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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)

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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 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, which 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 November 23, 2011.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2011-0085, 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 28221T, 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 2, 2011 (76 FR 11447), EPA sought comments on this ICR pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.8(d). EPA received one comment during the comment period, which is 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-2011-0085, which is available for online viewing at http://www.regulations.gov, or in person viewing at the Air 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 Air 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. 2031.06, OMB Control No. 2060-0482.

ICR status: This ICR is scheduled to expire on October 31, 2011. 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 this ICR, which allows EPA to collect methyl bromide Critical Use Exemption (CUE) applications from regulated entities on an annual basis, and which requires the submission of data from regulated industries to the EPA and recordkeeping of key documents to ensure compliance with the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Protocol) and the CAA.

Entities applying for this exemption are asked to submit to EPA applications with necessary data to evaluate the need for a critical use exemption. This information collection is conducted to Start Printed Page 65722meet 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. 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; and (3) analyze technical use data to ensure that exemptions are used in accordance with requirements included in the annual allocation rulemakings.

EPA informs respondents that they may assert claims of business confidentiality for any of the information they submit. Information claimed to be confidential will be treated in accordance with the procedures for handling 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 1 hour 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: 1,919.

Frequency of Response: Quarterly, Annually, Occasionally.

Estimated Total Annual Hour Burden: 3,258.

Estimated Total Annual Cost: $988,840 in labor costs.

Change in Estimates: There is a decrease of 1,660 hours in the total estimated burden currently identified in the OMB Inventory of Approved ICR Burdens. The primary reason for the decrease in burden hours is a decrease in the number of applicants and a related decline in the number of end users. Stakeholders are also 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 frequent EPA communication with methyl bromide stakeholders.

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Dated: October 18, 2011.

John Moses,

Director, Collection Strategies Division.

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[FR Doc. 2011-27438 Filed 10-21-11; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-P