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Proposed Rule

Sale by Federal Departments or Agencies of Chemicals Which Could Be Used in the Illicit Manufacture of Controlled Substances

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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

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AGENCY:

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Justice.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

DEA is proposing to conform its regulations to provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act. This Act provides that a Federal department or agency may not sell from its stocks any chemical which could be used in the manufacture of a controlled substance unless the Administrator of DEA certifies in writing that there is no Start Printed Page 24690reasonable cause to believe that such a sale would result in the illegal manufacture of a controlled substance. This rulemaking codifies current practice established pursuant to statutory authority by which Federal agencies provide DEA with the opportunity to ensure that the sale of chemicals by them will not result in the illegal manufacture of controlled substances.

DATES:

Written comments must be submitted on or before July 7, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Comments should be submitted to the Deputy Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington, DC 20537, Attention: DEA Federal Register Representative/CCR.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Patricia M. Good, Chief, Liaison and Policy Section, Office of Diversion Control, Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington, DC 20537, Telephone: (202) 307-7297.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

What Does the National Defense Authorization Act Require Federal Agencies To Do Before They May Sell Certain Chemicals?

Section 520 of the National Defense Authorization Act (Pub. L. 104-201) amended the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to prohibit a Federal department or agency from selling from its stocks any chemical which, as determined by the Administrator of DEA, could be used in the manufacture of a controlled substance. However, the CSA as amended permits sales of such chemicals if the Administrator of DEA certifies in writing to the head of the selling Federal department or agency that there is no reasonable cause to believe that the sale of the chemical would result in the illegal manufacture of a controlled substance (21 U.S.C. 890).

Why Is DEA Taking This Action?

Since enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act in July 1996, DEA has worked with Federal departments and agencies to ensure compliance. Now, DEA plans to codify in its regulations the current practice that has been established pursuant to this statutory authority and the experience that DEA has gained from implementing these provisions.

How Does This Regulation Impact Federal Departments or Agencies?

This rule simply requires that the Federal department or agency notify DEA of the names of prospective bidders and end-users prior to the sale of chemicals which could be used in the manufacture of controlled substances. This notification will allow DEA to identify whether there is reasonable cause to believe that the sale of a specific chemical to a specific bidder or end-user would result in the illegal manufacture of a controlled substance. DEA will work with Federal departments and agencies to determine which chemicals could be used in the illicit manufacture of a controlled substance. To date, DEA has been contacted by only one Federal department or agency conducting sales of chemicals falling under the provisions of the Act, the Department of Defense (DOD). DEA has received the names of approximately fifty bidders and end-users from DOD and found, in every case, that there was no reasonable cause to believe that the sale of the specific chemical to the specific bidder and end-user would result in the illegal manufacture of a controlled substance. Therefore, DEA has certified each bidder and end-user whose name has been submitted by DOD to DEA.

What Chemicals Are Affected By These Implementing Regulations?

These implementing regulations affect any chemical which DEA determines could be used in the illicit manufacture of a controlled substance. Chemicals that can be used in the manufacture of a controlled substance include, but are not limited to, all List I and List II chemicals as provided in 21 CFR 1310.02. Further, any chemicals mentioned in the DEA “Special Surveillance List of Chemicals, Products, Materials and Equipment Used in the Clandestine Production of Controlled Substances or Listed Chemicals” published, and updated from time to time, in the Federal Register (64 FR 25910, May 13, 1999; corrected at 64 FR 50541, Sept. 17, 1999) are affected by these regulations. Finally, any chemical which is neither a listed chemical nor is listed in the special surveillance list but which could be used in the illicit manufacture of a controlled substance is affected by these implementing regulations. Such chemicals could include, but are not limited to, those chemicals used in the direct illegal manufacture of a controlled substance, those chemicals used as cutting agents, and those chemicals used to process the controlled substance into a dosage form. DEA strongly recommends that any Federal department or agency considering the sale of any chemical from its stocks contact DEA to determine whether such chemical could be used in the illicit manufacture of a controlled substance as far in advance of the sale of such chemical as possible.

What Do These Implementing Regulations Require?

DEA is proposing that a Federal department or agency notify the Administrator of DEA in writing at least 15 calendar days in advance of a proposed sale of chemicals covered by the Act. However, DEA strongly encourages Federal departments or agencies to notify it further in advance if possible.

By this rule, DEA is proposing that the written notification be submitted on official agency letterhead to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of Diversion Control, Domestic Chemical Control Unit (ODID) Washington, DC 20537 and include: (1) The name and amount of the chemical to be sold; (2) the name and address of the prospective bidder(s); (3) the name and address of the potential end-user(s), in cases where a sale is being brokered; (4) point(s) of contact for the prospective bidder and end-user; and (5) the end use of the chemical.

Within 15 calendar days from the date the written notification is received, DEA will respond in writing to the Federal department or agency certifying that there is, or is not, reasonable cause to believe that the sale of the specific chemical to the specific bidder and end-user would result in the illegal manufacture of a controlled substance. The certification that there is no reasonable cause to believe that the sale of the specific chemical to the specific bidder and end-user would result in the illegal manufacture of a controlled substance will apply to future sales to the same prospective bidder and end-user for the same chemical for one calendar year unless DEA notifies the agency to the contrary in writing.

What Factors Will DEA Consider in Certifying a Bidder or End-User?

In determining whether there is reasonable cause to believe that the sale of a specific chemical to a specific bidder or end-user would result in the illegal manufacture of a controlled substance, the Administrator will consider the following factors: (1) The prospective bidder's and end-user's past experience in the maintenance of effective controls against diversion of particular chemicals into other than legitimate medical, scientific, and industrial channels; (2) the prospective bidder's and end-user's compliance with applicable state and local law; (3) the prior conviction record of the prospective bidder and end-user relating to controlled substances or to chemicals Start Printed Page 24691controlled under Federal or state laws; and (4) such other factors as may be relevant to and consistent with the public health and safety.

What Recourse Is Available to a Bidder or End-user if DEA Refuses To Certify a Prospective Bidder or End-User or Withdraws an Existing Certification?

If the Administrator determines there is reasonable cause to believe the sale of a specific chemical to a specific bidder or end-user would result in the illegal manufacture of a controlled substance and refuses to certify a prospective bidder or end-user, DEA will notify both the Federal department or agency and the prospective bidder and end-user in writing. The written notice to the prospective bidder and end-user will contain a statement of the legal and factual basis for certifying that there is reasonable cause to believe the sale of the specific chemical to that specific person would result in the illegal manufacture of a controlled substance. The prospective bidder and end-user may, within thirty calendar days of notification, submit written comments or objections to the Administrator, providing reasons and supporting documentation to contest the decision. The Administrator will take the written comments or objections under consideration and will either (1) provide a written statement that affirms the original decision is final and that provides reasons why the written comments or objections are overruled or are not considered; or (2) confirm the written response and certify the transaction, thereby reversing the original decision.

If the Administrator determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that an existing certification must be withdrawn, DEA will notify both the Federal department or agency and the specific bidder and end-user in writing. The written notice to the specific bidder and end-user will contain a statement of the legal and factual basis for certifying that there is reasonable cause to believe the certification must be withdrawn. The bidder and end-user may, within thirty calendar days of notification, submit written comments or objections to the Administrator, providing reasons and supporting documentation to contest the decision. The Administrator will take the written comments or objections under consideration and will either (1) provide a written statement that affirms the original decision is final and that provides reasons why the written comments or objections are overruled or are not considered; or (2) confirm the written response and reinstate a certification, thereby reversing the original decision.

Regulatory Certifications

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Administrator hereby certifies that this rulemaking has been drafted in accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), has reviewed this regulation, and by approving it certifies that this regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The rule only affects Federal departments or agencies which plan to sell from their stocks chemicals which could be used in the manufacture of a controlled substance. The rule provides DEA with advance notice of the sale and the opportunity to prevent sales of chemicals which could result in the illicit manufacture of controlled substances.

Executive Order 12866

The Administrator further certifies that this rulemaking has been drafted in accordance with the principles in Executive Order 12866, section 1(b). DEA has determined that this is not a significant rulemaking action. Therefore, this action has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

Executive Order 12988

This regulation meets the applicable standards set forth in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988 Civil Justice Reform.

Executive Order 13132

This rulemaking does not preempt or modify any provision of state law; nor does it impose enforcement responsibilities on any state; nor does it diminish the power of any state to enforce its own laws. Accordingly, this rulemaking does not have federalism implications warranting the application of Executive Order 13132.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

This rule will not result in the expenditure by state, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year, and will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 804 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. This rule will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based companies to compete with foreign-based companies in domestic and export markets.

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List of Subjects in 21 CFR Part 1310

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For the reasons set out above, 21 CFR Part 1310 is proposed to be amended as follows:

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PART 1310—[AMENDED]

1. The authority citation for Part 1310 is proposed to be revised to read as follows:

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Authority: 21 U.S.C. 802, 830, 871(b), 890.

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2. Part 1310 is proposed to be amended by adding §1310.21 to read as follows:

Sale by Federal departments or agencies of chemicals which could be used to manufacture controlled substances.

(a) A Federal department or agency may not sell from the stocks of the department or agency any chemical which, as determined by the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, could be used in the manufacture of a controlled substance, unless the Administrator certifies in writing to the head of the department or agency that there is no reasonable cause to believe that the sale of the specific chemical to a specific person would result in the illegal manufacture of a controlled substance. For purposes of this requirement, reasonable cause to believe means that the Administration has knowledge of facts which would cause a reasonable person to reasonably conclude that a chemical would be diverted to the illegal manufacture of a controlled substance.

(b) A Federal department or agency must request certification by submitting a written request to the Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington, DC 20537, Attention: Domestic Chemical Control Unit (ODID). A request for certification may be transmitted directly to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Domestic Chemical Control Unit through electronic facsimile media. A request for certification must be submitted no later than 15 calendar days before the proposed sale is to take place. In order to facilitate the sale of chemicals from Start Printed Page 24692Federal departments' or agencies' stocks, Federal departments or agencies may wish to submit requests as far in advance of the 15 calendar days as possible. The written notification of the proposed sale must include:

(1) The name and amount of the chemical to be sold;

(2) The name and address of the prospective bidder;

(3) The name and address of the prospective end-user, in cases where a sale is being brokered;

(4) Point(s) of contact for the prospective bidder and, where appropriate, prospective end-user; and

(5) The end use of the chemical.

(c) Within 15 calendar days of receipt of a request for certification, the Administrator will certify in writing to the head of the Federal department or agency that there is, or is not, reasonable cause to believe that the sale of the specific chemical to the specific bidder and end-user would result in the illegal manufacture of a controlled substance. In making this determination, the following factors must be considered:

(1) Past experience of the prospective bidder or end-user in the maintenance of effective controls against diversion of listed chemicals into other than legitimate medical, scientific, and industrial channels;

(2) Compliance of the prospective bidder or end-user with applicable state and local law;

(3) Prior conviction record of the prospective bidder or end-user relating to listed chemicals or controlled substances under Federal or state laws; and

(4) Such other factors as may be relevant to and consistent with the public health and safety.

(d) If the Administrator certifies to the head of a Federal department or agency that there is no reasonable cause to believe that the sale of a specific chemical to a prospective bidder and end-user will result in the illegal manufacture of a controlled substance, that certification will be effective for one year from the date of issuance with respect to further sales of the same chemical to the same prospective bidder and end-user, unless the Administrator notifies the head of the Federal department or agency in writing that the certification is withdrawn. If the certification is withdrawn, DEA will also provide written notice to the bidder and end-user, which will contain a statement of the legal and factual basis for this determination.

(e) If the Administrator determines there is reasonable cause to believe the sale of the specific chemical to a specific bidder and end-user would result in the illegal manufacture of a controlled substance, DEA will provide written notice to the head of a Federal department or agency refusing to certify the proposed sale under the authority of 21 U.S.C. 890. DEA also will provide, within fifteen calendar days of receiving a request for certification from a Federal department or agency, the same written notice to the prospective bidder and end-user, and this notice also will contain a statement of the legal and factual basis for the refusal of certification. The prospective bidder and end-user may, within thirty calendar days of receipt of notification of the refusal, submit written comments or written objections to the Administrator's refusal. At the same time, the prospective bidder and end-user also may provide supporting documentation to contest the Administrator's refusal. If such written comments or written objections raise issues regarding any finding of fact or conclusion of law upon which the refusal is based, the Administrator will reconsider the refusal of the proposed sale in light of the written comments or written objections filed. Thereafter, within a reasonable time, the Administrator will withdraw or affirm the original refusal of certification as he determines appropriate. The Administrator will provide written reasons for any affirmation of the original refusal. Such affirmation of the original refusal will constitute a final decision for purposes of judicial review under 21 U.S.C. 877.

(f) If the Administrator determines there is reasonable cause to believe that an existing certification should be withdrawn, DEA will provide written notice to the head of a Federal department or agency of such withdrawal under the authority of 21 U.S.C. 890. DEA also will provide, within fifteen calendar days of withdrawal of an existing certification, the same written notice to the bidder and end-user, and this notice also will contain a statement of the legal and factual basis for the withdrawal. The bidder and end-user may, within thirty calendar days of receipt of notification of the withdrawal of the existing certification, submit written comments or written objections to the Administrator's withdrawal. At the same time, the bidder and end-user also may provide supporting documentation to contest the Administrator's withdrawal. If such written comments or written objections raise issues regarding any finding of fact or conclusion of law upon which the withdrawal of the existing certification is based, the Administrator will reconsider the withdrawal of the existing certification in light of the written comments or written objections filed. Thereafter, within a reasonable time, the Administrator will withdraw or affirm the original withdrawal of the existing certification as he determines appropriate. The Administrator will provide written reasons for any affirmation of the original withdrawal of the existing certification. Such affirmation of the original withdrawal of the existing certification will constitute a final decision for purposes of judicial review under 21 U.S.C. 877.

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Dated: April 25, 2003.

John B. Brown III,

Acting Administrator.

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[FR Doc. 03-11393 Filed 5-7-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4410-09-P