[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 166 (Tuesday, August 27, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 52860-52868]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-20744]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 372

[EPA-HQ-TRI-2011-0174; FRL-9835-5]
RIN 2025-AA30


Electronic Reporting of Toxics Release Inventory Data

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: In this final rule, EPA requires facilities to report non-
trade-secret Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) forms to EPA using 
electronic software provided by the Agency. Electronic reporting of TRI 
forms provides numerous benefits, including making it easier for 
facilities to report accurate information, expediting form completion 
due to the pre-population of many form elements, decreasing the cost to 
EPA of processing forms, and providing TRI information more quickly to 
the public. The only exception to this electronic reporting requirement 
is for the few facilities that submit trade secret TRI information, 
which will continue to submit their trade secret reporting forms and 
substantiation forms in hard copy.
    Under this rulemaking, EPA also requires facilities to submit 
electronically via the Internet (i.e., not on paper forms or CD-ROMs) 
any revisions or withdrawals of previously submitted TRI reporting 
forms. Additionally, EPA will no longer accept submissions, revisions, 
or withdrawals of TRI reporting forms submitted for reporting years 
prior to reporting year 1991. For trade secret submissions, EPA will 
still only accept revisions or withdrawals of previously submitted 
trade secret information on paper forms, though only for reporting 
years back to reporting year 1991.

DATES: This final rule is effective on January 21, 2014.

ADDRESSES: EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID 
No. EPA-HQ-TRI-2011-0174. All documents in the docket are listed on the 
www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some 
information is not publicly available, e.g., Confidential Business 
Information (CBI) or other information for which 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 through www.regulations.gov or in hard 
copy at the OEI Docket, EPA/DC, EPA West, Room 3334, 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 EPA Docket Center is (202) 566-1752.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general information on TRI, 
contact the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Hotline at 
(800) 424-9346 or (703) 412-9810, TDD (800) 553-7672, http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hotline/. For specific information on this 
rulemaking, contact David Turk, Toxics Release Inventory Program 
Division, Mailcode 2844T, OEI, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 
Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; Telephone: (202) 566-1527; 
Email: turk.david@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background and General Information

A. Acronyms and Abbreviations Used in This Document

CBI--Confidential Business Information
CDX--Central Data Exchange
CFR--Code of Federal Regulations
CROMERR--Cross-Media Electronic Reporting Regulation
DPC--TRI Data Processing Center
EO--Executive Order
EPA--U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
EPCRA--Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act
FR--Federal Register
GPEA--Government Paperwork Elimination Act
ICR--Information Collection Request
NAICS--North American Industry Classification System
NTTAA--National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995
OEI--Office of Environmental Information (EPA)
OMB--Office of Management and Budget (Executive Office of the 
President)
PPA--Pollution Prevention Act
RY--Reporting Year
SIC--Standard Industrial Code
TDX--TRI Data Exchange
TRI--Toxics Release Inventory
TRI-MEweb--Toxics Release Inventory-Made Easy Internet-based 
Software Application
U.S.C.--United States Code

B. Does this action apply to me?

    This final rule applies to facilities that submit annual reports 
under section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know 
Act (EPCRA) and section 6607 of the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA). To 
determine

[[Page 52861]]

whether your facility is affected by this action, you should carefully 
examine the applicability criteria in Part 372, Subpart B, of Title 40 
of the Code of Federal Regulations. Potentially affected categories and 
entities may include, but are not limited to the following:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Category             Examples of potentially affected entities
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Industry....................  Facilities included in the following NAICS
                               manufacturing codes (corresponding to SIC
                               codes 20 through 39): 311 *, 312 *, 313
                               *, 314 *, 315 *, 316, 321, 322, 323 *,
                               324, 325 *, 326 *, 327, 331, 332, 333,
                               334 *, 335 *, 336, 337 *, 339 *, 111998
                               *, 211112 *, 212324 *, 212325 *, 212393
                               *, 212399 *, 488390 *, 511110, 511120,
                               511130, 511140 *, 511191, 511199, 512220,
                               512230 *, 519130 *, 541712 *, or 811490
                               *.
                              * Exceptions and/or limitations exist for
                               these NAICS codes.
                              Facilities included in the following NAICS
                               codes (corresponding to SIC codes other
                               than SIC codes 20 through 39):
                               212111, 212112, 212113
                               (correspond to SIC 12, Coal Mining
                               (except 1241));
                               212221, 212222, 212231, 212234,
                               212299 (correspond to SIC 10, Metal
                               Mining (except 1011, 1081, and 1094));
                               221111, 221112, 221113, 221118,
                               221121, 221122, 221330 (Limited to
                               facilities that combust coal and/or oil
                               for the purpose of generating power for
                               distribution in commerce) (correspond to
                               SIC 4911, 4931, and 4939, Electric
                               Utilities);
                               424690, 425110, 425120 (Limited
                               to facilities previously classified in
                               SIC 5169, Chemicals and Allied Products,
                               Not Elsewhere Classified);
                               424710 (corresponds to SIC 5171,
                               Petroleum Bulk Terminals and Plants);
                               562112 (Limited to facilities
                               primarily engaged in solvent recovery
                               services on a contract or fee basis
                               (previously classified under SIC 7389,
                               Business Services, NEC)); and
                               562211, 562212, 562213, 562219,
                               562920 (Limited to facilities regulated
                               under the Resource Conservation and
                               Recovery Act, Subtitle C, 42 U.S.C. 6921
                               et seq.) (correspond to SIC 4953, Refuse
                               Systems).
Federal Government..........  Federal facilities.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    If you have questions regarding the applicability of this action to 
a particular entity, consult the individual listed in the preceding FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. This action may also be of 
interest to those who use EPA's TRI data and have an interest in the 
public availability of high-quality, timely TRI data and information, 
including state agencies, local governments, communities, environmental 
groups and other non-governmental organizations, as well as members of 
the general public.

II. What is EPA's statutory authority for taking this action?

    The EPA is implementing this action under sections 313(g), 313(h), 
and 328 of EPCRA, 42 U.S.C. 11023(g), 11023(h) and 11048, and section 
6607 of the Pollution Prevention Act, 42 U.S.C. 13106.
    Under EPCRA, Congress granted EPA broad rulemaking authority. EPCRA 
section 328 provides that the ``Administrator may prescribe such 
regulations as may be necessary to carry out this chapter.'' 42 U.S.C. 
11048. EPCRA requires EPA to ``publish a uniform toxic chemical release 
form for facilities covered'' by the TRI Program. 42 U.S.C. 11023(g).
    The Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) (Pub. L. 105-277 
(44 U.S.C. 3504)) allows Federal agencies to provide for electronic 
submissions and the use of electronic signatures, when practicable. 
Similarly, EPA's Cross-Media Electronic Reporting Regulation (CROMERR) 
(40 CFR part 3), published in the Federal Register on October 13, 2005, 
states that any requirement in Title 40 of the CFR to submit a report 
directly to EPA can be satisfied with an electronic submission that 
meets certain conditions, once the Agency publishes a notice that 
electronic document submission is available for that requirement.

III. Background Information and Summary of Final Rule

A. Description of Change

    EPA is requiring facilities to submit non-trade-secret TRI 
reporting forms to EPA electronically via the Internet. EPA will no 
longer accept paper submissions of TRI reports, except for trade secret 
submissions as defined under EPCRA section 322 (42 U.S.C. 11042) which 
will still be submitted on paper forms (including sanitized and 
unsanitized versions).
    EPA currently provides an online-reporting application, TRI-MEweb, 
for facilities to use to submit TRI reporting forms electronically. 
TRI-MEweb provides a number of features that allow facilities to 
prepare and submit their TRI reports to EPA more efficiently. For 
example, it includes data validation tools that help facilities submit 
complete and valid data and compare current reporting year data to 
prior reporting year data--a feature which can sometimes help 
facilities identify potential data errors. Additionally, TRI-MEweb will 
pre-populate forms based on the prior year's reporting data, which will 
expedite the data preparation process and help reduce errors.
    Under this rule, only TRI facilities that submit trade secret 
information will continue to submit two versions of the substantiation 
form and two versions of Form R or Form A--sanitized versions that 
include the generic chemical name that is structurally descriptive of 
the chemical being claimed as a trade secret and unsanitized versions 
that include the trade secret chemical name. EPA strongly recommends 
that TRI facilities that submit TRI trade secret information use a 
computer or typewriter to prepare their hard-copy submissions of TRI 
information and consult the TRI Web site (http://www.epa.gov/tri) for 
more detailed information.
    Facilities often send additional, unsolicited documentation 
concerning their TRI reporting to EPA. Though EPA does not currently 
request that facilities submit TRI-related, miscellaneous documents, 
some documents contain useful information on current or future non-
reporting (e.g., due to not reaching reporting thresholds and facility 
closures), internal self-audits, notices of bankruptcy, and changes in 
facility ownership. Such miscellaneous documents help the EPA maintain 
the quality of TRI data. Miscellaneous documents that do not directly 
address TRI non-reporting or provide contextual information on TRI 
reporting are typically not useful to the Agency. The EPA requests that 
facilities refrain from submitting unsolicited documents that do not 
provide useful context on matters related to TRI reporting.
    To codify this rule, EPA is adding paragraph (c) to 40 CFR 372.85 
to require regulated facilities to submit TRI reporting forms 
electronically using the current electronic reporting tool provided by 
EPA. EPA is also revising 40 CFR 372.85(b) to remove a mention of 
magnetic media, which conforms the

[[Page 52862]]

regulation to the proposal and thereby maintains consistency throughout 
TRI regulations and avoids confusion.
    In summary, EPA will only accept TRI reporting forms that are 
submitted electronically via the Internet, except for trade secret TRI 
forms and substantiations; and EPA will not accept or process TRI 
reporting forms that are not submitted in the appropriate manner.

B. How does a facility register to use TRI-MEweb to prepare and submit 
TRI reporting forms?

    TRI-MEweb is an interactive, user-friendly Web-based application 
that guides facilities through the TRI reporting process. As currently 
implemented, one or more representatives from each facility must 
establish an account with EPA's Central Data Exchange (CDX) in order to 
prepare, transmit, certify, and submit TRI Forms. CDX is EPA's 
centralized node on the Environmental Information Exchange Network that 
serves as EPA's main mechanism for receiving and exchanging electronic 
information reported via the Internet. A facility representative may 
register for a CDX account or gain access to an existing CDX account at 
https://cdx.epa.gov/.
    During the CDX registration process, CDX prompts the facility 
representative to indicate which applications (e.g., TRI-MEweb) to link 
with the account. If the facility representative has previously 
registered with CDX for other purposes, then he/she can add TRI-MEweb 
to his/her existing CDX account.
    When adding TRI-MEweb to the CDX account, CDX will ask the facility 
representative to select a role as a form Preparer or Certifying 
Official. Both a Preparer or Certifying Official can enter data onto a 
facility's TRI reporting form in TRI-MEweb and validate it for 
certification; but only a Certifying Official can approve and certify a 
TRI reporting form and submit the final, certified form to EPA. 
Preparers and Certifying Officials can use the same account to perform 
their TRI reporting roles (preparing and/or certifying TRI forms) for 
multiple facilities for which they are responsible.
    EPA's current electronic reporting procedures require each 
Certifying Official to sign and submit an Electronic Signature 
Agreement (ESA) to the EPA before certifying any TRI reports for a 
given facility. Currently, once a facility representative registers in 
CDX as a TRI-MEweb certifying official, the representative may elect 
to: (1) Sign and submit an ESA electronically using a real-time online 
process through a third-party identity verification vendor; or (2) sign 
and mail a paper ESA to the EPA's Data Processing Center (DPC).
    Real-time Online Process: Starting with RY 2012, Certifying 
Officials may use a third-party identity verification vendor to 
establish an ESA by voluntarily providing personal identifying 
information to authenticate his or her identity. The EPA does not 
collect any of this personal information. If successfully used, the 
electronic method allows near-instantaneous approval of an ESA. An 
electronic ESA will allow a Certifying Official to certify and submit 
TRI reporting forms for multiple facilities for which the official is 
responsible. The electronic ESA approval method is optional.
    If the Certifying Official does not wish to provide personal 
information to this third-party vendor, they should submit a paper ESA 
form, described below, at least two weeks before the July 1st reporting 
deadline. Further, not every Certifying Official will be able to 
authenticate his or her identification successfully using this identity 
verification process and will, as a result, need to submit a paper ESA 
form.
    Paper ESA: In lieu of the electronic ESA process, the CDX 
registration process can generate a printable ESA form. A Certifying 
Official must then sign and mail this ESA form to EPA's DPC for 
approval before the Certifying Official can begin to certify and submit 
any TRI forms to EPA. It may take up to five business days for EPA to 
approve a hardcopy ESA so EPA encourages Certifying Officials who 
submit a paper ESA to do so well before the July 1st deadline. Multiple 
facilities, each with a unique TRI Facility Identification (TRIFID), 
can also be added to a single paper ESA form. All TRIFIDs associated 
with the Certifying Official will be listed on the printout of the ESA 
document.
    Once the ESA is approved by EPA (whether instantaneously through 
the electronic ESA process or via receipt and processing of a paper 
ESA), the Certifying Official may review, certify, and submit any 
pending TRI submissions to EPA using TRI-MEweb and CDX. More detailed 
information on these procedures is available on the TRI Web site 
(http://www.epa.gov/tri).

C. How does a facility use TRI-MEweb to prepare and submit TRI 
reporting forms?

    Once registered with CDX and TRI-MEweb, a facility's Preparer or 
Certifying Official can gain access to TRI-MEweb through CDX. Once 
opened, the TRI-MEweb application provides interactive Web pages that 
enable a Preparer or Certifying Official to enter and validate the 
current year's TRI reporting form(s). After providing and validating 
the pertinent TRI reporting forms, a Preparer (or Certifying Official) 
can transmit the data electronically for certification where it is then 
available for certification by the facility's Certifying Official(s). 
The Certifying Official can then log into TRI-MEweb via CDX to review, 
certify, and submit the TRI report to EPA. Once EPA receives the 
certified report, the data are then ultimately sent to the public TRI 
database (and if appropriate, also to a state, tribe, or territory).
    Some TRI facilities have their own software or use private software 
to assist in collecting chemical release data. This ``third-party 
software'' is often designed to produce output data files that match 
EPA's electronic data structure specifications. TRI-MEweb accepts 
chemical data files from third-party software using Extensible Markup 
Language (XML). Detailed information describing the XML schema TRI-
MEweb uses for the current reporting year is available online at http://www.exchangenetwork.net/exchanges/cross/tri.htm.
    Detailed instructions on using CDX and TRI-MEweb, including 
tutorials, are available on the TRI Web site and in the Reporting Forms 
and Instructions (RFI), which is also available through the TRI Web 
site. Facilities may also contact the TRI Information Center, the CDX 
Helpdesk, the Regional TRI Coordinators, or the TRI Program staff at 
EPA Headquarters for further assistance. Please see the ``Contact Us'' 
information located on the TRI Web site for further details.
    TRI facilities are required to report to the EPA and the 
appropriate state, tribe, or territory (known as the dual-reporting 
requirement). However, facilities that are located in states, Indian 
country, or territories that actively participate with the TRI Data 
Exchange (TDX) can meet the dual-reporting requirement by submitting 
TRI reports using TRI-MEweb. For such facilities, reports submitted via 
TRI-MEweb are electronically made available to the state, tribe, or 
territory in which the facility is located, thus satisfying the 
requirement to submit TRI reporting forms to both the applicable state 
and EPA. Please note that some states, tribes, or territories may 
require additional reporting beyond the federal requirements. Dual-
reporting does not satisfy such additional requirements.
    For facilities located in states, Indian country, or territories 
not actively participating in TDX, the Certifying Official can print a 
hard copy of the TRI reporting forms or save the forms to a diskette 
and then submit the signed

[[Page 52863]]

hard copy forms or diskette along with a printed and signed 
certification statement to the appropriate state, tribe, or territory.

D. How will this rule affect revisions, withdrawals, and late 
submissions of TRI reporting forms?

    This rule requires facilities that wish to revise or withdraw 
previously submitted non-trade-secret TRI reporting forms to do so 
through TRI-MEweb. The EPA will continue to allow facilities to revise, 
withdraw, or submit TRI reports going back to RY 1991, but not for 
reporting years prior to RY 1991. In January of 2014, the EPA will 
release a version of TRI-MEweb that will allow a facility to revise or 
withdraw TRI reports in TRI-MEweb for prior reporting years, back to RY 
1991, even if the facility did not use TRI-MEweb for the original 
submission. The process used in TRI-MEweb to submit, revise, or 
withdraw TRI reports for RY 2005 through the present year will differ 
from the process used for reporting years prior to RY 2005. As 
addressed below, TRI-MEweb will provide more validation checks for the 
RY 2005 through the present reporting year period than it will provide 
for reporting years prior to RY 2005.
    For revisions to TRI reporting forms submitted for RY 2005 through 
the current reporting year, TRI-MEweb will display TRI reporting forms 
as submitted and allow facilities to modify their data. TRI-MEweb will 
also validate the data using the validation checks that were in place 
in TRI-MEweb for those data for that reporting year. Similarly, TRI-
MEweb will provide these validation checks for late submissions for RY 
2005 through the current reporting year.
    For revisions to TRI reporting forms submitted for RYs 1991-2004, 
TRI-MEweb will provide a blank form for that reporting year and allow 
the facility to enter data into the form. TRI-MEweb will perform basic 
error checking to ensure nonsensical values are not provided (e.g., 
submitting letters in a numeric field or providing negative release 
quantities), but will not perform the extensive validation checks 
provided for RY 2005 through the current reporting year. TRI-MEweb will 
likewise only provide basic error checking for late submissions of TRI 
reporting forms for RYs 1991-2004.
    Keeping the interface simple and not implementing complicated 
validation checks for RYs 1991-2004 makes it economically and 
functionally feasible to modify TRI-MEweb to support these additional 
reporting years. Further, extending the range of reporting years in 
which facilities may revise, withdraw, and submit TRI reporting forms 
from RY 2005 (as in the proposed rule) to RY 1991 will allow facilities 
a greater number of years to submit updated TRI reporting forms. The 
TRI reporting forms have remained relatively stable from RY 1991 
through RY 2004 and this range of years includes the first reporting 
year (RY 1991) in which facilities reported data elements required by 
the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990. The EPA has not received a 
revision for a reporting year prior to RY 1991 since 2004.
    As with original TRI submissions, preparing and submitting 
revisions/withdrawals electronically should facilitate the reporting 
process for facilities, while also making it possible for EPA to more 
quickly process and make the updated data available to the public. 
Information on using TRI-MEweb to submit TRI revisions/withdrawals will 
be available on the TRI Web site and in the TRI-MEweb application.
    As part of a process to reconcile a facility's name, address, and/
or ownership and other facility-level information that differs from 
information provided during a previous reporting year, the EPA has 
historically contacted facilities about such differences and allowed 
facilities to update their facility-level information via letters, 
emails, and other methods less formal than a certified TRI reporting 
form. Additionally, facilities could access, print, mark up, and 
certify a copy of a submitted TRI reporting form using the electronic 
Facility Data Profile (eFDP) application to request revisions to that 
TRI reporting form. With this rulemaking, the EPA will no longer 
solicit or allow revisions to TRI reporting forms via the 
reconciliation process or process marked-up copies of certified forms 
printed using the eFDP application. Instead, facilities that wish to 
revise or withdraw previously submitted non-trade-secret TRI reporting 
forms must use TRI-MEweb to do so.
    Please note that any revisions to and withdrawals of TRI reporting 
forms should also be submitted to the state, tribe, or territory that 
received the initial TRI report. The TRI Reporting in Indian Country 
rulemaking, published in the Federal Register on April 19, 2012, 
applies to RY 2012 onward, which means submissions of, revisions to, 
and withdrawals of TRI reporting forms for reporting years prior to RY 
2012 should be sent to EPA and the appropriate state rather than to EPA 
and the tribe to which the facility currently reports. For example, 
while a facility located in Indian Country would submit TRI reporting 
forms to the EPA and the appropriate tribe for a revision to a RY 2012 
TRI report, this facility should submit a revision to a TRI reporting 
form to the EPA and the appropriate state for any reporting year prior 
to RY 2012. More information on how to revise and withdraw TRI 
reporting forms while located in Indian Country is available via the 
TRI Web site (http://www.epa.gov/tri). Facilities may also contact the 
TRI Information Center, Regional TRI Coordinators, or TRI Program staff 
at EPA Headquarters for further assistance.

IV. What comments did EPA receive on this rule for electronic reporting 
of Toxics Release Inventory Data and what are EPA's responses to those 
comments?

    EPA received five comments on the Federal Register document 
``Electronic Reporting of Toxics Release Inventory Data'' (March 5, 
2012; 77 FR 13061). These comments are accessible under Docket ID No. 
EPA-HQ-TRI-2011-0174. The commenters included three individuals, one 
agency, and one industry group. The comments from the individuals and 
agency were supportive of EPA's intent to streamline and improve the 
submission of TRI reporting forms by requiring facilities to report 
such data electronically. These comments generally stated that the rule 
would enable faster release of TRI data, reduce transcription errors, 
and improve data quality. Two of these commenters, while supporting 
EPA's action, requested that EPA provide some allowance for facilities 
unable to access the Internet for various reasons such as: A grace 
period for new facilities, a transition period for smaller facilities, 
and waivers for facilities in rural areas lacking Internet service. One 
of these commenters expressed concern with the EPA continuing to allow 
paper submissions of TRI reporting forms containing trade secret 
information. This commenter also requested EPA institute a more 
rigorous process for approving certifying officials and suggested that 
EPA require facilities to register more than one certifying official.
    EPA had proposed limiting revisions and withdrawals of TRI 
reporting forms back to RY 2005 due to current capabilities of TRI-
MEweb. In response, the industry group comment requested that EPA 
consider allowing revisions to and withdrawals of data submitted for 
reporting years prior to 2005. Specifically, this comment suggested EPA 
allow facilities to submit on paper any revisions or withdrawals of

[[Page 52864]]

previously submitted TRI reporting forms for reporting years prior to 
2005.
    EPA's responses are provided below.

1. Comment Recommending the EPA Allow Revisions and Withdrawals of TRI 
Reporting Forms for Reporting Years Prior to 2005 via Paper

    One comment stated the EPA should continue to accept revisions and 
withdrawals of TRI reporting forms for all reporting years rather than 
limiting revisions and withdrawals to those pertaining to RY 2005 
through the present reporting year. The comment argues that maintaining 
the capability for facilities to revise or withdraw reports for 
reporting years prior to 2005 is important for purposes of compliance 
and enforcement and helps ensure data accuracy and integrity in the 
publicly-available databases that provide TRI data.
    Recognizing the potential difficulties in updating TRI-MEweb to 
accommodate revisions and withdrawals of TRI for all reporting years, 
the comment recommends the EPA accept such revisions and withdrawals on 
paper for reporting years prior to 2005. To support its position, the 
comment notes that the EPA receives a small number of revisions and 
withdrawals pertaining to reporting years prior to 2005 and suggests 
the cost to process paper submissions of these revisions and 
withdrawals would be minimal because EPA already plans to receive a 
limited number of trade secret submissions submitted by paper.
    The EPA has reassessed its proposal to limit revisions and 
withdrawals of TRI reporting forms back to RY 2005 and will modify TRI-
MEweb to support revisions, withdrawals, and late submittals of TRI 
reporting forms back to RY 1991. Keeping the interface simple and not 
implementing complicated validation checks for RYs 1991-2004 makes it 
economically and functionally feasible to modify TRI-MEweb to support 
additional reporting years. This update to TRI-MEweb will also support 
the spirit of the rulemaking to minimize paper flows of TRI reporting 
forms and expedite the release of TRI data to the public.
    Extending the range of reporting years in which facilities may 
revise, withdraw, and submit TRI reporting forms from RY 2005 (as 
proposed) to RY 1991 will allow facilities a greater number of years to 
submit updated TRI reporting forms. EPA believes RY 1991 is a logical 
reporting year to serve as a cutoff because the reporting form remained 
relatively stable during this period and it includes the first 
reporting year (RY 1991) in which facilities reported data elements 
required by the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990. The EPA has not 
received a revision for a reporting year prior to RY 1991 since 2004.

2. Comment Recommending the EPA Require TRI Facilities To Report Trade 
Secrets Electronically

    One comment stated that the EPA should require TRI facilities to 
report trade secrets electronically so that EPA can completely 
eliminate the need to spend any resources or money processing TRI 
reporting forms submitted by paper. The comment also stated it would be 
more effective to institute such a requirement now than to conduct 
another rulemaking process later to require the electronic reporting of 
trade secrets.
    The EPA recognizes the benefits in requiring facilities to submit 
all TRI submissions electronically. However, to incorporate trade 
secret reports into TRI-MEweb, EPA would require enhancements to TRI-
MEweb to ensure it adheres to the higher level of security compliance 
required to accept trade secrets via an online reporting tool. Due to 
resource constraints, EPA is not at this time incorporating the few 
trade secret reports received yearly (consistently fewer than ten such 
reports) into TRI-MEweb. However, EPA does not foreclose the 
possibility that incorporating trade secrets into TRI-MEweb might prove 
worthwhile in the future.

3. Comment Recommending Changes to the Certifying Official Registration 
Process

    One comment suggested that the EPA should provide a more rigorous 
registration process than it currently uses for a person to register as 
a Certifying Official because the reports are submitted online, so the 
lack of a handwritten signature and the ease to which certifying 
officials can submit TRI forms could cause a certifier to minimize the 
importance of the certification process.
    The comment also recommends that the EPA require each facility to 
designate at least two Certifying Officials with the Central Data 
Exchange (CDX) to help ensure facilities can certify their TRI 
reporting form(s) should a Certifying Official be unavailable near the 
TRI reporting deadline.
    TRI regulations require TRI reporters to designate a senior 
management official who can certify TRI submissions for the facility. 
EPA defines a ``senior management official'' to be a person who is ``an 
official with management responsibility for the person or persons 
completing the report'' or ``the manager of environmental programs for 
the facility or establishments, or for the corporation owning or 
operating the facility or establishments responsible for certifying 
similar reports under other environmental regulatory requirements.'' 40 
CFR 372.3. The ultimate responsibility for submitting TRI reporting 
forms rests on the owners and operators of facilities that trigger TRI 
reporting thresholds. 40 CFR 372.5, .30. TRI reporters bear the 
responsibility to ensure they follow statutory and regulatory 
requirements, including submitting TRI reports in a timely fashion. EPA 
believes TRI reporters recognize this responsibility regardless of 
whether they submit electronically or by paper.
    Currently, in order to become a Certifying Official for a facility, 
a person must sign (in hard copy or electronically with adequate 
identity proofing) an electronic signature agreement (ESA) and send the 
ESA to the EPA before being able to certify and submit TRI forms using 
TRI-MEweb. The certification process used for TRI reporting follows 
EPA's CROMERR regulations (40 CFR part 3) that provide baseline 
requirements for electronic reporting to help ensure the signatory of 
any electronic submission understands the content of the submission. 
Recently, EPA bolstered its online reporting security by requiring 
Certifying Officials to select a question and provide an answer prior 
to gaining access to TRI reports ready for submission. Additionally, 
EPA continually considers new ways to improve the security of its 
online reporting processes.
    Different TRI reporters have different management structures and 
some TRI facilities might only have one person who satisfies the 
definition for a ``senior management official.'' The EPA strongly 
encourages facilities to register more than one Certifying Official 
with CDX, but does not wish to impose a requirement on businesses that 
they register two or more Certifying Officials when one Certifying 
Official is adequate.

4. Comment Expressing Concern That the Online Reporting System Could 
Fail

    One comment expresses concern that some unforeseen problem, such as 
a storm, could disable the online reporting system used to submit TRI 
reporting forms. The comment requests the EPA extend the reporting 
deadline or provide an alternative reporting method should an 
unforeseen problem arise.

[[Page 52865]]

    The TRI reporting deadline is a statutory deadline. However, as 
appropriate, EPA can respond to unforeseen events such as natural 
disasters that would prevent the timely submittal of TRI reporting 
forms. Should such an event arise, the Agency would consider the 
particular circumstances and conduct outreach as necessary.

5. Comment Recommending EPA Provide a Liaison With Facilities To Assist 
With Reporting TRI Reporting Forms Electronically

    One comment recommends that EPA designate human resources that can 
act both as liaisons to facilities that seek assistance with submitting 
TRI reporting forms electronically and as an internal development team 
to continue to make improvements to the electronic reporting 
application using feedback received from facilities.
    EPA recognizes the need to assist facilities with submitting TRI 
reporting forms electronically, and addresses this need, in part, by 
maintaining the TRI Information Center and CDX Helpdesk. Furthermore, 
facilities may solicit assistance from the TRI DPC, Regional TRI 
Coordinators, or TRI Program staff at EPA Headquarters.
    Each year EPA typically incorporates improved enhancements into 
TRI-MEweb, often including features to address aspects of the software 
with which facilities have required assistance in the past. The Agency 
plans to continue improving TRI-MEweb and encourages TRI reporters to 
suggest improvements (see http://www.epa.gov/tri for how to contact the 
TRI Program).

6. Comment Expressing Concern That Some Facilities Might Have 
Difficulties in Accessing the Internet

    One comment expressed concern that some small facilities and some 
facilities in rural regions might have difficulties in accessing 
broadband Internet. Another comment suggested it could take some time 
for facilities that do not currently use a computer and/or TRI-MEweb to 
adapt to online reporting. Due to these potential concerns, the 
comments suggest that the EPA allow for a grace period, consider an 
interim or transition period, allow for smaller facilities in rural 
areas to file for waivers, or grandfather smaller and/or rural 
facilities under the old rule. For waivers, one comment suggested 
facilities would need to be longstanding reporters of TRI data and 
demonstrate evidence of extreme difficulty regarding compliance.
    One comment also noted the percentage of facilities filing by paper 
has remained relatively constant since Reporting Year 2005, potentially 
implying there is a reason why approximately five percent of TRI 
reporters continue to submit TRI reports by paper.
    The EPA has provided notice of this rulemaking since January 2011 
when EPA published a notice in the Federal Register (76 FR 2677) that 
the Agency was considering requiring TRI facilities to submit TRI 
reporting forms electronically. Additionally, EPA sent a letter via 
email or postal carrier (if an email address was not available) to 
technical contacts for facilities that submitted TRI reporting forms 
for RY 2009 and RY 2008. This letter notified these facilities that EPA 
was considering a proposed rule to require the electronic submission of 
TRI reporting forms and informed the facilities of an online discussion 
forum where any interested stakeholder could comment on EPA's plan to 
require electronic reporting of TRI reporting forms. EPA recognized the 
discussion forum was provided electronically, which could bias the 
discussion toward facilities with access to computers, so EPA explained 
in the letter that facilities could physically mail comments to the 
Agency so that the Agency could make these comments available on the 
discussion forum. While a few comments on the forum expressed concern 
for small facilities and facilities in rural regions, the EPA did not 
receive any feedback on the forum or any written letters indicating any 
particular facility would face difficulty in complying with a 
requirement to submit TRI reporting forms using TRI-MEweb. Nor has the 
EPA received any formal comments in response to the proposal for this 
rulemaking that indicated any particular facility would have 
difficulties submitting electronically. Facilities have not stated they 
would need a grace period to follow an electronic reporting requirement 
for submitting TRI reporting forms, and the facilities have been 
alerted to this rulemaking for more than two years and will have nearly 
a year to prepare before RY 2013 TRI reports are due. The EPA does not 
foresee that facilities meeting TRI reporting thresholds--which include 
having ten or more full-time employees and manufacturing, processing, 
or otherwise using listed toxics above threshold amounts--will have 
difficulty using a computer or accessing the Internet. The EPA compared 
facilities that reported for RY 2010 with a database the Federal 
Communications Commission (FCC) maintains that indicates what parts of 
the country can access broadband. This analysis determined that all but 
sixteen facilities likely have access to broadband. Of these sixteen 
facilities, fourteen already use TRI-MEweb to submit TRI reporting 
forms to EPA.
    Further, as mentioned in the preamble for the proposal, the EPA 
stopped mailing reporting forms to facilities as a matter of course, 
instead placing the TRI reporting forms on the TRI Web site since RY 
2006. Since RY 2006, only one facility has requested that the Agency 
provide a paper form. This facility could access the Internet, but had 
recently elected to no longer maintain the connection.

7. Comment Recommending Improved Sharing of TRI Information

    One comment notes that this rulemaking provides an opportunity to 
facilitate and encourage similar reporting on the state and local level 
as well, suggesting the next step should be an information-sharing 
system or proposal of how to streamline information electronically with 
the public on the state and local level. The comment notes that the 
``TRI Data Exchange (TDX) has great potential to be the platform by 
which a certain level of intra-governmental cooperation is achieved. . 
. .''
    The EPA does believe that TDX is an effective tool that states, 
tribes, and territories can use to access TRI reports and that 
participation in TDX benefits facilities and participating states, 
tribes, and territories by automatically sending TRI reports alongside 
the federal submittal, thereby reducing the collective burden to mail, 
receive, and process the reports.
    Outside of TDX, the EPA also cooperates with state and tribal 
partners on TRI-related issues by regularly meeting with state, tribal, 
and EPA regional staff to discuss and coordinate TRI-related efforts on 
national and local levels. Additionally, to streamline information on a 
local level, the EPA provides a fact sheet for each state. These fact 
sheets summarize TRI data for each given state. These efforts are 
designed to help public users of TRI data view and understand TRI data 
within their communities.
    The EPA is also committed to provide timely access to TRI data to 
the public by making TRI data available less than one month after the 
July 1st reporting deadline. With electronic reporting, a higher 
percentage of reports could be processed and released within the first 
month. Once EPA publicly releases the TRI data, the public can access 
the TRI data using several tools, which currently include TRI Explorer, 
myRight-To-

[[Page 52866]]

Know (myRTK), and Envirofacts (EPA's one-stop source for environmental 
information). The EPA continually seeks to improve the ways in which it 
shares TRI data with the public.

8. Comments Supporting the Rulemaking

    Several comments approve of this rule as it will lower costs to the 
EPA, enable the Agency to provide TRI data more quickly, reduce the 
possibility of transcription errors, improve data quality due to the 
use of data quality checks in TRI-MEweb, and follow the general trend 
toward electronic reporting.
    EPA appreciates the support offered by these comments and agrees 
that this rule makes it possible for EPA to process the data more 
quickly and better provide communities with access to the latest TRI 
data on toxic chemical releases and other waste management. EPA also 
agrees that the rule will improve the quality of TRI reporting forms 
due to the data quality checks incorporated into TRI-MEweb.

V. References

    EPA has established an official public docket for this action under 
Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-TRI-2011-0174. The public docket includes 
information considered by EPA in developing this action, which is 
electronically or physically located in the docket. For assistance in 
locating any of these documents, please consult the person listed in 
the above FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

VI. What are the statutory and Executive Order reviews associated with 
this action?

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 (EO) 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. 
Instead, this action would merely change the manner in which the Agency 
receives information. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has 
previously approved the information collection requirements contained 
in the existing regulations 40 CFR part 372 under the provisions of the 
Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. and has assigned the 
following OMB control numbers 2025-0009 (EPA Information Collection 
Request (ICR) No. 1363.21) and 2050-0078 (EPA ICR No. 1428.08). The OMB 
control numbers for EPA's regulations in 40 CFR are listed in 40 CFR 
part 9.

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act, as Amended by the Small Business 
Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act 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 statute unless the agency certifies that the 
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; (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.
    EPA conducted an economic analysis to consider the possible effects 
of this rulemaking on small entities. This analysis, ``Economic 
Analysis of the Electronic Reporting Final Rule: Community Right-to-
Know; Toxic Chemical Release Reporting'' (Ref. 1), 
demonstrates this rule should not create an economic burden on an 
individual small business of more than 1% of its sales (or equivalent 
metric) and, thus, will not have a significant adverse impact on small 
businesses.
    In summary, this rule will create a one-time burden and a minor 
subsequent burden for facilities that have not previously used TRI-
MEweb to submit TRI reporting forms to EPA. This burden would relate to 
obtaining access to a computer and the Internet, establishing an 
account in CDX, and associating the CDX account with TRI-MEweb. A more 
detailed analysis of the impacts on small entities is located in EPA's 
economic analysis support document, Economic Analysis of the Electronic 
Reporting Final Rule: Community Right-to-Know; Toxic Chemical Release 
Reporting, located in the docket.
    After considering the economic impacts of today's final rule on 
small entities, I certify that this action will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The small 
entities directly regulated by this final rule are small businesses and 
small governmental jurisdictions. We have determined that 3,180 small 
parent entities will need to familiarize themselves with this 
rulemaking and 112 small parent entities might need to register with 
CDX, establish an ESA, and purchase a computer and obtain Internet 
access. The maximum impact incurred by any small parent entity is 
approximately 0.5 percent of their annual revenue.
    Although this final 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. Throughout 
the process for this rulemaking, the EPA invited facilities to provide 
feedback on whether it would be difficult to report electronically. 
Further, the Agency has continually strived to provide an intuitive, 
user-friendly reporting system to prepare and submit TRI data that has 
become widely used by facilities submitting TRI forms. Ultimately, due 
to its economic analysis and its understanding of regulated community, 
the EPA does not believe this rulemaking will be burdensome for 
facilities, including small parent entities, that submit TRI forms.

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 rule will merely require facilities under the TRI Program to 
submit electronic reports using TRI-MEweb. Most facilities already 
adhere to this requirement, thus this rule will affect a relatively 
small number of facilities. Further, the cost to adhere to this rule is 
small and, in aggregate, will not cost more than $100 million or more 
for state, local, and tribal governments, or the private sector in any 
one year. Thus, this rule is not subject to the requirements of 
sections 202 or 205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (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. Any small 
government that reports to the TRI Program will not incur significant 
costs because the cost, if any, to report electronically, as described 
above, is minimal.

[[Page 52867]]

E. Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    This action 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 action would require 
facilities that submit annual reports under section 313 of EPCRA to do 
so electronically, which 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. Thus, Executive Order 13132 does not 
apply to this action.

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). EPA has 
determined that this rule does not have tribal implications because it 
will not have substantial direct effects on tribal governments, on the 
relationship between the Federal Government and the Indian tribes, or 
on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal 
Government and Indian tribes, as specified in the Executive Order. 
Instead, the rule merely affects how facilities report information to 
the TRI Program. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this 
action.

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

    EPA interprets E.O. 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997) as applying 
only to those regulatory actions that concern health or safety risks, 
such that the analysis required under section 5-501 of the Executive 
Order has the potential to influence the regulation. This action is not 
subject to E.O. 13045 because it does not establish an environmental 
standard intended to mitigate health or safety risks.

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, 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272 note) 
directs 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. NTTAA directs EPA to provide 
Congress, through OMB, explanations when the Agency decides not to use 
available and applicable voluntary consensus standards.
    This action does not involve technical standards. Therefore, EPA 
did not consider the use of any voluntary consensus standards.

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

    E.O. 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 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. Instead, this 
rule would merely address the manner in which regulated facilities 
submit reporting information.

K. Congressional Review Act

    The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added 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 Congress and to the Comptroller General of the 
United States. EPA will submit a report containing this rule and other 
required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of 
Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior 
to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. A major rule cannot 
take effect until 60 days after it is published in the Federal 
Register. This action is not a ``major rule'' as defined by 5 U.S.C. 
804(2). This final rule is effective January 21, 2014.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 372

    Environmental protection, Community right-to-know, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: August 16, 2013.
Gina McCarthy,
Administrator.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, Chapter I of Title 40 of 
the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

PART 372--TOXIC CHEMICAL RELEASE REPORTING: COMMUNITY RIGHT-TO-KNOW

0
1. The authority citation for Part 372 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 11023 and 11048.

0
2. Amend Sec.  372.85 by:
0
a. Revising paragraph (b) introductory text, and
0
b. Adding paragraph (c).
    The revised and added text reads as follows:


Sec.  372.85  Toxic chemical release reporting form and instructions.

* * * * *
    (b) Form elements. Information elements reportable on EPA Form R 
and Form R Schedule 1 include the following:
* * * * *
    (c) Filing Requirements. Effective January 21, 2014, facilities 
that submit TRI reporting forms (without claiming a trade secret), 
including revisions and withdrawals of TRI reporting forms, to EPA must 
prepare, certify, and submit their data to EPA electronically, using 
the TRI online-reporting software provided by EPA.
    (1) EPA will no longer accept non-trade-secret TRI reports, 
revisions, or withdrawals on paper reporting forms, magnetic media, or 
CD-ROMs. Information and instructions regarding online reporting are 
available on the TRI Web site.
    (2) Facilities must submit electronically any revisions or 
withdrawals of previously submitted TRI reporting forms. Facilities may 
submit, revise, or withdraw TRI reporting forms for reporting years 
1991 through the present reporting year.

[[Page 52868]]

    (3) The only exception to this TRI electronic reporting requirement 
of paragraph (c) relates to TRI submissions that claim a trade secret 
(including sanitized and unsanitized reporting forms) and revisions and 
withdrawals of such TRI submissions, which must be submitted to EPA on 
paper. Facilities may submit, revise, or withdraw these paper trade 
secret (including sanitized and unsanitized) TRI reporting forms for 
reporting years 1991 through the present reporting year.
[FR Doc. 2013-20744 Filed 8-26-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P