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Notice

Lead in Ammunition and Fishing Sinkers; Disposition of TSCA Section 21 Petition

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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:

On August 3, 2010, several groups filed a petition under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) section 21 requesting that EPA prohibit under TSCA section 6(a) the manufacture, processing, and distribution in commerce of (1) lead bullets and shot; and (2) lead fishing sinkers. On August 27, 2010, EPA denied the first request due to a lack of authority to regulate lead in bullets and shot under TSCA. EPA's decision is based on the exclusion of shells and cartridges from the definition of “chemical substance” in TSCA section 3(2)(B)(v). EPA is still considering the second request and will respond to that portion of the petition within the 90-day period provided in section 21 of TSCA. This notice explains EPA's reasons for the denial of the request specific to lead bullets and shot.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For technical information contact: Christina Wadlington, National Program Chemicals Division (7404T), Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; telephone number: (202) 566-1859; e-mail address: wadlington.christina@epa.gov.

For general information contact: The TSCA-Hotline, ABVI-Goodwill, 422 South Clinton Ave., Rochester, NY 14620; telephone number: (202) 554-1404; e-mail address: TSCA-Hotline@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. General Information

A. Does this action apply to me?

This action is directed to the public in general. This action may, however, be of interest to you if you manufacture, process, import, or distribute in commerce lead shot or bullets. If you have any questions regarding this action, consult the technical person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

B. How can I get copies of this document and other related information?

EPA has established a docket for this action under docket identification (ID) Start Printed Page 58378number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2010-0681. All documents in the docket are listed in the docket index available at http://www.regulations.gov. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, will be publicly available only in hard copy. Publicly available docket materials are available electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, or, if only available in hard copy, at the OPPT Docket. The OPPT Docket is located in the EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC) at Rm. 3334, EPA West Bldg., 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The EPA/DC Public Reading Room hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number of the EPA/DC Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OPPT Docket is (202) 566-0280. Docket visitors are required to show photographic identification, pass through a metal detector, and sign the EPA visitor log. All visitor bags are processed through an X-ray machine and subject to search. Visitors will be provided an EPA/DC badge that must be visible at all times in the building and returned upon departure.

II. Background

A. What is a TSCA section 21 petition?

Under section 21 of TSCA (15 U.S.C. 2042), any person can petition EPA to initiate a rulemaking proceeding for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of a rule under TSCA section 4, 6, or 8 or an order under TSCA section 5(e) or 6(b)(2). A TSCA section 21 petition must set forth the facts that are claimed to establish the necessity for the action requested. EPA is required to grant or deny the petition within 90 days of its filing. If EPA grants the petition, the Agency must promptly commence an appropriate proceeding. If EPA denies the petition, the Agency must publish its reasons for the denial in the Federal Register. A petitioner may commence a civil action in a U.S. district court to compel initiation of the requested rulemaking proceeding within 60 days of either a denial or, if the Agency does not resolve the petition, the expiration of the 90-day period.

B. What criteria apply to a decision on a TSCA section 21 petition?

Section 21(b)(1) of TSCA requires that the petition “set forth the facts which it is claimed establish that it is necessary” to issue the rule or order requested. 15 U.S.C. 2620(b)(1). Thus, TSCA section 21 implicitly incorporates the statutory standards that apply to the requested actions. In addition, TSCA section 21 establishes standards a court must use to decide whether to order EPA to initiate rulemaking in the event of a lawsuit filed by the petitioner after denial of a TSCA section 21 petition. 15 U.S.C. 2620(b)(4)(B). Accordingly, EPA generally relies on the standards in TSCA section 21 and in the provisions under which actions have been requested to evaluate petitions. However, because of the absence of legal authority under TSCA to grant the petitioners' first request, this request was resolved without reaching the factual argument set forth by the petitioners. The request was denied based on the scope of EPA's statutory authority.

C. Summary of TSCA Section 21 Petition Received

On August 3, 2010, Center for Biological Diversity, American Bird Conservancy, Association of Avian Veterinarian, Project Gutpile and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility filed a petition under TSCA section 21 requesting that EPA prohibit under TSCA section 6(a) the manufacture, processing, and distribution in commerce of (1) lead bullets and shot; and (2) lead fishing sinkers. The petition asserts that EPA has the authority to regulate lead in bullets and shot because “lead shot and bullets are properly classified as `chemical substances' subject to TSCA regulation.” (Ref. 1, pp. 57-58).

III. Disposition of the Request With Respect to Lead in Bullets and Shot

On August 27, 2010, EPA denied the first request due to a lack of authority to regulate lead in bullets and shot under TSCA. EPA's decision is based on the exclusion of firearms, shells and cartridges from the definition of “chemical substance” in TSCA section 3(2)(B)(v). This exclusion functions to carve out a discrete set of substances from regulation under TSCA: those used in firearms and ammunition. This plain reading of the statute is consistent with EPA's longstanding interpretation of the six TSCA exclusions at TSCA section 3(2)(B).

The statutory definition of “chemical substance” excludes “any article the sale of which is subject to the tax imposed by section 4181 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C.A. 4181) (determined without regard to any exemptions from such tax provided by section 4182 or 4221 or any other provision of such code).” 15 U.S.C. 2602(2)(B)(v). Section 4181 imposes a tax on firearms, shells and cartridges. 26 U.S.C. 4181. Bullets and shot, and any lead within them, are contained in shells and cartridges and are therefore excluded from the chemical substance definition. In addition, EPA's plain reading of TSCA is consistent with EPA's long-standing interpretation of TSCA's definition of “chemical substance” and with the purpose of the exemption.

V. Further Consideration of the Request With Respect to Lead in Fishing Sinkers

EPA is still considering the second request contained in the August 3, 2010 petition and will respond to that portion of the petition within the 90-day period provided in section 21 of TSCA.

VI. References

1. American Bird Conservancy, Petition to the Environmental Protection Agency to Ban Lead Shot, Bullets and Fishing Sinkers under the Toxic Substances Control Act. August 3, 2010.

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Dated: September 21, 2001.

Steve A. Owens,

Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

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[FR Doc. 2010-24025 Filed 9-23-10; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-P