[Federal Register: September 5, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 172)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 52727-52732]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Parts 13 and 21

RIN 1018-AI64

Migratory Bird Permits; Eiderdown From Iceland

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (we or us) proposes changes 
in the regulations governing the import into the United States of parts 
of protected migratory birds. We propose to specify the requirements 
for importing down of nesting common eiders that breed in Iceland and 
list the procedures required to harvest, import, possess, and 
manufacture finished eiderdown products. We are requesting comments on 
information collection associated with the proposed rule.

DATES: Comments on this proposed rule will be accepted through December 
4, 2003 to the address below.
    Comments on the information collection aspects of this proposed 
rule will be considered if received by November 4, 2003. The Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) has up to 60 days to approve or disapprove 
information collection but may respond after 30 days. Therefore, to 
ensure maximum consideration, your comments should be received by OMB 
by October 6, 2003.

ADDRESSES: You may mail or deliver written comments on this proposal 
to: RIN 1018-AI64, Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, MS MBSP 4107, Arlington, 
Virginia 22203-1610. Alternatively, you may submit your comments via 
the Internet: eiderdown@fws.gov.    You may submit comments on the information collection aspects of 
the proposed rule to the Desk Officer for the Department of Interior at 
the Office of Management and Budget, Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs, via facsimile or e-mail using the following fax 
number and e-mail address: 202/395-6566 (fax); OIRA_DOCKET@omb.eop.gov 
(e-mail). Please provide a copy of your comments to the Fish and 
Wildlife Service's Information Collection Clearance Officer, 4401 North 
Fairfax Drive, MS 222 ARLSQ, Arlington, Virginia 22203; 703/358-2269 
(fax); or Anissa_Craghead@fws.gov (e-mail).
    In your written comments to the Division of Migratory Bird 
Management, please reference ``RIN 1018-AI64'' at the top of your 
letter. Include your name and return address. Anonymous comments will 
not be accepted. Please submit Internet comments as an ASCII file 
avoiding the use of special characters and any form of encryption. 
Include your name and return address in your e-mail message. If you do 
not receive a confirmation that we have received your message, contact 
us directly at 703/358-1714.
    The complete file for this proposed rule, including electronic and 
written comments received, will be available for public inspection by 
appointment, during normal business hours at the Division of Migratory 
Bird Management address listed above. You may call 703/358-1714 to make 
an appointment to view the files.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Millsap, Chief, Division of 
Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 703/358-



    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the Federal agency with the 
primary responsibility for managing migratory birds. We propose changes 
in the regulations governing the import into the United States of parts 
of protected migratory birds. We propose to specify the requirements 
for importing down of nesting common eiders that breed in Iceland and 
list the procedures required to harvest, import, possess, and 
manufacture finished eiderdown products. Our authority is based on the 
Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (MBTA) (16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.), which 
implements conventions with Great Britain (for Canada), the United 
Mexican States (=Mexico), Japan, and the Soviet Union (=Russia). Sea 
ducks including the common eider are afforded Federal protection by the 
Convention for the Protection of Migratory Birds and Game Animals, 
February 7, 1936, United States--Mexico; the Convention Between the 
United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 
[=Russia] Concerning the Conservation of Migratory Birds and Their 
Environment, November 26, 1976; and the Protocol Amending the 1916 
Convention for the Protection of Migratory Birds, August 2, 1996.
    The MBTA requires that any regulations authorizing activities 
otherwise prohibited by 16 U.S.C. 703 are ``[s]ubject to the provisions 
and in order to carry out the purposes of the conventions.'' 16 U.S.C. 
704. This rule is consistent with each of the applicable treaties. Most 
importantly, this rule is consistent with the conservation intent of 
the treaties, as it builds in sufficient safeguards to ensure that the 
activities it allows will not have a negative impact on the 
conservation of common eiders or other birds protected by the 
conventions. It is also consistent with the expressed intent of the 
parties that migratory birds be conserved, in part, to allow their 
economic utilization. See Canada treaty, Article II (``migratory bird 
populations shall be managed * * * [t]o ensure a variety of sustainable 
uses.''); Mexico treaty, Article I (migratory birds shall be protected 
so as to ``permit, in so far as the * * * parties may see fit, the 
utilization of such birds rationally for purposes of sport, food, 
commerce, and industry''); Japan treaty (``Considering that birds 
constitute a natural resource of great value for * * * economic 
purposes, and that this value can be increased with proper 
management''); Russia treaty (``Considering that migratory birds are a 
natural resource of great * * * economic * * * value and that this 
value can be increased under proper management''). This rule is 
likewise consistent with the particular operative language of each of 
the conventions.
    First, the treaty with Canada (as amended by the 1995 Protocol) 
prohibits, with some exceptions not relevant here, the sale of 
``migratory birds, their nests, or eggs.'' Article II, para. 2. 
However, this prohibition does

[[Page 52728]]

not apply to parts of migratory birds, such as down. The only 
requirement under the treaty with Canada applicable to parts is the 
marking requirement of Article VI. See also Article II, para. 4(a)(i) 
(indicating down may be sold without restriction, in contrast to birds 
and eggs taken by Aboriginal peoples of Canada, which may be sold only 
within and between Aboriginal communities). Moreover, the only 
prohibition in the treaty with Canada that relates to import is the 
prohibition on unlawfully taken birds and eggs, not applicable here. 
See Article VI.
    Second, the treaty with Mexico (as amended by the 1997 Protocol) 
prohibits the sale of products or parts of migratory birds during the 
close[d] season, and mandates a particular close[d] season for wild 
ducks (which include common eiders). Article II, paras. A and D. 
However, exceptions to this prohibition include ``when proceeding, with 
appropriate authorization, from private game farms.'' The Icelandic 
eider farms are ``private game farms'' within the meaning of this 
provision. There are no applicable restrictions on import of the eider 
down, as long as it does not enter the United States via Mexico. See 
Article III.
    Third, the treaty with Russia prohibits the sale or importation of 
the parts or products of protected birds, but allows exceptions to 
these prohibitions by law or regulation for any ``specific purposes not 
inconsistent with the principles of this Convention.'' Article II, 
para. 1(a). As discussed above, this rule is consistent with the 
principles of all the treaties, and therefore falls within this broad 
    Finally, the treaty with Japan, unlike the other three treaties, 
does not apply to the common eider. See Annex to the treaty.
    Federal regulations prohibit the commercial use of feathers from 
migratory birds to prevent the large-scale take of protected birds for 
profit and to insure the future viability of those species. Under the 
Act's implementing regulations found in Title 50, Code of Federal 
Regulations, migratory birds or their parts, nests, or eggs may not be 
imported or sold except as permitted under the terms of a valid permit 
issued pursuant to the provisions of Parts 13, 17, 20, and 21. Current 
regulations, specifically Sections 20.61 (importation limits), 20.91 
(commercial use of feathers), 21.21 (import and export permits), and 
21.25 (waterfowl sale and disposal permits) of 50 CFR do not allow the 
importation of eiderdown. The only migratory bird feathers that can be 
sold are those taken from waterfowl that have been legally hunted 
(Section 20.91) or are captive bred (Section 21.25). The feathers from 
legally hunted birds can only be fashioned into fishing flies, bed 
pillows, and mattresses or used for similar commercial items. Feathers 
may not be used for millinery or ornamental purposes. Captive-bred 
waterfowl that are properly marked may be sold, but because the 
feathers of wild-reared common eiders in Iceland cannot meet this 
marking requirement, individual feathers cannot be sold under current 
    The wild, breeding common eider in Iceland is unique among the 
hundreds of MBTA-protected migratory birds. The hen of the common eider 
produces a breast down that has exceptional insulating qualities and is 
naturally shed during nesting to insulate the eggs and hatchlings. 
While other down from geese (Anser and other genera) and ducks (Anas 
genus) may be sold as ``eiderdown,'' only the down from the common 
eider is true eiderdown. Common eiders in Iceland have been afforded 
special protection since 1847 when hunting of this species in Iceland 
was banned. Icelanders have used eiderdown for over 11 centuries and 
have exported it since the 14th century. From May to July, Icelanders 
most frequently collect down twice, initially during the midpoint of 
incubation when birds are still on the nest, and following hatching 
after nestlings have left. Some farmers will only make one late-season 
acquisition, while others make multiple collections. Collectors take 
great care to avoid disturbing brooding hens, replacing down removed 
from the nest (15-20 g/nest) with dry grass or hay. Recent studies 
conducted by the Icelandic Museum of Natural History show no evidence 
that down collection has a negative impact on the eiders or on their 
ability to reproduce successfully. Iceland eider farmers actively 
control resident MBTA-protected birds, including native predatory birds 
(e.g., black-backed gulls and ravens), native non-predatory birds 
(e.g., common puffins), and nonresident mammalian predators (e.g., 
Arctic foxes and mink) by lethal and nonlethal means during the nesting 
    Before raw down is exported from Iceland, it is cleaned to remove 
extraneous materials such as moss, grass, and soil. The raw down is 
then heated (processed) for at least 8 hours at minimum sustained 
temperatures of 100 [deg]C to kill any ectoparasites and diseases that 
may be carried by the feathers.
    Two other species of eider in the genus Somateria are the king 
eider (S. spectabilis) and the spectacled eider (S. fischeri). The 
status of the king eider is essentially unknown, although periodic and 
limited spring migration counts suggest declines in bird numbers since 
1976. Spectacled eiders are in severe decline and are listed as 
threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), as are the more distantly related Steller's 
eiders (Polysticta stelleri). The common eider is the only eider 
species known to occur in Iceland. Of the four eider species in the 
Northern Hemisphere, only the common eider in Iceland has experienced a 
long-term population increase likely due in part to a ban on hunting, 
improvements in eider nesting habitat, and predator control. 
Populations of common eider are variable throughout their range, which 
includes Northern Europe, Northern Russia, Alaska, Northern Canada, 
Greenland, and Iceland, but have declined in areas where hunting is 
allowed (e.g., Spitsbergen and Siberia). The Circumpolar Eider 
Conservation Strategy and Action Plan, adopted by the Arctic Council in 
1997, recognizes that an international approach is needed to manage 
eiders and endorses development of down harvesting as a sustainable use 
of eiders.
    Icelanders have practiced ``eider farming'' for centuries. Although 
birds are not captive, they have developed a mutualistic association 
with humans. All nesting colonies are located on private lands. Some 
650 colonies are currently registered with the Icelandic Ministry of 
the Environment. Landowners maintain legal rights to collect down from 
eider nests. Icelandic law allows landowners to have their eider 
nesting grounds declared ``legally protected'' during the breeding 
season from April 15 to July 14, which gives farmers the right to deny 
public access to nest sites and prohibit any shooting within 1.6 miles 
of nesting colony boundaries or prohibit any net fishing within 0.16 
miles of the colony.
    True eiderdown from the common eider is a scarce luxury item, with 
annual worldwide production averaging less than 3 metric tons, at a 
total annual average price of less than $2.2 million (U.S.). Iceland 
currently exports eiderdown primarily to Denmark, Germany, and Japan 
where it may be re-exported elsewhere. The high cost and limited 
quantity of true eiderdown may be an incentive for false labeling of 
eiderdown which may actually have been acquired from another waterfowl 
species. The eiderdown may also have been obtained using unsustainable 
methods outside of Iceland. Large populations of common eider are found

[[Page 52729]]

in Russia, where they are not farmed, but declines have been documented 
in Siberia due to over-hunting.

Eiderdown Import Permit Fee

    The general statutory authority to charge fees for applications for 
permits and certificates is found in 31 U.S.C. 9701, which states that 
services provided by Federal agencies are to be ``self-sustaining to 
the extent possible.'' Federal user fee policy, as stated in Office of 
Management and Budget Circular No. A-25, requires Federal agencies to 
recoup the costs of ``special services'' that provide benefits to 
identifiable recipients. Permits are special services, authorizing 
identifiable recipients to engage in activities not otherwise 
authorized for the general public.
    We propose to amend 50 CFR 13.11(d), the nonstandard fee schedule, 
to charge a $100 application processing fee (user fee) for an eiderdown 
import permit. For migratory bird permits, these fees are reallocated 
to the seven Service Regional Offices where all the permit processing 
work is done to offset the cost of processing applications.
    In addition to workload-related cost, the Service considered 
several other factors in developing the new permit application fee 
schedule for import of eiderdown in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 9701, 
which states that changes for services provided by the Government shall 
be based on (1) the costs to the Government; (2) the value of the 
service or thing to the recipient; (3) public policy or interest 
served; and (4) other relevant factors. Thus, the Service took into 
consideration such factors as whether the permit serves the public 
interest, and whether the type of permit to be issued typically 
provides a commercial benefit, either directly or indirectly, to the 
recipient. Eiderdown is generally used for commercial purposes. The 
Service therefore feels this fee is appropriate for a commercial use. 
While the Service's proposed $100 fee will more closely conform to the 
Federal user fee policy by recovering a greater proportion of the 
direct and indirect costs of providing special services than is 
currently being required, this proposed permit fee allowing importation 
of eiderdown from Iceland is not great enough to recover the full cost 
of administering this permit. Administration costs include research and 
analysis, policy development, consultation, outreach, publication of 
notices in the Federal Register, and overall management of this permit. 
Remaining costs not captured through permit application fees must be 
met with money appropriated for base funding of Service programs.

Additions to the Regulations Governing Import and Export

    We have written the new regulation in plain language. We seek 
comment on this proposed regulation, particularly the following issues:
    1. Appropriate down collection procedures, verification standards, 
and enforcement procedures;
    2. Measures to ensure that exportation of down from Iceland does 
not encourage illegal importation of any other waterfowl species into 
the United States;
    3. Record-keeping and annual reporting requirements;
    4. Avian control of MBTA-protected species;
    5. Reasonableness of the permit conditions; and
    6. Reasonableness of the permit application fee.
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their home address from the rulemaking record, which we will honor to 
the extent allowable by law. Under limited circumstances, as allowable 
by law, we can withhold from the rulemaking record a respondent's 
identity. If you wish us to withhold your name and/or address, you must 
state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. However, we 
will not consider anonymous comments. We will make all submissions from 
individuals and organizations or businesses, and from individuals 
identifying themselves as representing an organization or business, 
available for public inspection in their entirety.

Endangered Species Act Considerations

    Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, as 
amended (16 U.S.C. 1531, et seq.), requires all Federal agencies to 
``insure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out * * * is 
not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered 
species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of [critical] habitat.'' The Division of Endangered 
Species concurs that this proposed rule will have ``no effect'' on 
endangered species pursuant to section 7 of the ESA.

Required Determinations

    Regulatory Planning and Review. In accordance with the criteria in 
Executive Order 12866, this rule is not a significant regulatory 
    a. This rule will not have an annual economic effect of $100 
million or adversely affect an economic sector, productivity, jobs, the 
environment, or other units of government. A cost-benefit and economic 
analysis are not required. Currently less than 3 metric tons of 
Icelandic eiderdown are exported annually, primarily to Denmark, 
Germany, and Japan, for a total annual sale that does not exceed $2.2 
million (U.S.) on average. If a U.S. market is opened, very little 
eiderdown will likely be imported resulting in virtually no effect on 
the economy, productivity, jobs, the environment, or government.
    b. This rule will not create inconsistencies with other agencies' 
actions. The rule deals solely with importation of Icelandic eiderdown 
into the United States. No other Federal agency has any role in 
regulating bird feather importation.
    c. This rule will not materially affect entitlements, grants, user 
fees, loan programs, or the rights and obligations of their recipients. 
There are no entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs 
associated with the regulation of eiderdown importation.
    d. This rule will not raise novel legal or policy issues. This rule 
is primarily an amendment to and plain language rewrite of the existing 
regulations. Provisions to import Icelandic eiderdown proposed in the 
rule are in compliance with other laws, policies, and regulations.
    Regulatory Flexibility Act. This rule will not have a significant 
economic effect on a substantial number of small entities as defined 
under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). Currently 
less than 3 metric tons of Icelandic eiderdown are exported annually, 
primarily to Denmark, Germany, and Japan, for a total annual sale that 
does not exceed $2.2 million (U.S.) on average. If a U.S. market is 
opened, very little eiderdown will likely be imported resulting in 
virtually no effect on the economy, productivity, jobs, the 
environment, or government. An initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis 
is not required. Accordingly, a Small Entity Compliance Guide is not 
required. There is a very limited supply of Icelandic eiderdown 
available each year. We anticipate that very few individuals and/or 
entities will request import permits to acquire some of this down.
    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This is not a 
major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory 
Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:

[[Page 52730]]

    a. Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or 
    b. Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government 
agencies, or geographic regions.
    c. Does not have significant adverse effects on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of 
U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.
    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. In accordance with the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.):
    a. This rule will not ``significantly or uniquely'' affect small 
governments. A Small Government Agency Plan is not required. 
Enforcement of the MBTA is solely the responsibility of the Federal 
    b. This rule is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. It will not produce a Federal mandate of 
$100 million or greater in any year.
    Takings. This rule has no potential takings implications for 
private property as defined in Executive Order 12630. This rule will 
not significantly affect private property.
    Federalism. In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the rule does 
not have sufficient Federalism effects to warrant preparation of a 
Federalism assessment. This rule will not interfere with the States' 
ability to manage themselves or their funds.
    Civil Justice Reform. In accordance with Executive Order 12988, the 
Office of the Solicitor has determined that the rule does not unduly 
burden the judicial system and meets the requirements of sections 3(a) 
and 3(b)(2) of the Order.
    Paperwork Reduction Act and Information Collection. This proposed 
rule includes many new information collection requirements, including a 
completed eiderdown import permit application, written preconditions, 
certification of inspection, labeling requirements, recordkeeping 
requirements, and reporting.
    Simultaneous with the publication of this proposed rule, we have 
submitted an application for information collection approval to OMB. 
Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), 
information collections must be approved by OMB. Agencies may not 
conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a 
collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB 
control number. This proposed rule would institute new information 
collection burden hours, as described below. We will notify the public 
of OMB's response to our application in the final rule for this 
    We intend to collect information associated with the importation of 
Icelandic eiderdown from those U.S. citizens and U.S. companies that 
are granted an Icelandic eiderdown import permit, from representatives 
of the Government of Iceland (GOI), and from representatives of the 
Icelandic Eider Farmers' Association.
    Because it is difficult to identify the species of eider from which 
down is collected, and because it is difficult if not impossible to 
identify the source and type of down used in finished products, the 
requirements for information collection are key to monitoring common 
eider population stability, eiderdown harvest, down availability, down 
export from Iceland, government-certified collection procedures, 
possible down laundering, and possible false labeling. With less than 3 
metric tons on average of eiderdown annually harvested from common 
eiders in Iceland, information collection will help track continuing 
harvests, alerting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (Service) 
Office of Law Enforcement and the Service's Division of Migratory Bird 
Management to possible problems including alleged violations of the 
Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Without this information collection, it 
would not be possible to assess population stability and down harvest 
    Information collections associated with this proposed rule are 
found in sections 21.33 (a) and (c) (completing an eiderdown import 
permit application), 21.33(b) (preconditions required of the GOI), 
21.33(e)(2) (certification of inspection by a GOI inspector), 
21.33(e)(3) (labeling requirements), and 21.33(e)(5) and (6) 
(recordkeeping requirements).
    The breakdown of the information collection burden for U.S. 
citizens is as follows: We estimate that 21.33(a) and (c) will have 25 
annual respondents with 25 total annual burden hours valued at $750; we 
estimate that 21.33(e)(5) and (6) will have 25 annual respondents with 
25 total burden hours valued at $750. Overall, we estimate that a total 
of 25 U.S. respondents will annually submit a total of 50 responses to 
the recordkeeping and reporting requirements associated with the 
importation of Icelandic eiderdown. We estimate that the average wage 
of U.S. citizens and representatives of U.S. companies importing 
eiderdown is $30 per hour, and we estimate that each response will 
require an average of 1 hour to complete, for a total 50 hours per year 
valued at $1,500 for all of the information collection and 
recordkeeping requirements in this proposed rule for U.S. citizens and 
U.S. companies.
    For GOI and members of the Icelandic Eider Farmers' Association, 
many of the information collection requirements in this proposed rule 
are already standard business practice for exporting eiderdown from 
Iceland to countries other than the United States. Certain additional 
burden hours for these entities would be newly required by the proposed 
rule, however, and they are described below.
    We estimate that 21.33(b)(3) will require the following information 
collection burden for GOI: The GOI will need an average of 25 hours per 
year to locate, photocopy, maintain records, and mail copies of all the 
veterinary certificates related to export of eiderdown to the United 
States; 25 hours to locate, photocopy, maintain records, and mail 
copies of all labeling certificates related to eiderdown export to the 
United States; 100 hours to visit randomly selected eider colonies to 
verify that preconditions are being met; 1 hour to locate, photocopy, 
maintain records, and mail information regarding preconditions to 
exporting eiderdown; and 1 hour to locate, photocopy, maintain records, 
and mail information for annual reporting, including information on the 
amounts of eiderdown exported to countries other than the United 
States. This amounts to a total of 152 hours per year for GOI to comply 
with the information collection requirements associated with the export 
of eiderdown to the United States and to other countries. We estimate 
that the average wage of GOI officials collecting the information is 
$30 per hour (U.S.), and thus, the dollar value of the total annual 
hour burden is $4,560.
    We estimate that 21.33(b)(3)(v) and (e)(3) will require the 
following information collection burden for representatives of the 
Icelandic Eider Farmers' Association: 50 representatives of the Eider 
Farmers' Association will each need 1 hour to photocopy and mail 
records regarding the processing and export of eiderdown to GOI. This 
amounts to a total of 50 hours per year for Icelandic eider farmers to 
comply with the information collection requirements associated with the 
export of eiderdown to the United States. We estimate that the average 
wage of eider farmers collecting the information is $30 per hour 
(U.S.), and thus, the dollar value of the total annual hour burden is 
    OMB regulations at 5 CFR part 1320 require that interested members 
of the public and affected agencies have an

[[Page 52731]]

opportunity to comment on information collection and recordkeeping 
activities. Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the collection of 
information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of 
the agency; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of 
the information collection; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, 
and clarity of the information to be collected; (4) ways to minimize 
the burden of the information collection on respondents; and (5) the 
appropriateness of the application fee. See the DATES and ADDRESSES 
sections of this document for information on submitting your comments 
on this information collection.
    National Environmental Policy Act. We have analyzed this rule in 
accordance with the criteria of the National Environmental Policy Act 
and 516 DM. This rule does not constitute a major Federal action 
significantly affecting the quality of the human environment, and does 
not require an environmental assessment.
    Government-to-Government Relationship with Tribes. In accordance 
with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, ``Government-to-
Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments'' (59 FR 
22951), Executive Order 13175, and 512 DM, we have evaluated potential 
effects on Federally recognized Indian tribes and have determined that 
there are no potential effects.
    Energy Supply, Distribution or Use (Executive Order 13211). On May 
18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 on regulations 
that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, and use. 
Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy 
Effects when undertaking certain actions. This rule is not expected to 
significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, and use. Therefore, 
this action is not a significant energy action and No Statement of 
Energy Effects is required.
    Clarity of Regulations. Executive Order 12866 requires each agency 
to write regulations that are easy to understand. We invite your 
comments on how to make this rule easier to understand, including 
answers to questions such as the following: (1) Are the requirements of 
the rule clearly stated? (2) Does the rule contain technical language 
or jargon that interferes with its clarity? (3) Does the format of the 
rule (grouping and order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing, 
etc.) aid or reduce its clarity? (4) Would the rule be easier to 
understand if it were divided into more (but shorter) sections? (5) Is 
the description of the rule in the Supplementary Information section of 
the preamble helpful in understanding the rule? What else could we do 
to make the rule easier to understand?
    Send a copy of any written comments about how we could make this 
rule easier to understand to: Office of Executive Secretariat and 
Regulatory Affairs, Department of the Interior, Room 7229, 1849 C 
Street NW., Washington, DC 20240. You may also e-mail comments to this 
address: Exsec@ios.doi.gov.
List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 21

    Exports, Hunting, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Transportation, Wildlife.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, we propose to amend parts 
13 and 21, chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as 


    1. The authority citation for part 13 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 668a, 704, 712, 742j-l, 1382, 1538(d), 
1539, 1540(f), 3374, 4901-4916; 18 U.S.C. 42; 19 U.S.C. 1202; E.O. 
11911, 41 FR 15683; 31 U.S.C. 9701.

    2. Amend Sec.  13.11(d)(4) by adding the following entry to the end 
of the table, to read as follows:

Sec.  13.11  Application procedures.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (4) Nonstandard fees.

                         Type of permit                             Fee
                                * * * * *
Import permit for eiderdown from Iceland (Sec.  21.33)..........    $100

* * * * *
    3. Amend Sec.  13.12(b) by adding to the table the following entry 
in numerical order under ``Migratory bird permits'' to read as follows:

Sec.  13.12  General information requirements on applications for 

* * * * *
    (b) * * *

                        Type of permit                          Section
                                * * * * *
Migratory bird permits:
                                * * * * *
Importing eiderdown from Iceland.............................      21.33
                                * * * * *


    4. The authority citation for part 21 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: Pub. L. 95-616; 92 Stat. 3112 (16 U.S.C. 712(2)); 
Pub. L. 106-108.

    5. Add Sec.  21.33 to subpart C to read as follows:

Sec.  21.33  Import and sale of Icelandic eiderdown.

    (a) What must I do to import processed Icelandic eiderdown into the 
United States? To import processed Icelandic eiderdown into the United 
States, you must have an eiderdown import permit issued pursuant to 
this part. We will issue permits for the importation of Icelandic 
eiderdown lawfully collected, processed, and exported by members of the 
Icelandic Eider Farmers' Association (most Icelandic farmers who 
harvest down are members of this cooperative) or their assigns, from 
the common eider sea duck (Somateria mollissima borealis) nesting in 
Iceland, in accordance with the provisions of this part. Because it is 
difficult if not impossible to identify the source and type of down 
used in finished products, such products are prohibited from 
    (b) What are the preconditions for an import permit? The Director 
may permit the import of Icelandic eiderdown provided the Government of 
Iceland (GOI) documents, in writing and in English, satisfaction of the 
following preconditions:
    (1) That Icelandic eiderdown is collected by sustainable means. 
This includes collection procedures and periods, the collection 
process, the quantity of down to be taken from each nest, and 
verification standards.
    (2) That only sustainably harvested down from Iceland is being 
exported to the United States.
    (3) At the end of each calendar year, that:
    (i) The common eider population continues to be stable (If we 
cannot verify population sustainability, then we will not issue permits 
for the import of Icelandic eiderdown);
    (ii) No measures are being taken to kill or injure Migratory Bird 
Treaty Act-protected (MBTA) species (e.g., ravens, black-backed gulls, 
and common puffins);
    (iii) Down is not being treated with DDT or other similar compounds 
banned in the United States;
    (iv) Hunting of common eiders continues to be banned nationwide; 
    (v) The complete annual export records contain the exact weight, 
shipment dates, and Icelandic shipment and permit numbers of all 
    (c) How do I apply for a permit? Anyone wishing to import processed 
Icelandic eiderdown collected and prepared under the laws and 

[[Page 52732]]

of the GOI may apply for an import permit. Upon satisfaction of the 
Director that the preconditions of paragraph (b) of this section have 
been met, we will accept an application for import of Icelandic 
eiderdown. You must submit your completed application to the Regional 
Director--Attention Migratory Bird Permit Office in the Region where 
your business is headquartered, or, for private individuals, where you 
live (see Sec.  2.2 of this chapter for the Regional boundaries and 
    (1) Each application must contain the information required under 
Sec.  13.12(a) of this subchapter.
    (2) Each applicant must sign the following certification statement: 
``I hereby certify that, to the best of my knowledge, the eiderdown I 
import under the authorization of this permit was collected and 
exported according to the conditions for the importation of Icelandic 
eiderdown as set forth in 50 CFR 21.33(b).'' We will not issue a permit 
under this section without this signed certification statement.
    (3) You must submit a check or money order made payable to the 
``U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service'' in the amount of the application fee 
for permits issued under this section listed in Sec.  13.11(d) of this 
    (d) What are the permit provisions? A permit issued under this 
section authorizes the holder to import, possess, transport, sell, or 
dispose of processed Icelandic eiderdown collected from the common 
eider sea duck (Somateria mollissima borealis) for commercial or 
personal purposes.
    (1) We will not issue a permit for these purposes unless the 
applicant certifies that the feathers were gathered according to the 
protocol detailed in paragraph (b) of this section by signing the 
certification provided in paragraph (c)(2) of this section. In 
addition, each shipment of eiderdown to a U.S. company or individual 
must include an Icelandic eiderdown export permit and an import permit 
issued by the Service.
    (2) To acquire a permit application, contact the Migratory Bird 
Permit Office in the Region where your business is headquartered, or, 
for private individuals, where you live (see Sec.  2.2 of this chapter 
for Regional boundaries and addresses, or go to the Internet at http://permits.fws.gov/mbpermits/birdbasics.html
, then click on Regional Bird 
Permit Offices, for the address).
    (3) You may, without a permit, sell in interstate commerce lawfully 
imported processed eiderdown in either raw processed form or that has 
been fashioned into finished products produced from down.
    (e) What are the permit conditions and importation regulations?
    (1) Collection. All eiderdown imported under this permit must be 
collected and exported from Iceland according to the ``sustainable 
harvest'' conditions set forth in paragraph (b) of this section.
    (2) Certification. Eiderdown imported under this section must be 
accompanied by a certification of inspection and weight by legally 
appointed Icelandic down inspectors as specified by Instructions for 
Eiderdown Inspectors (Icelandic Ministry of Agriculture, 10 March 1972) 
and by Iceland's Law on Quality Inspection of Eiderdown (NR 39, p. 310, 
11 May 1970).
    (3) Shipping and labeling. All eiderdown imported from Iceland must 
be packaged in transparent shipping bags. Every bag must be sealed and 
labeled with the guarantee, ``Grade One Icelandic Common Eiderdown,'' 
and in addition must include the package weight of each down-filled 
bag. That weight must be marked on the label as specified on the 
``Inspector's Weighing and Quality Certificate'' currently utilized by 
the GOI. A signed, original ``Veterinary Certificate,'' which certifies 
that the down is disease free, must be attached to each packing bag. 
Each shipment of imported eiderdown must include an Icelandic eiderdown 
export permit and a copy of your import permit issued by a USFWS 
Regional Migratory Bird Permit Office. Import permits may be used for 
multiple shipments of eiderdown and are issued on a calendar year-to-
year basis.
    (4) Commercial export prohibition. You may not export from the 
United States for commercial purposes any raw eiderdown imported under 
this permit. You may not export from the United States for commercial 
purposes any finished product containing the eiderdown.
    (5) Recordkeeping. You must maintain complete and accurate records 
of all eiderdown that you import, including the date received, 
disposition, date of disposition, and copies of the permits and 
certificates included with each shipment from the GOI. You must retain 
these records for 5 years following the end of the calendar year 
covered by the records.
    (6) Annual report. You must submit a completed Form 3-202-xx by 
January 31 of each year for the preceding year to your issuing 
Migratory Bird Permit Program Office.
    (7) Term of permit. We will issue permits under this section on a 
calendar year-to-year basis.
    (f) Does this rule contain information collection requirements?
    Yes. The OMB control number for the information collection 
associated with these regulations (50 CFR Parts 13 and 21) is 1018-
XXXX. A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and you are not 
required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays 
a currently valid OMB control number.

    Dated: August 21, 2003.
Craig Manson,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 03-22298 Filed 9-4-03; 8:45 am]