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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Critical Use Exemption From the Phaseout of Methyl Bromide (Renewal); EPA ICR No. 2031.03, OMB Control No. 2060-0482

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this document announces that an Information Collection Request (ICR) has been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. This is a request to renew an existing approved collection. The ICR, Start Printed Page 43752which is abstracted below, describes the nature of the information collection and its estimated burden and cost.

DATES:

Additional comments may be submitted on or before August 27, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2008-0153, to (1) EPA online using http://www.regulations.gov (our preferred method), by e-mail to a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov, or by mail to: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Air and Radiation Docket, Mail Code 6102T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460, and (2) OMB by mail to: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Attention: Desk Officer for EPA, 725 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jeremy Arling, Stratospheric Protection Division, Office of Atmospheric Programs (6205J), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 343-9055; fax number: (202) 343-2338; e-mail address: arling.jeremy@epa.gov. You may also visit the Ozone Depletion Web site of EPA's Stratospheric Protection Division at http://www.epa.gov/​ozone/​strathome.html for further information about EPA's Stratospheric Ozone Protection regulations, the science of ozone layer depletion, and related topics.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

EPA has submitted the following ICR to OMB for review and approval according to the procedures prescribed in 5 CFR 1320.12. On March 10, 2008 (73 FR 12725), EPA sought comments on this ICR pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.8(d). EPA received two comments during the comment period, which are addressed in the ICR. Any additional comments on this ICR should be submitted to EPA and OMB within 30 days of this notice.

EPA has established a public docket for this ICR under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2008-0153, which is available for online viewing at http://www.regulations.gov, or in person viewing at the Air and Radiation 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 Air and Radiation Docket is 202-566-1742.

Use EPA's electronic docket and comment system at http://www.regulations.gov, to submit or view public comments, access the index listing of the contents of the docket, and to access those documents in the docket that are available electronically. Once in the system, select “docket search,” then key in the docket ID number identified above. Please note that EPA's policy is that public comments, whether submitted electronically or in paper, will be made available for public viewing at http://www.regulations.gov as EPA receives them and without change, unless the comment contains copyrighted material, confidential business information (CBI), or other information whose public disclosure is restricted by statute. For further information about the electronic docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov.

Title: Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Critical Use Exemption from the Phaseout of Methyl Bromide (Renewal).

ICR Numbers: EPA ICR No. 2031.03, OMB Control No. 2060-0482.

ICR Status: EPA ICR 2031.02 is currently scheduled to expire on August 31, 2008. In addition, EPA ICR 2179.03 is scheduled to expire on November 30, 2008. Under OMB regulations, the Agency may continue to conduct or sponsor the collection of information while this submission is pending at OMB. 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 and 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: EPA is seeking to renew EPA ICR 2031.02, which allows EPA to collect Critical Use Exemption (CUE) applications from regulated entities on an annual basis. EPA is also seeking to transfer the burden from EPA ICR 2179.03, which requires the submission of data from regulated industries to the EPA and requires recordkeeping of key documents to ensure compliance with the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Protocol) and the Clean Air Act (CAA). Thus, the program for the critical use exemption of methyl bromide would operate under a single ICR.

Entities applying for this exemption are asked to submit to EPA applications with data necessary to evaluate the need for a critical use exemption. This information collection is conducted to meet U.S. obligations under Article 2H of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Protocol). The information collection request is required to obtain a benefit under Section 604(d)(6) of the CAA, added by Section 764 of the 1999 Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act (Pub. L. No. 105-277; October 21, 1998).

Since 2002, entities have applied to EPA for a critical use exemption that would allow for the continued production and import of methyl bromide after the phaseout in January 2005. These exemptions are for consumption only in those agricultural sectors that have demonstrated that there are no technically or economically feasible alternatives to methyl bromide. The applications are rigorously assessed and analyzed by EPA staff, including experts from the Office of Pesticide Programs. On an annual basis, EPA uses the data submitted by end users to create a nomination of critical uses which the U.S. Government submits to the Protocol's Ozone Secretariat for review by an international panel of experts and advisory bodies. These advisory bodies include the Methyl Bromide Technical Options Committee (MBTOC) and the Technical and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP). The uses authorized internationally by the Parties to the Protocol are made available in the U.S. on an annual basis.

The applications will enable EPA to: (1) Maintain consistency with the Protocol by supporting critical use nominations to the Parties to the Protocol, in accordance with paragraph 2 of Decision IX/6 of the Protocol; (2) ensure that critical use exemptions comply with Section 604(d)(6); and (3) provide EPA with necessary data to evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of methyl bromide alternatives in the circumstance of the specific use, as presented in an application for a critical use exemption. The reported data will enable EPA to: (1) Ensure that critical use exemptions comply with Section 604(d)(6); (2) maintain compliance with the Protocol requirements for annual data submission on the production of ozone depleting substances; (3) analyze technical use data to ensure that exemptions are used in accordance with requirements included in the annual authorization rulemakings.

EPA informs respondents that they may assert claims of business confidentiality for any of the information they submit. Information claimed confidential will be treated in accordance with the procedures for Start Printed Page 43753handling information claimed as confidential under 40 CFR part 2, subpart B, and will be disclosed only if EPA determines that the information is not entitled to confidential treatment. If no claim of confidentiality is asserted when the information is received by EPA, it may be made available to the public without further notice to the respondents (40 CFR 2.203). Individual reporting data may be claimed as sensitive and will be treated as confidential information in accordance with procedures outlined in 40 CFR part 2.

Burden Statement: The annual public reporting and recordkeeping burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 2 hours per response. 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.

Respondents/Affected Entities: Producers, importers, distributors, and custom applicators of methyl bromide, organizations, consortia, and associations of methyl bromide users, as well as individual methyl bromide users.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 2179.

Frequency of Response: Quarterly for producers and importers, annually for distributors and applicators, periodically (at the time of purchase) for end users.

Estimated Total Annual Hour Burden: 4918.

Estimated Total Annual Cost: $993,622, which includes no capital or O&M costs.

Changes in the Estimates: There is a decrease of 82 hours in the total estimated respondent burden compared with the burden currently approved by OMB. This estimate for total burden hours includes updated burden estimates from this ICR as well as ICR 2060-0564, which is being transferred into this ICR.

The reason for the decrease in burden hours is that the Agency has six years of experience managing the critical use exemption program, which has led to efficiency and greater accuracy in estimating future burden. Over the last four years, EPA has received on average 65 applications each year, rather than the 100 estimated in the previous ICR. EPA continues to encourage users with similar circumstances to utilize grower and user organizations to aid in completion of the application, thereby reducing both the burden on applicants (particularly small businesses) and the Agency. The registration of additional alternatives since 2002 in the U.S. may also result in fewer applications received. Furthermore, stakeholders are more familiar with the critical use exemption program and have already organized associations to apply on behalf of multiple growers. Other reasons for burden reduction include the encouragement of electronic submission of applications and other data and very frequent EPA communication with methyl bromide stakeholders.

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Dated: July 22, 2008.

Sara Hisel-McCoy,

Director, Collection Strategies Division.

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[FR Doc. E8-17218 Filed 7-25-08; 8:45 am]

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