Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
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 (
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, § 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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
This proposed rule contains no new information collection or recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501
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 follows:
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 § 319.40-3, paragraph (a) is amended by adding a new paragraph (a)(1)(i)(D) to read as follows:
(a) * * *
(1) * * *
(i) * * *
(D) Regulated wood packaging material, whether in actual use as packing for regulated or nonregulated articles or imported as cargo.