[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 226 (Wednesday, November 25, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 61679-61681]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-28059]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0773; FRL-8800-5]


Clean Water Act and Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and 
Rodenticide Act Common Effects Aquatic Life Assessment for Pesticides 
Using Available Data: Regional Stakeholder Meetings

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice of Public Meetings.

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SUMMARY: EPA will conduct six public meetings to solicit input on 
methods being evaluated by the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) and 
the Office of Water (OW), with the support of the Office of Research 
and Development (ORD) to characterize effects from pesticides on fish, 
other aquatic organisms, and aquatic plants in aquatic ecosystems. 
These public meetings will be held in Chicago, IL (Region 5), Edison, 
NJ (Region 2), Kansas City, KS (Region 7), Atlanta, GA (Region 4), San 
Francisco, CA (Region 9), and Seattle, WA (Region 10), starting in 
January 2010. At the public meetings, EPA will provide presentations 
that detail its initial thinking on how to ensure that pesticide 
effects are characterized consistently by both OPP and OW.

DATES: The public meetings will be held on the following dates: January 
11, 2010; January 12, 2010; January 14, 2010; January 19, 2010; January 
21, 2010; and January 22, 2010.

ADDRESSES: The meetings will be held at the following locations and 
times:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Date                       Time              Location
------------------------------------------------------------------------
January 11, 2010                  1 p.m. to 5 p.m.    EPA Region 2
                                                      2890 Woodbridge
                                                       Ave.
                                                      Building 205 Main
                                                       Conference Room
                                                      Edison, NJ 08837
------------------------------------------------------------------------
January 12, 2010                  1 p.m. to 5 p.m.    EPA Region 4
                                                      Sam Nunn Atlanta
                                                       Federal Center
                                                      Augusta Conference
                                                       Room
                                                      61 Forsyth St., SW
                                                      Atlanta, GA 30303
------------------------------------------------------------------------
January 14, 2010                  9 a.m. to 1 p.m     EPA Region 5
                                                      Ralph Metcalfe
                                                       Federal Building
                                                      Valdas V. Adamkus
                                                       Resource Center -
                                                       12th Floor
                                                      Lake Michigan Room
                                                      77 W. Jackson
                                                       Boulevard
                                                      Chicago, IL 60604
------------------------------------------------------------------------
January 19, 2010                  9 a.m. to 1 p.m     EPA Region 7
                                                      901 North 5th St.
                                                      Room 2240 A
                                                      Kansas City, KS
                                                       66101
------------------------------------------------------------------------
January 21, 2010                  9 a.m. to 1 p.m     EPA Region 10
                                                      1200 Sixth Ave.,
                                                       Suite 900
                                                      Seattle, WA 98101
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January 22, 2010                  1 p.m. to 4 p.m.    EPA Region 9
                                                      Ronald V. Dellums
                                                       Federal Building
                                                      Edward R. Roybal
                                                       Auditorium and
                                                       Conference Center
                                                      1301 Clay St.
                                                      Oakland, CA 94612
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Additional information concerning these meetings will be available on 
December 1, 2009 at the following web site: www.epa.gov/oppefed1/cwa_fifra_effects_methodology/index.html.
    To request accommodation of a disability, please contact the person 
listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATON CONTACT, preferably at least 10 
days prior to the meeting, to give EPA as much time as possible to 
process your request.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jane Hopkins, Field and External 
Affairs Division (7506P), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental 
Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20460; 
telephone number: (703) 305-7195; e-mail address: hopkins.jane@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

[[Page 61680]]

I. General Information

A. Does this Action Apply to Me?

    This action is directed to the public in general, and may be of 
interest to a wide range of stakeholders, including environmental, 
water resources professionals, and agricultural advocates, the chemical 
industry, pesticide users, and members of the public interested in the 
sale, distribution, or use of pesticides. Since others also may be 
interested, the Agency has not attempted to describe all the specific 
entities that may be affected by this action. If you have any questions 
regarding the applicability of this action to a particular entity, 
consult the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

B. How Can I Get Copies of this Document and Other Related Information?

    EPA has established a docket for this action under docket ID number 
EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0773. Publicly available docket materials are available 
either in the electronic docket at http://www.regulations.gov, or, if 
only available in hard copy, at the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) 
Regulatory Public Docket in Rm. S-4400, One Potomac Yard (South Bldg.), 
2777 S. Crystal Dr., Arlington, VA. The hours of operation of this 
Docket Facility are from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
excluding legal holidays. The Docket Facility telephone number is (703) 
305-5805.

II. Background

    Section 304(a)(1) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) requires EPA to 
develop, publish, and from time to time, revise criteria for water 
quality accurately reflecting the latest scientific knowledge. Water 
quality criteria are scientifically derived numeric values that measure 
the level beyond which pollutants in ambient water will have 
deleterious effects on aquatic life or human health. Water quality 
criteria developed under Section 304(a) are based solely on data and 
scientific judgments on the relationship between pollutant 
concentrations and environmental and human health effects. Section 
304(a) criteria do not reflect consideration of economic impacts or the 
technological feasibility of meeting the chemical concentrations in 
ambient water.
    Section 304(a) criteria provide guidance to states and authorized 
tribes in adopting water quality standards that ultimately provide the 
basis for controlling discharges or releases of pollutants. The 
criteria also provide guidance to EPA when promulgating Federal 
regulations under Section 303(c) when such action is necessary. Under 
the CWA and its implementing regulations, states and authorized tribes 
adopt water quality criteria to measure attainment of designated uses 
(e.g., public water supply, recreational use, industrial use). EPA's 
recommended criteria do not impose legally binding requirements. States 
and authorized tribes have the discretion to adopt, where appropriate, 
other scientifically defensible water quality criteria that differ from 
EPA's recommended criteria.
    FIFRA requires that all pesticides used in the United States be 
registered by EPA for use and, thus, ensures Federal control of 
distribution, sale, and use of pesticides. Registration assures that 
pesticides will be properly labeled and that, if used in accordance 
with labeled specifications, will not cause unreasonable adverse 
effects on human health and the environment. FIFRA ecological risk 
assessments quantitatively evaluate reduced survival of aquatic animals 
from direct acute exposures and survival, growth, and reproductive 
impairment for aquatic animals from direct chronic exposures. 
Assessments for aquatic plants focus on growth rates and biomass 
(reproduction) measurements. Risk management decisions for pesticide 
registration under FIFRA take into consideration benefits in addition 
to risks of pesticides used; however, benefits are not considered in 
characterizing ecological effects under FIFRA or in deriving ambient 
water quality criteria (AWQC) values under CWA.
    For FIFRA ecological effects assessments, EPA peer reviews toxicity 
data provided by the registrant as required by regulation, as well as 
data from public sources obtained from EPA's ECOTOX database. Current 
testing requirements for aquatic organisms include toxicity studies 
containing information on survival, reproduction, and growth endpoints 
for freshwater and estuarine/marine animals and biomass and growth 
endpoints for aquatic plants. These test requirements are defined for 
each chemical class by use category in title 40 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations, part 158. Studies are performed on laboratory test 
organisms in the following broad taxonomic groupings: freshwater fish 
and invertebrates, estuarine/marine fish and invertebrates, and aquatic 
plants. For screening-level assessments, OPP's effects assessments are 
based on the lowest acute and chronic toxicity values from the most 
sensitive species tested in acceptable studies. More refined 
assessments may use the full species sensitivity distribution for a 
given taxa or other toxicity endpoints, as for the variability and 
uncertainty of the data (probabilistic approaches). The ``OPP Aquatic 
Benchmarks'' is a web site developed by OPP that contains the aquatic 
toxicity endpoints used in EPA pesticide risk assessments. (http://www.epa.gov/oppefed1/ecorisk_ders/aquatic_life_benchmarks.htm).
    Although both OPP's and OW's approaches afford a high degree of 
protection for aquatic life, stakeholders have identified a need for 
consistent and timely Federal input that will allow EPA, states, 
tribes, and the public to gauge whether pesticides represent a concern 
for aquatic life, for example, based on water monitoring results. To 
address these concerns, the Agency has begun a process to explore how 
to build on the high quality science in both OW and OPP to develop 
additional tools and approaches to support a consistent and common set 
of effects characterization methods using best available information. A 
Scoping Document has been developed that describes this effort in more 
detail. A letter signed by the Office Directors of OPP and OW, and 
reinforced by the Scoping Document, has invited public participation in 
our collective efforts. Following through on this invitation, regional 
public meetings are being planned for January 2010 to solicit input on 
the Agency's initial thinking regarding methods, tools, and approaches 
that are being developed and evaluated by OPP and OW, with the support 
of ORD, to assure that pesticide ecological effects are characterized 
consistently. The areas for consideration under this effort include:
     Development and evaluation of predictive tools for use in 
development of community level benchmarks
     Development of aquatic life community level benchmarks 
with datasets that do not conform to the ``1985 Guidelines''
     Derivation of aquatic life screening values for aquatic 
plants
    The tools and approaches developed by EPA will:
     Continue to be based upon sound science and utilize the 
available data,
     Be legally defensible under our statutory mandates,
     Be based upon methodologies that are as consistent and 
practical as possible,
     Be implementable at the Federal and State level.
     Be developed as quickly and efficiently as possible, and
     Reflect stakeholder input and comments.

[[Page 61681]]

    During these meetings, EPA will also solicit input from Regional 
stakeholders regarding the following:
    1. Additional sources of pesticide data and relevant reports.
    2. The white paper topics.
    3. The availability of data, tools, approaches, and data sets on 
aquatic toxicity that may be useful for this effort.
    4. The types of values that are used by states and/or regions for 
protecting aquatic life in the absence of ambient water quality 
criteria.
    5. Examples of situations in which differences between OW and OPP 
assessment approaches were an issue.
    Following these meetings, the Agency plans to develop a set of 
white papers, describing potential new tools and analytical approaches 
that may be used by the Agency, state pesticide and water quality 
agencies, and other stakeholders.
    For more information about water quality criteria and Water Quality 
Standards, refer to the following:
     Water Quality Standards Handbook (EPA 823-B94-005a);
     Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM), (63 FR 
36742);
     Water Quality Criteria and Standards Plan - Priorities 
for the Future (EPA 822-R-98-003);
     Guidelines and Methodologies Used in the Preparation of 
Health Effects Assessment Chapters of the Consent Decree Water 
Criteria Documents (45 FR 79347);
     Methodology for Deriving Ambient Water Quality Criteria 
for the Protection of Human Health (2000), EPA-822-B-00-004);
     Guidelines for Deriving Numerical National Water 
Quality Criteria for the Protection of Aquatic Organisms and Their 
Uses (EPA 822/R-85-100);
     National Strategy for the Development of Regional 
Nutrient Criteria (EPA 822-R-98-002); and
     EPA Review and Approval of State and Tribal Water 
Quality Standards (65 FR 24641).
    You can find these publications through EPA's National Service 
Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP, previously NCEPI) or on 
the Office of Science and Technology's home page (http://www.epa.gov/waterscience).
    For more information about the OPP Ecological Exposure Assessment 
Process under FIFRA, refer to the following: ``Overview of the 
Ecological Risk Assessment Process in the Office of Pesticide 
Programs,'' which describes how pesticide data are used in ecological 
risk assessments (http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/endanger/consultation/ecorisk-overview.pdf). The data requirements for aquatic non-target 
plants and animals for pesticides are described in title 40 of the Code 
of Federal Regulations, revised July 1, 2008 (Sec.  158.660 Non-target 
Plant Protection Data Requirements). The required procedures for 
conducting the studies are described in OPPTS Harmonized Test 
Guidelines Series 850 ``Ecological Effects Test Guidelines - Public 
Drafts'' (http://www.epa.gov/opptsfrs/publications/OPPTS_Harmonized/850_Ecological_Effects_Test_Guidelines/Drafts/). Information on 
procedures used to evaluate these studies are described in: Standard 
Evaluation Protocols, the guidance document entitled ``the Rejection 
Rate Analysis: Ecological Effects'' (EPA 738-R-94-035), and in the OPP 
Overview Document. Public literature is accessed by OPP through EPA's 
ECOTOX database (http://cfpub.epa.gov.ecotox/). The ``OPP Aquatic 
Benchmarks,'' a web site developed by OPP, contains the aquatic 
toxicity endpoints used in pesticide assessments (Http://www.epa.gov/oppefed1ecorisk_ders/aquatic_life_benchmarks.htm).

III. How Can I Request to Participate in this Meeting?

    This meeting is open to the public; registration is not required 
for attending or for participating in this meeting. Seats will be 
available on a first come, first served basis.

List of Subjects

    Environmental protection, Ambient water quality criteria, Aquatic 
benchmarks, Aquatic community, Aquatic life, Ecological risk 
assessment, Pesticides and pest.


    Dated: November 13, 2009.
Debra Edwards,
Director, Office of Pesticide Programs.

[FR Doc. E9-28059 Filed 11-24-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-S