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Notice of Request for an Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, All Subtypes, and Newcastle Disease; Additional Restrictions

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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 the regulations to prevent the introduction of highly pathogenic avian influenza, all subtypes, and Newcastle disease into the United States through the importation of birds, poultry, and unprocessed bird and poultry products.

DATES:

We will consider all comments that we receive on or before March 24, 2017.

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-2016-0104 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.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For information on the regulations to prevent the introduction of highly pathogenic avian influenza and Newcastle disease, contact Dr. Bettina Helm, Senior Staff Veterinary Medical Officer, Live Animal Imports, National Import Export Services, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 40, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 851-3300. For copies of more detailed information on the information collection, contact Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2483.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, All Subtypes, and Newcastle Disease; Additional Restrictions.

OMB Control Number: 0579-0245.

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 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is authorized, among other things, to prohibit or restrict the importation and interstate movement of animals and animal products to prevent the introduction into and dissemination within the United States of livestock diseases and pests. To carry out this mission, APHIS regulates the importation of animals and animal products into the United States. The regulations for the importation of animals and animal products are contained in 9 CFR parts 92 through 98.

The regulations in 9 CFR parts 93, 94, and 95 govern the importation of specified animals and animal products and byproducts to prevent the introduction of various animal diseases, including highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), all subtypes, and Newcastle disease.

HPAI, as defined in § 94.0, is an infectious and fatal disease of poultry. Start Printed Page 7790HPAI can strike poultry quickly without any warning signs of infection and, once established, can spread rapidly from flock to flock. HPAI viruses can be spread by manure, equipment, vehicles, egg flats, crates, and people whose clothing or shoes have come in contact with the viruses. In addition, HPAI viruses can remain viable at moderate temperatures for long periods in the environment and can survive indefinitely in frozen material. One gram of contaminated manure can contain enough virus to infect 1 million poultry.

Newcastle disease is a contagious disease of birds and poultry caused by a paramyxovirus. Newcastle disease, as defined in § 94.0, is one of most infectious diseases of poultry in the world. A death rate of almost 100 percent can occur in unvaccinated poultry flocks. Newcastle disease can also infect and cause death even in vaccinated birds and poultry.

APHIS' regulations prohibit or restrict the importation of unprocessed bird and poultry products and byproducts from regions that have reported the presence of HPAI or Newcastle disease, and contain permit and quarantine requirements for pet birds and U.S. performing or theatrical birds and poultry returning to the United States. In addition, there are also restrictions concerning importation of live poultry and birds that have been vaccinated for certain types of Newcastle disease, or that have moved through or originate from regions where HPAI or Newcastle disease is considered to exist. These regulations require the use of a number of information collection activities, including various APHIS forms, application of seals, agreements, notarized declarations or affirmations, notification of signs of disease in a recently imported bird, cooperative service agreements, and recordkeeping by processing establishments.

We are asking 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 0.55 hours per response.

Respondents: Foreign federal government officials and owners of U.S.-origin pet birds and performing or theatrical birds or poultry returning to the United States, and U.S. importers of bird and poultry carcasses, parts, products and byproducts (bird blood, bird tissues, etc.) of birds and poultry and eggs (other than hatching eggs) from certain regions.

Estimated annual number of respondents: 973.

Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 3.81.

Estimated annual number of responses: 3,707.

Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 2,041 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 13th day of January 2017.

Kevin Shea,

Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. 2017-01393 Filed 1-19-17; 8:45 am]

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