[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 142 (Tuesday, July 24, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 43170-43175]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-17944]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R9-IA-2011-0093; FF09A30000 123 FXIA16710900000R4]
RIN 1018-AX96

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Publishing Notice 
of Receipt of Captive-Bred Wildlife Registration Applications

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are amending 
the regulations that implement the Endangered Species Act (Act) by 
establishing public notice-and-comment procedures for applications to 
conduct certain otherwise-prohibited activities under the Act that are 
authorized under the Captive-Bred Wildlife (CBW) regulations. This 
action adds procedural requirements to the processing of applications 
for registration under the CBW regulations. Notices of receipt of each 
application will be published in the Federal Register, and the Service 
will accept public comments on each application for 30 days. If the 
registration is granted, the Service will publish certain findings in 
the Federal Register. In addition, for persons meeting the criteria for 
registering under the CBW Program, each registration will now remain 
effective for 5 years rather than 3 years.

DATES: This rule becomes effective on August 23, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain information about permits or other 
authorizations to carry out otherwise-prohibited activities by 
contacting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Management 
Authority, Branch of Permits, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 212, 
Arlington, VA 22203; telephone: 703-358-2104 or (toll free) 800-358-
2104; facsimile: 703-358-2281; email: managementauthority@fws.gov; Web 
site: http://www.fws.gov/international/index.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Timothy J. Van Norman, Chief, Branch 
of Permits, Division of Management Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 212, Arlington, VA 22203; 
telephone 703-358-2104; fax 703-358-2281. If you use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.



    The Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.) (Act), and its implementing regulations prohibit any person 
subject to the jurisdiction of the United States from conducting 
certain activities unless authorized by a permit. These activities 
include take, import, export, and interstate or foreign commerce of 
fish or wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened under the 
Act. In the case of endangered species, the Service may permit 
otherwise-prohibited activities for scientific research or enhancement 
of the propagation or survival of the species. In the case of 
threatened species, regulations allow permits to be issued for the 
above-mentioned purposes, as well as zoological, horticultural, or 
botanical exhibition; education; and special purposes consistent with 
the Act.
    In 1979, the Service published the Captive-Bred Wildlife (CBW) 
regulations at 50 CFR 17.21(g) (44 FR 54002, September 17, 1979) to 
streamline Federal permitting requirements and facilitate captive 
breeding of endangered and threatened species under certain prescribed 
conditions. Specifically, under these regulations, the Service 
promulgated a general regulatory permit to authorize persons to take; 
export or reimport; deliver, receive, carry, transport, or ship in 
interstate or foreign commerce, in the course of a commercial activity; 
or sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce endangered 
or threatened wildlife bred in captivity in the United States. 
Qualifying persons and facilities seeking such authorization under the 
regulations are required to register with the Service. By establishing 
a more flexible management framework for regulating routine activities 
related to captive propagation, these regulations have benefited wild 
populations by, for example, increasing sources of genetic stock that 
can be used to bolster or reestablish wild populations, decreasing the 
need to take stock from the wild, and providing for research 
    The authorization granted under the CBW regulations is limited by 
several conditions. These conditions include:
    (1) The wildlife is of a species having a natural geographic 
distribution not including any part of the United States, or the 
wildlife is of a species that the Director has determined to be 
eligible in accordance with 50 CFR 17.21(g)(5);
    (2) The purpose of authorized activities is to enhance the 
propagation or survival of the affected species;
    (3) Activities do not involve interstate or foreign commerce, in 
the course of commercial activity, with respect to nonliving wildlife;
    (4) That each specimen of wildlife to be reimported is uniquely 
identified by a band, tattoo, or other means that was reported in 
writing to an official of the Service at a port of export prior to the 
export from the United States; and
    (5) Any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States who 
engages in any of the authorized activities does so in accordance with 
50 CFR 17.21(g) and with all other applicable regulations.
    The regulations also specify application requirements for 
registration that are designed to provide the Service with information 
needed to determine whether the applicant has the means to enhance the 
propagation or survival of the affected species. For example, the 
application must include a description of the applicant's experience in 
maintaining and propagating the types of wildlife sought to be covered 
under the registration; documentation depicting the facilities in which 

[[Page 43171]]

subject wildlife will be maintained must also be included.
    With this final rule, the Service is amending the CBW regulations 
to provide the public with notice of receipt of applications for CBW 
registration and an opportunity to comment on an applicant's 
eligibility to register under the regulations. If we determine that the 
registration should be granted, we will notify the public by publishing 
our findings in the Federal Register that each registration was applied 
for in good faith, will not operate to the disadvantage of the affected 
species, and is consistent with the purposes and policy set forth in 
section 2 of the Act. These procedures will apply to both original and 
renewal applications for registration, as well as applications for 
amendment of the registration. In addition, we will make information we 
receive as part of each application available to the public upon 
request, including, but not limited to, information needed to assess 
the eligibility of the applicant, such as the original application 
materials, any intervening renewal applications documenting a change in 
location or personnel, and the most recent annual report.
    By incorporating these procedural amendments to the CBW 
regulations, the Service will increase transparency and openness in the 
CBW registration process, consistent with Executive Order 13576, 
``Delivering an Efficient, Effective, and Accountable Government,'' and 
the Presidential Memorandum of January 21, 2009, which encourage 
government agencies to establish a system of transparency, public 
participation, and collaboration by disclosing information to the 
public. In addition, with these amendments, we believe that increased 
public participation in the CBW registration process will lead to 
better decisions by assisting the Service in assessing whether the 
applicants are capable of enhancing the propagation or survival of the 
species. By incorporating these procedures to increase transparency and 
openness in the registration process, interested persons' perceptions 
of the fairness of the registration process will improve, as will their 
acceptance of our ultimate determination as to whether the registration 
should be granted.
    This rule also announces that the Service will extend the validity 
of CBW registrations from 3 years to 5 years. This discretionary action 
is being implemented to reduce the paperwork burden on CBW holders, as 
well as eliminate redundant reviews by the Service of CBW applications. 
One condition of all CBW registrations is the requirement that CBW 
holders provide the Service with an annual report of all activities 
that have been conducted during the previous calendar year. These 
reports are reviewed for consistency, including comparing reports from 
different CBW holders that reported any exchanges. The Service has 
found that, with the receipt of these reports, we have sufficient 
oversight of activities to increase the period for which a CBW 
registration is valid. With the combination of annual reports, renewal 
applications being submitted every 5 years, and, if necessary, physical 
inspection of CBW holder's facilities by the Service or other State and 
Federal agencies, the Service can successfully evaluate the merits of a 
registered facility. Therefore, we have concluded that requiring CBW 
holders to re-apply every 3 years is unnecessary.

Summary of Comments and Our Responses

    In our proposed rule (February 21, 2012; 77 FR 9884), we asked 
interested parties to submit comments or suggestions regarding the 
proposal to incorporate a public comment period into the regulations at 
50 CFR 17.21(g). The comment period for the proposed rule lasted for 30 
days, ending March 22, 2012. We received 14 individual comments during 
the comment period. Comments were received from 4 nongovernmental 
organizations, 3 businesses, and 7 individuals. Of the commenters, two 
supported the proposal to publish the receipt of CBW applications in 
the Federal Register and provide for a 30-day comment period, and 12 
opposed the proposal. Comments pertained to several key issues. These 
issues, and our responses, are discussed below.
    Issue 1: The majority of commenters expressed concern that the 
publication of names of CBW applicants and locations of facilities 
would raise the risk of attacks on breeders or on the animals, putting 
these individuals or organizations at risk of theft or harassment by 
individuals opposed to the activities being conducted by the applicant. 
Several commenters believed that activists would use the permit process 
as a way to delay or block activities through legal challenges. One 
commenter felt that it would be necessary to retain a lawyer when 
applying for a CBW registration to fight against ``activist 
organizations'' that would attempt to block or delay the approval of 
their application.
    Our Response: It is true that, with the publication of a notice 
announcing the receipt of CBW applications, the names of applicants and 
the city in which they reside will be published. The Federal Register, 
however, does not publish addresses or other private information. While 
individuals that are interested in reviewing the applicants can request 
a copy, any private information, including street addresses of 
individuals, will be redacted or removed. While it is possible that 
individuals or organizations could harass CBW applicants, such actions 
may be illegal and, if so, the individuals carrying out those actions 
may be prosecuted under relevant laws (e.g., trespass). However, the 
Service does not believe that this potential for illegal harassment is 
sufficient grounds for failing to publish the receipt of CBW 
applications. As previously stated, the purpose of publishing the 
receipt of CBW applications is to allow the public the opportunity to 
provide the Service with relevant information about the applying 
facilities and their operations. In addition, for many CBW applicants, 
information about their facilities, as well as addresses and contact 
information, have been made readily available to the public by the 
facilities themselves through other sources, including through 
advertising on the Internet, in trade magazines, and in other 
    Issue 2: One commenter felt that politically driven groups would 
submit biased information, or information that would only support their 
particular agenda, thus giving the Service an inaccurate picture of a 
facility's ability to meet the issuance criteria under the CBW 
    Our Response: The Service has a long history of receiving comments 
addressing ESA permit applications. We considered only substantive 
information that assists us in making sound decisions. Where possible, 
we attempt to obtain additional information to corroborate any 
information that may appear biased or based on a particular 
organization's or individual's views. While we welcome all comments, 
the comments do not constitute a ``popularity contest'' in which the 
majority of commenters dictate the Service's decisions on permit 
    Issue 3: Several commenters expressed a concern that the change to 
the regulation would make the CBW program more restrictive, causing 
some current CBW holders, as well as future CBW applicants, to 
discontinue activities with endangered species, thus reducing the 
potential for conservation-based breeding. Several suggested that, with 
this reduction in registrants, the conservation benefits provided by 
CBW holders would be reduced. They were concerned that, with fewer

[[Page 43172]]

organizations registering, activities authorized under the CBW program 
would be driven underground, resulting in an increase in inbreeding or 
diminished conservation value of the breeding activity. One commenter 
called for a ``broader, more inclusive'' system that reduces the 
burdens on CBW applicants. Several commenters expressed a view that, 
with additional regulatory requirements and financial burden on 
applicants, few individuals and organizations would apply to register 
under the CBW program.
    Our Response: The Service encourages individuals or facilities that 
wish to conduct conservation-based breeding programs with endangered 
species to apply to be part of the CBW program. We do not believe, 
however, that the publication of a Federal Register notice announcing 
the receipt of a CBW application, or providing the public an 
opportunity to comment on the merits of an application, will restrict 
the CBW program or reduce the number of individuals or organizations 
that submit applications. Further, we do not believe that this rule 
will increase the regulatory or financial burden on current or 
potential CBW holders. While there will be an increase in the 
processing time by adding a 30-day comment period, we do not see that 
this creates any significant economic or regulatory burden on CBW 
holders or applicants. Further, we do not believe that this will result 
in activities being driven underground. This regulatory change is only 
to provide the public an opportunity to comment on CBW applications. No 
new regulatory or paperwork burdens are imposed on applicants or 
registrants. We do not believe that law-abiding breeding operations 
will begin conducting illegal activities solely to avoid having the 
Service notify the public that an application has been received.
    Issue 4: One commenter stated that the Service already had a 
sufficient level of regulation in place to adequately carry out the 
purposes of the CBW program.
    Our Response: These changes to the CBW regulations will not change 
how the CBW program is managed or the requirements placed on CBW 
holders. We do not believe that publishing the receipt of all CBW 
applications will increase the regulatory burden on any applicant or 
CBW holder. The intent of the revision to the CBW regulations is to 
increase the transparency of the CBW program and to encourage the 
public to provide us with the best available information about an 
applicant or, possibly, about requirements for keeping the particular 
species involved or some other information that would be relevant to 
evaluating the application.
    Issue 5: The two commenters who supported the proposed change to 
the regulation expressed concerns that the CBW program was allowing for 
activities that were not consistent with the Act. They called for 
greater oversight of CBW holders and commercial activities to ensure 
that CBW holders were carrying out conservation efforts and that they 
were conducting their activities in a humane manner.
    Our Response: This change to the regulation is intended to provide 
the public an opportunity to comment on the merits of CBW applications 
received by the Service. The rule does not address or alter any current 
practices carried out by the Service on how CBW holders are regulated. 
While this comment is outside the scope of the rule, the Service is 
interested in ensuring that any operation that is registered under the 
CBW program uses proper breeding methods and humane treatment of their 
animals. To the extent possible, the Service does determine whether a 
breeding operation is in compliance with all regulations and laws 
addressing humane treatment of animals and that the activities being 
carried out by the operation meet the purposes of the Act. Inhumane 
treatment which falls within the definition of ``harass'' (50 CFR 17.3) 
would be considered a ``take'' under the Act and thus a violation if 
the activity had not specifically been authorized. Providing for a 30-
day comment period will allow the public to identify any concerns that 
they may have and provide the Service with substantive information to 
support any claims of inappropriate activities.
    Issue 6: One commenter, while agreeing with the action, pointed out 
that the Service does not need to propose a change to the CBW 
regulations to increase the validity period of a CBW registration from 
3 to 5 years. Another commenter objected to this change because it 
would weaken the Service's ability to carry out appropriate oversight 
of registered facilities. The commenter was concerned that this 
increase would reduce the level of oversight that we have over CBW 
holders, making it easier for them to carry out activities that would 
be outside the purposes for which the registration was granted.
    Our Response: The first commenter is correct that no changes need 
to be made to the regulations to extend the validity period to 5 years, 
nor did the Service propose such a change to actual regulations. The 
proposed rule merely provided an opportunity for the Service to 
announce that it would take this step, as part of its discretionary 
permit-processing actions, to reduce the application burden on CBW 
holders in a manner that will not lower the Service's ability to ensure 
that CBW holders are complying with all aspects of their registration. 
Extending the period of validity of a CBW registration will not have a 
significant effect on the Service's ability to monitor registrants 
because each CBW holder must submit an annual report outlining all 
activities carried out during the previous year. The annual reports are 
reviewed to ensure that the reported activities comply with the Act and 
any permit conditions placed on the registered facility. If, when 
reviewing reports, the Service discovers some concerns or issues with a 
CBW holder, we have the ability to take action at that time. In 
addition, if necessary, the Service or other State or Federal agencies 
can conduct physical inspections of a CBW holder to investigate any 
concerns. Further, many CBW holders apply for authorization to conduct 
other activities that are outside the scope of their CBW registration. 
In those instances, the Service has a second opportunity to evaluate 
the merits of the new application and determine if any concerns 
regarding their CBW registration exist. Extending the validity time of 
a CBW registration means that the holder only needs to reapply every 5 
years, reducing their workload to reapply. Extending the validity time 
also reduces unnecessary workload currently faced by the Service in 
processing CBW applicants every 3 years.
    Issue 7: Several commenters did not believe that the Service 
provided the public with any evidence that publishing a notice 
announcing the receipt of a CBW application would improve the 
effectiveness of the CBW program. Further, these commenters saw the 
change to be unnecessary and not represent good policy. One commenter 
expressed their belief that there was no need to notify the public of 
the receipt of CBW applications and allow for a comment period because 
the applications would be available through Freedom of Information Act 
(FOIA) requests submitted to the Service by interested parties.
    Our Response: We disagree with the view that this change in the 
regulation is unsupported and is bad policy. Allowing the public an 
opportunity to comment on the merits of an application increases the 
level of transparency that the Service can offer in this matter, and 
therefore should strengthen the CBW

[[Page 43173]]

program. The comment regarding the availability of CBW applications 
through the FOIA process is correct. However, FOIA requesters must 
first be aware that specific files are available to request or must 
make such broad and vague requests that our efforts to meet these 
requests become very time-consuming. By publishing the receipt of CBW 
applications, we are providing potential FOIA requesters the 
opportunity to satisfy any potential interest in a file before a FOIA 
request is necessary or to better define their FOIA request to minimize 
the burden on the Service.
    Issue 8: Two commenters felt this regulation fails to meet the 
requirements of Executive Order 13576. One commenter claimed this 
regulation accomplishes the opposite of the Executive Order, whereas 
another stated that the Executive Order is irrelevant to permits.
    Our Response: The Service disagrees with these statements. The 
purpose of the Executive Order is to increase transparency across all 
aspects of government, including the Service's permitting process. 
While the Executive Order does focus on rulemaking, we believe that 
providing the public with the opportunity to comment on applications 
that the Service receives does improve our permit processing and can 
provide a benefit to the conservation work that applicants and the 
Service are carrying out through the CBW program.
    Issue 9: One commenter stated that the Act is an archaic piece of 
legislation and needs ``a total revamp.''
    Our Response: Whether changes should be made to the legislation is 
a matter for Congress to address and is outside the scope of this 
    Issue 10: Many commenters expressed a view that this change to the 
CBW regulations would create unnecessary delays in the processing of 
applications. One commenter stated that increasing processing time by 
35-40 days is unrealistic. Several commenters felt that public notice 
will also drastically increase processing time if comments that are 
received result in the Service making additional inquiries to 
investigate any claims made during the public comment period. Several 
commenters expressed the opinion that CBW applications do not need to 
be given the same level of scrutiny as applications for the import or 
export of animals from the wild, because CBW applications only deal 
with captive wildlife.
    Our Response: Opening a 30-day comment period will certainly 
increase the overall processing time for first-time CBW applications, 
thus delaying the authorization of any activities under the Act until 
the application process is complete. The comment period would typically 
add the 35 to 40 days that one commenter identified. However, once a 
CBW has been approved, providing for a comment period on a renewal 
application will not result in a registered facility stopping all 
activities previously approved under the CBW registration. The 
Service's permitting regulations (50 CFR part 13) allow for an 
applicant who is renewing or amending a registration to continue 
carrying out previously approved activities while the Service is 
considering their application request, provided that they submit their 
renewal application at least 30 days before their current registration 
expires. This means that a facility that is currently registered could 
continue carrying out previously approved activities while the Service 
considers their renewal request without a break in activities, such as 
interstate commerce. This will not apply to new requests, including the 
addition of new species to an existing CBW registration. Therefore, 
providing a public comment period should not significantly affect 
current CBW holders, and while increasing the processing time for new 
CBW applicants, the increase is not significant and should result in an 
improvement in the basis for issuing CBW registrations because we will 
have provided the public with an opportunity to augment the information 
used to evaluate CBW applications.
    The commenters who were concerned that comments from the public 
could affect their CBW applications are correct, if the public provides 
thoughtful comments that provide substantive information that either 
supports or questions the merits of an application. That is the very 
purpose of a comment period. We would like to assure the commenters, 
however, that the receipt of a comment on an application does not mean 
that all processing is stopped or that we will not verify information 
provided by a commenter, whether in support or opposition to an 
application. The Service will evaluate the factual basis of each 
comment and the scientific or commercial value of the information 
provided. Comments that express only a personal opinion do not have the 
same value as comments that provide clear scientific information 
relating to the merits of an application.
    Finally, the Act treats all listed species the same whether they 
are captive-bred or removed from the wild. All applications for permits 
or registrations are evaluated according to the issuance criteria 
established in our regulations at Chapter I of Title 50 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations.
    Issue 11: One commenter accused FWS of ``turning a blind eye'' to 
the benefits to conservation that U.S.-based captive-breeding and 
display programs provide to listed species.
    Our Response: The Service recognizes that captive breeding can 
provide a benefit to listed species by increasing the scientific 
knowledge of a species' behavior or biology. Further, conservation-
based breeding programs can provide animals for reintroduction programs 
and provide a level of assurance against catastrophic events that could 
adversely affect wild populations. The Service is not turning a ``blind 
eye'' to any conservation value a captive-breeding program can provide; 
we are only working to ensure that any otherwise-prohibited activities 
that are authorized provide conservation value. We believe that 
providing an opportunity for the public to comment will improve our 
application review process.
    Issue 12: Several commenters stated that they had also commented on 
another proposed rule published by the Service on August 22, 2011, that 
would remove the ``generic'' tiger from a list of specimens that do not 
require facilities that hold them to register with the Service under 
the CBW program in order to carry out otherwise-prohibited activities. 
These commenters expressed concern that the combination of the two 
regulatory changes would adversely affect their activities.
    Our Response: The Service is still evaluating the comments received 
during the two comment periods provided for the ``generic'' tiger 
proposed rule and will finalize our decision in the coming months. 
While there are some similarities between the ``generic'' tiger rule 
and this rule, they are separate actions being taken by the Service and 
are being treated as such. Comments made during the comment period for 
the ``generic'' tiger proposed rule cannot be considered part of the 
comments received for this proposed rule.
    We have, therefore, made no changes to the proposed rule as a 
result of the comments received.

Required Determinations

    Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563): 
Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will review all significant rules. The Office 
of Information and Regulatory Affairs has determined that this rule is 
not significant.

[[Page 43174]]

    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while 
calling for improvements in the nation's regulatory system to promote 
predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most 
innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. 
The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches 
that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for 
the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and 
consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further 
that regulations must be based on the best available science and that 
the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open 
exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent 
with these requirements.
    Regulatory Flexibility Act: Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act 
(as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act 
(SBREFA) of 1996), whenever a Federal agency is required to publish a 
notice of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare 
and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis 
that describes the effect of the rule on small entities (i.e., small 
businesses, small organizations, and small government jurisdictions) (5 
U.S.C. 601 et seq.). However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is 
required if the head of an agency certifies that the rule will not have 
a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. Thus, for a regulatory flexibility analysis to be required, 
impacts must exceed a threshold for ``significant impact'' and a 
threshold for a ``substantial number of small entities.'' See 5 U.S.C. 
605(b). SBREFA amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act to require 
Federal agencies to provide a statement of the factual basis for 
certifying that a rule will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities.
    The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) defines a small 
business as one with annual revenue or employment that meets or is 
below an established size standard. We expect that the majority of the 
entities involved in activities authorized under the CBW program would 
be considered small as defined by the SBA.
    This rule requires the Service to publish notices in the Federal 
Register announcing the receipt of all CBW applications and provide the 
public with a 30-day comment period to provide the Service with any 
relevant information about the applicant or their operation. In 
addition, the rule requires the Service to publish a notice in the 
Federal Register of specified findings for approved registrations. The 
regulatory change is not major in scope and will create no financial or 
paperwork burden on the affected members of the public. In fact, the 
extension of the effective period of a CBW registration from 3 to 5 
years, taken as a discretionary action under the Service's permitting 
procedures, will result in a reduction of the paperwork burden on the 
public because of the reduced frequency of completing a renewal 
    We, therefore, certify that this proposed 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.). 
A Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not required. Accordingly, a Small 
Entity Compliance Guide is not required.
    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act: This rule is 
not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory 
Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:
    a. Will not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or 
more. This rule codifies a public notice-and-comment process for the 
receipt of CBW applications and requires the publication of certain 
findings for registrations granted under the CBW regulations. The 
Service will publish no more than two notices in the Federal Register, 
and will require nothing from the applicant as far as additional cost 
or paperwork. This rule will not have a negative effect on this part of 
the economy. It will affect all businesses, whether large or small, the 
same. There is not a disproportionate share of benefits for small or 
large businesses.
    b. Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers; individual industries; Federal, State, tribal, or local 
government agencies; or geographic regions. This rule will not result 
in an increase in the number of applications for registration to 
conduct otherwise-prohibited activities with endangered and threatened 
    c. Will not have any 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: Under 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.
    b. This rule will not produce a Federal requirement of $100 million 
or greater in any year and is not a ``significant regulatory action'' 
under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    Takings: Under Executive Order 12630, this rule would not have 
significant takings implications. A takings implication assessment is 
not required. This rule is not considered to have takings implications 
because it allows individuals to register under the CBW Registration 
program when issuance criteria are met.
    Federalism: This revision to part 17 does not contain significant 
Federalism implications. A Federalism summary impact statement under 
Executive Order 13132 is not required.
    Civil Justice Reform: Under Executive Order 12988, the Office of 
the Solicitor has determined that this rule does not unduly burden the 
judicial system and meets the requirements of subsections 3(a) and 
3(b)(2) of the Order.
    Paperwork Reduction Act: The Office of Management and Budget 
approved the information collection in part 17 and assigned OMB Control 
Number 1018-0093, which expires February 28, 2014. This rule does not 
contain any new information collections or recordkeeping requirements 
for which OMB approval is required under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). We 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.
    National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): The Service has 
determined that this action is a regulatory change that is 
administrative and procedural in nature. As such, the amendment is 
categorically excluded from further NEPA review as provided by 43 CFR 
46.210(i) of the Department of the Interior Implementation of the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. No further documentation 
will be made.
    Government-to-Government Relationship with Tribes: Under the 
President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, ``Government-to-Government 
Relations with Native American Tribal Governments'' (59 FR 22951; May 
4, 1994) and 512 DM 2, we have evaluated possible effects on federally 
recognized Indian Tribes and have determined that there are no effects.
    Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use: Executive Order 13211 pertains 
to regulations that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, 
and use. This rule will not significantly affect energy supplies, 
distribution, and use. Therefore, this action is a not a

[[Page 43175]]

significant energy action, and no Statement of Energy Effects is 

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Captive-bred wildlife, Exports, 
Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Regulation Promulgation

    For the reasons given in the preamble, we are amending part 17, 
subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, 
as follows:


1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.

2. Amend Sec.  17.21 by revising paragraph (g)(3) to read as follows:

Sec.  17.21  Prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (g) * * *
    (3) Upon receipt of a complete application for registration, or the 
renewal or amendment of an existing registration, under this section, 
the Service will publish notice of the application in the Federal 
Register. Each notice will invite the submission from interested 
parties, within 30 days after the date of the notice, of written data, 
views, or arguments with respect to the application. All information 
received as part of each application will be made available to the 
public, upon request, as a matter of public record at every stage of 
the proceeding, including, but not limited to, information needed to 
assess the eligibility of the applicant, such as the original 
application, materials, any intervening renewal applications 
documenting a change in location or personnel, and the most recent 
annual report.
    (i) At the completion of this comment period, the Director will 
decide whether to approve the registration. In making this decision, 
the Director will consider, in addition to the general criteria in 
Sec.  13.21(b) of this subchapter, whether the expertise, facilities, 
or other resources available to the applicant appear adequate to 
enhance the propagation or survival of the affected wildlife. Public 
education activities may not be the sole basis to justify issuance of a 
registration or to otherwise establish eligibility for the exception 
granted in paragraph (g)(1) of this section.
    (ii) If the Director approves the registration, the Service will 
publish notice of the decision in the Federal Register that the 
registration was applied for in good faith, that issuing the 
registration will not operate to the disadvantage of the species for 
which registration was sought, and that issuing the registration will 
be consistent with the purposes and policy set forth in section 2 of 
the Act.
    (iii) Each person so registered must maintain accurate written 
records of activities conducted under the registration and allow 
reasonable access to Service agents for inspection purposes as set 
forth in Sec. Sec.  13.46 and 13.47 of this chapter. Each person so 
registered must also submit to the Director an individual written 
annual report of activities, including all births, deaths, and 
transfers of any type.
* * * * *

    Dated: July 17, 2012.
Eileen Sobeck,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2012-17944 Filed 7-23-12; 8:45 am]