[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 64 (Tuesday, April 4, 2006)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 16699-16703]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 06-3204]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 18

[FRL-8053-3]
RIN 2030-AA91


Environmental Protection Research Fellowships and Special 
Research Consultants for Environmental Protection

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Direct final rule.

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SUMMARY: The EPA is taking direct final action on the implementation of 
the EPA's statutory authority in Title II of the Interior, Environment, 
and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2006 (Pub. L. 109-54) that 
will allow the EPA to establish fellowships in environmental protection 
research, appoint fellows to conduct this research, and appoint special 
research consultants to advise on environmental protection research. 
Under an administrative provision of Public Law 109-54, the 
Administrator may, after consultation with the Office of Personnel 
Management, make up to five (5) appointments in any fiscal year from 
2006 to 2011 for the Office of Research and Development. Appointees 
under this authority shall be employees of the EPA and will engage in 
activities related to scientific and engineering research that support 
EPA's mission to protect the environment and human health.

DATES: This rule is effective on June 5, 2006 without further notice, 
unless the EPA receives adverse comment by May 4, 2006. If we receive 
such comment, we will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal 
Register informing the public that this rule will not take effect.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-
OARM-2006-0249, by one of the following methods:
     Federal Docket Management System (FDMS): http://
www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Mail: John O'Brien, Office of Human Resources/Office of 
Administration and Resources Management, Mail Code: 3631M, United 
States Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., 
Washington, DC 20460; e-mail address: obrien.johnt@epa.gov.
     Hand Delivery: Office of Environmental Information Docket, 
Environmental Protection Agency, EPA West Building, Room B102, 1301 
Constitution Ave., NW., 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-OARM-
2006-0249. The EPA's policy is that all comments received will be 
included in the public docket without change and may be made available 
online at http://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 Federal 
Docket Management System (FDMS) or

[[Page 16700]]

e-mail. FDMS is an ``anonymous access'' system. This means that the EPA 
will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide 
it in the body of your comment. If you send an e-mail comment directly 
to the EPA without going through FDMS, your e-mail 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. The EPA 
recommends that you include your name and other contact information in 
the body of your electronic comment with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. 
If the EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and 
cannot contact you for clarification, the 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.
    Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in FDMS at http://
www.regulations.gov. Although listed in the index, some information is 
not publicly available, i.e., 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 in FDMS or in hard copy at the Office 
of Environmental Information Docket, EPA/DC, EPA West, Room B102, 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 Office of Environmental 
Information Docket is (202) 566-1752.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information, please 
contact John O'Brien at (202) 564-7876, Office of Human Resources/
Office of Administration and Resources Management, Mail Code 3631M, 
Room 1136 EPA-East, United States Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 
Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; e-mail address: 
obrien.johnt@epa.gov. You may also contact William Ocampo at (202) 564-
0987 or Robert Stevens at (202) 564-5703, Office of Research and 
Development, Mail Code 8102R, United States Environmental Protection 
Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; e-mail 
addresses: ocampo.william@epa.gov and stevens.robert@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The EPA is publishing this rule without 
prior proposal because we view this as a non-controversial amendment 
and anticipate no adverse comment. We anticipate no adverse comment 
because this rule implements statutory authority for activities that 
affect management and personnel functions of the EPA with little or no 
impact on the entities that are normally regulated by the Agency or on 
the public in general. However, in the ``Proposed Rules'' section of 
today's Federal Register publication, we are publishing a separate 
document that will serve as the proposal to implement the EPA's 
statutory authority (in Title II of the Interior, Environment, and 
Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2006 (Pub. L. 109-54) that 
together with 42 U.S.C. 209 will allow the EPA to establish fellowships 
in environmental protection research, appoint fellows to conduct this 
research, and appoint special research consultants to advise on 
environmental protection research) if adverse comments are filed. This 
rule will be effective on June 5, 2006 without further notice unless we 
receive adverse comment by May 4, 2006. If the EPA receives adverse 
comment, we will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register 
informing the public that the rule will not take effect. We will 
address all public comments in a subsequent final rule based on the 
proposed rule. We will not institute a second comment period on this 
action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so at this time.
    The EPA now has authority under 42 U.S.C. 209 to (1) Establish 
fellowships in environmental protection research and appoint fellows to 
conduct this research and (2) appoint environmental protection special 
consultants to advise on environmental protection research. This 
authority is not subject to the federal civil service laws for 
employees specified in 5 U.S.C. The EPA acquired this appointment 
authority in an administrative provision in Title II of the Interior, 
Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. This provision 
authorizes the Administrator, after consultation with the Office of 
Personnel Management, to make up to five (5) appointments in any fiscal 
year from 2006 to 2011 for the Office of Research and Development under 
the authority provided in 42 U.S.C. 209. The EPA has not previously 
used the 42 U.S.C. 209 appointment authority, and hereby proposes to 
establish such rules as are necessary to implement the authority. 
Appointees under this authority will engage in activities related to 
scientific and engineering research that support the EPA's mission to 
protect the environment and human health and will be employees of the 
EPA.

Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review: Under 
Executive Order 12866, (58 FR 51,735 (October 4, 1993)) the Agency must 
determine whether the regulatory action is ``significant,'' and 
therefore, subject to OMB review and the requirements of the Executive 
Order. The Order defines ``significant regulatory action'' as one that 
is likely to result in a rule that may: have an annual effect on the 
economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way 
the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, 
the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal 
governments or communities; create a serious inconsistency or otherwise 
interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; materially 
alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan 
programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or raise 
novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the 
President's priorities, or the principles set forth in the Executive 
Order. It has been determined that this rule is not a ``significant 
regulatory action'' under the terms of Executive Order 12866, and is 
therefore, not subject to OMB review because the authority for 
establishing fellowships and appointing fellows and special consultants 
does not meet any of the criteria.
    Paperwork Reduction Act: This action does not impose an information 
collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 
44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. The action will authorize the Agency to recruit 
candidates for position vacancies and to require that candidates submit 
information relating to their qualifications for the vacancy. The 
information collected for such recruitment activities will follow the 
same guidelines as are currently followed by the Agency. Burden means 
the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to 
generate, maintain, retain, 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

[[Page 16701]]

previously applicable instructions and requirements; 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. 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 the EPA's regulations are listed in 40 CFR 
part 9 and 48 CFR chapter 15.
    Regulatory Flexibility Act: Today's final rule is not subject to 
the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), as amended by the Small Business 
Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBRERA), 5 U.S.C. 601 et 
seq. The RFA generally requires an agency to prepare a regulatory 
flexibility analysis for any rule that will have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. The RFA applies only 
to rules subject to notice-and-comment rulemaking requirements under 
the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) or any other statute. This rule 
is not subject to notice and comment requirements under the APA or any 
other statute because the rule pertains to agency management or 
personnel whom the APA expressly exempts from notice and comment rule 
making requirements (5 U.S.C. 553(a)(2)).
    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act: Title II of the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), (Pub. L. 104-4), establishes requirements 
for Federal agencies to assess the effects of their regulatory actions 
on State, local, and tribal governments and the private sector. Under 
section 202 of the UMRA, the EPA generally must prepare a written 
statement, including a cost-benefit analysis, for proposed and final 
rules with ``Federal mandates'' that may result in expenditures to 
State, local, and tribal governments in the aggregate, or to the 
private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year. Before 
promulgating an EPA rule for which a written statement is needed, 
section 205 of the UMRA generally requires the EPA to identify and 
consider a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives and to adopt 
the least costly, most cost-effective or least burdensome alternative 
that achieves the objectives of the rule. The provisions of section 205 
do not apply when they are inconsistent with applicable law. Moreover, 
section 205 allows EPA to adopt an alternative other than the least 
costly, most cost-effective, or least burdensome alternative if the 
Administrator publishes an explanation on why that alternative was not 
adopted with the final rule. Before the EPA establishes any regulatory 
requirements that may significantly or uniquely affect small 
governments, including tribal governments, it must have developed under 
section 203 of the UMRA a small government agency plan. The plan must 
provide for notifying potentially affected small governments, enabling 
officials of affected small governments to have meaningful and timely 
input in the development of the EPA regulatory proposals with 
significant Federal intergovernmental mandates, and for informing, 
educating, and advising small governments on compliance with the 
regulatory requirements. Today's rule contains no Federal mandates 
(under the regulatory provisions of Title II of the UMRA) for State, 
local, or tribal governments or the private sector. The rule imposes no 
enforceable duty on any State, local, or tribal governments or the 
private sector; thus, today's rule is not subject to the requirements 
of sections 202 and 205 of the UMRA.
    Executive Order 13132--Federalism: Executive Order 13132, entitled 
``Federalism'' (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999), requires the EPA to 
develop an accountable process to ensure ``meaningful and timely input 
by State and local officials in the development of regulatory policies 
that have federalism implications.'' ``Policies that have federalism 
implications'' is defined in the Executive Order to include regulations 
that 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.'' This final rule 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, as specified in Executive Order 13132. Thus, Executive 
Order 13132 does not apply to this rule.
    Executive Order 13175--Consultation and Coordination with Indian 
Tribal Governments: Executive Order 13175, entitled ``Consultation and 
Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments'' (65 FR 67249, November 9, 
2000), requires EPA to develop an accountable process to ensure 
``meaningful and timely input by tribal officials in the development of 
regulatory policies that have tribal implications.'' This final rule 
does not have tribal implications, as specified in Executive Order 
13175. This final rule pertains to the management and personnel 
functions of the EPA. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to 
this rule.
    Executive Order 13045--Protection of Children from Environmental 
Health Risks and Safety Risks: (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997) applies to 
any rule that (1) Is determined to be ``economically significant'' as 
defined under Executive Order 12866, and (2) concerns an environmental 
health or safety risk that the EPA has reason to believe may have a 
disproportionate effect on children. If the regulatory action meets 
both criteria, the Agency must evaluate the environmental health or 
safety effects of the planned rule on children, and explain why the 
planned regulation is preferable to other potentially effective and 
reasonably feasible alternatives considered by the Agency.
    This direct final rule is not subject to the Executive Order 
because it is not economically significant as defined in Executive 
Order 12866, and because the Agency does not have reason to believe the 
environmental health or safety risks addressed by this action present a 
disproportionate risk to children.
    Executive Order 13211--Actions that Significantly Affect Energy 
Supply, Distribution and Use: This rule is not subject to Executive 
Order 13211, ``Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect 
Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use'' (66 FR (May 22, 2001)) because it 
is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.
    National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act: Section 12(d) of 
the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 
(``NTTAA''), Public Law No. 104-113, 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272 note) directs 
the EPA to use voluntary consensus standards in its regulatory 
activities unless to do so would be inconsistent with applicable law or 
otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical 
standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling 
procedures, and business practices) that are developed or adopted by 
voluntary consensus standards bodies. The NTTAA directs the EPA to 
provide Congress, through OMB, explanations when EPA decides not to use 
available and applicable voluntary consensus standards. This action 
does not involve technical standards. Therefore, the EPA is not 
considering the use of any voluntary consensus standards.
    Congressional Review Act: The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 
801 et seq., as added to by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement 
Fairness Act of 1996, generally provides that before a rule may take 
effect, the agency promulgating the rule must submit a rule report, 
which includes a copy of the rule, to each House of the

[[Page 16702]]

Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. Section 
804 exempts from section 801 the following types of rules of particular 
applicability: rules relating to agency management or personnel; and 
rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice that do not 
substantially affect the rights or obligations of non-agency parties (5 
U.S.C. 804(3). The EPA is not required to submit a rule report 
regarding today's action under section 801 because this is a rule 
relating to agency personnel.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 18

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, 
Special employment actions.

    Dated: March 27, 2006.
Stephen L. Johnson,
Administrator.

0
For the reasons set out in the preamble, 40 CFR chapter I is amended by 
adding part 18 as follows:

PART 18--ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION RESEARCH FELLOWSHIPS AND SPECIAL 
RESEARCH CONSULTANTS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Sec.
18.1 Definitions.
18.2 Applicability.
18.3 Purpose of Environmental Protection Research Fellowships.
18.4 Establishment of Environmental Protection Research Fellowships.
18.5 Qualifications of Environmental Protection Research Fellows.
18.6 Method of Application.
18.7 Selection and Appointment of Environmental Protection Research 
Fellows.
18.8 Stipends, Allowances, and Benefits.
18.9 Duration of Environmental Protection Research Fellowships.
18.10 Appointment of Special Research Consultants for Environmental 
Protection.
18.11 Standards of Conduct and Financial Disclosure.

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 209; Pub. L. 109-54, 119 Stat. 531.


Sec.  18.1  Definitions.

    As used in this part, continental United States does not include 
Hawaii or Alaska. The Administrator means the Administrator of the EPA 
and any other officer or employee of the Agency to whom the authority 
involved may be delegated. An Environmental Protection Research 
Fellowship is one which requires the performance of services, either 
full or part time, for the EPA. A Special Research Consultant for 
Environmental Protection is a special consultant appointed to assist 
and advise in the operations of the research activities of the EPA.


Sec.  18.2  Applicability.

    The regulations in this part apply to the establishment of 
Environmental Protection Research Fellowships, the designation of 
persons to receive such fellowships, the appointment of Environmental 
Protection Research fellows, and the appointment of Special Research 
Consultants for environmental protection in the EPA. The EPA's 
statutory authority for these actions is established in Title II of the 
Interior, Environmental and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2006 
(Pub. L. 109-54). Under an administrative provision of Public Law 109-
54 the Administrator may, after consultation with the Office of 
Personnel Management, make up to five (5) appointments in any fiscal 
year from 2006 to 2011 for the Office of Research and Development under 
the authority provided in 42 U.S.C. 209. Appointees under this 
statutory authority shall be employees of the EPA.


Sec.  18.3  Purpose of Environmental Protection Research Fellowships.

    Environmental Protection Research Fellowships in the Agency are for 
the purpose of encouraging and promoting research, studies, and 
investigations related to the protection of human health and the 
environment. Such fellowships may be provided to secure the services of 
talented scientists and engineers for a period of limited duration for 
research that furthers the EPA's mission where the nature of the work 
or the character of the individual's services render customary 
employing methods impracticable or less effective.


Sec.  18.4  Establishment of Environmental Protection Research 
Fellowships.

    All Environmental Protection Research fellowships shall be 
established by the Administrator or designee. In establishing an 
Environmental Protection Research fellowship, or a series of 
Environmental Protection Research fellowships, the Administrator shall 
prescribe in writing the conditions (in addition to those provided in 
the regulations in this part) under which Environmental Protection 
Research fellows will be appointed and will hold their fellowships.


Sec.  18.5  Qualifications for Environmental Protection Research 
Fellowships.

    Scholastic and other qualifications shall be prescribed by the 
Administrator or designee for each Environmental Protection Research 
fellowship, or series of Environmental Protection Research fellowships. 
Each individual appointed to an Environmental Protection Research 
fellowship shall: have presented satisfactory evidence of general 
suitability, including professional and personal fitness; possess any 
other qualifications as reasonably may be prescribed; and meet all 
requirements and standards for documentation and disclosure of 
conflicts of interest and ethical professional conduct.


Sec.  18.6  Method of Application.

    Application for an Environmental Protection Research fellowship 
shall be made in accordance with procedures established by the 
Administrator or designee.


Sec.  18.7  Selection and appointment of Environmental Protection 
Research Fellows.

    The Administrator or designee shall do the following: prescribe a 
suitable professional and personal fitness review and an examination of 
the applicant's qualifications; designate in writing persons to receive 
Environmental Protection Research fellowships; and establish procedures 
for the appointment of Environmental Protection Research fellows.


Sec.  18.8  Stipends, Allowances, and Benefits.

    (a) Stipends. Each Environmental Protection Research fellow shall 
be entitled to such stipend as is authorized by the Administrator or 
designee.
    (b) Travel and transportation allowances. Under conditions 
prescribed by the Administrator or designee, an individual appointed as 
an Environmental Protection Research fellow may be authorized travel 
and transportation or relocation allowances for his or her immediate 
family under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5 U.S.C. 5701, in 
conjunction with travel authorized by the Administrator or designee. 
Included under this part is travel from place of residence, within or 
outside the continental United States, to first duty station; for any 
change of duty station ordered by the Administrator or designee during 
the term of the fellowship; and from last duty station to the place of 
residence which the individual left to accept the fellowship, or to 
some other place at no greater cost to the Government. An Environmental 
Protection Research fellow shall be entitled to travel allowances or 
transportation and per diem while traveling on official business away 
from his or her permanent duty station during the term of the 
fellowship. Except as otherwise provided herein, an Environmental 
Protection Research fellow shall be entitled to travel and 
transportation allowances authorized in this part at the same rates as 
may be

[[Page 16703]]

authorized by law and regulations for other civilian employees of the 
EPA. If an Environmental Protection Research fellow dies during the 
term of a fellowship, and the place of residence that was left by the 
fellow to accept the fellowship was outside the continental United 
States, the payment of expenses of preparing the remains for burial and 
transporting them to the place of residence for interment may be 
authorized. In the case of deceased fellows whose place of residence 
was within the continental United States, payment of the expenses of 
preparing the remains and transporting them to the place of residence 
for interment may be authorized as provided for other civilian 
employees of the Agency.
    (c) Benefits. In addition to other benefits provided herein, 
Environmental Protection Research fellows shall be entitled to benefits 
as provided by law or regulation for other civilian employees of the 
Agency.
    (d) Training. Environmental Protection Research fellows are 
eligible for training at Government expense on the same basis as other 
Agency employees.


Sec.  18.9  Duration of Environmental Protection Research Fellowships.

    Initial appointments to Environmental Protection Research 
fellowships may be made for varying periods not in excess of 5 years. 
Such an appointment may be extended for varying periods not in excess 
of 5 years for each period in accordance with procedures and 
requirements established by the Administrator or designee.


Sec.  18.10  Appointment of Special Research Consultants for 
Environmental Protection.

    (a) Purpose. When the EPA requires the services of consultants with 
expertise in environmental sciences or engineering who cannot be 
obtained when needed through regular civil service appointment or under 
the compensation provisions of the Classification Act of 1949, Special 
Research Consultants may be appointed to assist and advise in the 
operations of the EPA, subject to the provisions of the following 
paragraphs and in accordance with such instructions as may be issued 
from time to time by the Administrator or designee.
    (b) Appointments. Appointments, pursuant to the provisions of this 
section, may be made by those officials in the EPA to whom authority 
has been delegated by the Administrator or designee.
    (c) Compensation. The per diem or other rates of compensation shall 
be fixed by the appointing officer in accordance with criteria 
established by the Administrator or designee.


Sec.  18.11  Standards of Conduct and Financial Disclosure.

    All individuals appointed to an Environmental Protection Research 
Fellowship or as a Special Research Consultant shall be subject to the 
same current standards and disclosure regulations and requirements as 
Title 5 appointees.

[FR Doc. 06-3204 Filed 4-3-06; 8:45 am]
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