[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 78 (Friday, April 22, 2011)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 22751-22756]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-9394]



[[Page 22751]]

Vol. 76

Friday,

No. 78

April 22, 2011

Part II





Department of Agriculture





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Agricultural Marketing Service



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7 CFR Part 1217



Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry 
Information Order; Referendum Procedures; Final Rule and Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 76 , No. 78 / Friday, April 22, 2011 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 22752]]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 1217

[Document Number AMS-FV-10-0015; FR-B]
RIN 0581-AD03


Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and 
Industry Information Order; Referendum Procedures

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This rule establishes procedures for conducting a referendum 
to determine whether issuance of a proposed Softwood Lumber Research, 
Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order (Order) is 
favored by domestic manufacturers and importers of softwood lumber. 
Softwood lumber is used in products like flooring, siding and framing. 
The procedures will also be used for any subsequent referendum under 
the Order. The proposed Order is being published separately in this 
issue of the Federal Register.

DATES: Effective Date: April 23, 2011.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Maureen T. Pello, Marketing 
Specialist, Research and Promotion Branch, Fruit and Vegetable 
Programs, AMS, USDA, P.O. Box 831, Beavercreek, Oregon 97004; 
telephone: (503) 632-8848; facsimile (503) 632-8852; or electronic 
mail: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule is issued pursuant to the 
Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 (1996 Act) 
(7 U.S.C. 7411-7425).
    As part of this rulemaking process, two proposed rules were 
published in the Federal Register on October 1, 2010. One rule 
pertained to the proposed Order (75 FR 61002) and a second rule 
pertained to proposed referendum procedures (75 FR 61025). Both rules 
provided for 60-day comment periods ending on November 30, 2010. No 
comments were received regarding the referendum procedures. Fifty-five 
comments were received regarding the proposed Order. Those comments are 
addressed in another proposed rule published in this issue of the 
Federal Register.

Executive Order 12866

    This rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of 
Executive Order 12866 and therefore has not been reviewed by the Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB).

Executive Order 12988

    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. It is not intended to have retroactive effect. Section 
524 of the 1996 Act provides that it shall not affect or preempt any 
other Federal or State law authorizing promotion or research relating 
to an agricultural commodity.
    Under section 519 of the 1996 Act, a person subject to an order may 
file a written petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 
stating that an order, any provision of an order, or any obligation 
imposed in connection with an order, is not established in accordance 
with the law, and request a modification of an order or an exemption 
from an order. Any petition filed challenging an order, any provision 
of an order, or any obligation imposed in connection with an order, 
shall be filed within two years after the effective date of an order, 
provision, or obligation subject to challenge in the petition. The 
petitioner will have the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. 
Thereafter, USDA will issue a ruling on the petition. The 1996 Act 
provides that the district court of the United States for any district 
in which the petitioner resides or conducts business shall have the 
jurisdiction to review a final ruling on the petition, if the 
petitioner files a complaint for that purpose not later than 20 days 
after the date of the entry of USDA's final ruling.
    This rule establishes procedures for conducting a referendum to 
determine whether domestic manufacturers and importers of softwood 
lumber favor issuance of a proposed softwood lumber Order. Softwood 
lumber is used in products like flooring, siding and framing. USDA will 
conduct the referendum. The program will be implemented if it is 
favored by a majority of domestic manufacturers and importers of 
softwood lumber voting in the referendum who also represent a majority 
of the volume of softwood lumber represented in the referendum. The 
procedures will also be used for any subsequent referendum under the 
Order. The proposed Order is being published separately in this issue 
of the Federal Register.
    The 1996 Act authorizes USDA to establish agricultural commodity 
research and promotion orders which may include a combination of 
promotion, research, industry information, and consumer information 
activities funded by mandatory assessments. These programs are designed 
to maintain and expand markets and uses for agricultural commodities. 
As defined under section 513(1)(D) of the 1996 Act, agricultural 
commodities include the products of forestry, which includes softwood 
lumber.
    The 1996 Act provides for alternatives within the terms of a 
variety of provisions. Paragraph (e) of section 518 of the 1996 Act 
provides three options for determining industry approval of a new 
research and promotion program: (1) By a majority of those persons 
voting; (2) by persons voting for approval who represent a majority of 
the volume of the agricultural commodity; or (3) by a majority of those 
persons voting for approval who also represent a majority of the volume 
of the agricultural commodity. In addition, section 518 of the 1996 Act 
provides for referenda to ascertain approval of an order to be 
conducted either prior to its going into effect or within three years 
after assessments first begin under an order.
    USDA received a proposal for a national research and promotion 
program for softwood lumber from the Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC). The 
BRC is a committee of 21 chief executive officers and heads of 
businesses that domestically manufacture and import softwood lumber. 
Softwood lumber is used in products like flooring, siding and framing. 
The program would be financed by an assessment on softwood lumber 
domestic manufacturers and importers and would be administered by a 
board of industry members selected by the Secretary of Agriculture 
(Secretary). The initial assessment rate would be $0.35 per thousand 
board feet shipped within or imported to the United States and could be 
increased up to $0.50 per thousand board feet. Entities that 
domestically ship or import less than 15 million board feet would be 
exempt along with shipments exported outside of the United States. 
Assessed entities would not pay assessments on the first 15 million 
board feet domestically shipped or imported. The purpose of the program 
would be to strengthen the position of softwood lumber in the 
marketplace, maintain and expand markets for softwood lumber, and 
develop new uses for softwood lumber within the United States.
    The BRC proposed that a referendum be held among eligible domestic 
manufacturers and importers to determine whether they favor 
implementation of the program prior to it going into effect. The BRC 
recommended that the program be implemented if it is favored by a

[[Page 22753]]

majority of the domestic manufacturers and importers voting in the 
referendum who also represent a majority of the volume of softwood 
lumber represented in the referendum. Domestic manufacturers and 
importers who domestically ship or import 15 million board feet or more 
of softwood lumber annually are eligible to vote in the referendum.
    The term ``softwood lumber'' means softwood lumber and products 
manufactured from softwood as described in section 804(a) within Title 
VIII (Softwood Lumber Act of 2008 or SLA of 2008) of the Tariff Act of 
1930 (19 U.S.C. 1202-1683g), as amended by section 3301 of the Food, 
Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-246, enacted June 18, 
2008) and categorized in the following Harmonized Tariff Schedule of 
the United States (HTSUS) numbers--4407.10.01, 4409.10.05, 4409.10.10, 
4409.10.20, 4409.10.90, and 4418.90.25. Domestic product that cannot be 
categorized in the referenced HTSUS numbers if it were an import is not 
covered under this Order. Further, softwood lumber originating in the 
United States that is exported to another country and shipped back to 
the United States is covered under this Order, provided it can be 
categorized in the referenced HTSUS numbers. Additionally, articles 
brought into the United States temporarily and for which an exemption 
is claimed under subchapter XIII of chapter 98 of the HTSUS are not 
covered under this Order.
    The definition for softwood lumber in this final rule was modified 
to better state what is subject to this proposed program. Additionally, 
the paragraphs in Sec.  1217.101 for softwood and softwood lumber were 
reversed in this rule so that the terms appear alphabetically in the 
referendum procedures. Thus, in Sec.  1217.101, the definition for 
softwood was changed from paragraph (l) to (k), and the definition for 
softwood lumber was changed from paragraph (k) to (l).
    Accordingly, softwood lumber and softwood lumber products described 
in section 804 of the SLA of 2008 and classified under subheading 
4407.10.00, 4409.10.10, 4409.10.20, and 4409.10.90 of the HTSUS are 
covered under this Order and described in the following paragraphs: \1\
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    \1\ The HTSUS numbers referred to in this discussion are as of 
January 1, 2008. However, HTS subheading 4407.10.00 is now HTS 
subheading 4407.10.01.
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    (1) Coniferous wood, sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled, 
whether or not planed, sanded or finger-jointed, of a thickness 
exceeding 6 millimeters;
    (2) Coniferous wood siding (including strips and friezes for 
parquet flooring, not assembled) continuously shaped (tongued, grooved, 
rabbeted, chamfered, v-jointed, beaded, molded, rounded, or the like) 
along any of its edges or faces, whether or not planed, sanded, or 
finger-jointed;
    (3) Other coniferous wood (including strips and friezes for parquet 
flooring, not assembled) continuously shaped (tongued, grooved, 
rabbeted, chamfered, v-jointed, beaded, molded, rounded, or the like) 
along any of its edges or faces (other than wood moldings and wood 
dowel rods) whether or not planed, sanded, or finger-jointed;
    (4) Coniferous wood flooring (including strips and friezes for 
parquet flooring, not assembled) continuously shaped (tongued, grooved, 
rabbeted, chamfered, v-jointed, beaded, molded, rounded, or the like) 
along any of its edges or faces, whether or not planed, sanded, or 
finger jointed; and
    (5) Coniferous drilled and notched lumber and angle cut lumber.
    In addition, any product classified under subheading 4409.10.05 of 
the HTSUS that is continually shaped along its end and or side edges is 
covered under the SLA of 2008 and would be covered under this Order. 
All product classified under 4418.90.25 would also be covered under 
this Order.
    Accordingly, this rule adds subpart B to part 1217 that establishes 
procedures for conducting the referendum. The procedures cover 
definitions, voting instructions, use of subagents, ballots, the 
referendum report, and confidentiality of information. The procedures 
are applicable for the initial referendum and future referenda.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 
601-612), AMS is required to examine the impact of this final rule on 
small entities. Accordingly, AMS has considered the economic impact of 
this action on small entities.
    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
businesses subject to such actions so that small businesses will not be 
disproportionately burdened. The Small Business Administration defines, 
in 13 CFR part 121, small agricultural producers as those having annual 
receipts of no more than $750,000 and small agricultural service firms 
(domestic manufacturers and importers) as those having annual receipts 
of no more than $7.0 million.
    According to USDA's Forest Service, it is estimated that, between 
2007 and 2009 (most recent data available to USDA), there were an 
average of 595 domestic manufacturers of softwood lumber in the United 
States annually.\2\ Using an average price of $280 per thousand board 
feet, a domestic manufacturer who ships less than 25 million board feet 
per year would be considered a small entity. It is estimated that, 
between 2007 and 2009, about 498 domestic manufacturers, or about 61 
percent, shipped less than 25 million board feet annually.\3\
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    \2\ Spelter, H., D. McKeever, D. Toth, Profile 2009: Softwood 
Sawmills in the United States, USDA, p. 15.
    \3\ Percentages were obtained from the American Lumber Standard 
Committee, Inc. (ALSC). The ALSC administers an accreditation 
program for the grademarking of lumber produced under the American 
Softwood Lumber Standard (Voluntary Product Standard 20).
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    According to Customs' data, it is estimated that, between 2007 and 
2009, there were about 833 importers of softwood lumber annually. About 
798 importers, or about 90 percent, imported less than $7.0 million 
worth of softwood lumber annually. Thus, the majority of domestic 
manufacturers and importers of softwood lumber would be considered 
small entities.
    According to USDA's Forest Service, for 2007-2008 (most recent data 
available to USDA), total output (production) of softwood lumber by 
U.S. sawmills averaged about 29.5 billion board feet annually. Of the 
29.5 billion board feet, 12.6 billion board feet were from the southern 
States, 14.4 billion board feet were from the western States, and 2.5 
billion board feet were from the northeast and lake States. (Data for 
the western States is from the Western Wood Products Association \4\ 
and data for the other two regions is from the U.S. Census Bureau.\5\)
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    \4\ Western Wood Products Association, 2008 Statistical 
Yearbook, p. 32.
    \5\ U.S. Census Bureau, 2009, Construction, http://www.census.gov/mcd/.
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    According to U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Foreign 
Trade Statistics data,\6\ imports of softwood lumber from 2008 through 
2010 averaged about 10.2 billion board feet annually. During those 
years, imports from Canada averaged 9.6 billion board feet annually, 
comprising about 94 percent of total imports; imports from western 
Europe averaged 224 million board feet annually, comprising about 2.2 
percent of total imports; and imports from Chile averaged 174 million 
board feet annually, comprising about 1.8 percent of total imports. 
Imports from other

[[Page 22754]]

countries accounted for the remaining 2 percent of total imports for 
2008 through 2010.
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    \6\ http://www.fas.usda.gov/gats; accessed 3/11/11.
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    This rule establishes procedures for conducting a referendum to 
determine whether domestic manufacturers and importers of softwood 
lumber favor issuance of a proposed softwood lumber Order. Softwood 
lumber is used in products like flooring, siding and framing. USDA will 
conduct the referendum. The program will be implemented if it is 
favored by a majority of domestic manufacturers and importers of 
softwood lumber voting in a referendum who also represent a majority of 
softwood lumber represented in the referendum. The procedures will also 
be used for any subsequent referendum under the Order. The procedures 
are authorized under paragraph (e) of section 518 the 1996 Act.
    Regarding the economic impact of this rule on affected entities, 
eligible softwood lumber domestic manufacturers and importers will have 
the opportunity to participate in the referendum. The Order would 
exempt domestic manufacturers and importers who ship or import less 
than 15 million board feet annually from the payment of assessments. 
Exempt domestic manufacturers and importers are not eligible to 
participate in the referendum. Of the 595 domestic manufacturers and 
883 importers, it is estimated that about 363 domestic manufacturers 
and 103 importers would pay assessments under the Order and thus be 
eligible to vote in the referendum. It is estimated that if $17.5 
million were collected in assessments ($0.35 per thousand board feet 
assessment rate with 50 billion board feet assessed), 25 percent, or 
about $4 million, would be paid by importers and 75 percent, or about 
$13 million, would be paid by domestic manufacturers. Voting in the 
referendum is optional. If domestic manufacturers and importers chose 
to vote, the burden of voting would be offset by the benefits of having 
the opportunity to vote on whether or not they want to be covered by 
the program.
    Regarding alternatives, USDA considered requiring eligible voters 
to vote in person at various USDA offices across the country. USDA also 
considered electronic voting, but the use of computers is not 
universal. Conducting the referendum from one central location by mail 
ballot will be more cost effective and reliable. USDA will provide easy 
access to information for potential voters through a toll free 
telephone line.
    This action imposes an additional reporting burden on eligible 
domestic manufacturers and importers of softwood lumber. Eligible 
domestic manufacturers and importers will have the opportunity to 
complete and submit a ballot to USDA indicating whether or not they 
favor implementation of the proposed Order. The specific burden for the 
ballot is detailed later in this document in the section titled 
Paperwork Reduction Act. As with all Federal promotion programs, 
reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information 
requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies. 
Finally, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that 
duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this rule.
    AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote 
the use of the Internet and other information technologies to provide 
increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information 
and services, and for other purposes.
    Regarding outreach efforts, USDA will keep these individuals 
informed throughout the program implementation and referendum process 
to ensure that they are aware of and are able to participate in the 
program implementation process. USDA will also publicize information 
regarding the referendum process so that trade associations and related 
industry media can be kept informed.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
chapter 35), the referendum ballot, which represents the information 
collection and recordkeeping requirements that may be imposed by this 
rule, has been submitted to OMB for approval and approved under OMB 
Number 0581-NEW.
    Title: Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and 
Industry Information Order.
    OMB Number: 0581-NEW.
    Expiration Date of Approval: 3 years from OMB date of approval.
    Type of Request: New information collection for research and 
promotion programs.
    Abstract: The information collection requirements in the request 
are essential to carry out the intent of the 1996 Act. The information 
collection concerns a proposal received by USDA for a national research 
and promotion program for softwood lumber. The program would be 
financed by an assessment on softwood lumber domestic manufacturers and 
importers and would be administered by a board of industry members 
selected by the Secretary. The program would provide for an exemption 
for the first 15 million board feet of lumber shipped by domestic 
manufacturers within the United States or imported into the United 
States during the year. Exports of softwood lumber from the United 
States would also be exempt from assessments. A referendum will be held 
among eligible domestic manufacturers and importers to determine 
whether they favor implementation of the program prior to it going into 
effect. The purpose of the program would be to help build the market 
for softwood lumber.
    The information collection requirements in this rule concern the 
referendum that will be held to determine whether the program is 
favored by the industry. Domestic manufacturers and importers of 15 
million or more board feet annually are eligible to vote in the 
referendum. The ballot will be completed by eligible domestic 
manufacturers and importers who want to indicate whether or not they 
support implementation of the program.

Referendum Ballot

    Estimate of Burden: Public recordkeeping burden for this collection 
of information is estimated to average 0.25 hour per application.
    Respondents: Domestic manufacturers and importers.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 464 (363 domestic manufacturers 
and 103 importers).
    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 1 every 5 years 
(0.2).
    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 23.20 hours.
    The ballot will be added to the other information collections 
approved under OMB No. 0581-NEW.
    An estimated 464 respondents will provide information to USDA (363 
domestic manufacturers and 103 importers). The estimated cost of 
providing the information to USDA by respondents is $765.60. This total 
has been estimated by multiplying 23.20 total hours required for 
reporting and recordkeeping by $33, the average mean hourly earnings of 
various occupations involved in keeping this information. Data for 
computation of this hourly rate was obtained from the U.S. Department 
of Labor Statistics.
    The proposed Order's provisions have been carefully reviewed, and 
every effort has been made to minimize any unnecessary recordkeeping 
costs or requirements, including efforts to utilize information already 
submitted under other programs administered by USDA and other State 
programs.
    A proposed rule regarding the referendum procedures was published

[[Page 22755]]

in the Federal Register on October 1, 2010 (75 FR 61025). Copies of the 
rule were made available by USDA through the Office of the Federal 
Register and were also made available via the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. That rule provided for a 60-day comment period. No 
comments were received.
    In the October 1, 2010, proposed rule, comments were also invited 
on the information collection requirements prescribed in the Paperwork 
Reduction Act section of this rule. Specifically, comments were 
solicited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is 
necessary for the proper performance of functions of the proposed Order 
and USDA's oversight of the proposed Order, including whether the 
information would have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of USDA's 
estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, 
including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) the 
accuracy of USDA's estimate of the principal manufacturing areas in the 
United States for softwood lumber; (d) the accuracy of USDA's estimate 
of the number of domestic manufacturers and importers of softwood 
lumber that would be covered under the program; (e) ways to enhance the 
quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and 
(f) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on 
those who are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, 
electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or 
other forms of information technology. No comments were received 
regarding information collection.
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, it is found that good cause exists for 
not postponing the effective date of this rule until 30 days after 
publication in the Federal Register because this rule needs to be in 
effect prior to USDA conducting a referendum which is scheduled for May 
2011. Further, a 60-day comment period was provided for in the proposed 
rule regarding referendum procedures, and no comments were received.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1217

    Administrative practice and procedure, Advertising, Consumer 
information, Marketing agreements, Softwood lumber, Promotion, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, Title 7, Chapter XI of 
the Code of Federal Regulations, is amended by adding part 1217 to read 
as follows:

PART 1217--SOFTWOOD LUMBER RESEARCH, PROMOTION, CONSUMER EDUCATION 
AND INDUSTRY INFORMATION ORDER

Subpart A--[Reserved]
Subpart B--Referendum Procedures
Sec.
1217.100 General.
1217.101 Definitions.
1217.102 Voting.
1217.103 Instructions.
1217.104 Subagents.
1217.105 Ballots.
1217.106 Referendum report.
1217.107 Confidential information.
1217.108 OMB Control number.

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 7411-7425; 7 U.S.C. 7401.

Subpart A--[Reserved]

Subpart B--Referendum Procedures


Sec.  1217.100  General.

    Referenda to determine whether eligible domestic manufacturers and 
importers favor the issuance, continuance, amendment, suspension, or 
termination of the Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer 
Education, and Industry Information Order shall be conducted in 
accordance with this subpart.


Sec.  1217.101  Definitions.

    For the purposes of this subpart:
    (a) Administrator means the Administrator of the Agricultural 
Marketing Service, with power to delegate, or any officer or employee 
of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to whom authority has been 
delegated or may hereafter be delegated to act in the Administrator's 
stead.
    (b) Customs or CPB means Customs and Border Protection, an agency 
of the United States Department of Homeland Security.
    (c) Department or USDA means the U.S. Department of Agriculture or 
any officer or employee of the Department to whom authority has 
heretofore been delegated, or to whom authority may hereafter be 
delegated, to act in the Secretary's stead.
    (d) Eligible domestic manufacturer means any person who 
manufactured and shipped 15 million board feet or more of softwood 
lumber in the United States during the representative period.
    (e) Eligible importer means any person who imported 15 million 
board feet or more of softwood lumber into the United States during the 
representative period as a principal or as an agent, broker, or 
consignee of any person who manufactured softwood lumber outside of the 
United States for sale in the United States, and who is listed as the 
importer of record for such softwood lumber. Importation occurs when 
softwood lumber manufactured outside of the United States is released 
from custody by Customs and introduced into the stream of commerce in 
the United States. Included are persons who hold title to foreign-
manufactured softwood lumber immediately upon release by Customs, as 
well as any persons who act on behalf of others, as agents or brokers, 
to secure the release of softwood lumber from Customs when such 
softwood lumber is entered or withdrawn for use in the United States.
    (f) Manufacture means the process of transforming softwood logs 
into softwood lumber.
    (g) Order means the Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer 
Education and Industry Information Order.
    (h) Person means any individual, group of individuals, partnership, 
corporation, association, cooperative, or any other legal entity. For 
the purpose of this definition, the term ``partnership'' includes, but 
is not limited to:
    (1) A husband and a wife who have title to, or leasehold interest 
in, a softwood lumber manufacturing entity as tenants in common, joint 
tenants, tenants by the entirety, or, under community property laws, as 
community property; and
    (2) So called ``joint ventures'' wherein one or more parties to an 
agreement, informal or otherwise, contributed land, facilities, 
capital, labor, management, equipment, or other services, or any 
variation of such contributions by two or more parties, so that it 
results in the domestic manufacturing or importation of softwood lumber 
and the authority to transfer title to the softwood lumber so 
manufactured or imported.
    (i) Referendum agent or agent means the individual or individuals 
designated by the Secretary to conduct the referendum.
    (j) Representative period means the period designated by the 
Department.
    (k) Softwood means one of the botanical groups of trees that have 
needle-like or scale-like leaves, the conifers.
    (l) Softwood lumber means and includes softwood lumber and products 
manufactured from softwood as described in section 804(a) within Title 
VIII (Softwood Lumber Act of 2008 or SLA of 2008) of the Tariff Act of 
1930 (19 U.S.C. 1202-1683g), as amended by section 3301 of the Food, 
Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-246, enacted June 18, 
2008) and categorized in the following Harmonized Tariff Schedule of 
the United States (HTSUS) numbers--

[[Page 22756]]

4407.10.01, 4409.10.05, 4409.10.10, 4409.10.20, 4409.10.90, and 
4418.90.25. Domestic product that cannot be categorized in the 
referenced HTSUS numbers if it were an import is not covered under this 
order. Further, softwood lumber originating in the United States that 
is exported to another country and shipped back to the United States is 
also covered under this Order, provided it can be categorized in the 
referenced HTSUS numbers. Additionally, articles brought into the 
United States temporarily and for which an exemption is claimed under 
subchapter XIII of chapter 98 of the HTSUS are exempted from the SLA of 
2008 and are not covered under this Order.
    (m) United States means collectively the 50 States, the District of 
Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territories and 
possessions of the United States.


Sec.  1217.102  Voting.

    (a) Each eligible domestic manufacturer and importer of softwood 
lumber shall be entitled to cast only one ballot in the referendum. 
However, each domestic manufacturer in a landlord/tenant relationship 
or a divided ownership arrangement involving totally independent 
entities cooperating only to manufacture softwood lumber, in which more 
than one of the parties is a domestic manufacturer or importer, shall 
be entitled to cast one ballot in the referendum covering only such 
domestic manufacturer or importer's share of ownership.
    (b) Proxy voting is not authorized, but an officer or employee of 
an eligible corporate domestic manufacturer or importer, or an 
administrator, executor, or trustee of an eligible entity may cast a 
ballot on behalf of such entity. Any individual so voting in a 
referendum shall certify that such individual is an officer or employee 
of the eligible entity, or an administrator, executive, or trustee of 
an eligible entity and that such individual has the authority to take 
such action. Upon request of the referendum agent, the individual shall 
submit adequate evidence of such authority.
    (c) A single entity who domestically manufactures and imports 
softwood lumber may cast one vote in the referendum.
    (d) All ballots are to be cast by mail or other means, as 
instructed by the Department.


Sec.  1217.103  Instructions.

    The referendum agent shall conduct the referendum, in the manner 
provided in this subpart, under the supervision of the Administrator. 
The Administrator may prescribe additional instructions, consistent 
with the provisions of this subpart, to govern the procedure to be 
followed by the referendum agent. Such agent shall:
    (a) Determine the period during which ballots may be cast;
    (b) Provide ballots and related material to be used in the 
referendum. The ballot shall provide for recording essential 
information, including that needed for ascertaining whether the person 
voting, or on whose behalf the vote is cast, is an eligible voter;
    (c) Give reasonable public notice of the referendum:
    (1) By using available media or public information sources, without 
incurring advertising expense, to publicize the dates, places, method 
of voting, eligibility requirements, and other pertinent information. 
Such sources of publicity may include, but are not limited to, print 
and radio; and
    (2) By such other means as the agent may deem advisable.
    (d) Mail to eligible domestic manufacturers and importers whose 
names and addresses are known to the referendum agent, the instructions 
on voting, a ballot, and a summary of the terms and conditions of the 
proposed Order. No person who claims to be eligible to vote shall be 
refused a ballot;
    (e) At the end of the voting period, collect, open, number, and 
review the ballots and tabulate the results in the presence of an agent 
of a third party authorized to monitor the referendum process;
    (f) Prepare a report on the referendum; and
    (g) Announce the results to the public.


Sec.  1217.104  Subagents.

    The referendum agent may appoint any individual or individuals 
necessary or desirable to assist the agent in performing such agent's 
functions of this subpart. Each individual so appointed may be 
authorized by the agent to perform any or all of the functions which, 
in the absence of such appointment, shall be performed by the agent.


Sec.  1217.105  Ballots.

    The referendum agent and subagents shall accept all ballots cast. 
However, if an agent or subagent deems that a ballot should be 
challenged for any reason, the agent or subagent shall endorse above 
their signature, on the ballot, a statement to the effect that such 
ballot was challenged, by whom challenged, the reasons therefore, the 
results of any investigations made with respect thereto, and the 
disposition thereof. Ballots invalid under this subpart shall not be 
counted.


Sec.  1217.106  Referendum report.

    Except as otherwise directed, the referendum agent shall prepare 
and submit to the Administrator a report on the results of the 
referendum, the manner in which it was conducted, the extent and kind 
of public notice given, and other information pertinent to the analysis 
of the referendum and its results.


Sec.  1217.107  Confidential information.

    The ballots and other information or reports that reveal, or tend 
to reveal, the vote of any person covered under the Order and the voter 
list shall be strictly confidential and shall not be disclosed.


Sec.  1217.108  OMB control number.

    The control number assigned to the information collection 
requirement in this subpart by the Office of Management and Budget 
pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. is OMB 
control number 0581-NEW.

    Dated: April 13, 2011.
Rayne Pegg,
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-9394 Filed 4-21-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P