[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 114 (Tuesday, June 14, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 34700-34703]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-14571]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[EPA-HQ-OAR-2011-0431, FRL-9318-5]


Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Request for Methyl Bromide 
Critical Use Exemption Applications for 2014

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice of solicitation of applications and information on 
alternatives.

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SUMMARY: EPA is soliciting applications for the critical use exemption 
from the phaseout of methyl bromide for 2014. Critical use exemptions 
last only one year. All entities interested in obtaining a critical use 
exemption for 2014 must provide EPA with technical and economic 
information to support a ``critical use'' claim and must do so by the 
deadline specified in this notice even if they have applied for an 
exemption in previous years. Today's notice also invites interested 
parties to provide EPA with new data on the technical and economic 
feasibility of methyl bromide alternatives.

DATES: Applications for the 2014 critical use exemption must be 
postmarked on or before August 15, 2011.

ADDRESSES: EPA encourages users to submit their applications 
electronically to Jeremy Arling, Stratospheric Protection Division, at 
arling.jeremy@epa.gov. If the application is submitted electronically, 
applicants must fax a signed copy of Worksheet 1 to 202-343-2338 by the 
application deadline. Applications for the methyl bromide critical use 
exemption can also be submitted by U.S. mail to: U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, Office of Air and Radiation, Stratospheric 
Protection Division, Attention Methyl Bromide Team, Mail Code 6205J, 
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460 or by courier 
delivery to: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air and 
Radiation, Stratospheric Protection Division, Attention Methyl Bromide 
Review Team, 1310 L St., NW., Room 1047E, Washington DC 20005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: General Information: U.S. EPA 
Stratospheric Ozone Information Hotline, 1-800-296-1996; also http://www.epa.gov/ozone/mbr.
    Technical Information: Bill Chism, U.S. Environmental Protection 
Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs (7503P), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., 
NW., Washington, DC, 20460, 703-308-8136. E-mail: chism.bill@epa.gov.
    Regulatory Information: Jeremy Arling, U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, Stratospheric Protection Division (6205J), 1200 
Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC, 20460, 202-343-9055. E-mail: 
arling.jeremy@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

I. What do I need to know to respond to this request for 
applications?
    A. Who can respond to this request for information?
    B. Who can I contact to find out if a consortium is submitting 
an application form for my methyl bromide use?
    C. How do I obtain an application form for the methyl bromide 
critical use exemption?
    D. What must applicants address when applying for a critical use 
exemption?

[[Page 34701]]

    E. What if I applied for a critical use exemption in a previous 
year?
    F. What if I submit an incomplete application?
    G. What portions of the applications will be considered 
confidential business information?
II. What is the legal authority for the critical use exemption?
    A. What is the Clean Air Act (CAA) authority for the critical 
use exemption?
    B. What is the Montreal Protocol authority for the critical use 
exemption?
    C. What is the timing for applications for the 2014 control 
period?

I. What do I need to know to respond to this request for applications?

A. Who can respond to this request for information?

    Entities interested in obtaining a critical use exemption must 
complete the application form available at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/mbr/cueinfo.html. The application may be submitted either by a 
consortium representing multiple users who have similar circumstances 
or by individual users who anticipate needing methyl bromide in 2014 
and have evaluated alternatives and as a result of that evaluation, 
believe they have no technically and economically feasible 
alternatives. EPA encourages groups of users with similar circumstances 
of use to submit a single application (for example, any number of pre-
plant users with similar soil, pest, and climactic conditions can join 
together to submit a single application).
    In addition to requesting information from applicants for the 
critical use exemption, this solicitation for information provides an 
opportunity for any interested party to provide EPA with information on 
methyl bromide alternatives (e.g., technical and/or economic 
feasibility research).

B. Who can I contact to find out whether a consortium is submitting an 
application for my methyl bromide use?

    You should contact your local, state, regional or national 
commodity association to find out whether it plans to submit an 
application on behalf of your commodity group. Additionally, you should 
contact your state regulatory agency (generally this will be the 
state's agriculture or environmental protection agency) to receive 
information about its involvement in the process. If your state agency 
has chosen to participate, EPA recommends that you first submit your 
application to the state agency, which will then forward applications 
to EPA. The National Pesticide Information Center Web site identifies 
the lead pesticide agency in each state (http://npic.orst.edu/state1.htm).

C. How do I obtain an application form for the methyl bromide critical 
use exemption?

    An application form for the methyl bromide critical use exemption 
can be obtained either in electronic or hard-copy form. EPA encourages 
use of the electronic form. Applications can be obtained in the 
following ways:
    1. PDF format and Microsoft Excel at EPA's Web site: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/mbr/cueinfo.html;
    2. Hard copy ordered through the Stratospheric Ozone Protection 
Hotline at 1-800-296-1996;
    3. PDF format and Microsoft Excel at Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2011-
0431. The docket can be accessed at the http://www.regulations.gov 
site. To obtain hard copies of docket materials, please e-mail the EPA 
Docket Center: a-and-r-docket@epa.gov.

D. What must applicants address when applying for a critical use 
exemption?

    To support the assertion that a specific use of methyl bromide is 
``critical,'' applicants must demonstrate that there are no technically 
and economically feasible alternatives available for that use. In 2011, 
the U.S. submitted an index of alternatives, which includes the current 
registration status of available and potential alternatives, to the 
Ozone Secretariat. That index is reproduced in Table 1 and can be 
accessed at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/mbr/alts.html. Specifically, 
applications must include the following information for the U.S. to 
successfully defend its nominations for critical uses. The information 
requested below is included in the application form but we are 
highlighting specific areas that applicants must address.
    Commodities such as dried fruit and nuts: Applicants must address 
potential pest losses, quality, timing changes and economic 
implications to producers when converting to alternatives such as: 
sulfuryl fluoride and phosphine. If relevant, the applicant should also 
include the costs to retrofit equipment or design and construct new 
fumigation chambers for these uses. Applicants must include information 
on the amount of methyl bromide and any other fumigants used as well as 
the amounts of commodity treated with each fumigant. Include 
information on the size of fumigation chambers where methyl bromide is 
used, the percent of commodity fumigated under tarps, the length of the 
harvest season, peak of the harvest season and duration, and volume of 
commodity treated daily at the harvest peak. The Agency must have a 
description of your future research plans which includes the pest(s), 
chemical(s) or management practice(s) that you will be testing in the 
future to support this CUE. Also include information on what pest 
control practices organic producers are using for their commodity.
    Structures and Facilities (flour mills, rice mills, pet food): 
Applicants must address potential pest losses, quality, timing changes 
and economic implications to producers when converting to alternatives 
such as: sulfuryl fluoride, micro-sanitation, and heat. If relevant, 
the applicant should include the costs to retrofit equipment for these 
pest control methods. List how many mills have been fumigated with 
methyl bromide over the last three years, rate, volume and target 
Concentration--Time (CT) of methyl bromide at each location, volume of 
each facility, number of fumigations per year, and date facility was 
constructed. The Agency must have a description of your future research 
plans which includes the pest(s), chemical(s) or management practice(s) 
you will be testing in the future to support this CUE. Also include 
information on what pest control practices organic producers are using 
for their facilities.
    Ham: List how many facilities have been fumigated with methyl 
bromide over the last three years, rate, volume and target CT of methyl 
bromide at each location, volume of each facility, number of 
fumigations per year, and date facility was constructed. The Agency 
must have a description of your future research plans which includes 
the pest(s), chemical(s) or management practice(s) you will be testing 
in the future to support this CUE.
    Cucurbits, Eggplant, Pepper, and Tomato: Applicants must address 
potential yield, quality, and timing changes or economic implications 
for growers and/or your region's production of these crops when 
converting to alternatives such as: iodomethane plus chloropicrin, the 
Georgia three way mixture of 1,3-dichloropropene plus chloropicrin plus 
metam (sodium or potassium), and dimethyl disulfide (DMDS) and any 
fumigationless system (if data are available). If relevant, the 
applicant should include the costs to retrofit equipment for these 
uses. The Agency must have a description of your future research plans 
which includes the pest(s), chemical(s) or management practice(s) you 
will be testing in the future to support this CUE.
    Strawberry Fruit: Applicants must address potential yield, quality, 
and timing changes, or economic implications for growers when 
converting to alternatives such as:

[[Page 34702]]

iodomethane plus chloropicrin, the Georgia three way mixture of 1,3-
dichloropropene plus chloropicrin plus metam (sodium or potassium), and 
any fumigationless system (if data are available). If relevant, the 
applicant should include the costs to retrofit equipment for these 
uses. The Agency must have a description of your future research plans 
which includes the pest(s), chemical(s) or management practice(s) you 
will be testing in the future to support this CUE.
    Nursery stock, Orchard Replant, Ornamentals, and Strawberry 
Nursery: Applicants must address potential yield, quality, and timing 
changes, or economic implications for growers and your region's 
production of these crops when converting to alternatives such as: 
iodomethane plus chloropicrin, the Georgia three way mixture of 1,3-
dichloropropene plus chloropicrin plus metam (sodium or potassium), and 
dimethyl disulfide (if registered in your state), and steam. If 
relevant the applicant should include the costs to retrofit equipment 
for these uses. The Agency must have a description of your future 
research plans which includes the pest(s), chemical(s) or management 
practice(s) you will be testing in the future to support this CUE.

E. What if I applied for a critical use exemption in a previous year?

    Critical use exemptions are valid for only one year and do not 
renew automatically. Users desiring to obtain an exemption for 2014 
must apply to EPA. Because of the latest changes in registrations, 
costs, and economic aspects for producing critical use crops and 
commodities, all applicants will be required to fill out the 
application form completely.

F. What if I submit an incomplete application?

    EPA will not accept any applications postmarked after August 15, 
2011. If the application is postmarked by the deadline but is 
incomplete or missing any data elements, EPA will not accept the 
application and will not include the application in the U.S. nomination 
submitted for international consideration. If the application is 
substantially complete with only minor errors, corrections will be 
accepted. EPA reviewers may also call an applicant for further 
clarification of an application, even if it is complete.

G. What portions of the applications will be considered confidential 
business information?

    You may assert a business confidentiality claim covering part or 
all of the information by placing on (or attaching to) the information, 
at the time it is submitted to EPA, a cover sheet, stamped or typed 
legend, or other suitable form of notice employing language such as 
``trade secret,'' ``proprietary,'' or ``company confidential.'' You 
should clearly identify the allegedly confidential portions of 
otherwise non-confidential documents, and you may submit them 
separately to facilitate identification and handling by EPA. If you 
desire confidential treatment only until a certain date or until the 
occurrence of a certain event, your notice should state that. 
Information covered by a claim of confidentiality will be disclosed by 
EPA only to the extent, and by means of the procedures, set forth under 
40 CFR part 2, subpart B; 41 FR 36752, 43 FR 40000, 50 FR 51661. If no 
claim of confidentiality accompanies the information when EPA receives 
it, EPA may make it available to the public without further notice.
    If you are asserting a business confidentiality claim covering part 
or all of the information in the application, please submit a non-
confidential version that EPA can place in the public docket for 
reference by other interested parties. Do not include on the 
``Worksheet 6: Application Summary'' page of the application any 
information that you wish to claim as confidential business 
information. Any information on Worksheet 6 shall not be considered 
confidential and will not be treated as such by the Agency. EPA will 
place a copy of Worksheet 6 in the public domain. Please note, claiming 
business confidentiality may delay EPA's ability to review your 
application.

II. What is the legal authority for the critical use exemption?

A. What is the Clean Air Act (CAA) authority for the critical use 
exemption?

    In October 1998, Congress amended the Clean Air Act to require EPA 
to conform the U.S. phaseout schedule for methyl bromide to the 
provisions of the Montreal Protocol for industrialized countries and to 
allow EPA to provide a critical use exemption. These amendments were 
codified in Section 604 of the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. 7671c. Under 
EPA implementing regulations, methyl bromide production and consumption 
were phased out as of January 1, 2005. Section 604(d)(6), as added in 
1998, allows EPA to exempt the production and import of methyl bromide 
from the phaseout for critical uses, to the extent consistent with the 
Montreal Protocol.
    EPA regulations at 40 CFR 82.4 prohibit the production and import 
of methyl bromide in excess of the amount of unexpended critical use 
allowances held by the producer or importer, unless authorized under a 
separate exemption. Methyl bromide produced or imported by expending 
critical use allowances may be used only for the appropriate category 
of approved critical uses as listed in Appendix L to the regulations 
(40 CFR 82.4(p)(2)). The use of methyl bromide that was produced or 
imported through the expenditure of production or consumption 
allowances prior to 2005 is not confined to critical uses under EPA's 
phaseout regulations; however, other restrictions may apply.

B. What is the Montreal Protocol authority for the critical use 
exemption?

    The Montreal Protocol provides that the Parties may exempt ``the 
level of production or consumption that is necessary to satisfy uses 
agreed by them to be critical uses'' (Art. 2H para 5). The Parties to 
the Protocol included this language in the treaty's methyl bromide 
phaseout provisions in recognition that alternatives might not be 
available by 2005 for certain uses of methyl bromide agreed by the 
Parties to be ``critical uses.''
    In their Ninth Meeting (1997), the Parties to the Protocol agreed 
to Decision IX/6, setting forth the following criteria for a ``critical 
use'' determination and an exemption from the production and 
consumption phaseout:
    (a) That a use of methyl bromide should qualify as ``critical'' 
only if the nominating Party determines that:
    (i) The specific use is critical because the lack of availability 
of methyl bromide for that use would result in a significant market 
disruption; and
    (ii) There are no technically and economically feasible 
alternatives or substitutes available to the user that are acceptable 
from the standpoint of environment and health and are suitable to the 
crops and circumstances of the nomination.
    (b) That production and consumption, if any, of methyl bromide for 
a critical use should be permitted only if:
    (i) All technically and economically feasible steps have been taken 
to minimize the critical use and any associated emission of methyl 
bromide;
    (ii) Methyl bromide is not available in sufficient quantity and 
quality from existing stocks of banked or recycled methyl bromide, also 
bearing in mind the developing countries' need for methyl bromide;
    (iii) It is demonstrated that an appropriate effort is being made 
to

[[Page 34703]]

evaluate, commercialize and secure national regulatory approval of 
alternatives and substitutes, taking into consideration the 
circumstances of the particular nomination. * * * Non-Article 5 Parties 
[e.g., developed countries, including the U.S.] must demonstrate that 
research programs are in place to develop and deploy alternatives and 
substitutes. * * *
    EPA has defined ``critical use'' in its regulations at 40 CFR 82.3 
in a manner similar to Decision IX/6 paragraph (a).

C. What is the timing for applications for the 2014 control period?

    There is both a domestic and international component to the 
critical use exemption process. The following outline projects a 
timeline for the process for the 2014 critical use exemption.
    June 14, 2011: Solicit applications for the methyl bromide critical 
use exemption for 2014.
    August 15, 2011: Deadline for submitting critical use exemption 
applications to EPA.
    Fall 2011: U.S. Government (through EPA, Department of State, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, and other interested Federal agencies) 
prepares U.S. Critical Use Nomination package.
    January 24, 2012: Deadline for U.S. Government to submit U.S. 
nomination package to the Protocol Parties.
    Early 2012: Technical and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) and 
Methyl Bromide Technical Options Committee (MBTOC) reviews Parties' 
nominations for critical use exemptions.
    Mid 2012: Parties consider TEAP/MBTOC recommendations.
    November 2012: Parties decide whether to authorize critical use 
exemptions for methyl bromide for production and consumption in 2014.
    Mid 2013: If the Parties authorize critical uses, EPA publishes 
proposed rule for allocating critical use allowances in the U.S. for 
2014.
    Late 2013: EPA publishes final rule allocating critical use 
allowances in the U.S. for 2014.
    January 1, 2014: Critical use exemption permits the limited 
production and import of methyl bromide for specified uses for the 2014 
control period.

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

    Dated: June 6, 2011.
Elizabeth Craig,
Acting Director, Office of Atmospheric Programs.
[FR Doc. 2011-14571 Filed 6-13-11; 8:45 am]
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