[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 103 (Tuesday, May 29, 2012)]
[Pages 31564-31566]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-13016]



Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2012-0040]

Notice of Availability of a Treatment Evaluation Document; Methyl 
Bromide Fumigation of Cottonseed

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: We are advising the public that we have determined that it is 
necessary to immediately add to the Plant Protection and Quarantine 
Treatment Manual a treatment schedule for methyl bromide fumigation of 
cottonseed for the fungal plant pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. 
vasinfectum (FOV). We have prepared a treatment evaluation document 
that describes the new treatment schedule and explains why we have 
determined that it is

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effective at neutralizing FOV, certain strains of which are quarantine 
pests. We are making the treatment evaluation document available to the 
public for review and comment.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before July 
30, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0040-0001.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to 
Docket No. APHIS-2012-0040, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, 
APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-
    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may 
be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2012-
0040 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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Marc Phillips, Import Specialist, 
Regulatory Coordination and Compliance, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road 
Unit 156, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 851-2114.



    The regulations in 7 CFR chapter III are intended, among other 
things, to prevent the introduction or dissemination of plant pests and 
noxious weeds into or within the United States. Under the regulations, 
certain plants, fruits, vegetables, and other articles must be treated 
before they may be moved into the United States or interstate. The 
phytosanitary treatments regulations contained in part 305 of 7 CFR 
chapter III (referred to below as the regulations) set out standards 
for treatments required in parts 301, 318, and 319 of 7 CFR chapter III 
for fruits, vegetables, and other articles.
    In Sec.  305.2, paragraph (b) states that approved treatment 
schedules are set out in the Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) 
Treatment Manual.\1\ Section 305.3 sets out a process for adding, 
revising, or removing treatment schedules in the PPQ Treatment Manual. 
In that section, paragraph (b) sets out the process for adding, 
revising, or removing treatment schedules when there is an immediate 
need to make a change. The circumstances in which an immediate need 
exists are described in Sec.  305.3(b)(1). They are:

    \1\ The Treatment Manual is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/manuals/index.shtml or by 
contacting the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant 
Protection and Quarantine, Manuals Unit, 92 Thomas Johnson Drive, 
Suite 200, Frederick, MD 21702.

     PPQ has determined that an approved treatment schedule is 
ineffective at neutralizing the targeted plant pest(s).
     PPQ has determined that, in order to neutralize the 
targeted plant pest(s), the treatment schedule must be administered 
using a different process than was previously used.
     PPQ has determined that a new treatment schedule is 
effective, based on efficacy data, and that ongoing trade in a 
commodity or commodities may be adversely impacted unless the new 
treatment schedule is approved for use.
     The use of a treatment schedule is no longer authorized by 
EPA or by any other Federal entity.
    We have determined a new methyl bromide fumigation treatment 
schedule to neutralize the fungal pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. 
vasinfectum (FOV) on cottonseed (Gossypium spp.) is effective, and we 
have determined that ongoing trade in cottonseed will be adversely 
impacted unless the new treatment schedule is approved for use.
    Certain strains of FOV are present in Australia and not in the 
United States--specifically FOV vegetative compatibility groups (VCG) 
01111 and 01112. These strains are quarantine pests and could have 
significant impacts on U.S. cotton production. They are currently found 
only in Australia. Fumigation with methyl bromide was the only approved 
treatment for FOV VCG 01111 and 01112, so when the Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA) canceled the tolerance for methyl bromide on 
cottonseed, trade ceased.
    However, in a proposed rule published in the Federal Register on 
April 6, 2012 (77 FR 20752-20756), EPA proposed to reinstate the 
tolerance of methyl bromide on cottonseed, which would allow trade with 
Australia to resume if an effective treatment schedule is added to the 
PPQ Treatment Manual. It is important to resume trade in cottonseed 
with Australia as soon as possible because fumigated cottonseed can be 
used as animal feed, and the supply of domestic animal feed has been 
hurt by recent droughts in cotton-growing regions of the United States. 
In addition, while FOV VCG 01111 and 01112 are currently found only in 
Australia, this treatment will also be available should those VCG be 
found in other countries that wish to export cottonseed to the United 
    Therefore, in accordance with paragraph (b)(2) of Sec.  305.3, we 
are adding the new methyl bromide fumigation treatment for cottonseed 
to the PPQ Treatment Manual as T301-e. This treatment schedule will be 
listed in a separate section of the PPQ Treatment Manual, which will 
indicate that T301-e was added through the immediate process described 
in paragraph (b) of Sec.  305.3 and that it is subject to change or 
removal based on public comment. Although we expect that EPA will 
finalize the proposed rule to reinstate the tolerance soon, the 
tolerance is not currently established, meaning that this treatment 
schedule will not be authorized for use until the EPA proposal is 
    Our determination that the new treatment schedule T301-e is 
effective is presented in a treatment evaluation document we have 
prepared to support this action. The treatment evaluation document may 
be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site or in our reading room (see 
ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing Regulations.gov and 
information on the location and hours of the reading room). You may 
request paper copies of the treatment evaluation document by calling or 
writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. 
Please refer to the subject of the treatment evaluation document when 
requesting copies.
    After reviewing the comments we receive, we will announce our 
decision regarding the new treatment schedule that is described in the 
treatment evaluation document in a subsequent notice, in accordance 
with paragraph (b)(3) of Sec.  305.3. If we do not receive any 
comments, or the comments we receive do not change our determination 
that the treatment is effective, we will affirm the treatment 
schedule's addition to the PPQ Treatment Manual and make available a 
new version of the PPQ Treatment Manual in which T301-e is listed in 
the main body of the PPQ Treatment Manual. If we receive comments that 
cause us to determine that T301-e needs to be changed or removed, we 
will make available a new version of the PPQ Treatment Manual that 
reflects changes to or the removal of T301-e.

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

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    Done in Washington, DC, this 23rd day of May 2012.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-13016 Filed 5-25-12; 8:45 am]