Notice of Request for Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Foreign Quarantine Notices

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 prevent the introduction or spread of foreign plant pests into or within the United States.

Dates:

We will consider all comments that we receive on or before November 24, 2008.

Addresses:

You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

• Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetaild=APHIS-2008-0109 to submit or view comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.

• Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send two copies of your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2008-0109, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to Docket No. APHIS-2008-0109.

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.

For further information contact:

For information on foreign quarantine regulations, contact Ms. Candace Funk, Staff Officer, Quarantine Policy, Analysis and Support, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 60, Riverdale, MD20737; (301) 734-5290. For copies of more detailed information on the information collection, contact Mrs. Celeste Sickles, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2908.

Supplementary information:

Title: Foreign Quarantine Notices.

OMB Number:0579-0049.

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

Abstract: As authorized by the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701et seq.), the Secretary of Agriculture may prohibit or restrict the importation, entry, exportation, or movement in interstate commerce of any plant, plant product, biological control organism, noxious weed, means of conveyance, or other article if the Secretary determines that the prohibition or restriction is necessary to prevent a plant pest or noxious weed from being introduced into or disseminated within the United States. This authority has been delegated to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Regulations governing the importation of plants, fruits, vegetables, roots, bulbs, seeds, unmanufactured wood articles, and other plant products are contained in 7 CFR part 319, “Foreign Quarantine Notices.”

In administering the regulations, APHIS collects information from persons both within and outside the United States who are involved in growing, packing, handling, transporting, and importing articles regulated under part 319.

For example, many plants or plant products may not be imported until the person wishing to import them receives a permit from us. The person wishing to import these items must first fill out a permit application. We consider the permit application process extremely important, since the information on the application enables us to determine whether the items for import represent a potential pest threat to U.S. agriculture.

Under certain circumstances, we also require importers to supply us with other types of information. We require, for example, that containers used to import various plants or plant products be marked in a certain way so that our inspectors can accurately identify them and match them to their accompanying documentation.

We require that certain shipments be accompanied by a phytosanitary inspection certificate, which is a document completed by plant health officials in the originating country that attests to the condition of the shipment with respect to plant pests at the time it was inspected prior to its export to the United States. We use this important information as a guide in determining the intensity of the inspection we must conduct when the shipment arrives in the United States.

This and other information we collect is vital to helping us ensure that imported plants and plant products do not harbor plant pests or noxious weeds that, if introduced into the United States, could cause millions of dollars in damage to U.S. agriculture.

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 0.3167168 hours per response.

Respondents: U.S. importers of fruits and vegetables, foreign plant protection authorities, individuals involved in growing, packing, handling, transporting, and importing plants and plant products.

Estimated annual number of respondents:92,420.

Estimated annual number of responses per respondent:3.259987.

Estimated annual number of responses:301,288.

Estimated total annual burden on respondents:95,423 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.

Done in Washington, DC, this 17th day of September 2008. Kevin Shea,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

References

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