[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 91 (Tuesday, May 11, 2004)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 26059-26061]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-10651]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 82

[FRL-7659-5]


Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Notice of Data Availability; 
New Information Concerning Carbon Dioxide Total Flooding Fire 
Extinguishing Systems Listed Under the SNAP Program as an Acceptable 
Substitute for Ozone-Depleting Halons

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice of data availability and request for comment.

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SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making available 
to the public new information related to carbon dioxide 
(CO2) total flooding fire extinguishing systems, which are 
currently listed in the fire suppression sector as an acceptable 
substitute for ozone-depleting halon 1301 under the Significant New 
Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program, pursuant to section 612 of the 
Clean Air Act. Under the Clean Air Act, as amended in 1990, and our 
regulations, the SNAP program reviews alternatives to Class I and Class 
II ozone-depleting substances and approves use of alternatives which 
reduce the overall risk to public health and the environment. Beginning 
with the March 18, 1994 rule which established the SNAP program, a 
number of alternative fire protection technologies have been approved, 
including CO2 systems which was listed as an acceptable 
halon 1301 substitute in total flooding applications.
    Since the initial SNAP listing, EPA has continued to raise 
awareness about the precautions needed in using CO2 systems 
and has worked with the fire protection industry to promote responsible 
use of these and other technologies. The Agency has also collected 
additional information on potential safety hazards associated with 
carbon dioxide systems, and on the increasing use of CO2 
total flooding fire extinguishing systems, particularly in the marine 
sector for systems protecting machinery spaces on ships. Today, the 
Agency is making available for public review and comment two reports: 
Review of the Use of Carbon Dioxide Total Flooding Fire Extinguishing 
Systems (Wickham, R.T., 2003) and Carbon Dioxide as a Fire Suppressant: 
Examining the Risks (EPA, 2000). We plan to consider the information 
contained in these two reports and any comment received during the 
comment period in reviewing the current SNAP listing for the use of 
CO2 in total flooding applications. If, after considering 
this information and comments, we intend to change the current 
acceptability determination, we will issue a proposed rule.

DATES: We will accept comments on the new information through June 10, 
2004.

ADDRESSES: Comments may also be submitted electronically, by facsimile, 
or through hand delivery/courier. Follow the detailed instructions as 
provided at the beginning of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information about this 
notice, contact Bella Maranion by telephone at (202) 343-9749, or by e-
mail at maranion.bella@epa.gov. Notices and rulemakings under the SNAP 
program are available on the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/
regs. Information related to this notice is available online through 
EPA Dockets at http://www.epa.gov/edocket/ as described below in 
Section I under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. General Information
    A. How Can I Get Copies of Related Information?
    B. How and To Whom Do I Submit Comments?
    C. How Should I Submit CBI To the Agency?
II. What is today's action?
III. What information is EPA making available for review?
IV. Where can I get the information?
V. Why is EPA making this information available?
VI. What supporting documentation do I need to include in my 
comments?

I. General Information

A. How Can I Get Copies of Related Information?

1. Docket
    EPA has established an official public docket for this action under 
Docket ID No. OAR-2004-0024. The official public docket consists of the 
documents specifically referenced in this action, any public comments 
received, and other information related to this action. Although a part 
of the official docket, the public docket does not include Confidential 
Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is 
restricted by statute. The official public docket is the collection of 
materials that is available for public viewing at the Air and Radiation 
Docket in the EPA Docket Center, (EPA/DC) EPA West, Room B102, 1301 
Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The EPA Docket Center 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) 566-1742, and the telephone number for the Air and 
Radiation Docket is (202) 566-1742.
2. Electronic Access
    An electronic version of the public docket is available through 
EPA's electronic public docket and comment system, EPA Dockets. You may 
use EPA Dockets at http://www.epa.gov/edocket/ to submit or view public 
comments, access the index listing of the contents of the official 
public docket, and to access those documents in the public docket that 
are available electronically. Once in the system, select ``search'', 
then key in the appropriate docket identification number. Certain types 
of

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information will not be placed in the EPA Dockets. Information claimed 
as CBI and other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute, 
which is not included in the official public docket, will not be 
available for public viewing in EPA's electronic public docket. EPA's 
policy is that copyrighted material will not be placed in EPA's 
electronic public docket but will be available only in printed, paper 
form in the official public docket. Although not all docket materials 
may be available electronically, you may still access any of the 
publicly available docket materials through the docket facility 
identified in section I.B.1. above. For public commenters, it is 
important to note that EPA's policy is that public comments, whether 
submitted electronically or in paper, will be made available for public 
viewing in EPA's electronic public docket as EPA receives them and 
without change, unless the comment contains copyrighted material, CBI, 
or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. When 
EPA identifies a comment containing copyrighted material, EPA will 
provide a reference to that material in the version of the comment that 
is placed in EPA's electronic public docket. The entire printed 
comment, including the copyrighted material, will be available in the 
public docket. Public comments submitted on computer disks that are 
mailed or delivered to the docket will be transferred to EPA's 
electronic public docket. Public comments that are mailed or delivered 
to the Docket will be scanned and placed in EPA's electronic public 
docket. Where practical, physical objects will be photographed, and the 
photograph will be placed in EPA's electronic public docket along with 
a brief description written by the docket staff.

B. How and to Whom Do I Submit Comments?

    You may submit comments electronically, by mail, by facsimile, or 
through hand delivery/courier. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, 
identify the appropriate docket identification number in the subject 
line on the first page of your comment. Please ensure that your 
comments are submitted within the specified comment period. Comments 
received after the close of the comment period will be marked ``late.'' 
EPA is not required to consider these late comments. If you wish to 
submit CBI or information that is otherwise protected by statute, 
please follow the instructions in section I.D. Do not use EPA Dockets 
or e-mail to submit CBI or information protected by statute.
    1. Electronically. If you submit an electronic comment as 
prescribed below, EPA recommends that you include your name, mailing 
address, and an e-mail address or other contact information in the body 
of your comment. Also include this contact information on the outside 
of any disk or CD ROM you submit, and in any cover letter accompanying 
the disk or CD ROM. This ensures that you can be identified as the 
submitter of the comment and allows EPA to contact you in case EPA 
cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties or needs further 
information on the substance of your comment. EPA's policy is that EPA 
will not edit your comment, and any identifying or contact information 
provided in the body of a comment will be included as part of the 
comment that is placed in the official public docket, and made 
available in EPA's electronic public docket. 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. Your use 
of EPA's electronic public docket to submit comments to EPA 
electronically is EPA's preferred method for receiving comments. Go 
directly to EPA Dockets at http://www.epa.gov/edocket, and follow the 
online instructions for submitting comments. To access EPA's electronic 
public docket from the EPA Internet Home Page, select ``Information 
Sources'', ``Dockets'', and ``EPA Dockets''. Once in the system, select 
``search,'' and then key in Docket ID No. OAR-2004-0024. The system is 
an ``anonymous access'' system, which means EPA will not know your 
identity, e-mail address, or other contact information unless you 
provide it in the body of your comment.
    Comments may be sent by electronic mail (e-mail) to A-And-R-
Docket@epa.gov, Attention Docket ID No. OAR-2004-0024. In contrast to 
EPA's electronic public docket, EPA's e-mail system is not an 
``anonymous access'' system. If you send an e-mail comment directly to 
the Docket without going through EPA's electronic public docket, EPA's 
e-mail system automatically captures your e-mail address. E-mail 
addresses that are automatically captured by EPA's e-mail system are 
included as part of the comment that is placed in the official public 
docket, and made available in EPA's electronic public docket.
    You may submit comments on a disk or CD ROM that you mail to the 
mailing address identified in section I.B.2. These electronic 
submissions will be accepted in WordPerfect or ASCII file format. Avoid 
the use of special characters and any form of encryption.
    2. By Mail. Send two copies of your comments to: Air and Radiation 
Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 6102T, 1200 
Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460, Attention Docket ID No. 
OAR-2003-0228.
    3. By Hand Delivery or Courier. Deliver your comments to: EPA 
Docket Center, (EPA/DC) EPA West, Room B102, 1301 Constitution Ave., 
NW., Washington, DC., Attention Docket ID No. OAR-2003-0228. Such 
deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal hours of 
operation as identified in section I.B.1.
    4. By Facsimile. Fax your comments to: 202-566-1741, Attention 
Docket ID. No. OAR-2003-0228.

C. How Should I Submit CBI to the Agency?

    Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI 
electronically through EPA's electronic public docket or by e-mail. 
Send or deliver information identified as CBI only to the following 
address: Bella Maranion, U.S. EPA, 8th floor, 1310 L Street NW., 
Washington DC 20005 via overnight delivery service, Attention Docket ID 
No. OAR-2004-0024. You may claim information that you submit to EPA as 
CBI by marking any part or all of that information as CBI (if you 
submit CBI on disk or CD ROM, 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 CBI). Information so marked will not be 
disclosed except in accordance with procedures set forth in 40 CAR part 
2.
    In addition to one complete version of the comment that includes 
any 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 and EPA's electronic public docket. If you submit 
the copy that does not contain CBI on disk or CD ROM, mark the outside 
of the disk or CD ROM clearly that it does not contain CBI. Information 
not marked as CBI will be included in the public docket and EPA's 
electronic public docket without prior notice. If you have any 
questions about CBI or the procedures for claiming CBI, please consult 
the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

II. What Is Today's Action?

    Today, we are making new information available on the use of 
CO2 total flooding fire extinguishing systems listed under 
EPA's SNAP program as

[[Page 26061]]

acceptable substitutes for ozone-depleting halon 1301 in total flooding 
applications (59 FR 13044). Under the terms of the Montreal Protocol on 
Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, EPA promulgated regulations to 
phase out the production and import of halon 1301 effective January 1, 
1994. In response to the halon phase out, the fire protection industry 
has developed a number of safe, effective alternatives. The SNAP 
program reviews alternatives to Class I and Class II ozone-depleting 
substances and approves use of alternatives which reduce the overall 
risk to public health and the environment. A number of alternatives 
have been suggested by industry, including CO2 systems. The 
March 18, 1994 final rule established the SNAP program and issued EPA's 
initial decisions on the acceptability and unacceptability of 
substitutes for ozone-depleting substances. The original SNAP rule 
listed carbon dioxide as an acceptable halon 1301 substitute in total 
flooding applications. At the time, EPA noted that while water, carbon 
dioxide, foam, and dry chemical were currently in use, these substances 
fell within the definition of alternative technology for fire 
suppression and explosion protection (59 FR 13101). In these cases, EPA 
simply listed these as acceptable and noted their applicable National 
Fire Protection Association (NFPA) industry standards; EPA did not 
perform the same assessment of potential health and environmental 
impacts as for the new alternative technologies such as water mist 
systems and the new in-kind fire suppressants such as 
hydrofluorocarbons and inert gases.
    In 2000, EPA published a report Carbon Dioxide as a Fire 
Suppressant: Examining the Risks, to provide users of total flooding 
halon systems who may be unfamiliar with total flooding CO2 
systems with information regarding the potential safety hazards 
associated with carbon dioxide systems, including accidental discharges 
or improper use. Appropriate precautions must be taken before switching 
to CO2 systems. With the report, EPA attempted to raise 
awareness and promote the responsible use of CO2 fire 
suppression systems.
    Since that publication, EPA received information indicating a 
resurgence in use of CO2 total flooding fire extinguishing 
systems, particularly in the marine sector for systems protecting 
machinery spaces on ships. In 2003, EPA funded a report to provide 
information on the growing use of CO2 fire extinguishing 
systems, particularly in the marine market. The report Review of the 
Use of Carbon Dioxide Total Flooding Fire Extinguishing Systems 
(Wickham, Robert T., 2003) considers the personnel safety risks from 
use in occupied areas, compares these systems to halon and other halon 
alternatives, and recommends changes in industry standards for 
improving safety.
    Today, the Agency is making available for public review and comment 
these two reports. The purpose of making the reports available is to 
request comment on the accuracy and completeness of the technical 
information and data. We plan to consider the information in these 
reports and any comment received during the comment period in reviewing 
the current SNAP listing for the use of CO2 in total 
flooding fire extinguishing applications. If, based on our review and 
consideration of comments, we determine to change our current 
acceptability listing decision, we will issue a proposed rule.

III. What Information Is EPA Making Available for Review and Comment?

    The Agency is seeking comment on the accuracy and thoroughness of 
the information in the above reports: Carbon Dioxide as a Fire 
Suppressant: Examining the Risks and Review of the Use of Carbon 
Dioxide Total Flooding Fire Extinguishing Systems, specifically:

--Overview of historical and current use of CO2 fire 
extinguishing systems;
--Potential risks of CO2 systems;
--The comparison of CO2 systems with other halon alternative 
systems in terms of technical and economic viability;
--Personnel safety standards in existing regulations, standards, and 
codes.

IV. Where Can I Get the Information Being Made Available for Comment?

    All of the information on which we are seeking comment can be 
obtained through the Air Docket (see Supplemental Information section 
above for docket contact info) with the reference numbers as follows:

--Carbon Dioxide as a Fire Suppressant: Examining the Risks Air Docket, 
OAR-2004-0024 reference number II-A-1
--Report on the Use of Carbon Dioxide Total Flooding Fire Extinguishing 
Systems Air Docket, OAR-2004-0024 reference number II-A-2

V. Why Is EPA Making This Information Available?

    We are considering whether to revise the current acceptable SNAP 
determination for CO2 as a halon 1301 substitute in total 
flooding applications because of reports on increasing use and 
continuing injuries and fatalities, indicating CO2 systems 
may pose greater risks to human health than other available 
substitutes. We are soliciting comment on this new information to 
ensure that we use the most accurate information available in our 
review of the current listing for CO2 total flooding fire 
extinguishing systems. The Agency is providing the public with an 
opportunity to comment on the quality of the available information and 
to provide additional data for our consideration. We will use this 
information to ensure that we fully consider issues relating to the 
technical viability of alternatives, human health and safety, and 
industry impacts in our review of the current SNAP listing for 
CO2 systems in total flooding applications.

VI. What Supporting Documentation Do I Need To Include in My Comments?

    Please provide any published studies or data supporting your 
statements.

    Dated: May 3, 2004.
Brian McLean,
Director, Office of Atmospheric Programs, Office of Air and Radiation.
[FR Doc. 04-10651 Filed 5-10-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P