US: APHIS seeks public comment on proposed changes for revising pest regulation lists

The US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) plans to revise the regulations governing domestic quarantines for plant pests by moving lists of quarantined areas and regulated articles to the APHIS website. This amendment will allow us to use a notice-based, streamlined approach to update the lists while continuing to protect plant health.

Under the Plant Protection Act (PPA, 7 USC 7701), USDA is authorized to restrict the interstate movement of plants, plants products, and other articles associated with the regulated area (such as soil, farm equipment, tools, containers, and conveyances) to prevent the dissemination of plant pests and noxious weeds within the United States and to issue the associated regulations. Under the same authority, APHIS designates quarantined areas for plant pests to prevent their spread to new areas.

APHIS currently lists and updates quarantine areas and regulated articles within the regulations published in the Federal Register (FR). This requires an extensive rulemaking process to make changes and is sometimes outpaced by the rapid expansion or contraction of plant pest quarantine areas or the need to add or remove regulated articles. The proposed action will revise current regulations to establish processes for maintaining quarantine lists and regulated articles on APHIS’ plant pest program websites, reducing the time it takes to issue updates.

Under the proposed action, for further changes to quarantine areas, APHIS would issue a Federal Order (FR) designating a quarantine area and would update the list of quarantined areas on the relevant plant pest program website. Once a year, APHIS would issue one FR notice informing the public of updates to the lists of quarantine areas for all plant pests since the issuance of the previous notice.

For further changes to regulated articles on the APHIS plant pest program website, APHIS will publish an FR notice proposing to add the new article to the list of regulated articles for that plant pest. The notice would provide the basis for the change and would request public comment. Upon publication of a final notice, APHIS will make the change on the relevant plant pest program website. However, if there is an immediate need to designate a regulated article for a particular plant pest, APHIS may do so through a Federal Order and simultaneously update the relevant list of regulated articles on the APHIS website. APHIS will issue an FR notice informing the public of this change soon thereafter.

APHIS is making the proposed action available to the public for review and comment. All comments received on or before Aug. 15, 2022, will be considered. To review the proposed rule and comment, go to www.regulations.gov and enter APHIS-2019-0035 in the Search field.

Source: aphis.usda.gov


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