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Notice of Workshop and Call for Information on Integrated Science Assessment for Ozone

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION:

Notice; call for information.

SUMMARY:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that the Office of Research and Development's National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) is preparing an Integrated Science Assessment (ISA) as part of the review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone (O3). This is intended to update the scientific assessment presented in the “Air Quality Criteria for Ozone and Related Photochemical Oxidants” (EPA 600/P-05/004aF-cF), published in February 2006. Interested parties are invited to assist the EPA in developing and refining the scientific information base for the review of the O3 NAAQS by submitting research studies that have been published, accepted for publication, or presented at a public scientific meeting.

The EPA is also announcing that a workshop entitled, “Workshop to Discuss Policy-Relevant Science to Inform EPA's Integrated Plan for the Ozone NAAQS,” is being organized by NCEA and the EPA Office of Air and Radiation's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS). The workshop will be held October 29-30, 2008, in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The workshop will be open to attendance by interested public observers on a first-come, first-served basis up to the limits of available space.

DATES:

The workshop will be held on October 29 and 30, 2008. The pre-registration deadline is October 17, 2008. In response to the call for information, all communications and information should be received by EPA by November 3, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

The workshop will be held at U.S. EPA, 109 T.W. Alexander Drive, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. An EPA contractor, E.H. Pechan & Associates, Inc., is providing logistical support for the workshop. To register, please use the on-line registration form at: http://projects.pechan.com/​epa/​o3review/​. Please direct questions regarding workshop registration or logistics to E. H. Pechan & Associates at 919-493-3144, ext. 119, or Tricia Crabtree at 919-541-5688, or e-mail: workshop.o3review@pechan.com. For specific questions regarding technical aspects of the workshop see the section of this notice entitled FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Information in response to the call for information may be submitted electronically, by mail, by facsimile, or by hand delivery/courier. Please follow the detailed instructions as provided in the section of this notice entitled SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For details on the period for submission of research information from the public, contact the Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) Docket, telephone: 202-566-1752, facsimile: 202-566-9744, or e-mail: a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov.

For technical information, contact James Brown, NCEA, telephone: 919-541-0765, facsimile: 919-541-1818, or e-mail: brown.james@epa.gov; or contact David McKee, OAQPS, telephone: 919-541-5288, or e-mail: mckee.dave@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Information About the Project

Section 108 (a) of the Clean Air Act directs the Administrator to issue “air quality criteria” for certain air pollutants. These air quality criteria are to “accurately reflect the latest scientific knowledge useful in indicating the kind and extent of all identifiable effects on public health or welfare which may be expected from the presence of such pollutants in the ambient air. * * *” Under section 109 of the Act, EPA is then to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for each pollutant for which EPA has issued criteria. Section 109 (d) of the Act subsequently requires periodic review and, if appropriate, revision of existing air quality criteria to reflect advances in scientific knowledge on the effects of the pollutant on public health and welfare. EPA is also to revise the NAAQS, if appropriate, based on the revised air quality criteria.

Ozone (O3) is one of six principal (or “criteria”) pollutants for which EPA has Start Printed Page 56582established NAAQS. Periodically, EPA reviews the scientific basis for these standards by preparing an Integrated Science Assessment (ISA), formerly called an Air Quality Criteria Document (AQCD). The ISA and supplementary annexes are the scientific basis for the additional technical and policy assessments that form the basis for EPA decisions on the adequacy of a current NAAQS and the appropriateness of new or revised standards. Early steps in this process include announcing the beginning of this periodic NAAQS review and the development of the ISA, and NCEA requesting that the public submit scientific literature that they want to bring to the attention of the Agency as it begins this process. The Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), an independent science advisory committee mandated by the Clean Air Act and part of the EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB), is charged with independent/expert scientific review of EPA's draft ISAs. As the process proceeds, the public will have opportunities to review and comment on draft O3 ISAs. These opportunities will also be announced in the Federal Register.

The Agency is interested in obtaining additional information, particularly concerning toxicological studies of effects of controlled exposure to O3 on laboratory animals, humans, and in vitro systems, as well as epidemiologic (observational) studies of health effects associated with ambient exposures of human populations to O3. EPA also seeks recent information in other areas of O3 research such as chemistry and physics, sources and emissions, analytical methodology, transport and transformation in the environment, ambient concentrations, and effects on public welfare or the environment. This and other selected literature relevant to a review of the NAAQS for O3 will be assessed in the forthcoming O3 ISA.

As part of this review of the O3 NAAQS, EPA intends to sponsor a workshop on October 29-30, 2008, to highlight significant new and emerging O3 research, and to make recommendations to the Agency regarding the design and scope of the review for the primary (health-based) and secondary (welfare) O3 standards to ensure that it addresses key policy-relevant issues and considers the new science that is relevant to informing our understanding of these issues. In addition, other opportunities for submission of new peer-reviewed, published (or in-press) papers will be possible as part of public comment on the draft ISAs that will be reviewed by CASAC. The workshop will provide an opportunity for internal and external experts to highlight significant new and emerging O3 research, and to make recommendations to the Agency regarding the design and scope of the review for the O3 standards to ensure that it addresses key policy-relevant issues and considers the new science relevant to informing our understanding of these issues. We intend that workshop discussions will build upon three prior publications or events:

1. National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone: Final Rule (73 FR 16436, March 27, 2008). The preamble to the final rule included detailed discussions of policy-relevant issues central to the last review.

2. Air Quality Criteria for Ozone and Related Photochemical Oxidants (EPA 600/P-05/004aF-cF, February 2006). Please see http://www.epa.gov/​ttn/​naaqs/​standards/​o3/​s_​o3_​index.html to obtain a copy of the 2006 Air Quality Criteria Document, the notice of final rulemaking from 2008, and other related documents.

3. December 2006 workshop sponsored by NCEA, entitled “Interpretation of Epidemiologic Studies of Multi-pollutant Exposure and Health Effects.” The workshop dealt with important issues relevant to this review, such as the interpretation and understanding of criteria air pollutant health effects analyses in population-level epidemiologic studies, with a focus on multi-pollutant exposures (71 FR 67566, November 22, 2006). Workshop participants are encouraged to review each of these documents and/or supporting materials thoroughly before the meeting begins, as they provide important insights into new scientific advances and key policy-relevant questions.

Based in large part on the input received during this workshop, EPA will develop a draft integrated O3 NAAQS review plan that will outline the schedule, process, and approaches for evaluating the relevant scientific information and addressing the key policy-relevant issues to be considered in this review. The CASAC will be asked to conduct a consultation with the Agency on the draft integrated plan early next year, and the public will have the opportunity to comment on it as well. The final integrated plan will be used to frame each of the major elements of the O3 review under the new NAAQS process: an integrated science assessment document, a risk/exposure assessment report, and a policy assessment to be published as an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR).

II. How To Submit Technical Comments to the Docket at www.regulations.gov

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2008-0699 by one of the following methods:

  • www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • E-mail: a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov.
  • Fax: 202-566-9744.
  • Mail: Office of Environmental Information (OEI) Docket (Mail Code: 2822T), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460. The phone number is 202-566-1752.
  • Hand Delivery: The OEI Docket is located in the EPA Headquarters Docket Center, Room 3334 EPA West Building, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The EPA Docket Center 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. Such deliveries are only accepted during the docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

If you provide comments by mail or hand delivery, please submit three copies of the comments. For attachments, provide an index, number pages consecutively with the comments, and submit an unbound original and three copies.

Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2008-0699. Please ensure that your comments are submitted within the specified comment period. Comments received after the closing date will be marked “late,” and may only be considered if time permits. It is EPA's policy to include all comments it receives in the public docket without change and to make the comments available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless a 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 Start Printed Page 56583comment 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 www.epa.gov/​epahome/​dockets.htm.

Docket: 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 whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other materials, such as copyrighted material, are publicly available only in hard copy. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the OEI Docket in the EPA Headquarters Docket Center.

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Dated: September 23, 2008.

Rebecca Clark,

Acting Director, National Center for Environmental Assessment.

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[FR Doc. E8-22799 Filed 9-26-08; 8:45 am]

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