[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 25 (Thursday, February 6, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 7185-7189]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-02564]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0037; FRL-9904-18]


Final EPA Plan for the Federal Certification of Applicators of 
Restricted Use Pesticides Within Indian Country; Notice of 
Implementation

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: In the Federal Register of May 18, 2011, EPA issued a notice 
of intent to implement a Federal program to certify applicators of 
restricted use pesticides (RUPs) in Indian country where no other 
certification plan applies. The program will be administered by EPA. In 
that notice, EPA solicited comments from the public on EPA's Proposed 
Federal Plan for Certifying Applicators of Restricted Use Pesticides 
within Indian Country (EPA plan). EPA received comments from four 
commenters. EPA also issued a notice of intent to implement a similar 
plan in EPA Region 8, the Proposed Federal Plan for Certification of 
Applicators of Restricted Use Pesticides Within EPA Region 8 Indian 
Country (EPA Region 8 plan) in the Federal Register of April 20, 2011. 
EPA received comments from seven commenters on the EPA Region 8 plan. A 
complete summary of the comments and the Agency responses is available 
in the docket. EPA has decided to merge these plans into one EPA plan 
and hereby implements the final EPA plan. Applicators must hold the 
appropriate Federal certification under the final EPA plan to apply 
RUPs in Indian country where no other EPA-approved or EPA-implemented 
certification plan applies.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nicole Zinn, Field and External 
Affairs Division (7506P), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental 
Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-
0001; telephone number: (703) 308-7076; email address: 
zinn.nicole@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. General Information

A. Does this action apply to me?

    This notice applies to individuals and businesses who are seeking 
certification to apply RUPs as defined by the Federal Insecticide, 
Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) in Indian country \1\ where no 
EPA-approved or EPA-implemented plan applies. This action may, however, 
be of interest to those involved in agriculture and anyone involved 
with the distribution and application of pesticides for agricultural 
purposes. Others involved with pesticides and/or pest control 
applications in a non-agricultural setting may also be affected. Since 
other entities may also be interested, the Agency has not attempted to 
describe all the specific entities that may be affected by this action. 
If you have any questions regarding the applicability of this action to 
a particular entity, consult the person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.
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    \1\ Indian country is defined at 18 U.S.C. 1151. Consistent with 
the statutory definition of Indian country, as well as Federal case 
law interpreting this statutory language, EPA treats lands held by 
the Federal Government in trust for Indian Tribes that exist outside 
of formal reservations as informal reservations, and thus as Indian 
country.
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B. How can I get copies of this document and other related information?

    The docket for this action, identified by docket identification 
(ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0037, is available at http://www.regulations.gov or at the

[[Page 7186]]

Office of Pesticide Programs Regulatory Public Docket (OPP Docket) in 
the Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West 
Bldg., Rm. 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001. 
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 
OPP Docket is (703) 305-5805. Please review the visitor instructions 
and additional information about the docket available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets. The final EPA plan and application form, EPA Form 
7100-01, to apply for Federal certification under this final EPA plan 
can be found in the docket and at http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-applicator-certification-indian-country.

II. What action is the agency taking?

    EPA is implementing a Federal program to certify applicators of 
RUPs in Indian country where no other EPA-approved or EPA-implemented 
plan applies. This final EPA plan describes the process by which EPA 
will implement a program for the certification of applicators of RUPs 
in Indian country based upon the certification requirements enumerated 
at 40 CFR part 171. The entire final EPA plan is included in the 
docket.

III. Background

    Under FIFRA, 7 U.S.C. 136 et seq., the EPA Administrator has the 
authority to classify all registered pesticide uses as either 
``restricted use'' or ``general use.'' Under FIFRA, pesticides (or the 
particular use or uses of a pesticide) that may generally cause, 
without additional regulatory restrictions, unreasonable adverse 
effects on the environment, including injury to the applicator, shall 
be classified for ``restricted use.'' 7 U.S.C. 136a(d)(1)(C). If the 
classification is made because of hazards to the applicator or other 
persons, the pesticide may only be applied by or under the direct 
supervision of a certified applicator. 7 U.S.C. 136a(d)(1)(C)(i), 
136j(a)(2)(F). If the classification is made because of potential 
unreasonable adverse effects on the environment, the pesticide may only 
be applied by, or under the direct supervision of, a certified 
applicator or subject to such other restrictions as the EPA 
Administrator may provide by regulation. 7 U.S.C. 136a(d)(1)(C)(ii), 
136j(a)(2)(F). To be certified, an individual must be determined to be 
competent with respect to the use and handling of the pesticides 
covered by the certification. 7 U.S.C 136i(a).
    It was the intent of Congress that persons desiring to use RUPs 
should be able to obtain certification under programs approved by EPA, 
as reflected in FIFRA sections 11 and 23. 7 U.S.C. 136i, 136u. The 
regulations addressing tribal and State development and submission of 
certification plans to EPA are contained at 40 CFR part 171. It is 
EPA's position that tribal and State plans are generally best suited to 
the needs of that particular Tribe or State and its citizens; however, 
Tribes and States are not required to develop their own plans. Where 
EPA has not approved a State or tribal certification plan, the Agency 
is authorized to implement an EPA plan for the Federal certification of 
applicators of RUPs pursuant to FIFRA sections 11 and 23. 7 U.S.C. 
136i, 136u; 40 CFR 171.11.
    Most of Indian country is not covered by an EPA-approved or EPA-
implemented plan, and therefore, applicators do not have a mechanism to 
become certified. The current lack of approved mechanisms for use of 
RUPs in Indian country is a concern to EPA for reasons of equity, 
safety, and enforcement. EPA believes the same pest control tools that 
are available in State areas should also be available to growers in 
Indian country. Lack of access to these pesticides could put growers in 
Indian country at an economic disadvantage to growers in States, who do 
have access to these pesticides. Without access to certification 
programs, applicators may not have the competence needed to safely use 
RUPs, nor would they be legally allowed to use them.
    Federal, State, and tribal governments may impose additional, 
different requirements on the purchase and application of RUPs. 
Applicators are encouraged to research these particular requirements to 
determine how they may affect their ability to purchase and apply RUPs, 
and consider any restrictions or requirements as they decide if this 
EPA certification will serve their needs.

IV. Summary of the Final EPA Plan

    1. Applicability. EPA intends to implement this final EPA plan in 
Indian country, as defined in 18 U.S.C. 1151, where no other EPA-
approved or EPA-implemented plan applies.
    2. Provisions of this EPA plan--a. Why is EPA developing an EPA 
plan? The EPA plan will allow the certification of applicators and 
legal use of RUPs in those parts of Indian country where there are 
currently no mechanisms in place for such certification and use. RUPs 
cannot be legally used in Indian country unless EPA has explicitly 
approved a mechanism of certification for such an area. EPA-approved 
State plans do not cover use of RUPs in Indian country. There are very 
few areas of Indian country for which there are approved non-Federal 
plans and only one area that is currently covered under a Federal plan.
    b. To whom will the EPA plan apply? The EPA plan will only apply to 
persons who intend to apply RUPs in Indian country not covered by 
another EPA-approved or EPA-implemented plan. Tribes may continue to 
pursue options available under 40 CFR 171.10 for their areas of Indian 
country, including seeking EPA approval of tribal plans for such areas 
under 40 CFR 171.10(a)(2) or the utilization of a State's certification 
program under 40 CFR 171.10(a)(1). An option implemented under 40 CFR 
171.10 would replace this final EPA plan for the relevant area of 
Indian country.
    Applicators must hold the appropriate Federal certification under 
this final EPA plan to apply RUPs in Indian country where no other EPA-
approved or EPA-implemented certification plan applies. During the 6-
months after publication of this notice announcing this final EPA plan, 
EPA will allow applicators to apply RUPs under the final EPA plan in 
Indian country only for the categories for which they already have a 
valid State, tribal, or Federal certificate \2\ if they submit a 
complete application to the relevant EPA Region showing proof of a 
valid State, tribal, or Federal certification.\3\ Beginning August 6, 
2014, applicators who are covered under this EPA plan and have not 
received a written Federal certification from the relevant EPA Region 
are prohibited from applying RUPs in Indian country located in that EPA 
Region. Failure to hold the appropriate Federal certification after 
August 6, 2014 may result in Federal enforcement action in accordance 
with FIFRA section 12(a)(2)(F).
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    \2\ Please see section IX of the EPA plan for applicator 
categories recognized under the EPA plan, as there are exceptions 
for sodium cyanide capsules used with ejector devices and sodium 
fluoroacetate used in livestock protection collars. These exceptions 
will also apply during the 6-months after publication of this notice 
announcing the final EPA plan.
    \3\ Although predicated in part on the applicator's existing 
valid certification, any use permitted under this EPA plan is 
allowed by and will be enforced only under Federal authority.
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    c. Certification procedures. The appropriate EPA regional office 
will administer this EPA plan for each covered area of Indian country. 
To become certified to use RUPs in Indian country, applicators must 
submit an

[[Page 7187]]

application form, EPA Form 7100-01, to the EPA regional office that 
covers the Indian country where they wish to apply RUPs, as well as 
proof of the valid Federal, State, or tribal certification upon which 
their Federal certification will be based. The final EPA plan and form 
to apply for Federal certification under the final EPA plan can be 
found in the docket (see Unit I.B. of this notice) and on EPA's Web 
site at http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-applicator-certification-indian-country.
    The certification on which the Federal certificate will be based 
must be from a State or Tribe with a contiguous boundary to the 
relevant area of Indian country.\4\ The EPA regional offices also have 
limited discretion to allow Federal certification under the final EPA 
plan based on a valid certification from another nearby State or Tribe 
that is not directly contiguous to the area of Indian country at issue. 
The Federal certification based on a valid Federal, State, or tribal 
certification, will expire when the underlying Federal, tribal, or 
State certificate expires, unless the certificate is suspended or 
revoked.
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    \4\ The area of Indian country where the applicator intends to 
apply must be within, or the border must be touching, the State or 
Tribe that issued the underlying Federal, tribal, or State 
certificate.
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    In lieu of submitting proof of a valid Federal, State, or tribal 
certification, private applicators also have the option of completing 
the online training developed by EPA. An interim option to use 
available State training to obtain private applicator certification in 
lieu of a valid Federal, State, or tribal certificate was developed and 
included in the plan and on the application form for private applicator 
certification. However, since EPA has developed online training, this 
option will not be used while the online training is available. Federal 
certification under this option is valid for 4 years from the date of 
issuance, unless suspended or revoked.
    d. Applicator categories. EPA will recognize the categories 
authorized in the Federal, State, or tribal certification upon which 
the Federal certification is based, and applicators will be authorized 
to apply RUPs in Indian country for uses covered by those categories. 
See Unit VI. of this notice for specific information on categories for 
sodium cyanide capsules used with ejector devices for livestock 
predator control and for sodium fluoroacetate used in livestock 
protection collars.
    e. Implementation. EPA will administer routine maintenance 
activities associated with implementation of this final EPA plan (e.g., 
application processing, database management, recordkeeping) and will 
conduct inspections and take enforcement actions as appropriate.

V. Response to Comments

    EPA received comments from the Tribal Pesticide Program Council 
(TPPC); Cherokee Nation; Kashia Band of Pomo Indians; the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection 
Service (APHIS); the Colorado Department of Agriculture; the Montana 
Department of Agriculture; and some pesticide applicators. EPA sought 
comment on several topics for the proposed EPA plan and the proposed 
EPA Region 8 plan: Issuing Federal certification to applicators with 
certificates from contiguous States or Tribes, a request to include a 
notification provision in the EPA plan, the private applicator 
certification option, and a suggestion from the Tribes to include an 
opt-out provision in the EPA plan.
    All comments on these issues, as well as additional comments 
received, and EPA's responses are available in the docket. EPA has also 
made changes to the final EPA plan based on some of the comments 
received. These changes are described in Unit VI. of this notice.

VI. Highlights of Changes Made in the Final EPA Plan

    EPA adjusted the final EPA plan based on questions and comments 
received on the proposed EPA plan. Below are some noteworthy 
clarifications. Please refer to the Response to Comments document and 
the final EPA plan for details.

A. Change to Title

    The title of the final EPA plan has been changed from ``Federal 
Plan for Certification of Applicators of Restricted Use Pesticides 
within Indian Country'' to ``EPA Plan for the Federal Certification of 
Applicators of Restricted Use Pesticides within Indian Country'' to 
align it with 40 CFR 171.11 and to differentiate it from non-EPA 
Federal agency plans. EPA also merged the EPA Region 8 plan with this 
final EPA plan since the plans were very similar in nature and goals. 
Indeed, the EPA Region 8 plan, which was developed first, was the basis 
for the national EPA plan. Further, the two plans ended up with similar 
expected timeframes for implementation.

B. Notification of Tribes Prior to RUP Use

    The Agency received comments suggesting the inclusion of a 
provision in the final EPA plan that would require applicators to 
notify a Tribe prior to application of RUPs in their Indian country. 
Further, it was suggested that EPA should create an ``opt-in'' process 
for Indian Tribes that want to be notified in advance of an RUP 
application on their land. Tribes that wanted notification prior to RUP 
use would be expected to identify a contact person to whom advance 
notification of a pesticide application should be provided. The 
commenters also believed EPA should develop a form for applicators to 
use to notify the Tribes about proposed pesticide applications.
    It was also requested that EPA make a database publicly available 
that lists applicators with their contact information and current 
certifications by State and EPA Region. The database would provide 
Indian Tribes with a better sense as to the applicators with Federal 
certificates who might potentially apply RUPs in their Indian country.
    While some commenters pointed to the notification process for soil 
fumigants as a precedent for EPA requiring notification of Tribes prior 
to the application of RUPs, the justification and authorities that 
supported the notification requirements for soil fumigants are not 
available to support applicator notification requirements under a 
Federal certification plan. In the case of the soil fumigants, 
notification is required as part of the reregistration risk mitigation 
decision to assure the soil fumigants meet the FIFRA registration 
standard. EPA generally has not made that determination for other RUPs. 
Under FIFRA section 11, which provides the authority for issuing 
Federal certification plans, rulemaking is the mechanism required for 
commercial applicator reporting, which would include a notification 
requirement. Additionally, FIFRA section 11 does not provide EPA 
authority to require any reporting from, or recordkeeping by, private 
applicators. Development of a rulemaking to require commercial 
applicators to notify Tribes prior to RUP application could take 
several years. EPA does not believe that we should delay the benefits 
of proceeding with the final EPA plan while rulemaking is considered to 
require commercial applicators to notify Tribes prior to use. 
Therefore, EPA will proceed with finalizing this EPA plan at this time. 
As the Agency gains experience implementing the final EPA plan, the 
Agency will re-evaluate if rulemaking to implement a tribal 
notification requirement is advisable or needed.
    In the meantime, to assist Tribes in identifying and communicating 
directly

[[Page 7188]]

with applicators certified under this final EPA plan, EPA will 
implement the suggestion to make a database publicly available that 
lists applicators (with their location and current certifications) by 
State upon which the Federal certification is based. EPA expects to 
implement this recommendation by posting a list of federally certified 
applicators at http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-applicator-certification-indian-country.
    EPA also recognizes that tribal notification requirements may exist 
under tribal law. Federal certifications issued by EPA under this EPA 
plan will explicitly inform applicators that they should take steps to 
determine if there are additional requirements under tribal law for RUP 
application, including tribal notification requirements.

C. Private Applicator Option

    EPA sought comment on the proposed private applicator ``no-test'' 
certification option required by FIFRA section 11. There was a concern 
raised that it may be difficult for an applicator to obtain the 
training necessary to apply for a private applicator certification if 
not relying on the State certification. In addition, several commenters 
were concerned that the training that pesticide applicators receive 
through States does not specifically require applicators to demonstrate 
that they are competent to apply pesticides in Indian country. Also, 
commenters stated that EPA-approved training should include a 
discussion of tribal government, cultural practices, natural resources, 
examples of tribal regulations, information about the Web site 
identifying Tribes that want to be notified prior to a RUP application, 
and other pertinent tribal information.
    The Agency revised the private applicator certification option. For 
individuals seeking certification as a private applicator under the 
final EPA plan, EPA will exercise its authority contained in 40 CFR 
171.11(d)(1) and (e) to issue certifications if the applicator 
completes one of two requirements:
    1. The applicator may submit documentation of a current and valid 
certification as a private applicator authorized to apply federally 
designated RUPs through a Federal plan or an EPA-approved State or 
tribal plan with a contiguous boundary to the relevant area of Indian 
country. The EPA Region also has limited discretion to allow 
certification under the plan based on a valid certification from 
another nearby State or Tribe that is not directly contiguous to the 
area of Indian country at issue.
    2. The applicator may submit documentation of completion of the 
online training course provided by EPA. An interim option to use 
available State training to obtain private applicator certification in 
lieu of a valid certification was developed and included on the 
application form for private applicator certification. Since EPA has 
developed online training, this option will not be used while the 
online training is available.
    EPA did not include in the online training all of the information 
relevant to Indian country requested by commenters because of the many 
differences among federally recognized Tribes. Rather, EPA indicates 
that Tribes may have more stringent requirements and refers applicators 
to the relevant Tribe(s) for details.
    a. Length of certification. A private applicator certificate issued 
under the first option will expire at the expiration date of the 
underlying certificate, unless suspended or revoked. A private 
applicator certificate issued under the second option is valid for 4 
years.
    b. Renewal/recertification. Applicators may apply to be recertified 
through the options listed in the final EPA plan during the 12 months 
preceding the expiration of their current certificate.

D. Categories for Sodium Cyanide Capsules Used With Ejector Devices and 
Sodium Fluoroacetate Livestock Protection Collars

    While a written comment was not submitted on either of the proposed 
plans, several States noted during meetings that they would be 
interested in becoming registrants on behalf of a Tribe, if the Tribes 
are interested in allowing the sodium cyanide capsules used with 
ejector devices or sodium fluoroacetate used in livestock protection 
collars to be used within their Indian country. States questioned how 
applications of these products will occur if Tribes do not have a 
pesticide program and cannot monitor the usage in their Indian country, 
making them ineligible to become a registrant.
    States cannot serve as a registrant of these products on behalf of 
an Indian Tribe. Under the terms of the registrations for sodium 
cyanide capsules used with ejector devices and sodium fluoroacetate 
used in livestock protection collars, the registrant of these products 
must be able to supervise the use, and enforce against the misuse, of 
the product. Since the registrant needs to be able to supervise the use 
and enforce against the misuse of the product, it would not be 
appropriate for the State to act as a registrant, since States are not 
generally approved to administer programs in Indian country under 
FIFRA.
    Because a registrant of one of these products must have the ability 
to provide a supervisory role in the application of these products and 
be able to inspect and enforce against any misapplication of the 
product (see the Federal Register of February 10, 1977 (42 FR 8406)), 
some Tribes will not have the capacity to serve as a registrant of 
these products. If a Tribe is not in a position to serve as the 
registrant but would like to allow use of these products, that Tribe 
could work with APHIS, which is the only Federal agency that is 
currently a registrant of these products. APHIS employees, once 
certified under the EPA plan, can apply sodium cyanide capsules used 
with ejector devices and sodium fluoroacetate used in livestock 
protection collars within the relevant Indian Tribe's Indian country. 
EPA expects that an agreement between the Tribe and APHIS that includes 
application of sodium cyanide capsules used with ejector devices and 
sodium fluoroacetate used in livestock protection collars will be in 
effect prior to any application. If another Federal agency were to 
become a registrant for one or both of these products, it is likely 
there could be a similar arrangement between that Federal agency and a 
Tribe seeking applications of these products.

E. Private Applicator Categories

    Several States asked if EPA would allow categories in the Federal 
plan for private applicators. EPA clarified that the private applicator 
Federal certificate will reflect any categories found in the underlying 
certificate used to demonstrate applicator competence. For both private 
and commercial certifications, EPA recognizes that underlying 
certificates issued pursuant to different State, tribal, and Federal 
plans may have different categories, and therefore the categories 
recognized by the EPA will not be uniform.

VII. Consultation With Tribal Governments

    Given the absence of an EPA-approved certification program in areas 
of Indian country, EPA, consistent with its statutory authorities and 
the Federal government's trust responsibility to federally recognized 
Tribes, has worked with Tribes on a government-to-government basis to 
develop a certification program that will help ensure the protection of 
human health and the environment in Indian country. EPA consulted with 
Tribes on November 29 and December 13, 2010, to help ensure development 
of a Federal

[[Page 7189]]

plan that effectively meets their needs and those of RUP applicators in 
Indian country. EPA Region 8 also held three formal consultations with 
the Tribes in EPA Region 8. In addition to the consultations dedicated 
specifically to this EPA plan, EPA has also worked closely with the 
TPPC while developing this EPA plan.
    EPA developed the Federal plan in consultation with Tribes 
consistent with, among other things, the following policies, orders, 
and guidance: ``EPA Policy for the Administration of Environmental 
Programs on Indian Reservations,'' November 8, 1984; ``Guidance on the 
Enforcement Principles Outlined in the 1984 Indian Policy,'' January 
17, 2001; Executive Order 13175, ``Consultation and Coordination With 
Indian Tribal Governments,'' November 6, 2000, which was reaffirmed by 
Presidential memorandum, ``Tribal Consultation,'' November 5, 2009; and 
the ``EPA Policy on Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribes,'' 
May 4, 2011.

VIII. Paperwork Reduction Act

    Pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C.3501 et 
seq.), the information collection activities described in this notice 
and the revised Information Collection Request (ICR), OMB Control No. 
2070-0029, were approved by the Office of Management and Budget. As 
part of this process, EPA proposed to implement a revised form designed 
specifically for pesticide applicators who wish to be certified in 
Indian country. EPA estimates the paperwork burden associated with 
completing this form to be 10 minutes per response. Under PRA, 
``burden'' means the total time, effort, or financial resources 
expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, disclose or provide 
information to or for a Federal agency. For this collection it includes 
the time needed to review instructions; develop, acquire, install, and 
utilize technology and systems for the purposes of collecting, 
validating, and verifying information, processing and maintaining 
information, and disclosing and providing information; adjust the 
existing ways to comply with any previously applicable instructions and 
requirements; train personnel to be able to respond to a collection of 
information; search data sources; complete and review the collection of 
information; and transmit or otherwise disclose the information. The 
information collection activities and the form are included in a 
separate docket. See http://www.regulations.gov, docket ID number EPA-
HQ-OPP-2010-0723.

List of Subjects

    Environmental protection, Business and industry, Education, 
Indians-lands, Indians-tribal government, Pesticides and pests.

    Dated: January 31, 2014.
James Jones,
Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution 
Prevention.
[FR Doc. 2014-02564 Filed 2-5-14; 8:45 am]
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