[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 57 (Friday, March 23, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 16988-16990]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-6918]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 82

[EPA-HQ-OAR-2011-0776; FRL-9651-2]
RIN 2060-AR20


Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Amendment to HFO-1234yf SNAP 
Rule for Motor Vehicle Air Conditioning Sector

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to 
revise one of the use conditions required for use of hydrofluoroolefin 
(HFO)-1234yf (2,3,3,3-tetrafluoroprop-1-ene), a substitute for ozone-
depleting substances (ODSs) in the motor vehicle air conditioning end-
use within the refrigeration and air conditioning sector, as acceptable 
subject to use conditions under the EPA's Significant New Alternatives 
Policy (SNAP) program. The revised use condition incorporates by 
reference a revised standard from SAE International. In the ``Rules and 
Regulations'' section of this Federal Register, we are revising a use 
condition for use of HFO-1234yf in motor vehicle air conditioning as a 
direct final rule without a prior proposed rule. If we receive no 
adverse comment, we will not take further action on this proposed rule.

DATES: Written comments must be received by April 23, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-
OAR-2011-0776 by mail to OAR Docket and Information Center, U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode 6102T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. 
NW., Washington, DC 20460.
    Comments may also be submitted electronically or through hand 
delivery/courier by following the detailed instructions in the 
ADDRESSES section of the direct final rule located in the rules section 
of this Federal Register.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Margaret Sheppard, Stratospheric 
Protection Division, Office of Atmospheric Programs; Environmental 
Protection Agency, Mail Code 6205J, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., 
Washington, DC 20460; telephone number (202) 343-9163, fax number, 
(202) 343-2338; email address at sheppard.margaret@epa.gov. The 
published versions of notices and rulemakings under the SNAP program 
are available on EPA's Stratospheric Ozone Web site at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/regs. The full list of SNAP decisions in all 
industrial sectors is available at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Why is EPA issuing this proposed rule?

    This action proposes revising a use condition for the refrigerant 
HFO-1234yf in motor vehicle air conditioning under EPA's Significant 
New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program. This action would incorporate 
by reference an updated edition of a standard from SAE International 
and clarifying the scope of the use condition. We have published a 
direct final rule which revises a condition for use of HFO-1234yf in 
motor vehicle air conditioning in the ``Rules and Regulations'' section 
of this Federal Register because we view this as a noncontroversial 
action and anticipate no adverse comment. We have explained our reasons 
for this action in the preamble to the direct final rule.
    If we receive no adverse comment and no requests for public 
hearings in response to this action, we will not take further action on 
this proposed rule. If we receive adverse comment, we will withdraw the 
direct final rule and it will not take effect. We would address all 
public comments in any subsequent final rule based on this proposed 
rule. If a public hearing is requested, EPA will provide notice in the 
Federal Register as to the location, date, and time.
    We do not intend to institute a second comment period on this 
action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so at this time. 
For further information, please see the information provided in the 
ADDRESSES section of this document.

II. Does this action apply to me?

    This notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) would regulate the use of 
HFO-1234yf (2,3,3,3-tetrafluoroprop-1-ene, Chemical Abstracts Service 
Registry Number [CAS Reg. No.] 754-12-1) as a refrigerant in new motor 
vehicle air conditioning (MVAC) systems in new passenger cars and 
light-duty trucks. Businesses in this end-use that might want to use 
HFO-1234yf in new MVAC systems in the future include:

 Automobile manufacturers
 Automobile repair shops
Regulated entities may include:

    Table 1--Potentially Regulated Entities, by North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) Code
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              Category                   NAICS code                 Description of regulated entities
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Industry...........................             336111  Automobile Manufacturing.
Services...........................             811111  General Automotive Repair.
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This table is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather a guide 
regarding entities likely to be regulated by this action. If you have 
any questions about whether this action applies to a particular entity, 
consult the person listed in the preceding section, FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.

III. What is EPA proposing?

    EPA is proposing to revise one of the use conditions required for 
use of hydrofluoroolefin (HFO)-1234yf (2,3,3,3-tetrafluoroprop-1-ene), 
a substitute for ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) in the motor vehicle 
air conditioning end-use under EPA's Significant New Alternatives 
Policy

[[Page 16989]]

(SNAP) program. In March 2011, EPA listed HFO-1234yf as acceptable, 
subject to use conditions, for use in motor vehicle air conditioning 
(MVAC) systems in new passenger cars and light-duty trucks (March 29, 
2011; 76 FR 17488). We are revising the use condition that incorporated 
by reference the February 2011 edition of SAE International's \1\ 
(herein after, SAE) J2844 standard for connections with refrigerant 
containers. We are revising this use condition to incorporate by 
reference an updated edition of the standard, and we also are 
clarifying the scope of that use condition. This action does not place 
any significant burden on the regulated community and ensures 
consistency with industry standards. The direct final rule will be 
effective on May 22, 2012 without further notice unless we receive 
adverse comment (or a request for a public hearing) by April 23, 2012. 
If EPA receives adverse comment or a request for a public hearing, we 
will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the 
public that all or part of this rule will not take effect. EPA will 
address all public comments in a subsequent final rule based on this 
proposed rule. We will not institute a second public comment period on 
this action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so at this 
time.
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    \1\ Formerly, the Society of Automotive Engineers.
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    You may claim that information in your comments is confidential 
business information, as allowed by 40 CFR part 2. If you submit 
comments and include information that you claim as confidential 
business information, we request that you submit them directly to 
Margaret Sheppard in two versions: one clearly marked ``Public'' to be 
filed in the public docket, and the other marked ``Confidential'' to be 
reviewed by authorized government personnel only.

IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive 
Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

    This action is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under the 
terms of Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) and is 
therefore not subject to review under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 
(76 FR 3821, January 21, 2011).

B. Paperwork Reduction Act

    This action does not impose any new information collection burden. 
It contains no new requirements for reporting. However, the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) has previously approved the information 
collection requirements contained in the existing regulations in 
subpart G of 40 CFR part 82 under the provisions of the Paperwork 
Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. and has assigned OMB control 
numbers 2060-0226 (EPA ICR No. 1596.08). This Information Collection 
Request (ICR) included five types of respondent reporting and 
recordkeeping activities pursuant to SNAP regulations: submission of a 
SNAP petition, filing a SNAP/TSCA Addendum, notification for test 
marketing activity, recordkeeping for substitutes acceptable subject to 
use restrictions, and recordkeeping for small volume uses. The OMB 
control numbers for EPA's regulations are listed in 40 CFR part 9.

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    The RFA generally requires an agency to prepare a regulatory 
flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice and comment 
rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act or any 
other statutes unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have 
a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. Small entities include small businesses, small organizations, 
and small governmental jurisdictions.
    EPA has determined that it is not necessary to prepare a regulatory 
flexibility analysis in connection with this proposed rule because this 
rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities. For purposes of assessing the impacts of 
today's rule on small entities, small entity is defined as: (1) A small 
business as defined by the Small Business Administration's (SBA) 
regulations at 13 CFR 121.201; for NAICS code 336111 (Automobile 
manufacturing), a small business has <1000 employees; and for NAICS 
code 811111 (General Automotive Repair), a small business has annual 
receipts of less than $7.0 million; (2) a small governmental 
jurisdiction that is a government of a city, county, town, school 
district or special district with a population of less than 50,000; and 
(3) a small organization that is any not-for-profit enterprise which is 
independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.
    After considering the economic impacts of today's proposed rule on 
small entities, EPA has concluded that this action will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
This rule will not impose any requirements on small entities beyond 
current industry practices. Today's action effectively ensures 
consistency with current industry practices and standards, whereas 
without these revisions, small businesses would need to reconcile 
differences between EPA regulations and industry standards.
    It is not clear that there would be any cost differential between 
these new unique fittings, those used with the current automotive 
refrigerant, HFC-134a, or other fittings that the automotive industry 
could adopt instead. It is possible that the fittings required in the 
revised use condition will be less expensive because they are a 
standard shape and size easily produced in a metal-working shop. Thus, 
cost impacts of this proposed rule on small entities are expected to be 
small. This proposed rule is expected to relieve burden for some small 
entities, such as automotive repair shops, by avoiding confusion over 
which fittings to use and by using a more robust fitting that allows 
quick detection of any leaks from the valve.
    Although this proposed rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities, EPA nonetheless has 
tried to reduce the impact of this rule on small entities. EPA has 
worked together with SAE International and with groups representing 
professional service technicians such as the Mobile Air Conditioning 
Society Worldwide, which conducts regular outreach with technicians and 
owners of small businesses such as retail refrigerant suppliers and 
automobile repair shops.

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    This rule does not contain a Federal mandate that may result in 
expenditures of $100 million or more for State, local, and tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or the private sector in any one year. 
This final rule will not impose any requirements beyond current 
industry practices, and thus, compliance costs are expected to be 
small. Thus, this rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 
202 or 205 of UMRA.
    This rule is also not subject to the requirements of section 203 of 
UMRA because it contains no regulatory requirements that might 
significantly or uniquely affect small governments. The requirements of 
this rule apply to the servicing of motor vehicle air conditioning 
systems. The requirements of this rule for unique fittings are expected 
to be comparable in cost to those of current fittings. Requirements 
would be the same as those imposed on any other entity performing 
servicing on motor vehicle air conditioning systems.

[[Page 16990]]

E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    This proposed 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. This regulation applies directly 
to facilities that use these substances and not to governmental 
entities. Thus, Executive Order 13132 does not apply to this rule.
    In the spirit of Executive Order 13132, and consistent with EPA 
policy to promote communications between EPA and State and local 
governments, EPA specifically solicits comment on this proposed action 
from State and local officials.

F. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian 
Tribal Governments

    This action does not have tribal implications, as specified in 
Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000). It does not 
significantly or uniquely affect the communities of Indian tribal 
governments, because this regulation applies directly to facilities 
that use these substances and not to governmental entities. Thus, 
Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this action.
    EPA specifically solicits additional comment on this proposed 
action from tribal officials.

G. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental 
Health Risks and Safety Risks

    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 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 proposed rule is not economically significant as defined in 
Executive Order 12866, and the Agency does not have reason to believe 
the environmental health or safety risks addressed by this action 
present a disproportionate risk to children. This action concerns only 
use of a specific fitting that may reduce technician's exposure in the 
course of professional servicing of MVAC systems. Therefore, we did not 
conduct further health or risk assessments beyond those in the original 
rulemaking (March 29, 2011; 76 FR 17488). This rule is not subject to 
Executive Order 13045 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.
    The public is invited to submit comments or identify peer-reviewed 
studies and data that assess effects of early life exposure to HFO-
1234yf.

H. Executive Order 13211: Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

    This action is not subject to Executive Order 13211 (66 FR 28355 
(May 22, 2001)), because it is not a significant regulatory action 
under Executive Order 12866.

I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement 
Act of 1995 (NTTAA), Public Law 104-113, Section 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272 
note) directs EPA to use voluntary consensus standards in 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 EPA to provide 
Congress, through OMB, explanations when the Agency decides not to use 
available and applicable voluntary consensus standards.
    This rulemaking involves technical standards. EPA proposes to use 
SAE International's most recent version of the SAE J2844 standard, ``R-
1234yf (HFO-1234yf) New Refrigerant Purity and Container Requirements 
for Use in Mobile Air-Conditioning Systems.'' This standard can be 
obtained from http://www.sae.org/technical/standards/. This standard 
addresses, among other things, appropriate fittings and other 
requirements for refrigerant containers for use for professional 
servicing of MVAC systems using the alternative refrigerant HFO-1234yf.
    EPA welcomes comments on this aspect of the proposed rulemaking 
and, specifically, invites the public to identify potentially-
applicable voluntary consensus standards and to explain why such 
standards should be used in this regulation.

J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental 
Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations

    Executive Order (EO) 12898 (59 FR 7629 (Feb. 16, 1994)) establishes 
Federal executive policy on environmental justice. Its main provision 
directs Federal agencies, to the greatest extent practicable and 
permitted by law, to make environmental justice part of their mission 
by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high 
and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs, 
policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income 
populations in the United States.
    EPA has determined that this proposed rule will not have 
disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental 
effects on minority or low-income populations because it does not 
affect the level of protection provided to human health or the 
environment. This final rule requires specific use conditions for 
unique fittings for use with refrigerant containers for professional 
servicing of MVAC systems, for those servicing MVAC systems using this 
low global warming potential refrigerant alternative. It does not 
directly affect the amount of exposure to or emissions of HFO-1234yf 
expected.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 82

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, 
Air pollution control, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 
Stratospheric ozone layer.

    Dated: March 15, 2012.
Lisa P. Jackson,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2012-6918 Filed 3-22-12; 8:45 am]
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