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Notice

Benfluralin; Availability of Risk Assessments (Interim Process)

Action

Notice.

Summary

This notice announces the availability of risk assessments that were developed as part of EPA's process for making pesticide Reregistration Eligibility Decisions (REDs) and tolerance reassessments consistent with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), as amended by the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996. These risk assessments are the human health and environmental fate and effects risk assessments and related documents for benfluralin. Benfluralin is a dinitroaniline herbicide registered for use on lettuce; animal feed crops; non-bearing fruits; and berries; commercial and residential turf; and ornamentals. This notice also starts a 60-day public comment period for the risk assessments. By allowing access and opportunity for comment on the risk assessments, EPA is seeking to strengthen stakeholder involvement and help ensure that pesticide decisions are transparent and based on the best available information.

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

Comments, identified by the docket identification (ID) number OPP-2003-0381, must be received on or before April 26, 2004.

ADDRESSES: Back to Top

Comments may be submitted electronically, by mail, or through hand delivery/courier. Follow the detailed instructions as provided in Unit I. of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Diane Isbell, Special Review and Reregistration Division (7508C), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; telephone number: (703) 308-8154; e-mail address: isbell.diane@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Back to Top

I. General Information Back to Top

A. Does this Action Apply to Me?

This action is directed to the public in general, nevertheless, a wide range of stakeholders may be interested in obtaining the risk assessments for benfluralin, including environmental, human health, and agricultural advocates; the chemical industry; pesticide users; and members of the public interested in the use of pesticides on food. Since other entities also may be interested, the Agency has not attempted to describe all the specific entities that may be affected by this action. If you have any questions regarding the applicability of this action to a particular entity, consult the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

B. How Can I Get Copies of this Document and Other Related Information?

1. Docket. EPA has established an official public docket for this action under docket ID number OPP-2003-0381. The official public docket consists of the documents specifically referenced in this action, any public comments received, and other information related to this action. Although a part of the official docket, the public docket does not include Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. The official public docket is the collection of materials that is available for public viewing at the Public Information and Records Integrity Branch (PIRIB), Rm. 119, Crystal Mall #2, 1921 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Arlington, VA. This docket facility is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The docket telephone number is (703) 305-5805.

2. Electronic access. You may access this Federal Register document electronically through the EPA Internet under the “Federal Register” listings at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/.

An electronic version of the public docket is available through EPA's electronic public docket and comment system, EPA Dockets. You may use EPA Dockets at http://www.epa.gov/edocket/ to submit or view public comments, access the index listing of the contents of the official public docket, and to access those documents in the public docket that are available electronically. Once in the system, select “search,” then key in the appropriate docket ID number.

Certain types of information will not be placed in EPA's Dockets. Information claimed as CBI and other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute, which is not included in the official public docket, will not be available for public viewing in EPA's electronic public docket. EPA's policy is that copyrighted material will not be placed in EPA's electronic public docket but will be available only in printed, paper form in the official public docket. To the extent feasible, publicly available docket materials will be made available in EPA's electronic public docket. When a document is selected from the index list in EPA Dockets, the system will identify whether the document is available for viewing in EPA's electronic public docket. Although not all docket materials may be available electronically, you may still access any of the publicly available docket materials through the docket facility identified in Unit I.B.1. EPA intends to work towards providing electronic access to all of the publicly available docket materials through EPA's electronic public docket.

For public commenters, it is important to note that EPA's policy is that public comments, whether submitted electronically or on paper, will be made available for public viewing in EPA's electronic public docket as EPA receives them and without change, unless the comment contains copyrighted material, CBI, or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. When EPA identifies a comment containing copyrighted material, EPA will provide a reference to that material in the version of the comment that is placed in EPA's electronic public docket. The entire printed comment, including the copyrighted material, will be available in the public docket.

Public comments submitted on computer disks that are mailed or delivered to the docket will be transferred to EPA's electronic public docket. Public comments that are mailed or delivered to the Docket will be scanned and placed in EPA's electronic public docket. Where practical, physical objects will be photographed, and the photograph will be placed in EPA's electronic public docket along with a brief description written by the docket staff.

II. How Can I Respond to this Action? Back to Top

A. How and to Whom Do I Submit Comments?

You may submit comments electronically, by mail, or through hand delivery/courier. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, identify the appropriate docket ID number in the subject line on the first page of your comment. Please ensure that your comments are submitted within the specified comment period. Comments received after the close of the comment period will be marked “late.” EPA is not required to consider these late comments. If you wish to submit CBI or information that is otherwise protected by statute, please follow the instructions in Unit I.D. Do not use EPA Dockets or e-mail to submit CBI or information protected by statute.

1. Electronically. If you submit an electronic comment as prescribed in this unit, EPA recommends that you include your name, mailing address, and an e-mail address or other contact information in the body of your comment. Also include this contact information on the outside of any disk or CD ROM you submit, and in any cover letter accompanying the disk or CD ROM. This ensures that you can be identified as the submitter of the comment and allows EPA to contact you in case EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties or needs further information on the substance of your comment. EPA's policy is that EPA will not edit your comment, and any identifying or contact information provided in the body of a comment will be included as part of the comment that is placed in the official public docket, and made available in EPA's electronic public docket. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment.

i. EPA Dockets. Your use of EPA's electronic public docket to submit comments to EPA electronically is EPA's preferred method for receiving comments. Go directly to EPA Dockets at http://www.epa.gov/edocket/, and follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once in the system, select “search,” and then key in docket ID number OPP-2003-0381. The system is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity, e-mail address, or other contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment.

ii. E-mail. Comments may be sent by e-mail to opp-docket@epa.gov, Attention: Docket ID Number OPP-2003-0381. In contrast to EPA's electronic public docket, EPA's e-mail system is not an “anonymous access” system. If you send an e-mail comment directly to the docket without going through EPA's electronic public docket, EPA's e-mail system automatically captures your e-mail address. E-mail addresses that are automatically captured by EPA's e-mail system are included as part of the comment that is placed in the official public docket, and made available in EPA's electronic public docket.

iii. Disk or CD ROM. You may submit comments on a disk or CD ROM that you mail to the mailing address identified in Unit I.C.2. These electronic submissions will be accepted in WordPerfect or ASCII file format. Avoid the use of special characters and any form of encryption.

2. By mail. Send your comments to: Public Information and Records Integrity Branch (PIRIB) (7502C), Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001, Attention: Docket ID Number OPP-2003-0381.

3. By hand delivery or courier. Deliver your comments to: Public Information and Records Integrity Branch (PIRIB), Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), Environmental Protection Agency, Rm. 119, Crystal Mall #2, 1921 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Arlington, VA, Attention: Docket ID Number OPP-2003-0381. Such deliveries are only accepted during the docket's normal hours of operation as identified in Unit I.B.1.

B. How Should I Submit CBI to the Agency?

Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI electronically through EPA's electronic public docket or by e-mail. You may claim information that you submit to EPA as CBI by marking any part or all of that information as CBI (if you submit CBI on disk or CD ROM, mark the outside of the disk or CD ROM as CBI and then identify electronically within the disk or CD ROM the specific information that is CBI). Information so marked will not be disclosed except in accordance with procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2.

In addition to one complete version of the comment that includes any information claimed as CBI, a copy of the comment that does not contain the information claimed as CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public docket and EPA's electronic public docket. If you submit the copy that does not contain CBI on disk or CD ROM, mark the outside of the disk or CD ROM clearly that it does not contain CBI. Information not marked as CBI will be included in the public docket and EPA's electronic public docket without prior notice. If you have any questions about CBI or the procedures for claiming CBI, please consult the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

C. What Should I Consider as I Prepare My Comments for EPA?

You may find the following suggestions helpful for preparing your comments:

1. Explain your views as clearly as possible.

2. Describe any assumptions that you used.

3. Provide copies of any technical information and/or data you used that support your views.

4. If you estimate potential burden or costs, explain how you arrived at the estimate that you provide.

5. Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns.

6. Offer alternative ways to improve the notice or collection activity.

7. Make sure to submit your comments by the deadline in this document.

8. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, be sure to identify the docket ID number assigned to this action in the subject line on the first page of your response. You may also provide the name, date, and Federal Register citation.

III. What Action is the Agency Taking? Back to Top

EPA is making available to the public the risk assessments that have been developed as part of the Agency's interim public participation process for tolerance reassessment and reregistration. During the next 60 days, EPA will accept comments on the human health and environmental fate and effects risk assessments and other related documents for benfluralin, available in the individual pesticide docket. Benfluralin is a dinitroaniline herbicide registered for use on lettuce; animal feed crops; non-bearing fruits and berries; commercial and residential turf; and ornamentals. Like other REDs for pesticides developed through the interim process, the benfluralin RED will be made available to the public for comment.

EPA and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been using a pilot public participation process for the assessment of organophosphate pesticides since August 1998. In considering how to accomplish the movement from the organophosphate pilot process to the public participation process that will be used for non-organophosphates, such as benfluralin, EPA and the USDA have adopted an interim public participation process. For the past 3 years, EPA has been using this interim process in reviewing many non-organophosphate pesticides completing tolerance reassessment and reregistration. The interim public participation process ensures public access to the Agency's risk assessments while also allowing EPA to meet its reregistration commitments. It takes into account that the risk assessment development work on these pesticides is substantially complete, and that related risk issues are not extremely complex. The interim public participation process involves: A registrant error correction period; a period for the Agency to respond to the registrant's error correction comments; the release of the refined risk assessments and risk characterizations to the public via the docket and EPA's internet website; a significant effort on stakeholder consultations, such as meetings and conference calls; and the issuance of the risk management decision document (i.e., RED) after the consideration of issues and discussions with stakeholders. The USDA may hold meetings and conference calls with the public (i.e., interested stakeholders such as growers, USDA Cooperative Extension Offices, commodity groups, and other Federal government agencies) to discuss any identified risks and solicit input on risk management strategies. EPA participates in USDA's meetings and conference calls with the public. This feedback is used to complete the risk management decisions and the RED. EPA conducts a close-out conference call with interested stakeholders to describe the regulatory decisions presented in the RED. REDs for pesticides developed under the interim process may be made available for another public comment period, depending on the complexity of the decision and the level of stakeholder interest.

Included in the public version of the official record are the Agency's risk assessments and related documents for benfluralin. As additional comments, reviews, and risk assessment modifications become available, these will also be docketed. The benfluralin risk assessments reflect only the work and analysis conducted as of the time they were produced and it is appropriate that, as new information becomes available and/or additional analyses are performed, the conclusions they contain may change.

List of Subjects Back to Top

Dated: February 17, 2004.

Peter Caulkins,

Acting Director, Special Review and Reregistration Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.

[FR Doc. 04-3939 Filed 2-24-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-S

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