[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 231 (Thursday, December 2, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 75157-75158]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-30206]

Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.


Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 231 / Thursday, December 2, 2010 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 75157]]


Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 319

[Docket No. APHIS-2010-0019]
RIN 0579-AD28

Importation of Wood Packaging Material From Canada

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: We are proposing to amend the regulations for the importation 
of unmanufactured wood articles to remove the exemption that allows 
wood packaging material from Canada to enter the United States without 
first meeting the treatment and marking requirements of the regulations 
that apply to wood packaging material from all other countries. This 
action is necessary in order to prevent the dissemination and spread of 
pests via wood packaging material from Canada.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 
January 31, 2011.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2010-0019 to submit or view comments and 
to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send one copy of 
your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2010-0019, 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-2010-0019.
    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.

Director, Forestry Products, Phytosanitary Issues Management, PPQ, 
APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 140, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-



    The regulations in Subpart--Logs, Lumber, and Other Unmanufactured 
Wood Articles (7 CFR 319.40-1 through 319.40-11, referred to below as 
the regulations) restrict the importation of many types of wood 
articles, including items such as pallets, crates, boxes, and pieces of 
wood used to support and brace cargo. These types of articles are known 
as wood packaging materials (WPM). Introductions into the United States 
of exotic plant pests such as the pine shoot beetle (Tomicus piniperda 
(Scolytidae)) and the Asian longhorned beetle (Anaplophora glabripennis 
(Cerambycidae)) among others have been linked to the importation of 
WPM. These and other plant pests that are carried by some imported WPM 
pose a serious threat to U.S. agriculture and to natural, cultivated, 
and urban forests.
    The variety of woods and lumber qualities used in the construction 
of WPM make it susceptible to infestation by a wide range of wood pests 
and diseases. WPM is frequently constructed from lower grade lumber 
derived from an assortment of woods. Additionally, lumber used in WPM 
construction may be fresh cut and may not have undergone sufficient 
processing or treatment to kill pests. Furthermore, WPM is very often 
reused, recycled, or remanufactured, and the true origin of any 
specific piece of WPM is difficult to determine, which means that its 
phytosanitary status cannot be fully ascertained.
    Currently, Sec.  319.40-3(a) provides a general permit that 
authorizes the importation of certain unmanufactured wood articles, 
including WPM, into the United States from Canada.\1\ A general permit 
means the written authorization provided in Sec.  319.40-3; no 
separate, specific permit is required. Under a general permit, 
unmanufactured wood articles from Canada may be imported into the 
United States provided they are accompanied by an importer document 
stating that the articles are derived from trees harvested in, and have 
never been moved outside of, Canada, and subject to the inspection and 
other requirements in Sec.  319.40-9.

    \1\ The general permit excludes articles from certain 
subfamilies of the family Rutaceae, regulated articles of pine that 
are not completely free of bark from Provinces in Canada that are 
considered to be infested or partially infested with pine shoot 
beetle, and regulated articles of ash (Fraxinus spp.).

    In contrast, WPM that is not from Canada is subject to the more 
rigorous requirements of the regulations for importing wood articles 
from all other countries except Canada. In a final rule published in 
the Federal Register on September 16, 2004 (69 FR 55719-55733; Docket 
No. 02-032-3), we amended those regulations in order to update the 
requirements for importation of WPM to correspond with standards 
established by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in 
International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) 15, 
``Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging Material in International 
Trade.'' Currently, paragraph (b) of Sec.  319.40-3 of the regulations 
lists the IPPC requirements, which include either heat treatment or 
fumigation with methyl bromide and the proper marking of all treated 
materials with the approved IPPC symbol and specific control numbers.
    The less restrictive importation requirements for WPM imported into 
the United States from Canada are based on the premise that the forests 
in the United States share a common forested boundary with Canada and, 
therefore, share, to a reasonable degree, the same forest pests. 
However, in a pest risk analysis (PRA) entitled ``Risk analysis for the 
movement of wood packaging material (WPM) from Canada into the United 
States,'' we examined the pest risks associated with the movement of 
WPM into the United States from Canada. We determined that many North 
American forest pests, both indigenous and nonindigenous, occur in

[[Page 75158]]

both Canada and the United States. Some of these are unique forest 
pests and pathogens that are established in Canada and have the 
potential to be introduced or reintroduced into the United States via 
the movement of WPM, while others are pests that also occur in the 
United States but are subject to official control in order to prevent 
their further spread. Among the pests of concern are brown spruce 
longhorned beetle (Tetropium fuscum), European oak borer (Agrilus 
sulcicollis), emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), Asian longhorned 
beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), European woodwasp (Sirex noctilio), 
the fungus Ophiostoma tetropii, and vascular wilt (Leptographium 
truncatum). Copies of the PRA may be obtained from the person listed 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or viewed on the Regulations.gov 
Web site or in our reading room (see ADDRESSES above for a link to 
Regulations.gov and information on the location and hours of the 
reading room).
    Since the implementation of ISPM 15, the USDA and the Canadian Food 
Inspection Agency (CFIA) officials have participated jointly in the 
North American Perimeter Approach Wood and Wood Products Steering 
Committee to develop a harmonization plan that would entail both 
countries removing the exemption that allows wood packaging material to 
move from Canada into the United States and from the United States into 
Canada under general permit and not ISPM 15 guidelines. Coordination of 
this plan will take place though USDA and CFIA's participation in the 
North American Plant Protection Organization's Forestry Panel.
    Based on the information contained in the PRA, and in keeping with 
our harmonization efforts with Canada relative to the regulation of 
WPM, we are proposing to amend the regulations in order to require that 
WPM from Canada meet the same conditions for importation as WPM from 
all other countries. This action is necessary in order to provide more 
consistent regulation of WPM from Canada as well as to reduce the risk 
of the introduction of dangerous plant pests on WPM moving from Canada 
into the United States.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
the purposes of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, has not been 
reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.
    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 603, we have performed an initial 
regulatory flexibility analysis, which is summarized below, regarding 
the economic effects of this proposed rule on small entities. Copies of 
the full analysis are available from the person listed under FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or on the Regulations.gov Web site (see 
ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing Regulations.gov).
    The analysis concludes that the proposed removal of the treatment 
and marking exemption would have a direct effect on Canadian 
manufacturers of pallets, which may affect importers and final 
consumers of goods transported on pallets imported from Canada. Because 
the cost of a pallet is a very small share of the bundle of goods 
transported on pallets, cost increases due to the treatment 
requirements are not expected to significantly affect domestic 
consumers and thus would not have a measurable impact on the flow of 
trade. The proposed changes are not expected to reduce the amount of 
goods shipped from Canada, as is evident from observing trends in 
imports from all other origins since implementation of the treatment 
standards in 2005.
    The vast majority of potentially affected entities would be 
considered small. However, because the cost of a pallet is a very small 
share of the bundle of goods transported on pallets, cost increases due 
to treatment requirements for Canadian producers are not expected to 
significantly affect domestic consumers.

Executive Order 12988

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. If this proposed rule is adopted: (1) All State 
and local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule 
will be preempted; (2) no retroactive effect will be given to this 
rule; and (3) administrative proceedings will not be required before 
parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

National Environmental Policy Act

    To provide the public with documentation of APHIS' review and 
analysis of any potential environmental impacts associated with the 
importation of wood packaging material from Canada, we have prepared an 
environmental assessment. The environmental assessment was prepared in 
accordance with: (1) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 
(NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), (2) regulations of the 
Council on Environmental Quality for implementing the procedural 
provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), (3) USDA regulations 
implementing NEPA (7 CFR part 1b), and (4) APHIS' NEPA Implementing 
Procedures (7 CFR part 372).
    The environmental assessment may be viewed on the Regulations.gov 
Web site or in our reading room. (A link to Regulations.gov and 
information on the location and hours of the reading room are provided 
under the heading ADDRESSES at the beginning of this proposed rule.) In 
addition, copies may be obtained by calling or writing to the 
individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Comments on 
the environmental assessment may also be submitted using those methods 
listed under the heading ADDRESSES at the beginning of this proposed 

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed rule contains no new information collection or 
recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 
(44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 319

    Coffee, Cotton, Fruits, Imports, Logs, Nursery stock, Plant 
diseases and pests, Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Rice, Vegetables.

    Accordingly, we propose to amend 7 CFR part 319 as follows:


    1. The authority citation for part 319 continues to read as 

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 450, 7701-7772, and 7781-7786; 21 U.S.C. 
136 and 136a; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

    2. In Sec.  319.40-3, paragraph (a) is amended by adding a new 
paragraph (a)(1)(i)(D) to read as follows:

Sec.  319.40-3   General permits; articles that may be imported without 
a specific permit; articles that may be imported without either a 
specific permit or an importer document.

    (a) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (D) Regulated wood packaging material, whether in actual use as 
packing for regulated or nonregulated articles or imported as cargo.
* * * * *

    Done in Washington, DC, this 16th day of November 2010.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-30206 Filed 12-1-10; 8:45 am]