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Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Critical Use Exemption From the Phaseout of Methyl Bromide (Renewal); EPA ICR No. 2031.07, OMB Control No. 2060-0482

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), this document announces that the Environmental Protection Agency (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, 2031.06, is scheduled to expire on June 30, 2015. 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 March 2, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0743 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: 202-566-1741.
  • Mail: EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0743, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code: 6205T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460.Start Printed Page 78426
  • Hand Delivery: EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0743, Air and Radiation Docket at EPA West, 1301 Constitution Avenue NW., Room B108, Mail Code 6102T, Washington, DC 20460. 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-2014-0743. 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 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:

Jeremy Arling, Stratospheric Protection Division, Office of Atmospheric Programs, (6205T), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 343-9055; fax number: (202) 343-2338; email address: arling.jeremy@epa.gov. You may also visit the Ozone Depletion Web site of EPA's Stratospheric Protection Division at 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:

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-2014-0743, which is available for online viewing at 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 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 and Radiation Docket is 202-566-1742.

Use 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 information 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 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?

Affected entities: Entities potentially affected by this action are producers, importers, distributors, and custom applicators of methyl bromide, organizations, consortia, and associations of methyl bromide users, as well as individual methyl bromide users.

Title: Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Critical Use Exemption From the Phaseout of Methyl Bromide (Applications, Recordkeeping, and Periodic Reporting) (Renewal).

ICR numbers: EPA ICR No. 2031.07, OMB Control No. 2060-0482.

ICR status: EPA ICR 2031.06 is currently scheduled to expire on June 30, 2015. 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: EPA is seeking to renew EPA ICR 2031.06 which allows EPA to collect CUE applications from regulated entities on an annual basis, and which Start Printed Page 78427requires the submission of data from regulated industries to the EPA and requires 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 meet 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 (Public Law 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);

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;

3. Analyze technical use data to ensure that exemptions are used in accordance with requirements included in the annual authorization rulemakings.

EPA informs respondents that they may assert claims of business confidentiality for any of the information they submit. Information claimed 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 1.0 hours 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.

The annual application, reporting, and recordkeeping burden is as follows: 15 applicants to the critical use exemption program at 570 hours per year; 4 producers and importers at a total of 88 hours per year (quarterly reporting); 50 distributors and pesticide applicators at 612 hours per year (annual reporting); and 1,000 end users at 325 hours per year (periodic certification of purchases of critical use methyl bromide at the time of each purchase). The total industry burden is therefore 1,595 hours per year.

The annual public application burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 38 hours per response (570 hours divided by 15 responses). The annual public reporting and recordkeeping burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 0.64 hours per response (1,025 hours divided by 1,614 responses). Overall, the total annual public burden (application, reporting, and recordkeeping) for this collection of information is estimated to average 1.0 hours per response (1,595 hours divided by 1,629 responses).

The total annual labor cost burden associated with information collection request is $624,721. EPA estimates the costs as follows: Application costs totaling $80,883 per year, recordkeeping and reporting costs totaling $506,814 per year, and self-certification by producers, importers, distributors, and end users costing $37,024 per year. EPA estimates the capital costs to be $0.

Are there changes in the estimates from the last approval?

There is a decrease of 1,663 hours in the total estimated respondent burden compared with the burden currently approved by OMB. The primary reason for the decrease in burden hours is a decrease in the number of applicants and end users as well as distributors of methyl bromide. The CUE Allocation rule for 2014/2015 removed minor reporting and recordkeeping requirements related to critical stock allowances. In addition, after December 31, 2014, when methyl bromide is phased out in developing countries, certain reporting requirements related to the production and export of methyl bromide to those countries are no longer applicable.

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: December 15, 2014.

Drusilla Hufford,

Director, Stratospheric Protection Division.

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[FR Doc. 2014-30603 Filed 12-29-14; 8:45 am]

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