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 46.

Estimated annual number of responses: 6,965,268.

Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 270,225 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 29th day of April 2015.

Kevin Shea,

Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. 2015-10531 Filed 5-5-15; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-34-P