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Proposed Rule

Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Listing of Substitutes for Ozone-Depleting Substances-Fire Suppression and Explosion Protection

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.

ACTION:

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to list four substitutes for ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) in the fire suppression and explosion protection sector as acceptable subject to use conditions under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program. SNAP implements section 612 of the Clean Air Act, as amended in 1990, which requires EPA to evaluate substitutes for ODSs and find them acceptable where they do not pose a greater overall risk to human health and the environment than other acceptable substitutes.

DATES:

Comments must be received in writing by October 27, 2006.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2005-0087 by one of the following methods:

  • www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: OAR Docket and Information Center, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode 6102T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460. To expedite review, a second copy of the comments should be sent to Bella Maranion at the address listed below under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
  • Hand Delivery: Air and Radiation Docket, EPA Docket Center, EPA/DC, EPA West, Room B102, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20004. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2005-0087. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at 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 www.regulations.gov or e-mail. The 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 e-mail comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov your e-mail 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 and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. 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 www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information Start Printed Page 56423whose 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 www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Air and Radiation Docket, EPA/DC, EPA West, Room B102, 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 Air and Radiation Docket is (202) 566-1742.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Bella Maranion, Stratospheric Protection Division, Office of Atmospheric Programs (6205J), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 343-9749; fax number: (202) 343-2363; e-mail address: maranion.bella@epa.gov. The published versions of notices and rulemakings under the SNAP program are available on EPA's Stratospheric Ozone Web site at http://www.epa.gov/​ozone/​snap/​regs.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Elsewhere in today's Federal Register, EPA is taking this action as a direct final rule without prior proposal because EPA views this as a non-controversial revision and anticipates no adverse comments. A rationale for this action is set forth in the preamble to the direct final rule.

If we receive no adverse comments and no requests for public hearings in response to this action, we will take no further activity in relation to this rule. If EPA receives adverse comments or a request for public hearing, we will withdraw this direct final action as it applies to the substitute or substitutes on which the Agency has received adverse comment and will consider and respond to any comments prior to taking any new, final action for the substitute or substitutes. If a public hearing is requested, EPA will provide notice in the Federal Register as to the location, date, and time. Any parties interested in commenting on this action should do so at that this time.

I. EPA Proposal

EPA would add four fire suppression agents to the list of acceptable substitutes subject to use conditions. The regulations implementing the SNAP program are codified at 40 CFR Part 82, Subpart G. The appendices to Subpart G list substitutes for ODSs that are unacceptable or that have restrictions imposed on their use. Today's action will add the four halon substitutes acceptable subject to use conditions to the appendices to Subpart G.

The direct final rule will be effective on November 27, 2006 without further notice unless we receive adverse comment (or a request for a public hearing) by October 27, 2006. If EPA receives adverse comment, we will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the public that all or part of this rule will not take effect. EPA will address all public comments in a subsequent final rule based on this proposed rule. We will not institute a second public comment period on this action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so at this time.

You may claim that information in your comments is confidential business information, as allowed by 40 CFR Part 2. If you submit comments and include information that you claim as confidential business information, we request that you submit them directly to Bella Maranion in two versions: one clearly marked “Public” to be filed in the public docket, and the other marked “Confidential” to be reviewed by authorized government personnel only.

II. Administrative Requirements

A. Executive Order 12866

This action is not a “significant regulatory action” under the terms of Executive Order (EO) 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) and is therefore not subject to review under the EO.

B. Paperwork Reduction Act

EPA has determined that this proposed rule contains no information requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., that are not already approved by the OMB. OMB has reviewed and approved two Information Collection Requests (ICRs) by EPA which are described in the March 18, 1994 rulemaking (59 FR 13044, at 13121, 13146-13147) and in the October 16, 1996 rulemaking (61 FR 54030, at 54038-54039). These ICRs included five types of respondent reporting and record-keeping activities pursuant to SNAP regulations: submission of a SNAP petition, filing a SNAP/TSCA Addendum, notification for test marketing activity, record-keeping for substitutes acceptable subject to narrowed use limits, and record-keeping for small volume uses. The OMB Control Numbers are 2060-0226 and 2060-0350. The EPA ICR Numbers are 1596.06 and 1774.03.

Copies of the ICR document(s) may be obtained from Susan Auby, by mail at the Office of Environmental Information, Collection Strategies Division; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2822T); 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460, by e-mail at auby.susan@epa.gov, or by calling (202) 566-1672. Include the ICR and/or OMB number in any correspondence.

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. This 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.

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.

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

The Regulatory Flexibility Act generally requires an agency to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act or any other statutes unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Small entities include small businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions.

For purposes of assessing the impact of today's rule on small entities, small entities are defined as (1) a small business as defined by the Small Business Administration's (SBA) regulations at 13 CFR 121.201; (2) a small governmental jurisdiction that is a government of a city, county, town, school district or special district with a population of less than 50,000; and (3) a small organization that is any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.

After considering the economic impacts of today's proposed rule on small entities, I certify that this action Start Printed Page 56424will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This proposed rule will not impose any requirements on small entities. Today's action effectively supports the introduction of four new alternatives to the fire protection extinguishing systems market thus providing additional options for users making the transition away from ozone-depleting halons.

Use of halon 1301 total flooding systems have historically been in specialty fire protection applications including essential electronics, civil aviation, military mobile weapon systems, oil and gas and other process industries, and merchant shipping with smaller segments of use including libraries, museums, and laboratories. The majority of halon 1301 system owners continue to maintain and refurbish existing systems since halon 1301 supplies continue to be available in the U.S. Owners of new facilities make up the market for the new alternative agent systems and may also consider employing other available fire protection options including new, improved technology for early warning and smoke detection. Thus, EPA is providing more options to any entity, including small entities, by finding these substitutes acceptable for use. The use restrictions imposed on the substitutes in today's rule are consistent with the applications suggested by the submitters. Thus far, these alternatives have not been sold or used in the end uses not found acceptable under today's rule. Until a manufacturer or other party requests a SNAP review for such end uses, these products may not be sold for such end uses. Therefore, we conclude that the rule does not impose a new cost on businesses.

Although this proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, EPA nonetheless has tried to reduce the impact of this rule on small entities. By introducing new substitutes, today's rule gives additional flexibility to small entities that are concerned with fire suppression. EPA also has worked closely together with the National Fire Protection Association, which conducts regular outreach with, and involves small state, local, and tribal governments in developing and implementing relevant fire protection standards and codes. We continue to be interested in the potential impacts of the proposed rule on small entities and welcome comments on issues related to such impacts.

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), Public Law 104-4, establishes requirements for Federal agencies to assess the effects of their regulatory actions on State, local, and tribal governments and the private sector.

Under section 202 of the UMRA, EPA generally must prepare a written statement, including a cost-benefit analysis, for proposed and final rules with “Federal mandates” that may result in expenditures by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year. Before promulgating an EPA rule for which a written statement is needed, section 205 of the UMRA generally requires EPA to identify and consider a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives and adopt the least costly, most cost-effective or least burdensome alternative that achieves the objectives of the rule. The provisions of section 205 do not apply when they are inconsistent with applicable law. Moreover, section 205 allows EPA to adopt an alternative other than the least costly, most cost-effective or least burdensome alternative if the Administrator publishes with the final rule an explanation why that alternative was not adopted. Section 204 of the UMRA requires the Agency to develop a process to allow elected state, local and tribal government officials to provide input in the development of any proposal containing a significant Federal intergovernmental mandate.

Before EPA establishes any regulatory requirements that may significantly or uniquely affect small governments, including tribal governments, it must have developed under section 203 of the UMRA a small government agency plan. The plan must provide for notifying potentially affected small governments, enabling officials of affected small governments to have meaningful and timely input in the development of EPA regulatory proposals with significant Federal intergovernmental mandates, and informing, educating, and advising small governments on compliance with the regulatory requirements.

Today's rule contains no Federal mandates (under the regulatory provisions of Title II of the UMRA) for State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector. Because this rule imposes no enforceable duty on any State, local or tribal government it is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of the UMRA. EPA has also determined that this rule contains no regulatory requirements that might significantly or uniquely affect small governments; therefore, EPA is not required to develop a plan with regard to small governments under section 203. Finally, because this rule does not contain a significant intergovernmental mandate, the Agency is not required to develop a process to obtain input from elected state, local, and tribal officials under section 204.

E. Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

Executive Order 13132, entitled “Federalism” (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999), 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 does not have federalism implications. It will not 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, as specified in Executive Order 13132. This proposed rule will provide additional options for fire protection subject to safety guidelines in industry standards. These standards are typically already required by state or local fire codes, and this rule does not require state, local, or tribal governments to change their regulations. Thus, Executive Order 13132 does not apply to this rule.

F. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

Executive Order 13175, entitled “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments” (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), 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 implications.” This proposed rule does not have tribal implications, as specified in Executive Order 13175. It will not have substantial direct effects on tribal governments, on the 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. This proposed rule will provide additional options for fire protection Start Printed Page 56425subject to safety guidelines in industry standards. These standards are typically already required by state or local fire codes, and this rule does not require tribal governments to change their regulations. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this rule.

G. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks

Executive Order 13045: “Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks” (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997) applies to any rule that: (1) Is determined to be “economically significant” as defined under Executive Order 12866, and (2) concerns an environmental health or safety risk that EPA has reason to believe may have a disproportionate effect on children. If the regulatory action meets both criteria, the Agency must evaluate the environmental health or safety effects of the planned rule on children, and explain why the planned regulation is preferable to other potentially effective and reasonably feasible alternatives considered by the Agency.

This proposed rule is not economically significant as defined in Executive Order 12866, and the Agency does not have reason to believe the environmental health or safety risks addressed by this action present a disproportionate risk to children. The acceptability listings in this proposed rule primarily apply to the workplace, and thus, do not put children at risk disproportionately. This rule is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it is not economically significant as defined in Executive Order 12866 and because the Agency does not have reason to believe the environmental health or safety risks addressed by this action present a disproportionate risk to children.

H. Executive Order 13211 (Energy Effects)

This rule is not a “significant energy action” as defined in Executive Order 13211, “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use” (66 FR 28355 (May 22, 2001)) because it is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. The rule allows wider use of substitutes, providing greater flexibility for industry related to choices of alternative fire suppression systems to support the transition away from ozone-depleting substances, but little if any impact related to energy. Thus, we have concluded that this rule is not likely to have any adverse energy effects.

I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (“NTTAA”), Public Law No. 104-113, Section 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272 note) directs EPA to use voluntary consensus standards in regulatory activities unless to do so would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling procedures, and business practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies. The NTTAA directs EPA to provide Congress, through OMB, explanations when the Agency decides not to use available and applicable voluntary consensus standards.

This rulemaking does not involve technical standards. EPA is not requiring that specific technical standards be met in these regulations. EPA defers to existing National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) voluntary consensus standards and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations that relate to the safe use of halon substitutes reviewed under SNAP. EPA refers users to the latest edition of NFPA 2001 Standard on Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems which provides for exposure guidelines and safe use of halocarbon and inert gas agents used to extinguish fires. EPA also refers to the latest edition of NFPA 2010 Standard on Aerosol Extinguishing Systems, 2005 edition, which provides for safe use of aerosol extinguishing agents and technologies. Copies of these standards may be obtained by calling the NFPA's telephone number for ordering publications at 1-800-344-3555. The NFPA 2001 and 2010 standards meet the objectives of the rule by setting scientifically-based guidelines for safe exposure to halocarbon and inert gas agents and aerosol extinguishing agents, respectively. In addition, EPA has worked in consultation with OSHA to encourage development of technical standards to be adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 82

End List of Subjects Start Signature

Dated: September 21, 2006.

Stephen L. Johnson,

Administrator.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. E6-15842 Filed 9-26-06; 8:45 am]

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