USDA APHIS Extends Comment Period on Interstate Movement of Plant Pests, Biocontrol Agents and Soil

The USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service has announced an extension of the comment period for a revision to the the regulations in 7 CFR part 330 that govern the movement into and within the United States of plant pests, biological control agents, and soil, and is soliciting public comments until April 19, 2017. The comment period has been extended for 30 days to give stakeholders and the public additional time to submit comments on the proposed change. The proposed action will align plant pest regulations with current APHIS policies, remove obsolete requirements, streamline the permit process for low risk organisms, and update requirements for the import of foreign soil.

As it relates to the regulation of biological control organisms, this proposed rule would:

  • Establish criteria regarding the movement and release of certain biological control agents in the continental United States, and
  • Establish exemptions for certain biological control organisms similar to what is being proposed for widely prevalent, low-risk plant pests.

The proposed rule would also update the regulations to more appropriately reflect the risk from soil that accompanies a plant pest by:

  • Including soil as an “associated article” (i.e., soil that accompanies a plant pest),
  • Updating the definition of soil, and
  • Clarifying what is not considered soil.

The proposed rule is available in the Federal Register. The deadline to submit comments is extended until April 19, 2017. APHIS will carefully review and consider all comments received before making a decision regarding the importation and interstate movement of plant pests, biocontrol agents, and soil.

To review the proposed rule or submit comments, go to!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2008-0076.

Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2008-0076, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

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