The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is revising the regulations governing domestic quarantines for various plant pests by moving lists of quarantined areas and regulated articles to the APHIS website. This amendment allows us to use a notice-based, streamlined approach to update the lists while continuing to protect plant health.
Under the Plant Protection Act (PPA, 7 USC 7701), USDA is authorized to restrict the interstate movement of plants, plants products, and other articles associated with the regulated area (such as soil, farm equipment, tools, containers, and conveyances) to prevent the dissemination of plant pests and noxious weeds within the United States and to issue the associated regulations. Under the same authority, APHIS designates quarantined areas for plant pests to prevent their spread to new areas.
APHIS previously listed and updated quarantine areas and regulated articles within the regulations published in the 7 Code of Federal Regulations, part 301. This required an extensive rulemaking process to make changes and was sometimes outpaced by the rapid expansion or contraction of plant pest quarantine areas or the need to add or remove regulated articles. The final rule revises regulations to establish processes for maintaining various quarantine lists and regulated articles on APHIS’ plant pest program websites, which reduces the time it takes to issue updates.
For further changes to quarantine areas, APHIS will issue a Federal Order designating a quarantine area and will update the list of quarantined areas on the relevant plant pest program website. Once a year, APHIS will issue one Federal Register (FR) notice informing the public of changes to quarantine areas for all pest programs listed in the final rule since the issuance of the previous notice.
For further changes to regulated articles on the APHIS plant pest program website, APHIS will publish an FR notice proposing to add the new article to the list of regulated articles for that plant pest. The notice will provide the basis for the change and request public comment. Upon publication of a final notice, APHIS will make the change on the relevant plant pest program website. If there is an immediate need to designate a regulated article for a particular plant pest, APHIS may do so through a Federal Order and simultaneously update the relevant list of regulated articles on the APHIS website. APHIS will issue an FR notice informing the public of this change.
APHIS made the proposed action available for public comment and received no feedback or concerns. Members of the public can review the final rule by visiting www.regulations.gov and entering APHIS-2022-0035-2 in the Search field. This rule is effective on January 30, 2023.