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Proposed Rule

Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Extension of the Laboratory and Analytical Use Exemption for Essential Class I Ozone-Depleting Substances

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to extend the laboratory and analytical use exemption for the production and import of class I ozone-depleting substances through December 31, 2021. This action is proposed under the Clean Air Act in anticipation of upcoming actions by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The exemption allows the production and import of controlled substances in the United States for laboratory and analytical uses that have not been already identified by EPA as nonessential.

DATES:

Comments must be submitted by December 10, 2014.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0621, by one of the following methods:

  • www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • Email: a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov.
  • Fax: (202) 566-9744.
  • Phone: (202) 566-1742.
  • U.S. Mail: Docket EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0621, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Docket Center, Air and Radiation Docket, Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460.
  • Hand Delivery or Courier: Docket EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0621, EPA Docket Center—Public Reading Room, EPA West Building, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue NW., 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-2014-0621. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at 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 email. 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 email comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov your email 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 Start Printed Page 66680cannot 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.

Docket: All documents in the docket are listed on the www.regulations.gov Web site. 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, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Air and Radiation Docket, EPA/DC, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The 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, and the telephone number for the Air and Radiation Docket is (202) 566-1742.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jeremy Arling by regular mail: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Stratospheric Protection Division (6205T), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460; by telephone: 202-343-9055; or by email: arling.jeremy@epa.gov. You may also visit the EPA's Ozone Protection Web site at www.epa.gov/​ozone/​strathome.html for further information about EPA's Stratospheric Ozone Protection regulations, the science of ozone layer depletion, and other related topics.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. General Information

A. Does this action apply to me?

Entities potentially regulated by this action potentially include: (1) Pharmaceutical preparations manufacturing businesses (NAICS code 325412); (2) medical and diagnostic laboratories (NAICS code 621511); (3) research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences (NAICS code 54171); and (4) environmental consulting services (NAICS code 541620). This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather to provide a guide for readers regarding entities likely to be regulated by this action. To determine whether your facility, company, business, or organization could be regulated by this action, you should carefully examine the regulations promulgated at 40 CFR part 82, subpart A. If you have questions regarding the applicability of this action to a particular entity, consult the person listed in the preceding section.

B. What should I consider when preparing my comments?

1. Confidential Business Information. Do not submit confidential business information (CBI) to EPA through www.regulations.gov or email. Clearly mark the part or all of the information that you claim to be CBI. For CBI information in a disk or CD-ROM that you mail to EPA, mark the outside of the disk or CD-ROM as CBI and then identify electronically within the disk or CD-ROM the specific information that is claimed as CBI. Information so marked will not be disclosed except in accordance with procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2. In addition to one complete version of the comment that includes information claimed as CBI, a copy of the comment that does not contain the information claimed as CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public docket.

2. Tips for Preparing Your Comments. When submitting comments, remember to:

  • Identify the rulemaking by docket number and other identifying information (subject heading, Federal Register date, and page number).
  • Follow directions—The agency may ask you to respond to specific questions or organize comments by referencing a Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part or section number.
  • Explain why you agree or disagree; suggest alternatives and substitute language for your requested changes.
  • Describe any assumptions and provide any technical information and/or data that you used.
  • If you estimate potential costs or burdens, explain how you arrived at your estimate in sufficient detail to allow for it to be reproduced.
  • Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns, and suggest alternatives.
  • Explain your views as clearly as possible, avoiding the use of profanity or personal threats.
  • Make sure to submit your comments by the comment period deadline identified.

II. Extension of the Laboratory and Analytical Use Exemption

The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol, or Protocol) is the international agreement to reduce and eventually eliminate the global production and consumption [1] of ozone-depleting substances (ODS). This goal is accomplished through adherence by each country that is a Party to the Montreal Protocol to phaseout schedules for specific controlled substances. The Protocol established January 1, 1996, as the date by which the production and import of most substances classified as “class I controlled substances” under the Clean Air Act—including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform [2] —were phased out in developed countries, including the United States. The Clean Air Act grants EPA the authority to implement the Protocol's phaseout schedules in the United States. Section 604 of the Clean Air Act requires EPA to issue regulations phasing out production and consumption of class I ODS according to a prescribed schedule. EPA's phaseout regulations for ODS are codified at 40 CFR part 82, subpart A.

The Montreal Protocol provides exemptions that allow for the continued import and/or production of ODS for specific uses. For most class I ODS, the Parties may collectively grant exemptions to the ban on production and import of ODS for uses that they determine to be “essential.” For example, with respect to CFCs, Article 2A(4) provides that the phaseout will apply “save to the extent that the Parties decide to permit the level of production or consumption that is necessary to satisfy uses agreed by them to be essential.” Similar language appears in the control provisions for halons (Art. 2B), carbon tetrachloride (Art. 2D), methyl chloroform (Art. 2E), hydrobromofluorocarbons (Art. 2G), and chlorobromomethane (Art. 2I). As defined by Decision IV/25 of the Parties, “use of a controlled substance should qualify as `essential' only if: (i) It is necessary for the health, safety or is critical for the functioning of society (encompassing cultural and intellectual aspects); and (ii) there are no available technically and economically feasible alternatives or substitutes that are acceptable from the standpoint of environment and health.”

Decision X/19 under the Montreal Protocol (taken in 1998) allowed a Start Printed Page 66681general exemption for essential laboratory and analytical uses through December 31, 2005. EPA codified this exemption at 40 CFR part 82, subpart A. While the Clean Air Act does not specifically provide for this exemption, EPA determined that an exemption for essential laboratory and analytical uses was allowable under the Act as a de minimis exemption. EPA addressed the de minimis exemption in a regulation issued March 13, 2001 (66 FR 14760).

Decision X/19 also requested the Montreal Protocol's Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP), a group of technical experts from various Parties, to report annually to the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on laboratory and analytical procedures that could be performed without the use of controlled substances. It further stated that at future Meetings of the Parties (MOPs), the Parties would decide whether such procedures should no longer be eligible for exemptions. Based on the TEAP's recommendation, the Parties to the Montreal Protocol decided in 1999 (Decision XI/15) that the general exemption no longer applied to the following uses: testing of oil and grease and total petroleum hydrocarbons in water; testing of tar in road-paving materials; and forensic finger-printing. EPA incorporated these exclusions at Appendix G to subpart A of 40 CFR part 82 on February 11, 2002 (67 FR 6352).

At the 18th MOP, the Parties acknowledged the need for methyl bromide for laboratory and analytical procedures, and added methyl bromide to the ODS under the essential laboratory and analytical use exemption. Decision XVIII/15 outlined specific uses and exclusions for methyl bromide under the exemption. EPA incorporated specific uses of methyl bromide in the essential laboratory and analytical use exemption at Appendix G to subpart A of 40 CFR part 82 on December 27, 2007 (72 FR 73264).

In November 2009, at the 21st MOP, the Parties in Decision XXI/6 extended the global laboratory and analytical use exemption through December 31, 2014. Based on this decision, EPA amended the regulation at 40 CFR 82.8(b) to extend the essential laboratory and analytical use exemption through December 31, 2014 (76 FR 77909, December 15, 2011). Decision XXI/6 also notes laboratory and analytical uses of ODS for which the TEAP and its Chemicals Technical Options Committee (CTOC), determined that alternative procedures exist. However, the Parties did not exclude any of those procedures from the exemption for laboratory and analytical uses.

At the July 2014 Open Ended Working Group meeting of the Montreal Protocol, the United States Government submitted a draft Decision to extend the global laboratory and analytical use exemption through December 31, 2021. This draft Decision is available in the docket to this rule. The Parties will decide whether to extend the exemption at their next Meeting of the Parties in November 2014.

A detailed discussion of the laboratory and analytical uses of ODS can be found in the regulation issued by EPA on March 13, 2001 (66 FR 14760). That rule also discusses how the controls in place for laboratory and analytical uses provide adequate assurance that very little, if any, environmental damage will result from the handling and disposal of the small amounts of class I ODS used in such applications, due to the Appendix G requirements for small quantity and high purity. For example, class I ODS must be sold in cylinders three liters or smaller or in glass ampoules 10 milliliter or smaller. Since issuing the original exemption, EPA has not received information that would suggest otherwise.

U.S. production and consumption of ODS under the laboratory and analytical use exemption is on a general decline, indicating that many users have been able to transition from ozone-depleting substances. However, certain laboratory procedures continue to require the use of class I substances in the United States. Because non-ODS replacements for the class I substances have not been identified for all uses, EPA is proposing to extend this exemption through December 31, 2021.

EPA believes an extension of seven years is warranted, as it is unlikely that non-ODS replacements will be in place for all laboratory and analytical uses prior to that time. An extension of this length would also minimize uncertainty for stakeholders and promote administrative efficiency. EPA recognizes that the Parties may not agree to extend the exemption or may agree to an expiration date that is earlier than December 31, 2021. In either event, EPA will not adopt a final rule containing an extension beyond that agreed by the Parties.

EPA welcomes comment on a variety of potential scenarios including no extension or an extension shorter than seven years. While there is uncertainty about the length of the extension, EPA believes it is appropriate to propose this rule prior to action being taken by the Parties to the Protocol to avoid a significant gap in the availability of this exemption. Because the Parties will not take a Decision until November 2014, EPA is requesting public input now so as to be able to finalize an extension shortly after the Meeting of the Parties. EPA notes that if the exemption lapses, stocks of existing class I ODS produced or imported under the exemption can continue to be sold by distributors and used by laboratories as the prohibition applies only to the production and import of class I ODS.

EPA is also seeking comment from standards organizations that either continue to use ODS in their standards or that have developed new standards. Similarly, EPA is interested in comment from laboratories that continue to use ODS or that have transitioned to ozone-safe alternatives.

III. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

Additional information about these statutes and Executive Orders can be found at http://www2.epa.gov/​laws-regulations/​laws-and-executive-orders.

A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

This action is not a significant regulatory action and was therefore not submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.

B. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

This action does not impose any new information collection burden under the PRA. OMB has previously approved the information collection activities contained in the existing regulations and has assigned OMB control number 2060-0170. This action extends but does not modify the existing exemption from the phaseout of class I ODS.

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act

I certify that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the RFA. In making this determination, the impact of concern is any significant adverse economic impact on small entities. An agency may certify that a rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities if the rule relieves regulatory burden, has no net burden or otherwise has a positive economic effect on the small entities subject to the rule. This action provides an otherwise unavailable benefit to those companies that obtain ozone-depleting substances under the essential laboratory and analytical use exemption. We have therefore concluded that this action will relieve Start Printed Page 66682regulatory burden for all directly regulated small entities.

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

This action does not contain any unfunded mandate as described in UMRA, 2 U.S.C. 1531-1538, and does not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. The action imposes no enforceable duty on any state, local or tribal governments or the private sector. This action merely extends the essential laboratory and analytical use exemption from the 1996 and 2005 phaseouts of class I ODS production and consumption until December 31, 2021.

E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

This action does not have federalism implications. It will not have substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

F. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

This action does not have tribal implications as specified in Executive Order 13175. This rule does not significantly or uniquely affect the communities of Indian tribal governments, nor does it impose any enforceable duties on communities of Indian tribal governments. This action would extend the essential laboratory and analytical use exemption from the 1996 and 2005 phaseouts of class I ODS production and consumption until December 31, 2021. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this action.

G. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks

EPA interprets Executive Order 13045 as applying only to those regulatory actions that concern environmental health or safety risks that the agency has reason to believe may disproportionately affect children, per the definition of “covered regulatory action” in section 2-202 of the Executive Order. This action is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it does not concern an environmental health risk or safety risk.

H. Executive Order 13211: Actions That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

This action is not subject to Executive Order 13211, because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

This rulemaking does not involve technical standards.

J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority

Populations and Low-Income Populations

EPA believes the human health or environmental risk addressed by this action will not have potential disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority, low-income, or indigenous populations because it does not affect the level of protection provided to human health or the environment. The controls in place for laboratory and analytical uses provide adequate assurance that very little, if any, environmental impact will result from the handling and disposal of the small amounts of class I ODS used in such applications.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 82

  • Environmental protection
  • Administrative practice and procedure
  • Air pollution control
  • Chemicals
  • Chlorofluorocarbons
  • Imports
  • Methyl chloroform
  • Ozone
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
End List of Subjects Start Signature

Dated: October 31, 2014.

Gina McCarthy,

Administrator.

End Signature

For the reasons set out in the preamble, 40 CFR part 82 is proposed to be amended as follows:

Start Part

PART 82—PROTECTION OF STRATOSPHERIC OZONE

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1. The authority citation for part 82 continues to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: 42 U.S.C. 7414, 7601, 7671-7671q.

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2. Section 82.8 is amended by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Grant of essential use allowances and critical use allowances.
* * * * *

(b) A global exemption for class I controlled substances for essential laboratory and analytical uses shall be in effect through December 31, 2021, subject to the restrictions in appendix G of this subpart, and subject to the recordkeeping and reporting requirements at § 82.13(u) through (x). There is no amount specified for this exemption.

* * * * *
End Supplemental Information

Footnotes

1.  “Consumption” is defined as the amount of a substance produced in the United States, plus the amount imported into the United States, minus the amount exported from the United States to other Parties to the Montreal Protocol (see section 601(6) of the Clean Air Act).

Back to Citation

2.  Class I controlled substances are listed at 40 CFR part 82, subpart A, Appendix A.

Back to Citation

[FR Doc. 2014-26530 Filed 11-7-14; 8:45 am]

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