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Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements of the HCFC Allowance System; EPA ICR No. 2014.03 OMB Control No. 2060-0498

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

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 July 31, 2009. 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.

DATES:

Comments must be submitted on or before April 27, 2009.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2003-0039 by one of the following methods:

  • http://www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • E-mail: a-and-r-docket@epa.gov.
  • Fax: 202-566-9744.
  • Mail: 1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW., Mailcode 2822T, Washington DC 20460.
  • Hand Delivery: 1301 Constitution Ave, NW., Room 3334, EPA West Building, 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-2003-0039. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at http://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 http://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 http://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.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Robert Burchard, Office of Air and Radiation, 6205J, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 343-9126; fax number: (202) 343-2208 ; email address: burchard.robert@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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-OAR-2003-0039, 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 8:30 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 Air and Radiation Docket is 202-566-1742.

Use http://www.regulations.gov to obtain a copy of the draft collection of information, 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 Start Printed Page 8253information 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?

Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2003-0039.

Affected entities: Entities potentially affected by this action are companies that produce, import, and export class II controlled ozone depleting substances.

Title: Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements of the HCFC Allowance System.

ICR numbers: EPA ICR No. 2014.03, OMB Control No. 2060-0498.

ICR status: This ICR is currently scheduled to expire on July 31, 2009. 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 international treaty The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Protocol) and Title VI of the Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) established limits on total U.S. production, import, and export of class I and class II controlled ozone depleting substances (commonly referred to as “controlled substances”).

Under its Protocol commitments, the United States was obligated to cease production and import of class I controlled substances (e.g., chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs) with exemptions for essential uses, critical uses, previously used material, and material that is transformed, destroyed, or exported to developing countries. The Protocol also establishes limits and reduction schedules leading to the eventual phaseout of class II controlled substances (i.e., hydrochlorofluorocarbons or HCFCs).

The U.S. is obligated to limit HCFC consumption (defined by the Protocol as production plus imports, minus exports). The U.S. is also a signatory to amendments that created a schedule for the phaseout of the consumption of HCFCs. The schedule called for a 35 percent reduction on January 1, 2004, followed by a 75 percent reduction on January 1, 2010, a 90 percent reduction on January 1, 2015, a 99.5 percent reduction on January 1, 2020, and a total phaseout on January 1, 2030. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for administering the phaseout. The U.S. comfortably met the 35% reduction of the cap, and is on schedule to meet the 75% reduction for January 1, 2010.

To ensure the U.S. compliance with these limits and restrictions, EPA established an allowance system to control U.S. production and import of HCFCs by granting control measures referred to as baseline allowances. Baseline allowances are based on the historical activity of individual companies. There are two types of allowances: consumption and production allowances. Since each allowance is equal to 1 kilogram of HCFC, EPA is able to monitor the quantity of HCFCs being produced, imported and exported. Transfers of production and consumption allowances among producers and importers are allowed and are tracked by EPA.

The limits and restrictions for individual U.S. companies are monitored by EPA through the recordkeeping and reporting requirements established in the regulations in 40 CFR part 82, subpart A. To submit required information, regulated entities can download voluntary reporting forms from EPA's Web site (http://www.epa.gov/​ozone/​record.index.html), complete them, and send them to EPA electronically,via mail, courier, or fax. Almost all of the large regulated companies use the EPA reporting forms.

Upon receipt of the reports, the data is entered into the ODS Tracking System. The ODS Tracking System is a secure database that maintains the data submitted to EPA and helps the Agency: maintain oversight over total production and consumption of controlled substances; monitor compliance with limits and restrictions on production, imports, and trades and specific exemptions from the phaseout for individual U.S. companies; and enforce against illegal imports.

Burden Statement: The total annual public reporting and recordkeeping burden for this collection of information is estimated to be 1,860 hours and $175,673. 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: 53.

Frequency of response: Annually, Quarterly, or on occasion (Request for additional consumption Reports or Transfer of Allowance Report).

Estimated total average number of responses for each respondent: 7.5 (393/53).

Estimated total annual burden hours: 1860 hours.

Estimated total annual costs: $175,673. This includes an estimated burden cost of $174,533 and an estimated cost of $1,140 for capital investment or maintenance and operational costs.

There is an increase of 228 hours in the total estimated respondent burden compared with that identified in the ICR currently approved by OMB. This increase reflects EPA's updating of burden estimates for this collection. The Start Printed Page 8254increase can be attributed to two major changes; (1) an increase in the number of responses for the Request for Additional Allowance Report and Domestic Transfer of Allowances/Inter-pollutant Transfer Report and (2) an increase in the number of activities per year for the Petition to Import Used Substances. Data retrieved from the ODS Tracking System and EPA staff confirm the increase in these numbers of reports received by the agency over the last several years.

In addition to reflecting this trend, the numbers for the Request for Additional Allowance Report and Domestic Transfer of Allowances/Inter-pollutant Transfer Report were then adjusted to reflect an anticipated increase in allowance holders (i.e., new entrants into the allowance system), given EPA's soon-to-be released final rulemaking which will assign allowances to HCFC-123, HCFC-124, HCFC-225ca, and HCFC-225cb.

For all other report types, the update to the burden analysis resulted in a decrease in the total hours per year.

Overall, the increase to the number of respondents or number of activities per year for the three aforementioned reports resulted in an overall net increase of 228 hours in total annual respondent burden.

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 approval process, please contact the technical person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

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Dated: February 17, 2009.

Brian McLean,

Director, Office of Air and Radiation.

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[FR Doc. E9-3910 Filed 2-23-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-P