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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission of EPA ICR No. 1363.12 (OMB No. 2070-0093) to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Toxic Chemical Release Reporting

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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 the Information Collection Request (ICR) (EPA ICR No. 1363.12; OMB Control No. 2070-0093) for the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Form R has been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval pursuant to the OMB procedures in 5 CFR 1320.12. The ICR, which is summarized below, describes the nature of the information collection and its estimated burden and cost, and it includes the actual data collection instrument where appropriate.

The Agency is requesting that OMB renew for three years the existing approval for this ICR, which is scheduled to expire on January 31, 2003. A Federal Register notice announcing the Agency's intent to seek the renewal of this ICR and the 60-day public comment opportunity, requesting comments on the request and the contents of the ICR, was issued on July 1, 2002 (67 FR 44213). A Federal Register correction notice, correcting the address for submission of comments in person, was issued on July 15, 2002 (67 FR 46502). EPA received a number of comments on this ICR during the comment period, and EPA has developed responses to those comments. The comments and EPA's responses are included in an attachment to the ICR Supporting Statement that is being submitted to OMB with this ICR renewal request, and will be made available in the docket for OEI-2002-0003 and on the EPA TRI Web site at http://www.epa.gov/​tri.

DATES:

Additional comments may be submitted on or before January 3, 2003.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Judith Kendall, TRI Program Division, Office of Environmental Information, Mailcode 2844, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202)566-0750; e-mail address: kendall.judith@epa.gov; fax number: (202)566-0741.

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ADDRESSES:

Follow the detailed instructions in SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Review Requested: This is a request to renew a currently approved information collection pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.12.

ICR Numbers: EPA ICR 1363.12; OMB Control No. 2070-0093.

Current Expiration Date: Current OMB approval expires on January 31, 2003.

EPA has established a public docket for this ICR under Docket ID No. OEI-2002-0003, which is available for public viewing at the OEI Docket in the EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West, Room B102, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The EPA Docket Center 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 Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OEI Docket is (202) 566-1752. An electronic version of the public docket is available through EPA Dockets (EDOCKET) at http://www.epa.gov/​edocket. Use EDOCKET to submit or view public comments, access the index listing of the contents of the 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 docket ID number identified above.

Any comments related to this ICR should be submitted to EPA and OMB within 30 days of this notice, and according to the following detailed instructions: (1) Submit your comments to EPA online using EDOCKET (our preferred method), by e-mail to oei.docket@epa.gov or by mail to: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 2844, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460, and (2) Mail your comments to OMB at: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Attention: Desk Officer for EPA, 725 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503.

EPA's policy is those public comments, whether submitted electronically or in paper, will be made available for public viewing in EDOCKET as EPA receives them and without change, unless the comment contains copyrighted material, CBI, or other information whose public 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 EDOCKET. The entire printed comment, including the copyrighted material, will be available in the public docket. Although identified as an item in the official docket, information claimed as CBI, or whose disclosure is otherwise restricted by statute, is not included in the official public docket, and will not be available for public viewing in EDOCKET. For further information about the electronic docket, see EPA's Federal Register notice describing the electronic docket at 67 FR 38102 (May 31, 2002), or go to http://www.epa.gov/​edocket.

Title: Toxic Chemical Release Reporting, Recordkeeping, Supplier Notification and Petitions under Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).

Background: EPCRA section 313 requires owners and operators of certain facilities that manufacture, process, or otherwise use any of the more than 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 other waste management quantities of 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 of toxic chemical releases and other waste management information under EPCRA section 313 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 Start Printed Page 72169the 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 waste 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 data, and the real gains in understanding it has produced, communities and governments know what toxic chemicals are released, transferred, or otherwise managed as a waste in their area by industrial facilities. 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.

Burden Statement: 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: 2,477,952.

Estimated total annual burden costs: $107.4 million.

Changes in Burden Estimates: 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 supporting statement is for 88,117 responses and 2,477,952 hours. The reduction in burden of approximately 7.1 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 have 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 6,600 responses per year were actually submitted. The number of responses in this ICR supporting statement have been adjusted to accurately reflect actual subsequent year 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. Adjusting the number of responses to accurately reflect actual subsequent year reporting levels (where available) results in a decrease of 59,617 responses from subsequent year filers and approximately 3.1 million burden hours (at 52.1 hours per response).

The second adjustment is to the unit burden hours. EPA has adjusted the estimate of unit burden hours for Form R completion in subsequent years from 47.1 hours to 14.5 hours based on responses from actual TRI reporting facilities. The adjustment to unit burden hours does not affect the number of responses, but reduces total burden by approximately 2.8 million burden hours (using the number of subsequent year 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 for facilities affected by programmatic changes). 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 by facilities affected by programmatic changes. However, the ICR does account for a baseline level of first-time filers that are new to TRI reporting each year. This accounts for a reduction of about 900,000 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 Recordkeeping/Submission by 25 percent for the reports filed using TRI-ME. 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 270,000 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 renewal has reduced the expected number of petitions to 5. This adjustment has a very minor impact on total burden. Start Printed Page 72170

The sum of these adjustments is a decrease of 57,855 responses and 7,134,152 burden hours from the current approved total. According to the procedures prescribed in 5 CFR 1320.12, EPA has submitted this ICR to OMB for review and approval. Any comments related to the renewal of this ICR should be submitted within 30 days of this notice, as described above.

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Dated: November 22, 2002.

Oscar Morales,

Director, Collection Strategies Division, Office of Environmental Information.

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[FR Doc. 02-30762 Filed 12-3-02; 8:45 am]

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