(a) Types of permits. APHIS issues import permits, interstate movement permits, continued curation permits, and transit permits for plant pests, biological control organisms, and associated articles.
(1) Import permit. Import permits are issued to persons for secure shipment from outside the United States into the territorial limits of the United States. When import permits are issued to individuals, these individuals must be 18 years of age or older and have a physical address within the United States. When import permits are issued to corporate persons, these persons must maintain an address or business office in the United States with one or more designated individuals for service of process.
(2) Interstate movement permit. Interstate movement permits are issued to persons for secure shipment from any State into or through any other State. When interstate movement permits are issued to individuals, these individuals must be 18 years of age or older and have a physical address within the United States. When interstate movement permits are issued to corporate persons, these persons must maintain an address or business office in the United States with a designated individual for service of process.
(3) Continued curation permits. Continued curation permits are issued in conjunction with and prior to the expiration date for an import permit or interstate movement permit, in order for the permittee to continue the actions listed on the import permit or interstate movement permit. When continued curation permits are issued to individuals, these individuals must be 18 years of age or older and have a physical address within the United States. When continued curation permits are issued to corporate persons, these persons must maintain an address or business office in the United States with one or more designated individuals for service of process.
(4) Transit permits. Transit permits are issued for secure shipments through the United States. Transit permits are issued in accordance with part 352 of this chapter.
(b) Applying for a permit. Permit applications must be submitted by the applicant in writing or electronically through one of the means listed at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/permits/index.shtml in advance of the action(s) proposed on the permit application.
(c) Completing a permit application. A permit application must be complete before APHIS will evaluate it in order to determine whether to issue the permit requested. To facilitate timely processing, applications should be submitted as far in advance as possible of the date of the proposed permit activity. Guidance regarding how to complete a permit application, including guidance specific to the various information blocks on the application, is available at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/permits/index.shtml.
(d) APHIS action on permit applications. APHIS will review the information on the application to determine whether it is complete. In order to consider an application complete, APHIS may request additional information that it determines to be necessary in order to assess the risk to plants and plant products that may be posed by the actions proposed on the application. When it is determined that an application is complete, APHIS will commence review of the information provided.
(1) State or Tribal consultation and comment; consultation with other individuals. APHIS will share a copy of the permit application, and the proposed permit conditions, with the appropriate State or Tribal regulatory officials, and may share the application and the proposed conditions with other persons or groups to provide comment.
(2) Initial assessment of sites and facilities. Prior to issuance of a permit, APHIS will assess all sites and facilities that are listed on the permit application, including private residences, biocontainment facilities, and field locations where the organism or associated article will be held or released. As part of this assessment, all sites and facilities are subject to inspection. All facilities must be determined by APHIS to be constructed and maintained in a manner that prevents the dissemination or dispersal of plant pests, biological control organisms, or associated articles from the facility. The applicant must provide all information requested by APHIS regarding this assessment, and must allow all inspections requested by APHIS during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays). Failure to do so constitutes grounds for denial of the permit application.
(3) Issuance of a permit. APHIS may issue a permit to an applicant if APHIS concludes that the actions indicated in the permit application are not likely to introduce or disseminate a plant pest, biological control organism, or noxious weed within the United States in a manner that exposes plants and plant products to unacceptable risk. Issuance will occur as follows:
(i) Prior to issuing the permit, APHIS will notify the applicant in writing or electronically of all proposed permit conditions. The applicant must agree in writing or electronically that he or she, and all his or her employees, agents, and/or officers, will comply with all permit conditions and all provisions of this subpart. If the organism or associated article will be contained in a private residence, the applicant must state in this agreement that he or she authorizes APHIS to conduct unscheduled assessments of the residence during normal business hours if a permit is issued.
(ii) APHIS will issue the permit after it receives and reviews the applicant's agreement. The permit will be valid for no more than 3 years. During that period, the permittee must abide by all permitting conditions, and the use of the organism or associated article must conform to the intended use on the permit. Moreover, the use of organisms derived from a regulated parent organism during that period must conform to the intended use specified on the permit for the parent organism.
(iii) All activities carried out under the permit must cease on or before the expiration date for the permit, unless, prior to that expiration date, the permittee has submitted a new permit application and a new permit has been issued to authorize continuation of those actions.
(iv) At any point following issuance of a permit but prior to its expiration date, an inspector may conduct unscheduled assessments of the site or facility in which the organisms or associated articles are held, to determine whether they are constructed and are being maintained in a manner that prevents the dissemination of organisms or associated articles from the site or facility. The permittee must allow all such assessments requested by APHIS during normal business hours. Failure to allow such assessments constitutes grounds for revocation of the permit.
(4) Denial of a permit application. APHIS may deny an application for a permit if:
(i) APHIS concludes that the actions proposed in the permit application would present an unacceptable risk to plants and plant products because of the introduction or dissemination of a plant pest, biological control organism, or noxious weed within the United States; or
(ii) The actions proposed in the permit application would be adverse to the conduct of an APHIS eradication, suppression, control, or regulatory program; or
(iii) A State or Tribal executive official, or a State or Tribal plant protection official authorized to do so, objects to the movement in writing and provides specific, detailed information that there is a risk the movement will result in the dissemination of a plant pest or noxious weed into the State, APHIS evaluates the information and agrees, and APHIS determines that such plant pest or noxious weed risk cannot be adequately addressed or mitigated; or
(iv) The applicant does not agree to observe all of the proposed permit conditions that APHIS has determined are necessary to mitigate identified risks; or
(v) The applicant does not provide information requested by APHIS as part of an assessment of sites or facilities, or does not allow APHIS to inspect sites or facilities associated with the actions listed on the permit application; or
(vi) APHIS determines that the applicant has not followed prior permit conditions, or has not adequately demonstrated that they can meet the requirements for the current application. Factors that may contribute to such a determination include, but are not limited to:
(A) The applicant, or a partnership, firm, corporation, or other legal entity in which the applicant has a substantial interest, financial or otherwise, has not complied with any permit that was previously issued by APHIS.
(B) Issuing the permit would circumvent any order denying or revoking a previous permit issued by APHIS.
(C) The applicant has previously failed to comply with any APHIS regulation.
(D) The applicant has previously failed to comply with any other Federal, State, or local laws, regulations, or instructions pertaining to plant health.
(E) The applicant has previously failed to comply with the laws or regulations of a national plant protection organization or equivalent body, as these pertain to plant health.
(F) APHIS has determined that the applicant has made false or fraudulent statements or provided false or fraudulent records to APHIS.
(G) The applicant has been convicted or has pled nolo contendere to any crime involving fraud, bribery, extortion, or any other crime involving a lack of integrity.
(5) Withdrawal of a permit application. Any permit application may be withdrawn at the request of the applicant. If the applicant wishes to withdraw a permit application, he or she must provide the request in writing to APHIS. APHIS will provide written notification to the applicant as promptly as circumstances allow regarding reception of the request and withdrawal of the application.
(6) Cancellation of a permit. Any permit that has been issued may be canceled at the request of the permittee. If a permittee wishes a permit to be canceled, he or she must provide the request in writing to APHIS-PPQ. Whenever a permit is canceled, APHIS will notify the permittee in writing regarding such cancellation.
(7) Revocation of a permit. APHIS may revoke a permit for any of the following reasons:
(i) After issuing the permit, APHIS obtains information that would have otherwise provided grounds for it to deny the permit application; or
(ii) APHIS determines that the actions undertaken under the permit have resulted in or are likely to result in the introduction into or dissemination within the United States of a plant pest or noxious weed in a manner that presents an unacceptable risk to plants or plant products; or
(iii) APHIS determines that the permittee, or any employee, agent, or officer of the permittee, has failed to comply with a provision of the permit or the regulations under which the permit was issued.
(8) Amendment of permits -
(i) Amendment at permittee's request. If a permittee determines that circumstances have changed since the permit was initially issued and wishes the permit to be amended accordingly, he or she must request the amendment, either through APHIS' online portal for permit applications, or by contacting APHIS directly via phone or email. The permittee may have to provide supporting information justifying the amendment. APHIS will review the amendment request, and may amend the permit if only minor changes are necessary. Requests for more substantive changes may require a new permit application. Prior to issuance of an amended permit, the permittee may be required to agree in writing that he or she, and his or her employees, agents, and/or officers will comply with the amended permit and conditions.
(ii) Amendment initiated by APHIS. APHIS may amend any permit and its conditions at any time, upon determining that the amendment is needed to address newly identified considerations concerning the risks presented by the organism or the activities being conducted under the permit. APHIS may also amend a permit at any time to ensure that the permit conditions are consistent with all of the requirements of this part. As soon as circumstances allow, APHIS will notify the permittee of the amendment to the permit and the reason(s) for it. Depending on the nature of the amendment, the permittee may have to agree in writing or electronically that he or she, and his or her employees, agents, and/or officers, will comply with the permit and conditions as amended before APHIS will issue the amended permit. If APHIS requests such an agreement, and the permittee does not agree in writing that he or she, and his or her employees, agents, and/or officers, will comply with the amended permit and conditions, the existing permit will be revoked.
(9) Suspension of permitted actions. APHIS may suspend authorization of actions authorized under a permit if it identifies new factors that cause it to reevaluate the risk associated with those actions. APHIS will notify the permittee in writing of this suspension explaining the reasons for it and stating the actions for which APHIS is suspending authorization. Depending on the results of APHIS' evaluation, APHIS will subsequently contact the permittee to remove the suspension, amend the permit, or revoke the permit.
(10) Appeals. Any person whose application has been denied, whose permit has been revoked or amended, or whose authorization for actions authorized under a permit has been suspended, may appeal the decision in writing to the Administrator within 10 business days after receiving the written notification of the denial, revocation, amendment, or suspension. The appeal shall state all of the facts and reasons upon which the person relies to show that the application was wrongfully denied, permit revoked or amended, or authorization for actions under a permit suspended. The Administrator shall grant or deny the appeal, stating the reasons for the decision as promptly as circumstances allow.
(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget Under Control Number 0579-0054)