[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 131 (Wednesday, July 9, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 38887-38890]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-16064]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[FRL-9913-55-OAR]


Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Request for Methyl Bromide 
Critical Use Exemption Applications for 2017

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency is providing notice of the 
process for submitting applications for critical use exemptions for 
2017. Critical use exemptions are exceptions to the phaseout of 
production and import of methyl bromide, a controlled class I ozone-
depleting substance. Critical use exemptions must be authorized by the 
Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone 
Layer and must be in accordance with the Clean Air Act. Applications 
received in accordance with this notice will be considered as the basis 
for submitting potential nominations for critical use exemptions to 
future Meetings of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol. Critical use 
exemptions allow production and import only in the year for which the 
Parties authorize them. All entities interested in obtaining a critical 
use exemption must provide EPA with technical and economic information 
to support a ``critical use'' claim by the deadline specified in this 
notice even if they have applied for an exemption in previous years.

DATES: Applications for critical use exemptions must be submitted to 
EPA no later than September 30, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Applications for the methyl bromide critical use exemption 
can also be submitted by U.S. mail to: U.S. Environmental Protection 
Agency, Office of Air and Radiation, Stratospheric Protection Division, 
Attention Methyl Bromide Team, Mail Code 6205M, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. 
NW., Washington, DC 20460.
    Confidentiality: Application materials that are confidential should 
be submitted under separate cover and be clearly identified as 
``confidential business information.'' Information covered by a claim 
of business confidentiality will be treated in accordance with the 
procedures for handling information claimed as confidential under 40 
CFR part 2, subpart B, and will be disclosed only to the extent and by 
means of the procedures set forth in that subpart. If no claim of 
confidentiality accompanies the information when it is received by EPA, 
the information may be made available to the public by EPA without 
further notice to the company (40 CFR 2.203). EPA may place a copy of 
Worksheet 6 in the public domain. Any information on Worksheet 6 shall 
not be considered confidential and will not be treated as such by the 
Agency.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background on the Critical Use Exemption

    The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is 
the international agreement aimed at reducing and eliminating the 
production and consumption of stratospheric ozone-depleting substances. 
Methyl bromide was added to the Protocol as an ozone-depleting 
substance in 1992 through the Copenhagen Amendment.
    The Protocol provides that the Parties may exempt ``the level of 
production or consumption that is necessary to satisfy uses agreed by 
them to be critical uses'' (Art. 2H para 5). The Parties to the 
Protocol included this language in the treaty's methyl bromide phaseout 
provisions in recognition that alternatives might not be available by 
2005 for certain uses of methyl bromide agreed by the Parties to be 
``critical uses.''
    In their Ninth Meeting (1997), the Parties agreed to Decision IX/6, 
setting forth the following criteria for a ``critical use'' 
determination and an exemption from the production and consumption 
phaseout:
    (a) That a use of methyl bromide should qualify as ``critical'' 
only if the nominating Party determines that:
    (i) The specific use is critical because the lack of availability 
of methyl bromide for that use would result in a significant market 
disruption; and
    (ii) There are no technically and economically feasible 
alternatives or substitutes available to the user that are acceptable 
from the standpoint of environment and health and are suitable to the 
crops and circumstances of the nomination.
    (b) That production and consumption, if any, of methyl bromide for 
a critical use should be permitted only if:
    (i) All technically and economically feasible steps have been taken 
to minimize the critical use and any associated emission of methyl 
bromide;
    (ii) Methyl bromide is not available in sufficient quantity and 
quality from existing stocks of banked or recycled methyl bromide, also 
bearing in mind the developing countries' need for methyl bromide;
    (iii) It is demonstrated that an appropriate effort is being made 
to evaluate, commercialize and secure national regulatory approval of 
alternatives and substitutes, taking into consideration the 
circumstances of the particular nomination. . . . Non-Article 5 Parties 
[which includes the U.S.] must demonstrate that research programs are 
in place to develop and deploy alternatives and substitutes. . . .
    In 1998, Congress amended the Clean Air Act to require EPA to 
conform the U.S. phaseout schedule for methyl bromide to the provisions 
of the Protocol and to allow EPA to provide a critical use exemption. 
These amendments were codified in Section 604 of the Clean Air Act, 42 
U.S.C. 7671c. Under EPA implementing regulations, the production and 
consumption of methyl bromide was phased out as of January 1, 2005. 
Section 604(d)(6), as added in 1998, allows EPA to exempt the 
production and import of methyl bromide from the phaseout for critical 
uses, to the extent consistent with the Montreal Protocol. EPA has 
defined ``critical use'' at 40 CFR 82.3 based on the criteria in 
Decision IX/6.
    EPA regulations at 40 CFR 82.4 prohibit the production and import 
of methyl bromide in excess of the amount of unexpended critical use 
allowances held by the producer or importer, unless authorized under a 
separate exemption. Methyl bromide produced or imported by expending 
critical use allowances may be used only for the appropriate category 
of approved critical uses as listed in Appendix L to the regulations 
(40 CFR 82.4(p)(2)). The use of methyl bromide that was produced or 
imported through the expenditure of production

[[Page 38888]]

or consumption allowances prior to 2005, while not confined to critical 
uses under EPA's phaseout regulations, is subject to the labeling 
restrictions under FIFRA as specified in the product labeling.

II. Critical Use Nomination Process

    Entities requesting critical use exemptions should send a completed 
application to EPA on the candidate use by September 30, 2014. Critical 
use exemptions are valid for only one year and do not automatically 
renew. All users desiring to obtain an exemption must apply to EPA 
annually even if they have applied for critical uses in prior years. 
Because of the potential for changes to registration status, costs, and 
economic aspects of producing critical use crops and commodities, 
applicants must fill out the application form completely.
    Upon receipt of applications, EPA will review the information and 
work with other interested Federal agencies as required in section 604 
of the Clean Air Act to determine whether the candidate use satisfies 
Clean Air Act requirements, and whether it meets the critical use 
criteria adopted by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol and warrants 
nomination by the United States for an exemption.
    All Parties, including the United States, must transmit nominations 
to the UNEP Ozone Secretariat by January 24, 2015, to be considered by 
the Parties at their annual meeting at the end of 2015. The UNEP Ozone 
Secretariat forwards nominations to the Montreal Protocol's Technical 
and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) and the Methyl Bromide Technical 
Options Committee (MBTOC). The MBTOC and the TEAP review the 
nominations to determine whether they meet the criteria for a critical 
use established by Decision IX/6, and to make recommendations to the 
Parties for critical use exemptions. The Parties then consider those 
recommendations at their annual meeting before making a final decision. 
If the Parties determine that a specified use of methyl bromide is 
critical and authorize an exemption from the Protocol's production and 
consumption phaseout for 2017, EPA may then take domestic action to 
allow the production and consumption to the extent consistent with the 
Clean Air Act.

III. Information Required for Critical Use Application

    Entities interested in obtaining a critical use exemption must 
complete the application form available at www.epa.gov/ozone/mbr/cueinfo.html. Applications requesting critical use allowances should 
include information that U.S. Government agencies and the Parties to 
the Protocol can use to evaluate the candidate use according to the 
criteria in Decision IX/6 described above. Applications that fail to 
include sufficient information may not be nominated.
    Specifically, applications should include the information requested 
in the current version of the TEAP Handbook on Critical Use 
Nominations. The handbook is available electronically at http://ozone.unep.org/Assessment_Panels/TEAP/Reports/MBTOC/Handbook%20CUN-version5-27Nov06.pdf. EPA requests that applications contain the 
following information, as described in the handbook, in order for the 
U.S. to provide sufficient information to the Montreal Protocol's 
technical review bodies within the nomination:
     A clear statement on the specific circumstances of the 
nomination which describe the critical need for methyl bromide and 
quantity of methyl bromide requested;
     Data on the availability and technical and economic 
feasibility of alternatives to the proposed methyl bromide use;
     A review of the comparative performance of methyl bromide 
and alternatives including control of target pests in research and 
commercial scale up studies; \1\
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    \1\ Where an alternative is not registered for use in a 
particular jurisdiction, growers in that jurisdiction need not 
address the performance of that particular alternative.
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     A description of all technically and economically feasible 
steps taken by the applicant to minimize methyl bromide use and 
emissions;
     Data on the use and availability of stockpiled methyl 
bromide;
     A description of efforts made to test, register, and 
commercially adopt alternatives;
     Plans for phase-out of critical uses of methyl bromide;
     The methodology used to provide economic comparisons.
    EPA's Web site (www.epa.gov/ozone/mbr/alts.html) contains a list of 
available and potential alternatives. To support the assertion that a 
specific use of methyl bromide meets the requirements of the critical 
use exemption, applicants must demonstrate that none of the listed 
alternatives are technically and economically feasible for that use. In 
addition, applicants must describe research plans which includes the 
pest(s), chemical(s), or management practice(s) they will be testing to 
support their transition from methyl bromide.
    Since there is no formal end date for the CUE program, anyone 
interested in obtaining a critical use exemption may apply. However, 
the language and spirit of controls on ozone depleting substances under 
the Montreal Protocol envisions a phaseout and for the critical use 
exemption to be a ``temporary derogation'' from that phaseout. Over the 
last decade, the research, registration, and adoption of alternatives 
has led many sectors to transition from methyl bromide. The number of 
sectors nominated has declined from seventeen for 2006 to two for 2016. 
Below is information on how the agency evaluated specific uses in 
considering nominations for critical uses for 2016, as well as specific 
information needed for the U.S. to successfully defend future 
nominations for critical uses.

Commodities Such as Dried Fruit and Nuts

    Data reviewed by EPA as part of the 2016 nomination process for 
commodities such as dried fruit and nuts indicate that sulfuryl 
fluoride is effective against key pests. The industry has mostly 
converted to sulfuryl fluoride and no market disruption has occurred. 
Rapid fumigation is not a critical condition for this sector and 
therefore products can be treated with sulfuryl fluoride or phosphine 
and be held for relatively long periods of time without a significant 
economic impact.
    To support a nomination, applicants must address potential economic 
losses due to pest pressures, changes in quality, changes in timing, 
and any other economic implications for producers when converting to 
alternatives. Alternatives for which such information is needed are: 
Sulfuryl fluoride, propylene oxide (PPO), phosphine, and controlled 
atmosphere/temperature treatment system. Applicants should include the 
costs to retrofit equipment or design and construct new fumigation 
chambers for these alternatives. For the economic assessment applicants 
must provide: The amount of fumigant gas used (for both methyl bromide 
and alternatives, which may include heat), price per pound of the 
fumigant gas from the most recent use season, application rates, 
differences in time required for fumigation, differences in labor 
inputs (i.e., hours and wages) associated with alternatives, the amount 
of commodity treated with each fumigant/treatment and the value of the 
commodity being treated/produced. Applicants should also provide 
information on changes in costs for any other practices or

[[Page 38889]]

equipment used (e.g., sanitation and IPM) that are not needed when 
methyl bromide is used for fumigation, including information on the 
size of fumigation chambers where methyl bromide is used, the percent 
of commodity fumigated under tarps, the length of the harvest season, 
peak of the harvest season and duration, and volume of commodity 
treated daily at the harvest peak.
    Where applicable, also provide examples of specific customer 
requests regarding pest infestation and examples of any phytosanitary 
requirements of foreign markets (e.g., import requirements of other 
countries) that may necessitate use of methyl bromide accompanied by 
explanation of why the methyl bromide quarantine and preshipment (QPS) 
exemption is not applicable for this purpose. Also include information 
on what pest control practices organic producers are using for their 
commodity.

Dried Cured Pork

    Applicants must list how many facilities have been fumigated with 
methyl bromide over the last three years; the rate, volume, and target 
concentration over time [CT] of methyl bromide at each location; volume 
of each facility; number of fumigations per year; and the materials 
from which the facility was constructed. It is important for this 
sector to specify research plans into alternatives and alternative 
practices that support the transition from methyl bromide, as well as 
information on the technical and economic feasibility of using 
recapture technologies. Given the low volume of usage requested by the 
sector compared to the amount of remaining pre-phaseout inventory, it 
will also be important for applicants to indicate efforts to secure and 
use stockpiled methyl bromide.

Cucurbits, Eggplant, Pepper, and Tomato

    In reviewing data for the 2016 CUE nomination, EPA found that 
although no single alternative is effective for all pest problems, a 
review of multiple year data indicates that the alternatives in various 
combinations provide control equal or superior to methyl bromide plus 
chloropicrin. Several research studies show that the three way mixture 
of 1,3-dichloropene plus chloropicrin plus metam sodium can effectively 
suppress pathogens (P. capsici, F. oxysporum) and nematodes.
    To support a nomination, applicants must address potential changes 
to yield, quality, and timing when converting to alternatives, 
including: The mixture of 1,3-dichloropropene plus chloropicrin, the 
University of Georgia three way mixture of 1,3-dichloropropene plus 
chloropicrin plus metam (sodium or potassium) or allyl isothiocyanate 
(DominusTM) used in place of metam, dimethyl disulfide 
(DMDS), and any fumigationless system (if data are available). 
Applications must address regulatory and economic implications for 
growers and your region's production of these crops using these 
alternatives, including the costs to retrofit equipment and the 
differential impact of buffers for methyl bromide plus chloropicrin 
compared to the alternatives. For the economic assessment applicants 
must provide the following: Price per pound of fumigant gas used (both 
methyl bromide and alternatives) from the most recent use season; 
application rates; value of the crop being produced; differences in 
labor inputs (i.e., hours and wages); and any differences in equipment 
costs or time needed to operate equipment associated with alternatives.

Strawberry Fruit

    Based on EPA's review of information as part of the 2016 nomination 
process, EPA believes alternatives are available as advances have been 
made: (1) In safely applying 100% chloropicrin, (2) in strategies to 
improve efficacy in applying 1,3-dichloropropene, and (3) in 
transitioning from experimental to commercial use of non-chemical 
tools, such as steam, anaerobic soil disinfestations, and substrate 
production.
    To support a nomination, applicants must address potential changes 
to yield, quality, and timing when converting to alternatives, 
including: The mixture of 1,3-dichloropropene plus chloropicrin, the 
University of Georgia three way mixture of 1,3-dichloropropene plus 
chloropicrin plus metam (sodium or potassium) or allyl isothiocyanate 
(DominusTM) used in place of metam in states other than 
California, or dimethyl disulfide (DMDS), and any fumigationless system 
(if data are available). Applications must address regulatory and 
economic implications for growers and your region's production of these 
crops using these alternatives, including the costs to retrofit 
equipment and the differential impact of buffers for methyl bromide 
plus chloropicrin compared to the alternatives. For the economic 
assessment applicants must provide the following: Price per pound of 
fumigant gas used (both methyl bromide and alternatives) from the most 
recent use season; application rates; value of the crop being produced; 
differences in labor inputs (i.e., hours and wages); and any 
differences in equipment costs or time needed to operate equipment 
associated with alternatives.

Orchard Replant

    EPA's review of data in the 2016 nomination process indicated that 
while no single alternative is effective for all pest problems, 
numerous field trials indicate alternatives to methyl bromide are 
effective. Therefore, EPA concluded that transitioning to the 
alternatives was feasible without substantial losses. Registered 
alternatives are available for individual-hole treatments and soil 
preparation procedures are available to enable effective treatment with 
alternatives even in soils with high moisture content.
    To support a nomination, applicants must address potential changes 
to yield, quality, and timing when converting to alternatives, 
including: The mixture of 1,3-dichloropropene plus chloropicrin, the 
University of Georgia three way mixture of 1,3-dichloropropene plus 
chloropicrin plus metam (sodium or potassium), dimethyl disulfide 
(DMDS), and steam. Applications must address regulatory and economic 
implications for growers and your region's production of these crops 
using these alternatives, including the costs to retrofit equipment and 
the differential impact of buffers for methyl bromide plus chloropicrin 
compared to the alternatives. For the economic assessment applicants 
must provide the following: Price per pound of fumigant gas used (for 
both methyl bromide and alternatives) from the most recent use season; 
application rates; value of the crop being produced; differences in 
labor inputs (i.e., hours and wages); and any differences in equipment 
costs or time needed to operate equipment associated with alternatives.

Ornamentals

    In considering nominations for 2016, EPA found that while no single 
alternative is effective for all pest problems, a review of multiple 
year data indicates that the alternatives in various combinations 
provide control equal or superior to methyl bromide plus chloropicrin. 
Research demonstrates that 1,3-dichloropene plus chloropicrin, the 
three way mixture of 1,3-dichloropene plus chloropicrin plus metam 
sodium, and dimethyl disulfide plus chloropicrin all show excellent 
results. To support a nomination, applicants must address potential 
changes to yield, quality, and timing when converting to alternatives, 
including: The mixture of 1,3-dichloropropene plus chloropicrin, the

[[Page 38890]]

University of Georgia three way mixture of 1,3-dichloropropene plus 
chloropicrin plus metam (sodium or potassium) or allyl isothiocyanate 
(DominusTM) used in place of metam, dimethyl disulfide 
(DMDS), and steam. Applications must address regulatory and economic 
implications for growers and your region's production of these crops 
using these alternatives, including the costs to retrofit equipment and 
the differential impact of buffers for methyl bromide plus chloropicrin 
compared to the alternatives. For the economic assessment applicants 
must provide the following: Price per pound of fumigant gas used (both 
methyl bromide and alternatives) from the most recent use season; 
application rates; value of the crop being produced; differences in 
labor inputs (i.e., hours and wages); and any differences in equipment 
costs or time needed to operate equipment associated with alternatives.

Nurseries

    In considering this sector in the 2016 nomination process, EPA 
noted that a Special Local Need label allows Telone II to be used in 
accordance with certification standards for propagative material.\2\ To 
support a nomination, applicants must address potential changes to 
yield, quality, and timing when converting to alternatives, including: 
The mixture of 1,3-dichloropropene plus chloropicrin, the University of 
Georgia three way mixture of 1,3-dichloropropene plus chloropicrin plus 
metam (sodium or potassium) or allyl isothiocyanate 
(DominusTM) used in place of metam in states other than 
California, dimethyl disulfide (DMDS), and steam. Applications must 
address regulatory and economic implications for growers and your 
region's production of these crops using these alternatives, including 
the costs to retrofit equipment and the differential impact of buffers 
for methyl bromide plus chloropicrin compared to the alternatives. For 
the economic assessment applicants must provide the following: Price 
per pound of fumigant gas used (for both methyl bromide and 
alternatives) from the most recent use season; application rates; value 
of the crop being produced; differences in labor inputs (i.e., hours 
and wages); and any differences in equipment costs or time needed to 
operate equipment associated with alternatives.
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    \2\ EPA also noted that growers can use a combination of methyl 
bromide for quarantine situations and 1,3-D plus chloropicrin for 
non-quarantine situations to meet certification requirements.
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Golf Courses

    EPA has not found that a significant market disruption would occur 
in the golf industry in the absence of methyl bromide. To support a 
nomination, applicants must address potential changes to quality when 
converting to alternatives, including: Basamid, chloropicrin, 1,3-
dichloropene, 1,3-dichloropene plus chloropicrin, metam sodium, or 
allyl isothiocyanate (DominusTM), and steam. Non-fumigant 
alternatives currently in use (e.g., additional pesticides, 
fertilizers, different cultural practices, and increased management) 
should also be described. Applications must address regulatory and 
economic implications for growers using these alternatives, including 
the costs to retrofit equipment and the differential impact of buffers 
for methyl bromide compared to the alternatives. For the economic 
assessment, applicants must provide the following: Price per pound of 
fumigant gas used (both methyl bromide and alternatives) from the most 
recent use season; application rates; economic impact for the golf 
course from a transition to alternatives (e.g., downtime when 
resurfacing, years between fumigations); differences in labor inputs 
(i.e., hours and wages); and any differences in equipment costs or time 
needed to operate equipment associated with alternatives. Supporting 
evidence could be included that would demonstrate that alternatives 
lead to more frequent resurfacing and therefore, greater adverse 
economic impacts. Applicants should also address their efforts to 
secure and use stockpiled methyl bromide.
    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved the 
information collection requirements contained in this notice under the 
provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. and 
has assigned OMB control number 2060-0482.

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

    Dated: July 1, 2014.
Sarah Dunham,
Director, Office of Atmospheric Programs.
[FR Doc. 2014-16064 Filed 7-8-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P