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Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Environmental Impact Assessment of Nongovernmental Activities in Antarctica (Renewal); EPA ICR No. 1808.05, OMB Control No. 2020-0007

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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).




In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this document announces that EPA is planning to submit a request to renew an existing approved Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This ICR is scheduled to expire on October 31, 2007. Before submitting the ICR to OMB for review and approval, EPA is soliciting comments on specific aspects of the proposed information collection as described below.


Comments must be submitted on or before August 13, 2007.


Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OECA-2007-0468, by one of the following methods:

  • Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • E-mail:
  • Fax: 202-564-0072.
  • Mail: Enforcement and Compliance Docket; Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460.
  • Hand Delivery: EPA Headquarters West Building, Room 3334, located at 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington DC 20460. 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-OECA-2007-0468. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at, 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 or e-mail. The 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 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​epahome/​dockets.htm.

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Aimee Hessert, Office of Federal Activities, Mail Code 2252A, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 564-0993; fax number: (202) 564-0072; e-mail address:

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How Can I Access the Docket and/or Submit Comments?

EPA has established a public docket for this ICR under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OECA-2007-0468, which is available for online viewing at, or in person viewing at the Enforcement and Compliance Docket in the EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The EPA/DC Public Reading Room is open from 8 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 Enforcement and Compliance Docket is 202-566-1752.

Use to obtain a copy of the draft collection of Start Printed Page 32293information, submit or view public comments, access the index listing of the contents of the 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 in this document.

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 particular, EPA is requesting comments from very small businesses (those that employ less than 25) on examples of specific additional efforts that EPA could make to reduce the paperwork burden for very small businesses affected by this collection.

What Should I Consider When 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 and provide specific examples.

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. Offer alternative ways to improve the collection activity.

6. Make sure to submit your comments by the deadline identified under DATES.

7. 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.

What Information Collection Activity or ICR Does This Apply to?

Affected entities: Entities potentially affected by this action are all nongovernmental operators with activities in Antarctica, including tour operators, for which the United States is required to give advance notice under paragraph 5 of Article VII of the Antarctic Treaty of 1959; this includes all nongovernmental expeditions to and within Antarctica organized in or proceeding from the territory of the United States.

Title: Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Environmental Impact Assessment of Nongovernmental Activities in Antarctica (Renewal).

ICR numbers: EPA ICR No. 1808.05, OMB Control No. 2020-0007.

ICR status: This ICR is currently scheduled to expire on December 31, 2007. 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 in title 40 of the CFR, after appearing in the Federal Register when approved, are listed in 40 CFR part 9, are displayed either by publication in the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, such as on the related collection instrument or form, if applicable. The display of OMB control numbers in certain EPA regulations is consolidated in 40 CFR part 9.

Abstract: The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) regulations at 40 CFR part 8, Environmental Impact Assessment of Nongovernmental Activities in Antarctica (Final Rule), were promulgated pursuant to the Antarctic Science, Tourism, and Conservation Act of 1996 (Act), 16 U.S.C. 2401 et seq., as amended, 16 U.S.C. 2403a, which implements the Protocol on Environmental Protection (Protocol) to the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 (Treaty). The Final Rule provides for assessment of the environmental impacts of nongovernmental activities in Antarctica, including tourism, for which the United States is required to give advance notice under Paragraph 5 of Article VII of the Treaty, and for coordination of the review of information regarding environmental impact assessments received from other Parties under the Protocol. The requirements of the Final Rule apply to operators of nongovernmental expeditions organized or proceeding from the territory of the United States to Antarctica and include commercial and noncommercial expeditions. Expeditions may include ship-based tours; yacht, skiing or mountaineering expeditions; privately funded research expeditions; and other nongovernmental activities. The Final Rule does not apply to individual U.S. citizens or groups of citizens planning travel to Antarctica on an expedition for which they are not acting as an operator. (Operators, for example, typically acquire use of vessels or aircraft, hire expedition staff, plan itineraries, and undertake other organizational responsibilities.) The Final rule provides nongovernmental operators with the specific requirements they need to meet in order to comply with the requirements of Article 8 and Annex I to the Protocol. The provisions of the Final Rule are intended to ensure that potential environmental effects of nongovernmental activities undertaken in Antarctica are appropriately identified and considered by the operator during the planning process and that to the extent practicable appropriate environmental safeguards which would mitigate or prevent adverse impacts on the Antarctic environment are identified by the operator.

Environmental Documentation. Persons subject to the Final Rule must prepare environmental documentation to support the operator's determination regarding the level of environmental impact of the proposed expedition. Environmental documentation includes a Preliminary Environmental Review Memorandum (PERM), an Initial Environmental Evaluation (IEE), or a Comprehensive Environmental Evaluation (CEE). The environmental document is submitted to the Office of Federal Activities (OFA). If the operator determines that an expedition may have: (1) Less than a minor or transitory impact, a PERM needs to be submitted no later than 180 days before the proposed departure to Antarctica; (2) no more than minor or transitory impacts, an IEE needs to be submitted no later than 90 days before the proposed departure; or (3) more than minor or transitory impacts, a CEE needs to be submitted. Operators who anticipate such activities are encouraged to consult with EPA as soon as possible regarding the date for submittal of the CEE. (Article 3(4), of Annex I of the Protocol requires that draft CEEs be distributed to all Parties and the Committee for Environmental Protection 120 days in advance of the next Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) at which the CEE may be addressed.)

The Protocol and the Final Rule also require an operator to employ Start Printed Page 32294procedures to assess and provide a regular and verifiable record of the actual impacts of an activity which proceeds on the basis of an IEE or CEE. The record developed through these measures needs to be designed to: (a) Enable assessments to be made of the extent to which environmental impacts of nongovernmental expeditions are consistent with the Protocol; and (b) provide information useful for minimizing and mitigating those impacts and, where appropriate, on the need for suspension, cancellation, or modification of the activity. Moreover, an operator needs to monitor key environmental indicators for an activity proceeding on the basis of a CEE. An operator may also need to carry out monitoring in order to assess and verify the impact of an activity for which an IEE would be prepared. For activities that require an IEE, an operator should be able to use procedures currently being voluntarily utilized by operators to provide the required information. Should an activity require a CEE, the operator should consult with EPA to: (a) Identify the monitoring regime appropriate to that activity, and (b) determine whether and how the operator might utilize relevant monitoring data collected by the U.S. Antarctic Program. OFA would consult with the National Science Foundation and other interested Federal agencies regarding the monitoring regime.

In cases of emergency related to the safety of human life or of ships, aircraft, equipment and facilities of high value, or the protection of the environment which would require an activity to be undertaken without completion of the documentation procedures set out in the Final Rule, the operator would need to notify the Department of State within 15 days of any activities which would have otherwise required preparation of a CEE, and provide a full explanation of the activities carried out within 45 days of those activities. (During the time the Interim Final and Final Rules have been in effect, there were no emergencies requiring notification by U.S. operators. An Interim Final Rule was in effect from April 30, 1997, until replaced on December 6, 2001, by the Final Rule).

Environmental documents (e.g., PERM, IEE, CEE) are submitted to OFA. Environmental documents are reviewed by OFA, in consultation with the National Science Foundation and other interested Federal agencies, and also made available to other Parties and the public as required under the Protocol or otherwise requested. OFA notifies the public of document availability via the World Wide Web at:​compliance/​nepa/​international/​antarctica/​index.html. The types of nongovernmental activities currently being carried out (e.g., ship-based tours, land-based tours, flights, and privately funded research expeditions) are typically unlikely to have impacts that are more than minor or transitory, thus an IEE is the typical level of environmental documentation submitted. For the 1997-1998 through 2003-2004 austral summer seasons during the time the Interim Final Rule and Final Rule have been in effect, all respondents submitted IEEs with the exception of one PERM. Paperwork reduction provisions in the Final Rule that are used by the operators include: (a) Incorporation of material in the environmental document by referring to it in the IEE, (b) inclusion of all proposed expeditions by one operator within one IEE; (c) use of one IEE to address expeditions being carried out by more than one operator; and (d) use of multi-year environmental documentation to address proposed expeditions for a period of up to five consecutive austral summer seasons.

Coordination of Review of Information Received from Other Parties to the Treaty. The Final Rule also provides for the coordination of review of information received from other Parties and the public availability of that information including: (1) A description of national procedures for considering the environmental impacts of proposed activities; (2) an annual list of any IEEs and any decisions taken in consequence thereof; (3) significant information obtained and any action taken in consequence thereof with regard to monitoring from IEEs to CEEs; and (4) information in a final CEE. This provision fulfills the United States' obligation to meet the requirements of Article 6 of Annex I to the Protocol. The Department of State is responsible for coordination of these reviews of drafts with interested Federal agencies, and for public availability of documents and information. This portion of the Final Rule does not impose paperwork requirements on any nongovernmental person subject to U.S. regulation.

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 in 40 CFR are listed in 40 CFR Part 9 and are identified on the form and/or instrument, if applicable.

Burden Statement: The annual public reporting and recordkeeping burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 1663 hours annually, or 72 hours per response. This hourly burden reflects annual submission of different levels of environmental documentation by an anticipated 23 respondents (e.g., U.S.-based nongovernmental operators). 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 which have subsequently changed; 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 provides a detailed explanation of the Agency's estimate, which is only briefly summarized here:

Estimated total number of potential respondents: 23.

Frequency of response: Annually.

Estimated total average number of responses for each respondent: 1.

Estimated total annual burden hours: 1663 hours.

Estimated total annual costs: $133,916. This includes an estimated burden cost of $129,697 and an estimated maintenance and operational cost of $4,219.

Are There Changes in the Estimates From the Last Approval?

There is an increase of 115 hours in the total estimated respondent burden compared with that identified in the ICR currently approved by OMB. This increase is the result of an increase in the number of respondents anticipated during the 3-year ICR renewal period and the level of environmental documentation EPA anticipates the respondents will submit.

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. At that time, 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 Start Printed Page 32295approval process, please contact the technical person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

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Dated: June 1, 2007.

Anne N. Miller,

Director, Office of Federal Activities.

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[FR Doc. E7-11323 Filed 6-11-07; 8:45 am]