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Melissa O'Dell (301) 734-5222
Jerry Redding (202) 720-4623

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2006--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service today announced that it is extending the comment period by 30 days on a proposal to establish boll weevil regulations restricting the interstate movement of regulated articles into or through commercial cotton-producing areas.

These regulations are necessary to prevent the spread of the boll weevil to noninfested areas. Under the proposed regulations, articles subject to the movement restrictions such as wild or ornamental cotton, seed cotton, gin trash and processing equipment must be accompanied by a permit when transiting through commercial cotton-producing states. These articles present a risk of spreading the pest because the boll weevil, if present, can survive in these materials and could possibly be transported to noninfested areas.

States designated as commercial cotton-producing areas are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

The boll weevil is a destructive pest of cotton, known to cause serious economic losses by lowering the yield and quality of cotton crops. To date, the boll weevil has caused an estimated $22 billion in yield losses and control costs to the U.S. cotton industry. A highly migratory pest, the boll weevil is known to travel up to 169 miles aided by wind.

Notice of this extension is published in the Dec. 20 Federal Register.

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Feb. 1, 2007. Send an original and three copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0002, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, Md. 20737-1238. If you wish to submit a comment using the Internet, go to the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov, select “Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service” from the agency drop-down menu; then click on “Submit.” In the Docket ID column, select APHIS-2006-0002 to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.

Comments are posted on the Regulations.gov Web site and may be viewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th St. and Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C., between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room please call (202) 690‑2817.


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