The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is amending its user fee regulations by adjusting fees charged for certain agricultural quarantine and inspection (AQI) services to reflect the anticipated costs of providing these activities through fiscal year 2010.

In March 2003, certain AQI functions were transferred from APHIS to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the Department of Homeland Security. APHIS agricultural inspectors were transferred to CBP in an effort to secure our borders and ports of entry while still facilitating the movement of legitimate trade and travelers. APHIS continues to set policy and conditions required for travelers' entry and commodity and product importation.

CBP agricultural inspectors insure those conditions are met before they allow importation. APHIS continues to collect the user fees to pay for APHIS and CBP activities related to AQI functions.

With this interim rule, APHIS is increasing its user fee regulations for activities provided in connection with certain commercial vessels, trucks, railroad cars, aircraft and international airline passengers arriving at ports in the customs territory of the United States. These adjustments are necessary to recover the costs of increased inspection activity and to prevent plant and animal diseases from entering the United States, as well as the growing threat of bioterrorism.

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Feb. 7, 2005. Comments can be submitted by postal mail, commercial delivery or by e-mail.

Send an original and three copies of postal or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. 04-042-1, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3C71, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, Md., 20737-1238 or e-mail comments to regulations@aphis.usda.gov.

E-mail comments must be contained in the body of the message; do not send attached files. Please include your name and address in the message and type “Docket No. 04-042-1” on the subject line.

To submit comments online, go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions.