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Proposed Rule

Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Revision of Refrigerant Recovery Only Equipment Standards

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.

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to update motor vehicle refrigerant recovery only equipment standards. Under Clean Air Act Section 609, motor vehicle air-conditioning (MVAC) refrigerant handling equipment must be certified by the Administrator or an independent organization approved by the Administrator and, at a minimum, must be as stringent as the standards of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in effect as of the date of the enactment of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. In 1997, EPA promulgated regulations that required the use of SAE Standard J1732, HFC-134a Recycling Equipment for Mobile Air Conditioning Systems for certification of MVAC refrigerant handling equipment. SAE has replaced Standard J1732 with J2810, HFC-134a Refrigerant Recovery Equipment for Mobile Air Conditioning Systems. EPA is updating its reference to the new SAE standard for MVAC refrigerant recovery equipment used for MVAC servicing and MVAC disposal. This action reflects a change in industry standard practice.

DATES:

Written comments must be received by July 18, 2008. If anyone contacts us requesting a public hearing by June 30, 2008, the hearing will be held on July 3, 2008. If a public hearing is requested, the record for this action will remain open until August 4, 2008 to accommodate submittal of information related to the public hearing. For additional information on the public hearing, see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No EPA-HQ-OAR-2008-0231, by mail to Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode 6102T, EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20460. Comments may also be submitted electronically or through hand delivery/courier by following the detailed instructions in the ADDRESSES section of the direct final rule located in the rules section of this Federal Register.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Karen Thundiyil, Stratospheric Protection Division, Office of Atmospheric Programs (MC 6205J), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 343-9464; fax number (202) 343-2363; e-mail address: thundiyil.karen@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

In the “Rules and Regulations” section of this Federal Register, we are updating the existing motor vehicle refrigerant recovery only equipment standards, as a direct final rule without a prior proposed rule. If we receive no adverse comment, we will not take further action on this proposed rule. If a public hearing is held, it will be at EPA Headquarters in Washington, DC.

I. Why Is EPA Issuing This Proposed Rule?

This document proposes to take action on motor vehicle air-conditioning refrigerant recovery only equipment standards. We have published a direct final rule updating EPA's motor vehicle refrigerant recovery only equipment standards in the “Rules and Regulations” section of this Federal Register because we view this as a noncontroversial action and anticipate no adverse comment. We have explained our reasons for this action in the preamble to the direct final rule and are not repeating those here.

If we receive no adverse comment, we will not take further action on this proposed rule. If we receive adverse comment, we will withdraw the direct final rule and it will not take effect. We would address all public comments in any subsequent final rule based on this proposed rule. We do not intend to institute a second comment period on this action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so at this time. For further information, please see the information provided in the ADDRESSES section of this document.

II. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review

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

This action does not impose any new information collection burden. The recordkeeping and reporting requirements included in this action are already included in an existing information collection burden. This action does not make any changes that would affect burden. However, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has previously approved the information collection requirements contained in the existing regulations, 40 CFR part 82, under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. and has assigned OMB control number 2060-0247. The OMB control numbers for EPA's regulations in 40 CFR are listed in 40 CFR part 9.

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) 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 statute 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 impacts of this proposed rule on small entities, small entity is 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 this proposed rule on small entities, we certify that this action will not have a significant economic impact Start Printed Page 34677on a substantial number of small entities. The requirements of this proposed rule do not require an immediate replacement of existing equipment with equipment certified to the new SAE standard. Rather, MVAC service shop owners will purchase equipment certified to the new SAE standard to replace existing refrigerant handling equipment as it approaches the end of its life. 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 to State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or to 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. 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.

EPA has determined that this rule does not contain a Federal mandate that may result in expenditures of $100 million or more for State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or the private sector in any one year. This proposed rule does not affect State, local, or tribal governments. The impact of this proposed rule on the private sector will be less than $100 million per year. Thus, this proposed rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of the UMRA. EPA has determined that this rule contains no regulatory requirements that might significantly or uniquely affect small governments. This regulation does not apply to governmental entities.

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 action 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 applies directly to facilities that use these substances and not to governmental entities. Thus, Executive Order 13132 does not apply to this proposed 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 6, 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 does not significantly or uniquely affect the communities of Indian tribal governments, because this regulation applies directly to facilities that use these substances and not to governmental entities. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this proposed 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.

EPA interprets Executive Order 13045 as applying only to those regulatory actions that are based on health or safety risks, such that the analysis required under section 5-501 of the Order has the potential to influence the regulation. This proposed rule is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it is based on technology performance and not on health or safety risks.

H. Executive Order 13211: Actions That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

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)) because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

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 explicitly references technical standards; EPA proposes to use SAE Standard J2810 which is the Start Printed Page 34678revised version of SAE Standard J1732. These standards can be obtained from http://www.sae.org/​technical/​standards/​.

J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations

Executive Order (EO) 12898 (59 FR 7629 (Feb. 16, 1994)) establishes federal executive policy on environmental justice. Its main provision directs federal agencies, to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, to make environmental justice part of their mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the United States.

EPA has determined that this proposed rule will not have disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority or low-income populations because it does not affect the level of protection provided to human health or the environment. This action updates a regulatory reference to an obsolete standard to avoid confusion on the part of refrigerant handling equipment manufacturers, service technicians, automobile dismantling operators, and A/C service shop owners.

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List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 82

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Dated: June 12, 2008.

Stephen L. Johnson,

Administrator.

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[FR Doc. E8-13754 Filed 6-17-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-P