Skip to Content
Notice

Waste Import and Export; Inquiry To Learn Whether Businesses Assert Business Confidentiality Claims

Action

Notice; Request For Comment.

Summary

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) receives from time to time Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for documentation received or issued by EPA or data contained in EPA database systems pertaining to the export and import of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste from/to the United States, the export of cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and spent lead acid batteries (SLABs) from the United States, and the export and import of RCRA universal waste from/to the United States. These documents and data may identify or reference multiple parties, and describe transactions involving the movement of specified materials in which the parties propose to participate or have participated. The purpose of this notice is to inform “affected businesses” about the documents or data sought by these types of FOIA requests in order to provide the businesses with the opportunity to assert claims that any of the information sought that pertains to them is entitled to treatment as confidential business information (CBI), and to send comments to EPA supporting their claims for such treatment. Certain businesses, however, do not meet the definition of “affected business,” and are not covered by today's notice. They consist of any business that actually submitted to EPA any document at issue pursuant to applicable RCRA regulatory requirements and did not assert a CBI claim as to information that pertains to that business in connection with the document at the time of its submission; they have waived their right to do so at a later time. Nevertheless, other businesses identified or referenced in the documents that were submitted to EPA by the submitting business may have a right to assert a CBI claim concerning information that pertains to them and may do so in response to this notice.

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

Comments must be received on or before February 13, 2013. The period for submission of comments may be extended if, before the comments are due, you make a request for an extension of the comment period and it is approved by the EPA legal office. Except in extraordinary circumstances, the EPA legal office will not approve such an extension without the consent of any person whose request for release of the information under the FOIA is pending.

ADDRESSES: Back to Top

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OECA-2012-0957, by one of the following methods:

  • http://www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • Email: kreisler.eva@epa.gov.
  • Address: Eva Kreisler, International Compliance Assurance Division, Office of Federal Activities, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 2254A, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460.

Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OECA-2012-0957. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through http://www.regulations.gov or email. Instructions about how to submit comments claimed as CBI are given later in this notice.

The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through http://www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment. Please include your name and other contact information with any disk or CD-ROM you submit by mail. 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. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.

Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov index.

Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, will be publicly available only in hard copy. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the HQ EPA Docket Center, EPA/DC, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the docket for this notice is (202) 566-1752.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Eva Kreisler, International Compliance Assurance Division, Office of Federal Activities, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 2254A, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 564-8186; email address: kreisler.eva@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Back to Top

Today's notice relates to any documents or data in the following areas: (1) Export of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste, during calendar year 2012 or before, under 40 CFR part 262, subparts E and H; (2) import of RCRA hazardous waste, during calendar year 2012 or before, under 40 CFR part 262, subparts F and H; (3) transit of RCRA hazardous waste, during calendar year 2012 or before, under 40 CFR part 262, subpart H, through the United States and foreign countries; (4) export of cathode ray tubes, during calendar year 2012 or before, under 40 CFR part 261, subpart E; (5) exports of non-crushed spent lead acid batteries with intact casings, during calendar year 2012 or before, under 40 CFR part 266 subpart G; (6) export and import of RCRA universal waste, during calendar year 2012 or before, under 40 CFR part 273, subparts B, C, D, and F; (7) submissions from transporters, during calendar year 2012 or before, under 40 CFR part 263, or from treatment, storage or disposal facilities under 40 CFR parts 264 and 265, related to exports or imports of hazardous waste which occurred during calendar year 2012 or before, including receiving facility notices under 40 CFR 264.12(a)(1) and 265.12(a)(1) and import consent documentation under 40 CFR 264.71(a)3) and 265.71(a)(3).

I. General Information Back to Top

EPA has previously published notices similar to this one in the Federal Register, the latest one being at 77 FR 25475, April 30, 2012 that address issues similar to those raised by today's notice. The Agency did not receive any comments on the previous notices. Since the publication of the April 30, 2012 notice, the Agency has continued to receive FOIA requests for documents and data contained in EPA's database related to hazardous waste exports and imports.

II. Issues Covered by This Notice Back to Top

Specifically, EPA receives FOIA requests from time to time for documentation or data related to hazardous waste exports and imports that may identify or reference multiple parties, and that describe transactions involving the movement of specified materials in which the parties propose to participate or have participated. This notice informs “affected businesses,” [1] which could include, among others, “transporters” [2] and “consignees,” [3] of the requests for information in EPA database systems and/or contained in one or more of the following documents: (1) Documents related to the export of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste, during calendar year 2012 or before, under 40 CFR part 262, subparts E and H, including but not limited to the “notification of intent to export,” [4] “manifests,” [5] “annual reports,” [6] “EPA acknowledgements of consent, [7] ” “any subsequent communication withdrawing a prior consent or objection,” [8] “responses that neither consent nor object,” “exception reports,” [9] “transit notifications,” [10] and “renotifications;” [11] (2) documents related to the import of hazardous waste, during calendar year 2012 or before, under 40 CFR part 262, subparts F and H, including but not limited to notifications of intent to import hazardous waste into the U.S. from foreign countries; (3) documents related to the transit of hazardous waste, during calendar year 2012 or before, under 40 CFR part 262, subpart H, including notifications from U.S. exporters of intent to transit through foreign countries, or notifications from foreign countries of intent to transit through the U.S.; (4) documents related to the export of cathode ray tubes (CRTs), during calendar year 2012 or before, under 40 CFR part 261, subpart E, including but not limited to notifications of intent to export CRTs; (5) documents related to the export of non-crushed spent lead acid batteries (SLABs) with intact casings, during calendar year 2012 or before, under 40 CFR part 266 subpart G, including but not limited to notifications of intent to export SLABs; (6) submissions from transporters under 40 CFR part 263, or from treatment, storage or disposal facilities under 40 CFR parts 264 and 265, related to exports or imports of hazardous waste which occurred during calendar year 2012 or before, including receiving facility notices under 40 CFR 264.12(a)(1) and 265.12(a)(1) and import consent documentation under 40 CFR 264.71(a)(3) and 265.71(a)(3), and (7) documents related to the export and import of RCRA “universal waste” [12] under 40 CFR part 273, subparts B, C, D, and F.

Certain businesses, however, do not meet the definition of“affected business,” and are not covered by today's notice. Theyconsist of any business that actually submitted information responsive to a FOIA request, under the authority of 40 CFR parts 260 through 266 and 268, and did not assert a claim of business confidentiality covering any of that information at the time of submission. As set forth in the RCRA regulations at 40 CFR 260.2(b), “if no such [business confidentiality] claim accompanies the information when it is received by EPA, it may be made available to the public without further notice to the person submitting it.” Thus, for purposes of this notice and as a general matter under 40 CFR 260.2(b), a business that submitted to EPA the documents at issue, pursuant to applicable regulatory requirements, and that failed to assert a claim as to information that pertains to it at the time of submission, cannotlater make a business confidentiality claim. [13] Nevertheless, other businesses identified or referenced in the same documents that were submitted to EPA by the submitting business may have a right to assert a CBI claim concerning information that pertains to them and may do so in response to this notice.

In addition, EPA may develop its own documents and organize into its database systems information that was originally contained in documents from submitting businesses relating to exports and imports of hazardous waste. If a submitting business fails to assert a CBI claim for the documents it submits to EPA at the time of submission, not only does it waive its right to claim CBI for those documents, but it also waives its right to claim CBI for information in EPA's documents or databases that is based on or derived from the documents that were originally submitted by that business. [14]

In accordance with 40 CFR 2.204(c) and (e), this notice inquireswhether any affected business asserts a claim that any of the requestedinformation constitutes CBI, and affords such business an opportunityto comment to EPA on the issue. This notice also informs affectedbusinesses that, if a claim is made, EPA would determine under 40 CFRpart 2, subpart B, whether any of the requested information is entitledto business confidential treatment.

1. Affected Businesses

EPA's FOIA regulations at 40 CFR 2.204(c)(1) require an EPA officethat is responsible for responding to a FOIA request for the release ofbusiness information (“EPA office”) “to determine which businesses,if any, are affected businesses * * *.” “Affected business” isdefined at 40 CFR 2.201(d) as, “* * * with reference to an item ofbusiness information, a business which has asserted (and not waived orwithdrawn) a business confidentiality claim covering the information,or a business which could be expected to make such a claim if it wereaware that disclosure of the information to the public was proposed.”

2. The Purposes of This Notice

This notice encompasses two distinct steps in the process ofcommunication with affected businesses prior to EPA's making a finaldetermination concerning the business confidentiality of the information at issue: The preliminary inquiry and the notice of opportunity to comment.

a. Inquiry To Learn Whether Affected Businesses (Other Than ThoseBusinesses That Previously Asserted a CBI Claim) Assert Claims CoveringAny of the Requested Information

Section 2.204(c)(2)(i) provides, in relevant part:

If the examination conducted under paragraph (c)(1) of this sectiondiscloses the existence of any business which, although it has notasserted a claim, might be expected to assert a claim if it knew EPAproposed to disclose the information, the EPA office shall contact aresponsible official of each such business to learn whether thebusiness asserts a claim covering the information.

b. Notice of Opportunity To Submit Comments

Sections 2.204(d)(1)(i) and 2.204(e)(1) of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations require that written notice be provided to businesses that have made claims of business confidentiality for any of the information at issue, stating that EPA is determining under 40 CFR part 2, subpart B, whether the information is entitled to business confidential treatment, and affording each business an opportunity to comment as to the reasons why it believes that the information deserves business confidential treatment.

3. The Use of Publication in the Federal Register

Section 2.204(e)(1) of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations requires that this type of notice be furnished by certified mail (return receipt requested), by personal delivery, or by othermeans which allows verification of the fact and date of receipt. EPA,however, has determined that in the present circumstances the use of a Federal Register notice is a practical and efficient way tocontact affected businesses and to furnish the notice of opportunity tosubmit comments. The Agency's decision to follow this course wasmade in recognition of the administrative difficulty and impracticality of directly contacting potentially thousands of individual businesses.

4. Submission of Your Response in the English Language

All responses to this notice must be in the English language.

5. The Effect of Failure To Respond to This Notice

In accordance with 40 CFR 2.204(e)(1) and 2.205(d)(1), EPA willconstrue your failure to furnish timely comments in response to thisnotice as a waiver of your business's claim(s) of business confidentiality for any information in the types of documents identified in this notice.

6. What To Include in Your Comments

If you believe that any of the information contained in the types of documents which are described in this notice and which arecurrently, or may become, subject to FOIA requests, is entitled tobusiness confidential treatment, please specify which portions of theinformation you consider business confidential. Information not specifically identified as subject to a business confidentiality claim may be disclosed to the requestor without further notice to you.

For each item or class of information that you identify as beingsubject to your claim, please answer the following questions, giving asmuch detail as possible:

1. For what period of time do you request that the information bemaintained as business confidential, e.g., until a certain date, until the occurrence of a specified event, or permanently? If the occurrence of a specific event will eliminate the need for business confidentiality, please specify that event.

2. Information submitted to EPA becomes stale over time. Why shouldthe information you claim as business confidential be protected for the time period specified in your answer to question no. 1?

3. What measures have you taken to protect the information claimedas business confidential? Have you disclosed the information to anyone other than a governmental body or someone who is bound by an agreement not to disclose the information further? If so, why should the information still be considered business confidential?

4. Is the information contained in any publicly available materialsuch as the Internet, publicly available data bases, promotionalpublications, annual reports, or articles? Is there any means by whicha member of the public could obtain access to the information? Is theinformation of a kind that you would customarily not release to the public?

5. Has any governmental body made a determination as to thebusiness confidentiality of the information? If so, please attach a copy of the determination.

6. For each category of information claimed as business confidential, explain with specificity why and how release of the information is likely to cause substantial harm to your competitive position. Explain the specific nature of those harmful effects, why they should be viewed as substantial, and the causal relationship between disclosure and such harmful effects. How could your competitors make use of this information to your detriment?

7. Do you assert that the information is submitted on a voluntaryor a mandatory basis? Please explain the reason for your assertion. Ifthe business asserts that the information is voluntarily submittedinformation, please explain whether and why disclosure of the information would tend to lessen the availability to EPA of similar information in the future.

8. Any other issue you deem relevant.

Please note that you bear the burden of substantiating yourbusiness confidentiality claim. Conclusory allegations will be given little or no weight in the determination. If you wish to claim any of the information in your response as business confidential, you must mark the response “BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL” or with a similar designation, and must bracket all text so claimed. Information so designated will be disclosed by EPA only to the extent allowed by, and by means of, the procedures set forth in, 40 CFR part 2, subpart B. If you fail to claim the information as business confidential, it may be made available to the requestor without further notice to you.

III. What should I consider as I prepare my comments for EPA? Back to Top

1. Submitting CBI. Do not submit this information to EPA through http://www.regulations.gov or email. Please submit this information by mail to the address identified in the ADDRESSES section of today's notice for inclusion in the non-public CBI docket. Clearly mark the part or all of the information that you claim to be CBI. For CBI information in a disk or CD ROM that you mail to EPA, 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 claimed as CBI. Information so marked will not be disclosed except in accordance with the procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2, subpart B. In addition to the submission of one complete version of the comment that includes 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.

2. Tips for Preparing Your Comments. When submitting comments,remember to:

  • Identify the notice by docket number and other identifyinginformation (subject heading, Federal Register date and page number).
  • Explain your views as clearly as possible, avoiding theuse of profanity or personal threats.
  • Describe any assumptions and provide any technicalinformation and/or data that you used.
  • Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns, andsuggest alternatives.
  • Make sure to submit your comments by the comment perioddeadline identified.

Dated: January 7, 2013.

Susan E. Bromm,

Director, Office of Federal Activities.

[FR Doc. 2013-00575 Filed 1-11-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-P

Footnotes Back to Top

1. The term “affected business” is defined at 40 CFR 2.201(d), and is set forth in this notice, below.

Back to Context

2. The term “transporter” is defined at 40 CFR 260.10.

Back to Context

3. The term “consignee” is defined, for different purposes, at 40 CFR 262.51 and 262.81(c).

Back to Context

4. The term “notification of intent to export” is described at 40 CFR 262.53.

Back to Context

5. The term “manifest” is defined at 40 CFR 260.10.

Back to Context

6. The term “annual reports” is described at 40 CFR 262.56.

Back to Context

7. The term “EPA acknowledgement of consent” is defined at 40 CFR 262.51.

Back to Context

8. The requirement to forward to the exporter “any subsequent communication withdrawing a prior consent or objection” is found at 42 U.S.C. § 6938(e)

Back to Context

9. The term “exception reports” is described at 40 CFR 262.55.

Back to Context

10. The term “transit notifications” is described at 40 CFR 262.53(e).

Back to Context

11. The term “renotifications” is described at 40 CFR 262.53(c).

Back to Context

12. The term “universal waste” is defined at 40 CFR 273.9.

Back to Context

13. However, businesses having submitted information to EPA relating tothe export and import of RCRA universal waste are not subject to 40 CFR 260.2(b) since they submitted information in accordance with 40 CFR part 273, and not parts 260 through 266 and 268, as set forth in 40 CFR 260.2(b). They are therefore affected businesses that could make a claim of CBI at the time of submission or in response to this notice.

Back to Context

14. With the exception, noted above, of the submission of informationrelating to the export and import of RCRA universal waste.

Back to Context
Site Feedback