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Notice

Toxic Chemical Release Reporting; Request for Comment on Renewal Information Collection

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this notice announces that EPA is planning to submit the following continuing Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pursuant to procedures described in 5 CFR 1320.12: Toxic Chemical Release Reporting (EPA ICR No. 1363.12, OMB No. 2070-0093). This ICR involves a collection activity that is currently approved and scheduled to expire on January 31, 2003. Before submitting this ICR to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval under the PRA, EPA is soliciting comments on specific aspects of the collection as described below.

DATES:

Comments, identified by the docket control number OEI-10015, must be submitted on or before August 30, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

Comments may be submitted by mail, electronically, or in person. Please follow the detailed instructions for each method as provided in Unit III. of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For general information contact: The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Hotline at (800) 424-9346 or (703) 412-9810, TDD (800) 553-7672, http://www.epa.gov/​epaoswer/​hotline/​.

For technical information about this ICR renewal contact: Judith Kendall, Toxics Release Inventory Program Division, OEI, Environmental Protection Agency (2844T), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460, Telephone: 202-566-0750; Fax: 202-566-0727; e-mail: kendall.judith@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Does This Notice Apply to Me?

A. Affected Entities: Entities that will be affected by this action are those facilities that manufacture, process, or otherwise use certain toxic chemicals listed on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and which are required under section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA) to report annually to EPA their environmental releases and other waste management activities involving such chemicals.

Currently, those industries with the following SIC code designations (that meet all other threshold criteria for TRI reporting) must report toxic chemical releases and other waste management activities:

▸ 20-39, manufacturing

▸ 10, metal mining (except for SIC codes 1011, 1081, and 1094)

▸ 12, coal mining (except for SIC code 1241 and extraction activities)

▸ 4911, 4931 and 4939, electrical utilities that combust coal and/or oil for the purpose of generating power for distribution in commerce.

▸ 4953, RCRA Subtitle C hazardous waste treatment and disposal facilities

▸ 5169, chemicals and allied products wholesale distributors

▸ 5171, petroleum bulk plants and terminals

▸ 7389, solvent recovery services, and

▸ federal facilities in any SIC code

To determine whether you or your business is affected by this action, you should carefully examine the applicability provisions at 40 CFR part 372 and section 3(a) of the Supporting Statement of the information collection. If you have any questions regarding the applicability of this action to a particular entity, consult the person(s) listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

II. How Can I Get Additional Information or Copies of This Document or Other Support Documents?

A. Electronic Availability

Internet

Electronic copies of the ICR are available from the EPA home page at the Federal Register—Environmental Documents entry for this document under “Laws and Regulations” (http://www.epa.gov/​fedrgstr/​). An electronic copy of the collection instrument referenced in this ICR and instructions for its completion are available at http://www.epa.gov/​triinter/​#forms.

In Person

The Agency has established an official record for this action under docket control number OEI-10015. The official record consists of the documents specifically referenced in this action, any public comments received during an applicable comment period, and other information related to this action, including any information claimed as confidential business information (CBI). Start Printed Page 44214This official record includes the documents that are physically located in the docket, as well as the documents that are referenced in those documents. The public version of the official record does not include any information claimed as CBI. The public version of the official record, which includes printed, paper versions of any electronic comments submitted during an applicable comment period, is available for inspection in the TSCA Nonconfidential Information Center, North East Mall Rm. B-607, Waterside Mall, 401 M St., SW., Washington, DC. The Center is open from noon to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number of the Center is (202) 260-7099.

III. How Can I Respond to This Notice?

A. How and to Whom Do I Submit Comments?

You may submit comments through the mail, in person, or electronically. Be sure to identify the appropriate docket control number (i.e., “OEI-10015”) in your correspondence.

1. By mail

All comments should be sent in triplicate to : Document Control Office (7407), Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Ariel Rios Building, Washington, DC 20460.

2. In person or by courier

Comments may be delivered in person or by courier to: OPPT Document Control Office (DCO) in East Tower Rm. G-099, Waterside Mall, 401 M St., SW., Washington, DC. The DCO is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the DCO is (202) 260-7093.

3. Electronically

Submit your comments electronically by e-mail to: “oppt.ncic@epa.gov.” Please note that you should not submit any information electronically that you consider to be CBI. Electronic comments must be submitted as an ASCII file avoiding the use of special characters and any form of encryption. Comments and data will also be accepted on standard computer disks in WordPerfect 6.1/8.0 or ASCII file format. All comments and data in electronic form must be identified by the docket control number OEI-10015. Electronic comments on this document may also be filed online at many Federal Depository Libraries.

B. How Should I Handle CBI Information That I Want to Submit to the Agency?

All comments which contain information claimed as CBI must be clearly marked as such. Three sanitized copies of any comments containing information claimed as CBI must also be submitted and will be placed in the public record for this document. Persons submitting information, any portion of which they believe is entitled to treatment as CBI by EPA, must assert a business confidentiality claim in accordance with 40 CFR 2.203(b) for each such portion. This claim must be made at the time that the information is submitted to EPA. If a submitter does not assert a confidentiality claim at the time of submission, EPA will consider this as a waiver of any confidentiality claim and the information may be made available to the public by EPA without further notice to the submitter.

C. What Information Is EPA Particularly Interested in?

Pursuant to section 3506(c)(2)(a) of the PRA, EPA specifically solicits comments and information to enable it to:

(i) evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

(ii) evaluate the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

(iii) enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

(iv) minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

In addition, EPA is requesting comment on a minor change to Reporting Form R in this ICR. Facilities will be required to supply an e-mail address on the Form R that will help to facilitate better lines of communication between EPA and facilities reporting to TRI.

IV. To What Information Collection Activity or ICR Does This Notice Apply?

EPA is seeking comments on the following ICR, as well as the Agency's intention to renew the corresponding OMB approval, which is currently scheduled to expire on January 31, 2003.

Title: Toxic Chemical Release Reporting.

ICR numbers: EPA ICR No. 1363.12, OMB No. 2070-0093.

Abstract: EPCRA section 313 requires owners and operators of certain facilities that manufacture, process, or otherwise use any of over 650 listed toxic chemicals and chemical categories in excess of applicable threshold quantities to report annually to the Environmental Protection Agency and to the states in which such facilities are located on their environmental releases and transfers of and other waste management activities for such chemicals. In addition, section 6607 of the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) requires that facilities provide information on the quantities of the toxic chemicals in waste streams and the efforts made to reduce or eliminate those quantities.

Annual reporting under EPCRA section 313 of toxic chemical releases and other waste management information provides citizens with a more complete picture of the total disposition of chemicals in their communities and helps focus industries' attention on pollution prevention and source reduction opportunities. EPA believes that the public has a right to know about the disposition of chemicals within communities and the management of such chemicals by facilities in industries subject to EPCRA section 313 reporting. This reporting has been successful in providing communities with important information regarding the disposition of toxic chemicals and other waste management information of toxic chemicals from manufacturing facilities in their areas.

EPA collects, processes, and makes available to the public all of the information collected. The information gathered under these authorities is stored in a database maintained at EPA and is available through the Internet. This information, commonly known as the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), is used extensively by both EPA and the public sector. Program offices within EPA use TRI data, along with other sources of data, to establish priorities, evaluate potential exposure scenarios, and undertake enforcement activities. Environmental and public interest groups use the data in studies and reports, making the public more aware of releases of chemicals in their communities.

Comprehensive publicly-available data about releases, transfers, and other Start Printed Page 44215waste management activities of toxic chemicals at the community level are generally not available, other than under the reporting requirements of EPCRA section 313. Permit data are often difficult to obtain, are not cross-media and present only a limited perspective on a facility's overall performance. With TRI, and the real gains in understanding it has produced, communities and governments know what toxic chemicals industrial facilities in their area release, transfer, or otherwise manage as waste. In addition, industries have an additional tool for evaluating efficiency and progress on their pollution prevention goals.

Responses to the collection of information are mandatory (see 40 CFR part 372). Respondents may claim all or part of a notice confidential. EPA will disclose information that is covered by a claim of confidentiality only to the extent permitted by, and in accordance with, the procedures in TSCA section 14 and 40 CFR part 2.

An agency 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. The OMB control numbers for EPA's regulations are listed in 40 CFR part 9 and 48 CFR Chapter 15.

V. What Are EPA's Burden and Cost Estimates for This ICR?

Under the PRA, “burden” means the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, or disclose or provide information to or for a federal agency. For this collection, it includes the time needed to review instructions; develop, acquire, install, and utilize technology and systems for the purposes of collecting, validating, and verifying information, processing and maintaining information, and disclosing and providing information; adjust the existing ways to comply with any previously applicable instructions and requirements; train personnel to be able to respond to a collection of information; search data sources; complete and review the collection of information; and transmit or otherwise disclose the information.

The ICR supporting statement provides a detailed explanation of this estimate, which is only briefly summarized in this notice. The annual public burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 19.5 hours per response. The following is a summary of the estimates taken from the ICR:

Respondents/affected entities: Entities potentially affected by this action are owners or operators of certain facilities that manufacture, process, or otherwise use certain specified toxic chemicals and chemical categories and are required to report annually on the environmental releases and transfers of waste management activities for such chemicals.

Estimated total number of potential responses: 88,117.

Frequency of response: Annual.

Estimated total annual burden hours: 2,356,900.

Estimated total annual burden costs: $101.9 million.

VI. Are There Changes in the Estimates from the Last Approval?

As a result of OMB's March 7, 2002 approval of an information correction worksheet, OMB's inventory reflects 145,972 responses and 9,612,104 hours for this information collection. This ICR is for 88,117 responses and 2,356,900 hours. The reduction in burden of 7.26 million hours is the result of five adjustments.

The first adjustment is to the number of responses. The estimate of 145,972 responses in the existing OMB approval incorporated predicted reporting increases from economic analyses for several final rules. In all cases, these predictions overestimated actual reporting levels, resulting in a cumulative overestimate of the number of responses. For example, the 1997 program change for industry expansion estimated 39,033 responses would be submitted, but only 12,567 responses were actually submitted. Likewise, the 1999 program change for PBT chemical thresholds estimated 19,990 responses would be submitted, but only about 7,000 responses were actually submitted. The number of responses in this ICR have been adjusted to accurately reflect actual reporting levels, with the exception of predicted additional responses from the rule lowering reporting thresholds for lead and lead compounds. The prediction of 9,813 additional reports for lead and lead compounds may prove to be an overestimate, as with EPA predictions for past rules. This adjustment results in a decrease of 57,855 responses and approximately 3 million burden hours (at 52.1 hours per response).

The second adjustment is to the unit burden hours. EPA has revised the estimate of unit burden hours for Form R completion from 47.1 hours to 14.5 hours based on feedback from TRI reporting facilities. This reduction in the burden estimate accounts for increased familiarity with the program, improved guidance, and computerization/automation at reporting facilities. The adjustment to unit burden hours does not affect the number of responses, but reduces total burden by approximately 2.9 million burden hours (using the number of responses for this ICR).

The third adjustment relates to first-year reporting burden. In previous ICRs, the renewal period has coincided with programmatic changes in one or more years. Previous ICRs have been based on annualized estimates of burden (including time for rule familiarization and higher first year reporting burdens). Since there are no final rules pending at this time, this ICR renewal does not require annualized burden estimates that account for first-year reporting burden. This accounts for a reduction of about 1.1 million burden hours.

The fourth adjustment relates to the adoption of TRI-ME, an automated reporting software package. EPA has reduced the burden estimates related to Form R completion and record keeping/mailing by an additional 25 percent for the reports filed using TRI-ME based on respondent experience. On an annualized basis, an estimated 60 percent of reports are expected to be filed using TRI-ME over the three years of the ICR. This results in a reduction of approximately 260,000 hours.

The fifth adjustment relates to the number of petitions. In previous ICRs, EPA has estimated 11 petitions per year. Since the actual number has been 1 to 2 per year, this ICR has reduced the expected number of petitions to 5. This adjustment has a very minor impact on total burden.

These adjustments are described in further detail in the supporting statement for this ICR, available in the public version of the official record. The sum of these adjustments is a decrease of 57,855 responses and 7,255,204 burden hours from the current approved total.

VII. What Is the Next Step in the Process for This ICR?

EPA will consider the comments received and amend the ICR as appropriate. The final ICR package will then be submitted to OMB for review and approval pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.12. EPA will issue another Federal Register notice pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.5(a)(1)(iv) to announce the submission of the ICR to OMB and the opportunity to submit additional comments to OMB. If you have any questions about this ICR or the approval process, please contact the person(s) listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

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List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 372

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Dated: June 24, 2002.

Ramona Trovato,

Acting Assistant Administrator and Chief Information Officer, Office of Environmental Information.

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[FR Doc. 02-16466 Filed 6-28-02; 8:45 am]

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