[Federal Register: August 26, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 165)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 51222-51231]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Parts 13 and 21

RIN 1018-AC57

Revisions to General Permit Procedures

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: This proposed rule revises the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service's permit application fee schedule for permits issued by the 
Divisions of Migratory Bird Management, Endangered Species, Law 
Enforcement, and Management Authority. The rule also clarifies several 
aspects of Service permit application procedures, and updates permit-
related Service addresses. Additionally, the rule extends the tenure of 
two types of migratory bird permits.

DATES: Send comments on this proposal by October 10, 2003.

ADDRESSES: You may mail or deliver comments to the Division of 
Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North 
Fairfax Drive, MBSP 4107, Arlington, Virginia 22203-1610. 
Alternatively, you may submit your comments via the Internet to: 
permitspart13@fws.gov. Please submit Internet comments as an ASCII 
file, avoiding the use of special characters and any form of 
encryption. Please also include your name and return address in your e-
mail message.

[[Page 51223]]

If you submit comments by more than one medium, please note that at the 
beginning of your document. You may also fax in comments to 703/358-
2272. When submitting comments, refer to the file number RIN 1018-AC57.
    The complete file for this proposed rule, including public 
comments, is available, by appointment, during normal business hours at 
the same address. You may call 703/358-2329 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-



    In implementing its responsibilities under the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973, as amended (ESA), Convention on International Trade in 
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Migratory Bird 
Treaty Act (MBTA), and other wildlife laws, the Service issues permits 
and certificates that authorize the holders to engage in certain 
wildlife-related activities that are regulated by international treaty 
or laws of the United States. The Service charges user fees to offset 
the cost of processing applications for these permits and certificates, 
as well as the cost of monitoring and maintaining active permit files.
    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.'' The authority to charge fees is also found under 
various wildlife laws. Specifically, the ESA, 16 U.S.C. Sec. 1540(f), 
authorizes the Secretary to ``charge reasonable fees for expenses to 
the Government connected with permits or certificates authorized by 
[the ESA] including processing applications.'' The Marine Mammal 
Protection Act (MMPA), 16 U.S.C. Sec. 1374(g), also provides that the 
``Secretary shall establish and charge a reasonable fee for permits'' 
issued pursuant to the MMPA.
    Federal user fee policy, as stated in Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) 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. Some of the Service's permit programs receive no 
designated budget appropriations. Others receive some funding, but not 
enough to cover costs. Our ability to effectively provide these special 
services depends in large part on user fees. We are proposing that the 
standard permit application fee, which has not been revised since 1982, 
be increased in order to recoup more of the costs associated with 
providing permitting services.
    The current schedule of permit application fees was published in 
the Federal Register on July 15, 1982 (47 FR 30785). The Service set 
what it calculated to be a reasonable standard fee in 1982 dollars to 
help defray the costs of processing permit applications, and monitoring 
and maintaining active permits. However, the standard $25 fee was not 
large enough to recover the total cost of administering the Service's 
permit programs, even when it was set in 1982.
    In response to cost of living increases, average Federal Government 
salaries have increased by 128% since 1982, according to the Bureau of 
Labor Statistics Employment Cost Index. This means that labor costs, 
which constitute the major expense incurred in administering permit 
programs, have more than doubled during the 21 years since the standard 
fee was established.
    Furthermore, during that time, the average permit application has 
become more complex and time consuming to process. For example, 
migratory bird depredation permit applications are increasing in both 
frequency and complexity as greater numbers of people have more 
frequent interactions with migratory birds, resulting in more 
extensive, and different types of, property damage. Before issuing 
these permits, the Service must document that it considered and 
complied with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA). As part of NEPA compliance, some of these permit issuances 
require preparation of environmental assessments. For migratory bird 
rehabilitation, permit conditions and criteria have had to become more 
complex to keep pace with an expanding and evolving profession, as 
larger, better-equipped facilities open, providing greater numbers of 
birds with more sophisticated treatment. In general, permit 
administration today requires more coordination between Service 
programs, other Federal programs, and State governments than it did 2 
decades ago, in order to comply with the growing body of wildlife 
regulations needed to address the increasing impacts of an expanding 
human society. This increased complexity and workload of permit 
administration results in larger costs to the Service.

Proposed Revised Fee Schedule

    Given the shortfall between program costs and fee collection, the 
Service is proposing to implement a new permit application fee 
schedule. The Service proposes to replace the current standard and 
nonstandard fees with a new table of fees to be designated under title 
50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at Sec.  13.11(d)(4). This 
rule does not affect permit application fees for migratory bird banding 
and marking permits, which are issued by the U.S. Geological Survey, 
Bird Banding Laboratory.
    The proposed fee structure is what the Service deems to be 
reasonable based on the nature of the activities being permitted, as 
well as the level of complexity and time required to process 
applications and maintain active permit files. Greater complexity 
results in greater workload and costs to the Federal Government for 
providing these special services. For example, fees for marine mammal 
public display permits are set at the rate of $300 since they are among 
the most burdensome to process. These permit applications are often 
complex and require Service coordination with the National Marine 
Fisheries Service and the Marine Mammal Commission, as well as 
publication of notices in the Federal Register on receipt of an 
application and issuance of the permit. Permits to import marine 
mammals generally require a greater allocation of Service 
administrative and professional resources to process than a comparable 
CITES Appendix-I import permit and are significantly more complex to 
process than, for example, a simpler CITES Appendix-II permit 
    While cost considerations were important in developing the new fee 
structure, the Service does not intend this fee schedule to precisely 
mirror the actual cost of processing and maintaining the various types 
of permits we issue. For some types of permits, the cost of processing 
applications and monitoring active permits far exceeds what the Service 
can reasonably expect the applicant to pay, and thus the proposed 
permit application fee defrays only a minor portion of the actual cost 
to the Service. The proposed fee structure is a compromise between 
charging permit applicants the entire cost of providing these special 
services and the need to establish a uniform, straightforward fee 
schedule that reflects a reasonable cost for processing applications 
and maintaining active files.
    In addition to cost, the Service considered several other factors 
in developing the new permit application

[[Page 51224]]

fee schedule in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 9701, which states that 
charges 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 facts. 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.
    While the Service's proposed new fee schedule will more closely 
conform to the Federal user fee policy by recovering a greater portion 
of the direct and indirect costs of providing special services than is 
currently being recovered, the proposed fee increases are not great 
enough to recover the full cost of administering the Service's permit 
programs. Administrative costs include research and analysis, policy 
development, consultation, outreach, publication of notices in the 
Federal Register, and overall management of the permit programs. 
Remaining costs, not captured through permit application fees, must be 
met with money appropriated for base funding of Service programs.
    The Service will review permit application fees on a regular basis, 
using the cost of living index, as reported by the Bureau of Labor 
Statistics, as well as other factors that impact the cost to the 
Government of providing these services, to determine when it is 
appropriate and necessary to adjust fees.

Native American Cultural and Religious Possession Permits

    Native American applicants for permits to possess or travel with 
eagle and other migratory bird carcasses, parts, and feathers for 
cultural and religious use will not be required to pay a permit 
processing fee. We do not consider this type of permit to be a special 
service like the other permits the Service issues. The Service issues 
Native American cultural and religious possession permits as part of 
the Federal Government's trust responsibility toward Federally 
recognized Native American tribes, and in order to fulfill Native 
Americans' First Amendment Constitutional rights, and in accordance 
with the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978. To require 
Native Americans to pay a fee in order to carry out traditional 
cultural and religious ceremonies could unduly burden their religious 
freedom. Thus, we have not proposed a processing fee for applications 
for permits to take, possess, or transport (including CITES 
applications) eagle or other migratory bird carcasses, parts, and 
feathers for Native American cultural and religious use.

Migratory Bird Rehabilitation Permit Application Fees

    For many years, applicants for migratory bird rehabilitation 
permits have paid no application fee. Although part 13 has never 
provided a formal exemption for rehabilitators, as a matter of 
practice, application fees for those permits have been waived. On 
December 6, 2001, the Service proposed a regulation to establish a 
specific permit category under which migratory bird rehabilitators will 
be permitted (66 FR 63349). Under that proposed rulemaking, migratory 
bird rehabilitation permit applicants are required to pay the fee 
listed in part 13, which is currently $25. As part of that same 
rulemaking, migratory bird rehabilitation permits are proposed to be 
extended from a 3-year to a 5-year tenure. The net result of those 
changes is that migratory bird rehabilitation permit holders would pay 
$5 per year in permit processing costs.
    Under the present rulemaking proposed herein, the rehabilitation 
permit application fee would increase to $50, resulting in a net 
increase to rehabilitation permit holders of another $5 per year. While 
we recognize that migratory bird rehabilitators provide benefits to 
injured wildlife, the Service nevertheless incurs substantial costs 
when processing these permits. For the same reasons we are obliged to 
increase permit application fees Servicewide, we need to recoup the 
costs of issuing migratory bird rehabilitation permits, and we do not 
consider a fee equivalent to $10 per year to be a significant economic 
burden for permit applicants.

Native Endangered and Threatened Species Permit Application Fees

    Under the present rulemaking proposed herein, the application fee 
for native endangered and threatened species permits under the ESA will 
increase from $25 to: $100 for recovery and interstate commerce; $50 
for enhancement of survival permits with Safe Harbor Agreements; $50 
for enhancement of survival permits with Candidate Conservation 
Agreement with Assurances; and $100 for incidental take permits with 
Habitat Conservation Plans. While we recognize that many of the 
activities authorized under these permits provide conservation benefits 
for endangered and threatened species, and the habitats upon which they 
depend, ESA permit applications for native species have risen 
significantly in both number and complexity since the application fees 
were set in 1982. For the same reasons we are obliged to increase 
permit application fees Servicewide, we need to recoup costs of issuing 
native endangered and threatened species permits, and we do not 
consider this modest increase in permit application fees to be a 
significant economic burden for permit applicants.

Recent Changes in CITES Permits and the Corresponding Fee Changes

    With the implementation of new CITES Resolutions and in an effort 
to improve the efficiency of the permitting process in the Division of 
Management Authority, changes to the permit procedures have been 
implemented. The implementation of new Resolutions has been addressed 
in a previous Federal Register notice (65 FR 26664; May 8, 2000). Other 
procedural changes are outlined below. In some cases, these new 
Resolutions and charges require that new fees be adopted to offset some 
new administrative costs.
    (1) Security Paper. The Service has recently started to issue 
certain CITES permits and certificates on security paper, rather than 
using plain paper with a CITES security stamp. Security paper is 
specially produced paper that contains a variety of security features 
to prevent fraudulent use of the document. One aspect is a feature that 
does not allow the document to be clearly reproduced by photocopying. 
Since these documents cannot be photocopied, the Service needs to alter 
how we issue certain CITES documents.
    (2) Discontinuation of Multiple-Use Permits. In the past, we have 
issued multiple-use permits that allowed multiple exports of specific 
items. These items have included artificially propagated plants, 
biological samples, circus animals, ginseng, and personally owned pets. 
With the exception of personally owned pets and circus animals, we have 
not issued multiple-use permits to export live animals. In appropriate 
situations, the applicant would submit a single application and, if 
approved, would receive a single document that could be used multiple 
times. Each time the document was used, a photocopied version would be 
submitted for clearance and would accompany the shipment. However, with 
the shift to security paper and because fewer countries are willing to 
accept photocopied documents, the Service has decided to discontinue 
the issuance of multiple-use permits.
    (3) Multiple Single-Use Permits. As an alternative to multiple-use 
permits, we will begin issuing multiple single-use

[[Page 51225]]

permits. The permittee will receive a number of single-use permits, 
valid for 6 months from the issuance date. Each shipment exported must 
be accompanied by an original document. This new procedure would 
require that an individual or business submit an application that, if 
approved, would allow the Service to set up a ``Master File.'' All 
information regarding the applicant and activities being requested 
would be maintained in this file. The Service would then be able to 
issue single-use permits based on the Master File. Since the permits 
would be valid only for 6 months, the permittee would need to evaluate 
how many permits would be required during this time period and request 
that number of permits. The original application for the Master File 
would require an application fee of $200, and the file would be valid 
for 3 years. As long as no changes are made to the file, no additional 
application fee would be required for the 3 years. If, however, changes 
or amendments are made to the file, an additional application fee of 
$100 (one half of the original fee) would be charged. After 3 years, 
the Master File would need to be updated if the permittee wishes to 
continue receiving single-use permits. This will require that the 
permittee submit a renewal application and an application fee of $100. 
A $5 fee charge will be assessed for each single-use permit issued from 
the Master File. Any permit not used within the 6-month period will 
expire, and no refund or exchange will be made. Please note that we 
consider permittees who currently receive multiple-use permits to 
already have a Master File established and, therefore, they will not 
need to apply to the Division of Management Authority to establish a 
new one. They will need to update these files every 3 years and pay the 
$100 renewal fee.
    (4) Passport Documents. In addition to switching to security paper, 
the Service will also begin issuing ``passport'' documents for 
personally owned pets and traveling exhibition live animals. Under 
CITES, a passport can be issued for personal pets and traveling 
exhibition animals in lieu of a typical CITES permit. The passport is 
valid for 3 years and is issued for a single animal. The animal must 
travel with the original passport, which must be presented to the 
appropriate agents at the ports of exit and entry. The passport is only 
valid for the single animal listed on the document. If the animal is 
lost, sold, or dies, the passport must be returned to the Division of 
Management Authority. The application fee for a CITES passport for a 
personal pet or traveling exhibition animal is $75 and is valid for 3 
years. The fee for a passport for an animal listed under both CITES and 
the ESA is $100 and is also valid for 3 years. Since the passport is 
issued for a specific specimen and must be returned to the Division of 
Management Authority if any changes occur to the status of the 
specimen, we cannot amend the passport once it has been issued.
    (5) Native Appendix III Species. Under CITES, any Party can 
unilaterally list a native species in Appendix III. The country that 
lists a species in Appendix III must issue export permits for any 
specimens that are exported from that country. Specimens from another 
country would normally require a Certificate of Origin to be exported 
or reexported, indicating that they did not originate in the listing 
country. Currently, the United States has not listed any native species 
in Appendix III. However, in anticipation of this possibility, we 
propose an alternative fee schedule to address unique aspects of such a 
listing. One such aspect could be the need to permit the export of 
specimens from captive-breeding operations that produce large numbers 
of specimens intended for a limited number of exportations under very 
restricted conditions. Permitting for the export of specimens from such 
an operation could be conducted under a permitting procedure similar to 
a Master File (described above). We are proposing that a fee schedule 
be established that would allow an applicant to set up an Annual 
Program for a $50 processing fee. If approved, the Annual Program 
permittee would be issued a number of single-use permits, valid for 6 
months, that would allow for specimens produced by that permittee to be 
exported by that permittee. As with permits issued under a Master File, 
each permit would cost $5 to cover processing. Annual Programs could 
also be established for Appendix-III species that are harvested from 
the wild which, due to perishability, must be exported within a few 
days of harvest. Finally, Annual Programs could be established for 
breeding operations of native Appendix-II species that are being 
produced in a closed production system. As with personally owned pet 
passports, Annual Programs will be established for very specific 
situations. If the permitted program changes, the Division of 
Management Authority would need to re-evaluate the complete program. As 
such, any amendments or changes to the program would void the currently 
permitted program, and a new application would need to be submitted.
    (6) Wild Bird Conservation Act Cooperative Breeding Programs. Under 
the WBCA, cooperative breeding programs can be established to import 
and breed specifically authorized avian species. These programs are 
made up of individuals or zoological institutions with specialized 
skills in the propagation of a particular species. If the program is 
approved, authorization can be given to import birds under the WBCA. 
Currently, no fee has been charged to apply for the approval of a 
cooperative breeding program or to amend and renew currently authorized 
programs. However, given the length of time and expertise required to 
review applications for cooperative breeding programs, we will now 
require an application fee to cover a small portion of the costs 
involved. We will charge a fee of $200 to process an application to 
establish a new cooperative breeding program, and a fee of $100 to 
amend a current program. Amendments would consist of adding a species 
to or removing a species from the program. We will charge $50 to renew 
a current breeding program. If an amendment is requested at the time of 
renewal, the application fee would be only $100.

Combining Permit Authorizations

    Sometimes applicants need more than one type of permit to cover 
their proposed activities, for example, for the export of a bird 
covered by both CITES and the MBTA, or the take from the wild of a bird 
covered by both the ESA and MBTA. In such cases, where the applicant 
requires two or more permit authorizations simultaneously for the same 
activity, or for more than one activity involving the same wildlife, 
and the authorizations can be made by the same permit issuance office, 
the Service can issue a consolidated permit combining the multiple 
authorizations (see 65 FR 26664, May 8, 2000, Revisions of Regulations 
for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild 
Fauna and Flora). In such cases, the applicant would pay a single fee 
for the more costly permit.

Renewals and Amendments

    To ensure consistency, the Service is clarifying its policy on 
permit renewals and amendments. Applications to renew a permit when the 
tenure of a permit is expiring or has expired are effectively new 
permit applications. Therefore, all applicable fees will be applied.
    The Service will assess a fee for amendments to a valid permit 
where the amendment reflects a substantive change within the scope of 
the permit. We will not charge permittees for

[[Page 51226]]

administrative changes to valid permits, such as address and telephone 
number changes. The amount of the amendment fee will typically be half 
of the application fee for the type of permit (see fee schedule at the 
end of this document). Examples of substantive amendments include 
changing the species covered under a scientific collecting permit, 
requesting authorization to import wildlife through an additional 
nondesignated port, and relocating a wildlife operation to new 
facilities at a different site. With some exceptions, most migratory 
bird permits will not require fees for amendment because amendments to 
migratory bird permits typically do not require significant additional 
staff time on the part of the Service to process. Amending a valid 
permit will not extend the tenure of the permit beyond the original 
expiration date. Amendments to Master Files, Annual Programs, and WBCA 
cooperative breeding programs will be treated differently (see above). 
Some permits cannot be amended; the fee schedule therefore does not 
reflect any amendment cost for these types of permits (see fee schedule 
at the end of this document).


    Currently, Sec.  13.11(d)(3) provides for a waiver of permit fees 
for governmental entities. This section provides that a fee will not be 
charged to any Federal, State, or local government agency, nor to any 
individual or institution under contract to such agency for the 
proposed activity. In the past, the Service has extended fee waivers to 
other public institutions provided that proof of their status as a 
``public institution'' accompanied the permit application. We are now 
proposing to limit the fee waiver provided for public institutions to 
only Federal and State governmental agencies, and to individuals or 
institutions under contract to such agencies for the activities being 
permitted. We find it necessary to limit exemptions given the 
substantial time and effort the Service dedicates to processing permit 
applications and monitoring and maintaining permits of public 
institutions. In addition, many of the affected institutions receive 
benefits from Service permits beyond those that accrue to the general 
public or to Federal or State governments.
    This rule further provides that a Regional Director or Assistant 
Director may waive or reduce any fee on a case-by-case basis for 
extraordinary extenuating circumstances. We envision this provision 
will be used rarely, if ever.

Additional Revisions

    We have proposed several administrative changes to Sec.  13.3, 
entitled ``Scope of regulations.'' Specifically, the titles of several 
parts of the CFR in Title 50, that are referenced within this section, 
have been brought up to date. The rule further proposes to revise the 
term ``permit'' to include documents issued by authorized foreign 
government agencies for purposes of CITES.
    The proposed rule makes revisions to Sec.  13.11(b) to provide 
updated Service addresses for requesting and submitting permit 
    We are proposing to revise Sec.  13.11(c) to advise applicants that 
the time required for the processing of endangered and threatened 
species incidental take permits will vary according to the project 
scope and significance of effects, and may require more than 90 
calendar days. Permit applicants are also now informed that the time 
required for processing some permits may be increased by the procedural 
requirements of NEPA, the requirement to publish a notice in the 
Federal Register for a 30-day public comment period upon receipt of a 
permit application, as well as the need to obtain review of the permit 
application by Service Regional and Field Offices. The Service will 
work to complete all steps of the permitting process as expeditiously 
as possible.
    Finally, the proposed rule amends Sec.  13.42, to clarify that, in 
addition to any conditions set forth in the regulations for a given 
permit type, individual permits may be further conditioned at the time 
of issuance, at the discretion of the Director, as noted on the face of 
the permit.

Extension of Permit Tenure for Two Migratory Bird Permits

    We are revising Sec.  21.24, taxidermist permits, and Sec.  21.25, 
waterfowl sale and disposal permits, to extend the tenure of these 
permits from 3 years to 5 years. These migratory bird permits authorize 
a service or activities that occur on an ongoing basis. They do not 
authorize take from the wild, and as such necessitate less Service 
oversight and monitoring. Taxidermy permits are the most numerous 
migratory bird permit, representing over 8,000 active permits at any 
given time. Reducing the frequency of renewal of these permits would 
reduce Service costs associated with administering these permits.

Endangered Species Act Consideration

    Section 7 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), provides that, 
``[t]he Secretary [of the Interior] shall review other programs 
administered by him and utilize such programs in furtherance of the 
purposes of this Act.'' Furthermore, section 7(a)(2) of the Act 
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.'' Our 
review of this proposed rule pursuant to section 7 of the ESA concluded 
that this action will not affect listed or proposed species.

Required Determinations

Responsibilities of Federal Agencies To Protect Migratory Birds (E.O. 

    This rule has been evaluated for impacts to migratory birds, with 
emphasis on species of management concern, and is in accordance with 
the guidance in Executive Order 13186.

Regulatory Planning and Review (E.O. 12866)

    In accordance with the criteria in Executive Order 12866, this rule 
is not a significant regulatory action. OMB has made this determination 
of significance under Executive Order 12866.
    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 is not required. The purpose of this rule is to more closely 
align the fee structure with the Federal cost of permit processing for 
permits issued by the Divisions of Migratory Bird Management, Law 
Enforcement, and Management Authority. Fees charged for permits issued 
by the Fish and Wildlife Service have not increased since 1982. During 
that time period, Federal salaries have increased by 128 percent and 
since permit reviews are a labor-intensive activity, Service programs 
have had to absorb the additional cost of permit processing.
    In total, the Service processes approximately 25,000 permits 
annually. About half of these permits are issued to small entities, 
many of whom can pass the economic effect of the fee increase (an 
average of $50 per year per permit) to consumers, depending on the 
elasticity of demand. The maximum loss in consumer surplus, if all 
costs were passed along to consumers, would be $1.25 million annually. 
However, for commercial permittees, the average $50 cost increase of 
the permits will be spread over many products and result in negligible 
price increases to consumers.

[[Page 51227]]

The Service believes that the permit fee for working with regulated 
plants and wildlife is a very small part of the cost of these 
activities and will result in a negligible economic impact to consumers 
and businesses.
    The benefit of better aligning the permit application fees schedule 
to the cost of Federal processing is that this will shift the burden of 
payment for these services from taxpayers as a whole to those persons 
who are receiving the government services. User fee increases reflect a 
related shift in appropriations of taxes to government programs, 
allowing those tax dollars to be applied to other programs that benefit 
the general public.
    The administrative costs involved in implementing this proposed 
rule are minimal, since the Service permit programs are already 
established, and the mechanisms for collecting the permit application 
fees are already in place. Therefore the net gain of reducing the costs 
on taxpayers greatly outweighs the costs of introducing the user fee 
    b. This rule will not create serious inconsistencies or otherwise 
interfere with other agencies' actions. This rule pertains to a Federal 
permit application process that already exists, and the only purpose of 
this rule is to update the fee structure to recover Federal costs of 
processing the permit applications. Non-Federal agencies are not 
affected by this rule, except that some local agencies previously 
exempt will now be subject to permit application fees.
    c. This rule will not negatively impact or affect entitlements, 
other grants, user fees, loan programs, or the rights and obligations 
of their recipients. This rule affects user fees charged for plant and 
wildlife permits by updating and better aligning the fees with the 
Federal cost of processing the permits. The average fee increase will 
be $50 per year with a range of annual fee increases running from $10 
for a migratory bird rehabilitation permit to $275 dollars for a marine 
mammal public display permit. Multiplying the expected 25,000 permits 
issued annually by the average fee increase of $50 yields a maximum of 
$1.25 million, which is well below the threshold for a significant 
regulatory action.
    d. This rule does not raise novel legal or policy issues. The 
current fee schedule for plant and wildlife related permits has been in 
place since July 15, 1982. No new permits are included in this 
    The only purpose of this rulemaking is to update and better align 
the permit fee schedule with the actual Federal cost for processing the 

Regulatory Flexibility Act and Small Business Regulatory Enforcement 
Fairness Act

    The Service has performed the threshold analysis required under the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq. (RFA) and the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq. 
(SBREFA), and has determined that this proposed rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required.
    a. The proposed increase in user fees for Federal permits will 
affect approximately 12,737 small entities, including importers and 
exporters of plants, wildlife, and animal products, wildlife 
propagators, museums, airports, animal exhibitors, migratory bird 
taxidermists, and migratory bird rehabilitators. The average user fee 
under this proposal will increase approximately $50 per year. This 
average includes annual increases ranging from $10 for a migratory bird 
rehabilitation permit to $275 for a marine mammal public display 
permit. The total cost increase for small entities applying for permits 
will be approximately $642,244 for the approximately 12,737 permits 
that are issued annually to small entities.
    The economic effect on small entities of this proposed rulemaking 
will be an increased cost of doing business. Depending on the 
elasticity of demand for the goods and services authorized by the 
permits, much of the cost increase will be passed on to consumers. 
Thus, the Service does not anticipate that this proposed rule will 
result in a significant economic burden to small businesses.
    b. This proposed rule does not introduce any new reporting, record 
keeping, or other compliance requirements, and does not introduce any 
new legal requirements that duplicate other Federal regulations. The 
average cost increase will be borne by all entities doing business 
involving wildlife.
    c. This proposed rule will not cause major increases in prices for 
consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government 
agencies or geographic regions; or have significant adverse impacts on 
competition, employment, investment, innovation, or the ability of 
U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign enterprises. A small 
cost increase to better reflect the cost of review of the permit 
application will not adversely affect competition in this industry 
since all entities will be required to pay the increased fees. Since 
the increase of the cost of the permits will be spread over many 
products, it will result in negligible price increases to consumers, 
and will not have a significant effect on the number of permit 
applications and the corresponding total number of permitted wildlife-
related activities conducted.

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. The 
Service has determined and certified pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq., that this rulemaking will not impose 
a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on local or State 
government or private entities. The proposed rulemaking only affects 
the Federal review and issuance of permits under Federal laws. This 
proposed rule does not apply to State regulations.
    b. This rule will not produce a Federal mandate of $100 million or 
greater in any year, i.e., it is not a ``significant regulatory 
action'' under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. The process of 
wildlife permit application review and issuance is already in place, 
and this proposed rulemaking is only updating the fee schedule to 
better align it with the actual cost of processing permits.


    In accordance with Executive Order 12630, the rule does not have 
significant takings implications. This rule will not result in the 
physical occupancy of property, the physical invasion of property, or 
the regulatory taking of any property. A takings implication assessment 
is not required.


    In accordance with Executive Order 13132, and based on the 
discussions in Regulatory Planning and Review above, this rule does not 
have significant Federalism effects. A Federalism assessment is not 
required. This rule does not have a substantial direct effect on fiscal 
capacity, change the roles or responsibilities of Federal or State 
governments, or intrude on State policy or administration.

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.

[[Page 51228]]

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed rule does not contain new or revised information 
collection for which OMB approval is required under the Paperwork 
Reduction Act. Information collection associated with this proposed 
rule is covered by existing OMB approval Nos. 1018-0022 (expires 4/30/
2004), 1018-0094 (expires 7/31/2004), 1018-0093 (expires 3/31/2004), 
and 1018-0092 (expires 7/31/2004). The Service 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

    We have determined that this rule is categorically excluded under 
the Department's NEPA procedures in 516 DM 2, Appendix 1.10.

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 2, this 
rule will have no effect on federally recognized Indian tribes.

Energy Supply, Distribution or Use (E.O. 13211)

    On May 18, 2001, the President issued an Executive Order addressing 
regulations that affect energy supply, distribution, and use. E.O. 
13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when 
undertaking certain actions. Because this rule is only updating the fee 
schedule for permit application review and issuance, it is not a 
significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866 and 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 in 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 proposed rule? What else could we do to make the rule 
easier to understand?
    Send a copy of any comments about how we could make this rule 
easier to understand to: Office of Regulatory Affairs, Department of 
the Interior, Room 7229, 1849 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20240.
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. You may call 703/358-2329 to make an appointment to 
view the files. 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 
organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 
themselves as representing an organization or business, available for 
public inspection in their entirety.

List of Subjects

50 CFR Part 13

    Administrative practice and procedure, Exports, Fish, Imports, 
Plants, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation, 

50 CFR Part 21

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

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, title 50, chapter I, 
subchapter B of the Code of Federal Regulations is proposed to be 
amended as follows:


    1. The authority citation for part 13 is revised to read as 

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 668a, 704, 712, 742j-l, 1374(g), 1382, 
1538(d), 1539, 1540(f), 3374, 4901-4916; 18 U.S.C. 42; 19 U.S.C. 
1202; 31 U.S.C. 9701.

    2. Section 13.3 is revised to read as follows:

Sec.  13.3  Scope of regulations.

    The provisions in this part are in addition to, and are not in lieu 
of, other permit regulations of this subchapter and apply to all 
permits issued thereunder, including ``Importation, Exportation and 
Transportation of Wildlife'' (part 14), ``Wild Bird Conservation Act'' 
(part 15), ``Injurious Wildlife'' (part 16), ``Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants'' (part 17), ``Marine Mammals'' (part 
18), ``Migratory Bird Permits'' (part 21), ``Eagle Permits'' (part 22), 
and ``Endangered Species Convention'' (the Convention on International 
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) (part 23). As used 
in this part 13, the term ``permit'' will refer to a license, permit, 
certificate, letter of authorization, or other document as the context 
may require, and to all such documents issued by the Service or other 
authorized United States or foreign government agencies.
    3. Revise Sec.  13.11 to read as follows:

Sec.  13.11  Application procedures.

    The Service may not issue a permit for any activity authorized by 
this subchapter B unless you have filed an application in accordance 
with the following procedures:
    (a) Forms. Applications must be submitted in writing on a Federal 
Fish and Wildlife License/Permit Application (Form 3-200) or as 
otherwise specifically directed by the Service.
    (b) Forwarding instructions. Applications for permits in the 
following categories should be forwarded to the issuing office 
indicated below.
    (1) You may obtain applications for migratory bird banding permits 
(50 CFR 21.22) by writing to: Bird Banding Laboratory, USGS Patuxent 
Wildlife Research Center, 12100 Beech Forest Road, Laurel, Maryland 
    (2) You may obtain applications for designated port exception 
permits and import/export licenses (50 CFR 14) by writing to the 
Assistant Regional Director for Law Enforcement of the Region in which 
you reside (see 50 CFR 2.2 for addresses and boundaries of the 
    (3) You may obtain applications for Wild Bird Conservation Act 
permits (50 CFR 15); injurious wildlife permits (50 CFR 16); captive-
bred wildlife registrations (50 CFR 17); permits authorizing import, 
export, or foreign commerce of endangered and threatened species, and 
interstate commerce of non-native endangered or threatened species (50 
CFR 17); marine mammal permits (50 CFR 18); and permits and 
certificates for import, export, and reexport of species listed under 
the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild 
Fauna and

[[Page 51229]]

Flora (CITES) (50 CFR 23) from: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Division of Management Authority, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 700, 
Arlington, Virginia 22203-1610. Submit completed permit applications to 
the same address.
    (4) You may obtain Endangered Species Act permit applications (50 
CFR 17) for native species, including incidental take, scientific 
purposes, enhancement of propagation or survival (i.e., recovery), and 
enhancement of survival by writing to the Regional Director (Attention: 
Endangered Species Permits) of the Region where the activity is to take 
place (see 50 CFR 2.2 for addresses and boundaries of the Regions). 
Submit completed applications to the same address (the Regional office 
covering the area where the activity will take place). Permit 
applications for interstate commerce for native listed species should 
be obtained by writing to the Regional Director (Attention: Endangered 
Species Permits) of the Region that has the lead for the particular 
species, rather than the Region where the activity will take place. You 
can obtain that information on the Internet at http://endangered.fws.gov/wildlife.html
, by entering the common or scientific 
name of the listed species in the Regulatory Profile query box. Send 
interstate commerce permit applications for native listed species to 
the same Regional Office that has the lead for that species.
    (5) You may obtain applications for bald and golden eagle permits 
(50 CFR 22) and migratory bird permits (50 CFR 21), except for banding 
and marking permits, by writing to the Migratory Bird Permit Program 
Office in the Region in which you reside (see 50 CFR 2.2 for addresses 
and boundaries of the Regions). Send completed applications to the same 
address (the Regional office covering the State where you reside).
    (c) Time notice. The Service will process all applications as 
quickly as possible. However, we cannot guarantee final action within 
the time limit you request. You should ensure that applications for 
permits for marine mammals and/or endangered and threatened species are 
postmarked at least 90 calendar days prior to the requested effective 
date. The time we require for processing of endangered and threatened 
species incidental take permits will vary according to the project 
scope and significance of effects. Submit applications for all other 
permits to the issuing/reviewing office and ensure they are postmarked 
at least 60 calendar days prior to the requested effective date. Our 
processing time may be increased by the procedural requirements of the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the requirement to publish a 
notice in the Federal Register for a 30-day public comment period upon 
receipt of certain types of permit applications, and/or the time 
required for extensive consultation within the Service, with other 
Federal agencies, and/or State or foreign governments. When applicable, 
we may require permit applicants to provide additional information on 
the proposal and on its environmental effects as may be necessary to 
satisfy the procedural requirements of NEPA.
    (d) Fees. (1) You must pay the required permit processing fee at 
the time that you apply for issuance or renewal of a permit. You must 
pay by check or money order made payable to the ``U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service.'' The Service will not refund any application fee 
under any circumstances if we have processed the application. However, 
we may return the application fee if you withdraw the application 
before we have significantly processed it.
    (2) If regulations in this subchapter require more than one type of 
permit for an activity and the permits are issued by the same office, 
the issuing office may issue one consolidated permit authorizing the 
activity pursuant to Sec.  13.1. You may submit a single application in 
such cases, provided that the single application contains all the 
information required by the separate applications for each permitted 
activity. Where more than one permitted activity is consolidated into 
one permit, the issuing office will charge the highest single fee for 
the activity permitted.
    (3) We will not charge a fee to any Federal or State government 
agency or to any individual or institution under contract to such 
agency for the proposed activities. Proof of status as a Federal or 
State government agency, or contractor to such agency, must accompany 
your application. Except as otherwise authorized or waived, if you fail 
to submit evidence of such status with your application, we will 
require the submission of all processing fees prior to the acceptance 
of the application for processing. We may waive the fee on a case-by-
case basis for extraordinary extenuating circumstances provided that 
the issuing permit office and a Regional or Assistant Director approve 
the waiver.
    (4) User fees.

        Type of permit             Citation         Fee          fee
                        Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Migratory Bird Import/Export..  50 CFR 21               $75  ...........
Migratory Bird Banding or       50 CFR 21       ...........  ...........
Migratory Bird Scientific       50 CFR 21               100           50
Migratory Bird Taxidermy......  50 CFR 21               100  ...........
Waterfowl Sale and Disposal...  50 CFR 21                75  ...........
Special Canada Goose..........  50 CFR 21       ...........  ...........
Migratory Bird Special Purpose/ 50 CFR 21                75  ...........
Migratory Bird Special Purpose/ 50 CFR 21                75  ...........
Migratory Bird Special Purpose/ 50 CFR 21                75  ...........
 Game Bird Propagation.
Migratory Bird Special Purpose/ 50 CFR 21               100  ...........
Falconry......................  50 CFR 21               100  ...........
Raptor Propagation............  50 CFR 21               100  ...........
Migratory Bird Rehabilitation.  50 CFR 21                50  ...........
Migratory Bird Depredation....  50 CFR 21               100           50
Migratory Bird Depredation/     50 CFR 21                50  ...........
                  Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act
Eagle Scientific Collecting...  50 CFR 22               100           50
Eagle Exhibition..............  50 CFR 22                75  ...........
Eagle Falconry................  50 CFR 22               100  ...........

[[Page 51230]]

Eagle--Native American          50 CFR 22       ...........  ...........
Eagle Depredation.............  50 CFR 22               100           50
Golden Eagle Nest Take........  50 CFR 22               100           50
Eagle Transport--Scientific or  50 CFR 22                75  ...........
Eagle Transport--Native         50 CFR 22       ...........  ...........
 American Religious Purposes.
                 Endangered Species Act/CITES/Lacey Act
ESA Recovery..................  50 CFR 17               100           50
ESA Interstate Commerce.......  50 CFR 17               100           50
ESA Enhancement of Survival     50 CFR 17                50           25
 (Safe Harbor Agreement).
ESA Enhancement of Survival     50 CFR 17                50           25
 (Candidate Conservation
 Agreement with Assurances).
ESA Incidental Take (Habitat    50 CFR 17               100           50
 Conservation Plan).
ESA and CITES Import/Export     50 CFR 17               100           50
 and Foreign Commerce.
ESA and CITES Museum Exchange.  50 CFR 17               100           50
ESA Captive-bred Wildlife       50 CFR 17               200          100
    --Captive-bred wildlife     50 CFR 17               100  ...........
     registration renewal.
CITES Import (including         50 CFR                  100           50
 Trophies under ESA and MMPA).  17, 18, 23
CITES Export..................  50 CFR 23               100           50
CITES Pre-Convention..........  50 CFR 23                75           40
CITES Certificate of Origin...  50 CFR 23                75           40
CITES Re-Export...............  50 CFR 23                75           40
CITES Personal Effects and Pet  50 CFR 23                50  ...........
CITES Appendix II Export        50 CFR 23               100           50
 (native furbearers and
 alligators--excluding live).
CITES Master File (includes     50 CFR 23               200          100
 files for artificial
 propagation, biomedical, etc.
 and covers import, export,
 and reexport documents).
    --Renewal of CITES Master   50 CFR 23               100  ...........
    --Single-use permits        50 CFR 23             \1\ 5  ...........
     issued on Master File.
CITES Annual Program File.....  50 CFR 23                50  ...........
    --Single-use permits        50 CFR 23             \1\ 5  ...........
     issued under Annual
CITES replacement documents     50 CFR 23                50           50
 (lost, stolen, or damaged
CITES Passport for Traveling    50 CFR 23            \2\ 75  ...........
 Exhibitions and Pets.
CITES/ESA Passport for          50 CFR 23           \2\ 100  ...........
 Traveling Exhibitions.
Import/Export License.........  50 CFR 14               100           50
Designated Port Exception.....  50 CFR 14               100           50
Injurious Wildlife Permit.....  50 CFR 16               100           50
    --Transport Authorization   50 CFR 16                25  ...........
     for Injurious Wildlife.
                       Wild Bird Conservation Act
Personal Pet Import...........  50 CFR 15                50  ...........
WBCA Scientific Research,       50 CFR 15               100           50
 Zoological Breeding or
 Display, Cooperative Breeding.
WBCA Approval of Cooperative    50 CFR 15               200          100
 Breeding Programs.
    --Renewal of a WBCA         50 CFR 15                50  ...........
     Cooperative Breeding
WBCA Approval of a Foreign      50 CFR 15           \3\ 250  ...........
 Breeding Facility.
                      Marine Mammal Protection Act
Marine Mammal Public Display..  50 CFR 18               300          150
Marine Mammal Scientific        50 CFR 18               150           75
 Registered Agent or Tannery.
    --Renewal of Marine Mammal  50 CFR 18                75  ...........
     Scientific Research/
     Agent or Tannery.
\1\ Each.
\2\ Per animal.
\3\ Per species.

    (5) We will charge a fee for substantive amendments made to permits 
within the time period that the permit is still valid. The fee will be 
half the original fee assessed at the time that the permit is 
processed. Substantive amendments are those that pertain to the purpose 
and conditions of the permit and are not purely administrative. 
Administrative changes, such as updating name and address information, 
are required under Sec.  13.23(c), and we will not charge a fee for 
such amendments.
    (6) Except where specifically addressed above, a permit renewal is 
an issuance of a new permit, and applicants for permit renewal must pay 
the appropriate fee listed in paragraph (d)(4) of this section.
    (e) Abandoned or incomplete applications. Upon receipt of an 
incomplete or improperly executed application, or if you do not submit 
the proper fees, the issuing office will notify you of the deficiency. 
If you fail to supply the correct information to complete the 
application or to pay the required fees within 45 calendar days of the 
date of notification, we will consider the application abandoned. We 
will not refund any fees for an abandoned application.
    4. Amend Sec.  13.12 by adding a new paragraph (c) to read as 

Sec.  13.12  General information requirements on applications for 

* * * * *
    (c) When applicable, the Service may require permit applicants to 
provide additional information about the

[[Page 51231]]

activity for which permit authorization is being requested and on its 
environmental effects as may be necessary to satisfy the Service's 
requirements to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, 
other Federal laws, and Executive orders, consistent with 40 CFR 1506.5 
and Departmental procedures in 516 DM 6, Appendix 1.3A.
    5. Revise Sec.  13.42 to read as follows:

Sec.  13.42  Permits are specific.

    A permit is subject to the conditions of this subpart D, as well as 
the conditions within the regulations in this subchapter under which 
the permit is issued, and any other conditions deemed appropriate and 
included on the face of the permit at the discretion of the Director. 
The authorizations on the face of a permit that set forth specific 
times, dates, places, methods of taking or carrying out the permitted 
activities, numbers and kinds of wildlife or plants, location of 
activity, and associated activities that must be carried out; authorize 
certain circumscribed transactions; or otherwise permit a specifically 
limited matter, are to be strictly construed and will not be 
interpreted to permit similar or related matters outside the scope of 
strict construction.


    6. 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.

    7. Amend Sec.  21.24 by revising paragraph (e) to read as follows:

Sec.  21.24  Taxidermist permits.

* * * * *
    (e) Term of permit. A taxidermist permit issued or renewed under 
this part expires on the date designated on the face of the permit 
unless amended or revoked, but the term of the permit will not exceed 
five (5) years from the date of issuance or renewal.
    8. Amend Sec.  21.25 by revising paragraph (d) to read as follows:

Sec.  21.25  Waterfowl sale and disposal permits.

* * * * *
    (d) Term of permit. A waterfowl sale and disposal permit issued or 
renewed under this part expires on the date designated on the face of 
the permit unless amended or revoked, but the term of the permit will 
not exceed five (5) years from the date of issuance or renewal.

    Dated: July 30, 2003.
Craig Manson,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 03-21489 Filed 8-25-03; 8:45 am]