Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Methoprene, Watermelon Mosaic Virus-2 Coat Protein, and Zucchini Yellow Mosaic Virus Coat Protein; Proposed Tolerance Actions

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

In this document, EPA is proposing to amend the exemption expression for methoprene from the requirements of a tolerance when used on food commodities as an insect larvicide, and to revoke all the tolerances for methoprene because a recent EPA review finds that no harm is expected to the public from exposure to residues of methoprene. Therefore, these tolerances are no longer needed and their associated uses are proposed to be covered by tolerance exemptions. Also, EPA is proposing to revoke the exemptions for watermelon mosaic virus-2 coat protein, and zucchini yellow mosaic virus coat protein and specific portions of the viral genetic material when used as plant-incorporated protectants in squash, because these exemptions are covered in other sections of 40 CFR part 180. Because methoprene's 37 tolerances were previously reassessed, the regulatory actions proposed in this document do not contribute toward the Agency's tolerance reassessment requirements of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) section 408(q), as amended by the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996. By law, EPA is required by August 2006 to reassess the tolerances in existence on August 2, 1996.

DATES:

Comments, identified by docket ID number OPP-2002-0274, must be received on or before April 14, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

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.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Barbara Mandula, Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division (7511C), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; telephone number: (703) 308-7378; e-mail address: mandula.barbara@epa.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. General Information

A. Does this Action Apply to Me?

You may be potentially affected by this action if you are an agricultural producer, food manufacturer, or pesticide manufacturer. Potentially affected entities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Crop production (NAICS 111)
  • Animal production (NAICS 112)
  • Food manufacturing (NAICS 311)
  • Pesticide manufacturing (NAICS 32532)

This listing is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a guide for readers regarding entities likely to be affected by this action. Other types of entities not listed in this unit could also be affected. The North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes have been provided to assist you and others in determining whether this action might apply to certain entities. 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 identification (ID) number OPP-2002-0274. 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.Start Printed Page 7098

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/​. A frequently updated electronic version of 40 CFR part 180 is available at http://www.access.gpo.gov/​nara/​cfr/​cfrhtml_​00/​Title_​40/​40cfr180_​00.html, a beta site currently under development.

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 the EPA 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. 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 in 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.

C. 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-2002-0274. 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-2002-0274. 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), Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), Environmental Protection Agency (7502C), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001, Attention: Docket ID number OPP-2002-0274.

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-2002-0274. Such deliveries are only accepted during the docket's normal hours of operation as identified in Unit I.B.1.

D. 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 Start Printed Page 7099disclosed 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.

E. 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 proposed rule 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.

F. What Can I Do if I Wish the Agency to Maintain a Tolerance that the Agency Proposes to Revoke?

This proposed rule provides a comment period of 60 days for any person to state an interest in retaining a tolerance proposed for revocation. If EPA receives a comment within the 60-day period to that effect, EPA will not proceed to revoke the tolerance immediately. However, EPA will take steps to ensure the submission of any needed supporting data and will issue an order in the Federal Register under FFDCA section 408(f) if needed. The order would specify data needed and the time frames for its submission, and would require that within 90 days some person or persons notify EPA that they will submit the data. If the data are not submitted as required in the order, EPA will take appropriate action under FFDCA.

EPA issues a final rule after considering comments that are submitted in response to this proposed rule. In addition to submitting comments in response to this proposal, you may also submit an objection at the time of the final rule. If you fail to file an objection to the final rule within the time period specified, you will have waived the right to raise any issues resolved in the final rule. After the specified time, issues resolved in the final rule cannot be raised again in any subsequent proceedings.

II. Background

A. What Action is the Agency Taking?

EPA is proposing to exempt methoprene from the requirement of a tolerance, and therefore to revoke the existing tolerances for methoprene. The other actions involve maintaining exemptions from the requirement of a tolerance for specific pesticides, while removing redundant portions of 40 CFR part 180 relating to those tolerance exemptions.

1. Methoprene. EPA is proposing to revoke the tolerances in 40 CFR 180.359 for residues in or on specific food commodities for control of hornflies because review of methoprene toxicity data indicate that these tolerances are not necessary to protect human health or the environment. An EPA Decision Document on Tolerance Reassessment for Methoprene, prepared by EPA's Inert Ingredient Focus Group (IIFG) and finalized in August 2002, finds that methoprene is of low toxicity.

More specifically, the document finds that methoprene is not acutely toxic, and is neither irritating to skin or eyes, nor is it a dermal sensitizer. Developmental toxicity was not observed in studies with rabbits and mice. Methoprene is not carcinogenic in studies in rats and mice, and is not mutagenic in the Ames assay or in the dominant lethal assay. No adverse effects were seen in rats in a 2-year study. Metabolism studies in rats, mice, guinea pigs, and cows indicate rapid biodegradation of methoprene and its metabolites in mammals and that its metabolites are incorporated into natural body constituents (primarily fatty acids). The decision document concludes:

i. Determination of safety. Based on its review and evaluation of the available information, EPA concludes that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to the general population, and to infants and children from aggregate exposure to residues of methoprene.

ii. IIFG inert ingredient focus group recommendation/deferral to BPPD management. At this time, 40 CFR 180.1033 specifies that methoprene is exempt from the requirement of a tolerance in or on all raw agricultural commodities when used to control mosquito larvae. There are also numerical tolerances for specific commodities in 40 CFR 180.359.

The methoprene risk assessment in the IIFG decision document used conservative assumptions that assumed the existence of a broad-based tolerance exemption. A broad-based tolerance exemption assumes that methoprene can be used on all crop commodities and that these crop commodities can be used as feed. The safety finding supports the tolerance exemption approach.

Based on the IIFG report, EPA is proposing to revoke the tolerances in 40 CFR 180.359 by removing that section from the CFR. EPA is also proposing to exempt methoprene from the requirement of a tolerance in or on all food commodities when methoprene is used as an insect larvicide. (A copy of the IIFG report will be made available in the docket for this proposed rule.)

2. Two virus coat proteins and the genetic material necessary to produce the coat proteins in squash. EPA is proposing to revoke the tolerance exemptions in 40 CFR 180.1132 for watermelon mosaic virus-2 coat protein, and zucchini yellow mosaic virus coat protein and specific portions of the viral genetic material when used as plant-incorporated protectants in squash because the tolerance exemptions are duplicated in the more recent, broader 40 CFR 180.1184. The exemption in 40 CFR 180.1184 includes all food commodities, rather than being limited to squash. Therefore, 40 CFR 180.1132 is not needed to protect human health and the environment.

B. What is the Agency's Authority for Taking these Actions

A “tolerance” represents the maximum level for residues of pesticide chemicals legally allowed in or on raw agricultural commodities and processed foods. Section 408 of FFDCA, 21 U.S.C. 301 et seq., as amended by the FQPA of 1996, Public Law 104-170, authorizes the establishment of tolerances, exemptions from tolerance requirements, modifications in tolerances, and revocation of tolerances for residues of pesticide chemicals in or on raw agricultural commodities and processed foods (21 U.S.C. 346(a)).Start Printed Page 7100

C. When Do These Actions Become Effective?

The Agency is proposing that these actions become effective upon publication of a final rule in the Federal Register. The only effect of the rule will be to remove redundancies and inconsistencies 40 CFR part 180. No person or entity is expected to be adversely affected.

D. What Is the Contribution to Tolerance Reassessment?

By law, EPA is required by August 2006 to reassess the tolerances in existence on August 2, 1996. As of November 20, 2002, EPA had reassessed over 6,490 tolerances. All of the tolerances and tolerance exemptions in this proposed rule have already been reassessed and counted towards the total number of tolerances that EPA must reassess by August 2006. Therefore, this rule will add zero tolerances to the required total.

III. Are the Proposed Actions Consistent with International Obligations?

The tolerance revocations in this proposal are not discriminatory and are designed to ensure that both domestically produced and imported foods meet the food safety standards established by the FFDCA. The same food safety standards apply to domestically produced and imported foods.

EPA is working to ensure that the U.S. tolerance reassessment program under FQPA does not disrupt international trade. EPA considers Codex Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) in setting U.S. tolerances and in reassessing them. MRLs are established by the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues, a committee within the Codex Alimentarius Commission, an international organization formed to promote the coordination of international food standards. It is EPA's policy to harmonize U.S. tolerances with Codex MRLs to the extent possible, provided that the MRLs achieve the level of protection required under FFDCA. EPA's effort to harmonize with Codex MRLs is summarized in the tolerance reassessment section of individual Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) documents. EPA has developed guidance concerning submissions for import tolerance support (65 FR 35069, June 1, 2000) (FRL-6559-3). This guidance will be made available to interested persons. Electronic copies are available on the internet at http://www.epa.gov/​. On the Home Page select “Laws, Regulations, and Dockets,” then select “Regulations and Proposed Rules” and then look up the entry for this document under “Federal Register—Environmental Documents.” You can also go directly to the “Federal Register” listings at http://www.epa.gov/​fedrgstr/​.

IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

In this proposed rule, EPA is proposing to revoke specific tolerances established under FFDCA section 408. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has exempted this type of action (i.e., a tolerance revocation for which extraordinary circumstances do not exist) from review under Executive Order 12866, entitled Regulatory Planning and Review (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993). Because this proposed rule has been exempted from review under Executive Order 12866 due to its lack of significance, this proposed rule is not subject to Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001). This proposed rule does not contain any information collections subject to OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., or impose any enforceable duty or contain any unfunded mandate as described under Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) (Public Law 104-4). Nor does it require any special considerations as required by Executive Order 12898, entitled Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994); or OMB review or any other Agency action under Executive Order 13045, entitled Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997). This action does not involve any technical standards that would require Agency consideration of voluntary consensus standards pursuant to section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA), Public Law 104-113, section 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272 note). Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), the Agency previously assessed whether revocations of tolerances might significantly impact a substantial number of small entities and concluded that, as a general matter, these actions do not impose a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This analysis was published on December 17, 1997 (62 FR 66020), and was provided to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. Revocation of the tolerance exemptions discussed in this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, because the pesticides remain subject to existing tolerance exemptions. Any comments about the Agency's determination should be submitted to EPA along with comments on the proposal, and will be addressed prior to issuing a final rule.

In addition, the Agency has determined that this action will not have a substantial direct effect on States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, as specified in Executive Order 13132, entitled Federalism (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999). Executive Order 13132 requires EPA to develop an accountable process to ensure “meaningful and timely input by State and local officials in the development of regulatory policies that have federalism implications.” “Policies that have federalism implications” is defined in the Executive Order to include regulations that have “substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.” This proposed rule directly regulates growers, food processors, food handlers and food retailers, not States. This action does not alter the relationships or distribution of power and responsibilities established by Congress in the preemption provisions of section 408(n)(4) of the FFDCA. For these same reasons, the Agency has determined that this proposed rule does not have any “tribal implications” as described in Executive Order 13175, entitled Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments (65 FR 67249, November 6, 2000). Executive Order 13175, requires EPA to develop an accountable process to ensure “meaningful and timely input by tribal officials in the development of regulatory policies that have tribal implication.” “Policies that have tribal implications” is defined in the Executive Order to include regulations that have “substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and the Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.” This proposed rule will not have substantial direct effects on tribal governments, on Start Printed Page 7101the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, as specified in Executive Order 13175. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this proposed rule.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 180

End List of Subjects Start Signature

Dated: January 31, 2003.

Janet L. Andersen,

Director, Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.

End Signature Start Amendment Part

Therefore, it is proposed that

End Amendment Part Start Part

PART 180—[AMENDED]

End Part Start Amendment Part

1. The authority citation for part 180 continues to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: 21 U.S.C. 321(q), 346(a) and 371.

End Authority
[Removed]
Start Amendment Part

2. Section 180.359 is removed.

End Amendment Part Start Amendment Part

3. Section 180.1033 is revised to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Methoprene; exemption from the requirement of a tolerance.

Methoprene is exempt from the requirement of a tolerance in or on all food commodities when used to control insect larvae.

[Removed]
Start Amendment Part

4. Section 180.1132 is removed.

End Amendment Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 03-3236 Filed 2-11-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-S