[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 186 (Friday, September 25, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 57809-57811]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-24456]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[EPA-HQ-OPPT-2013-0579; FRL-9930-38]


Recommendations for Specifications, Environmental Performance 
Standards, and Ecolabels for Federal Procurement

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: This document describes EPA's approach for providing 
recommendations to federal agencies on specifications, environmental 
performance standards, and ecolabels for purchasing environmentally 
preferable products and services. The federal government is one of the 
world's largest purchasers. This action will help federal agencies 
purchase environmentally preferable products and services in accordance 
with Executive Order 13693 and reduce public health and environmental 
impacts associated with the federal government's extensive supply 
chain.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical information contact: 
Holly Elwood, Chemistry, Economics, and Sustainable Strategies 
Division, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, Environmental 
Protection Agency, MC 7406M, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 
20460-0001; telephone number: 202-564-8854; email address: 
elwood.holly@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. General Information

A. Does this action apply to me?

    You may be potentially affected by this action if you are a federal 
purchaser or a vendor interested in selling to the federal government. 
The following list of North American Industrial Classification System 
(NAICS) codes is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a 
guide to help readers determine whether this document applies to them. 
Potentially affected entities may include:
    [ssquf] Food providers (NAICS code 722310), e.g., Cafeteria Food 
Services Contractors, Food Concession Contractors, etc.
    [ssquf] Renovators (NAICS code 33333), e.g., General Building 
Contractors/Operative Builders, Renovation Firms, Individual 
Contractors, and Special Trade Contractors like Carpenters, Painters, 
Drywall Workers and Lathers, ``Home Improvement'' Contractors, etc.
    [ssquf] Commercial and Institutional Building Construction (NAICS 
code 236220), e.g., Office Building Construction, Warehouse 
Construction, etc.
    [ssquf] Drywall and Insulation Contractors (NAICS code 238310), 
e.g., Acoustical ceiling tile and panel installation, etc.
    [ssquf] Flooring Contractors (NAICS code 238330), e.g., Carpet 
Installation, Resilient Floor Tile or Sheet Installation, etc.
    [ssquf] Janitorial Services (NAICS code 541620), e.g., Office 
Cleaning Services, Rest Room Cleaning Services, Washroom Sanitation 
Services, etc.
    [ssquf] Electronic Computer Manufacturing (NAICS code 334111), 
e.g., manufacturing machinery or equipment that incorporates electronic 
computers for operation or control purposes and embedded control 
applications, etc.
    [ssquf] Computer Systems Design Services (NAICS code 541512), e.g., 
selling computer hardware or software products and systems from retail-
like locations, and providing supporting services, such as customized 
assembly of personal computers, etc.
    [ssquf] Consumer Electronics Repair and Maintenance (NAICS code 
811211), e.g., Repairing computers and peripheral equipment, etc.
    [ssquf] Office Supplies and Stationary Stores (NAICS code 453210), 
e.g., retailing stationery, school supplies, and office supplies via 
electronic shopping, mail-order, or direct sale, printing business 
forms, retailing new office furniture, etc.
    [ssquf] Packing and Crating (NAICS code 488991), e.g., packing and 
preparing goods for shipping, etc.

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-OPPT-20[XX]-[insert Docket ID no.], is available at 
http://www.regulations.gov or at the Office of Pollution Prevention and 
Toxics Docket (OPPT Docket), Environmental Protection Agency Docket 
Center (EPA/DC), West William Jefferson Clinton Bldg., Rm. 3334, 1301 
Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20001. The Public Reading Room is 
open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding 
federal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is 
(202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OPPT Docket is (202) 
566-0280. Please review the visitor instructions and additional 
information about the docket available at http://www2.epa.gov/dockets.

II. What is EPA's authority?

    On March 19, 2015, the President issued Executive Order 13693, 
entitled ``Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade'' (80 
FR 15871) (Ref. 1). Executive Order 13693 maintains federal leadership 
in sustainability and greenhouse gas emission reductions. Section 3(i) 
directs federal agencies to promote sustainable acquisition and 
procurement by ensuring that certain environmental performance and 
sustainability factors are included to the maximum extent practicable 
in the planning, award, and execution phases of agency acquisitions. 
Pursuant to Section 3(i)(iii)(A) of the Executive Order, one of the 
factors directs agencies to purchase environmentally preferable 
products or services that meet EPA recommendations for specifications, 
standards, and ecolabels for use in federal procurement. On June 10, 
2015, the Office of Federal Sustainability in the White House Council 
on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued Implementing Instructions for 
Executive Order 13693 (Ref. 2). The Implementing Instructions for 
Executive Order 13693 call on EPA, in consultation with the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) and CEQ, to provide guidance on 
recommendations for specifications, standards, and ecolabels for use in 
federal procurement within 90 days of the issuance of the Implementing 
Instructions.
    In addition, the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) (42 U.S.C.A. 
13103(b)(11)) requires EPA to ``Identify opportunities to use federal 
procurement to encourage source reduction'' and section 12(d) of the 
National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 U.S.C. 
272) requires federal agencies to ``use technical standards that are 
developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies, using 
such technical standards as a means to carry out policy objectives or 
activities.''

III. What action is the Agency taking?

    This document describes EPA's approach for providing 
recommendations to federal purchasers on specifications, environmental 
performance standards, and ecolabels for environmentally preferable 
products and services. The federal government is one of the world's 
largest purchasers. This action will help federal agencies purchase 
environmentally preferable products and services and reduce public 
health and environmental impacts

[[Page 57810]]

associated with the federal government's extensive supply chain.
    Executive Order 13693 directs federal agencies to promote 
sustainable acquisition and procurement by ensuring that, to the 
maximum extent practicable, agencies purchase environmentally 
sustainable products and services by meeting statutory requirements 
that require a procurement preference for:
    1. Recycled content products designated by the EPA;
    2. Energy and water efficient products and services, such as ENERGY 
STAR[supreg] certified and Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) 
designated products, identified by EPA and the Department of Energy 
(DOE); and
    3. BioPreferred[supreg] and biobased products designated by the 
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
    The Executive Order further instructs agencies to purchase 
sustainable products and services identified by EPA programs including:
    1. Significant New Alternative Policy (SNAP) chemicals or other 
alternatives to ozone-depleting substances and high global warming 
potential hydrofluorocarbons, where feasible, as identified by SNAP;
    2. WaterSense certified products and services (water efficient 
products);
    3. Safer Choice certified products (chemically intensive products 
that contain safer ingredients); and
    4. SmartWay Transport partners and SmartWay products (fuel 
efficient products and services).
    Federal purchasers can also purchase environmentally preferable 
products or services that:
    1. Meet or exceed specifications, standards, or labels recommended 
by EPA; or
    2. Meet environmental performance criteria developed or adopted by 
voluntary consensus standards bodies consistent with the NTTAA section 
12(d) and OMB Circular A-119.
    In 2013, EPA sought comment on Draft Guidelines for Environmental 
Performance Standards and Ecolabels for Voluntary Use in Federal 
Procurement (Ref. 3).
    On March 19, 2015, EPA announced the availability of revised Draft 
EPA Guidelines and the launch of a pilot to test the Draft EPA 
Guidelines in three building product categories: Furniture; flooring; 
and paints, coatings and paint removers (Ref. 4). It is expected that 
the pilot will inform refinements to the Draft EPA Guidelines, and help 
develop a process by which these Guidelines can be finalized and used 
to assess standards and ecolabels for use in federal procurement in a 
wide array of product and service categories.
    The Implementing Instructions for the Executive Order direct EPA to 
prioritize application of the finalized Guidelines to product and 
service categories which ``represent the largest share of procurement 
spending across Agencies and potential environmental impact'' (Ref. 2, 
page 56).
    Until the Draft EPA Guidelines are finalized and applied to key 
product and service categories, EPA is providing interim 
recommendations. Federal purchasers should utilize EPA's Interim 
Recommendations to select environmentally preferable products and 
services. EPA's Interim Recommendations are based on specifications, 
environmental performance standards, and ecolabels evaluated and 
currently utilized by federal agencies to assist in their procurement 
of environmentally preferable products and services. EPA will be 
initially using specifications, standards and labels information 
developed by other federal agencies to identify products that have 
verified sustainability attributes, are readily available in the 
market, and meet cost and performance needs. EPA's recommendations and 
further information about the evaluation processes used by these 
federal agencies will be available at http://www.epa.gov/greenerproducts and in the General Service Administration's Green 
Procurement Compilation at https://sftool.gov/greenprocurement (Ref. 
5). EPA will review its recommendations periodically and update them 
after considering other federal agency assessments of standards and 
ecolabels when they become available. EPA's Interim Recommendations 
will also be updated to integrate any EPA recommendations developed 
following finalization and application of the Draft EPA Guidelines to 
specific product and service categories.
    The Implementing Instructions state that ``where there is no 
specification, standard, or label recommended by EPA, an agency may 
elect to use other open and voluntary standards . . .'' to identify and 
procure environmentally preferable products and/or services, provided 
that they have conducted an assessment to ensure that the standard or 
ecolabel meets the requirements stipulated in the NTTAA, OMB Circular 
A-119 (Ref. 6), and Section II of the EPA Draft Guidelines or any 
subsequent revisions to those Guidelines (Ref. 2, page 56). The NTTAA 
requires that all agencies use standards developed by voluntary 
consensus standards bodies instead of government-unique standards 
unless inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. OMB 
Circular A-119 provides guidance on federal use of voluntary consensus 
standards and on conformity assessment. Because the NTTAA and OMB 
Circular A-119 do not address environmental performance, the 
Implementing Instructions point procurement officials to Section II of 
the EPA Draft Guidelines on Environmental Effectiveness and any 
subsequent revisions to those Guidelines (Ref. 2, pages 56-57). The 
Implementing Instructions direct agencies to consult with and share 
these assessments with EPA, and direct EPA to make these assessments 
available on its Web site.
    Section 3(l)(i) of Executive Order 13693 includes requirements 
regarding procurement of environmentally sustainable electronic 
products. To meet the requirements of sections 3(i)(iii) and 3(l)(i) of 
the Executive Order, the Implementing Instructions state that agencies 
must acquire products that meet or exceed the specifications, 
standards, or labels recommended by EPA as posted on its Web site. As 
indicated in the Implementing Instructions, federal purchasers may 
continue to use the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool 
(EPEAT)[supreg] product registry, or other methods to identify products 
that have been third-party verified as having met environmental 
performance criteria developed or adopted by voluntary consensus 
standards bodies consistent with section 12(d) of the NTTAA and OMB 
Circular A-119. However, the Implementing Instructions note that at 
this time CEQ is not aware of any product registries other than EPEAT 
for environmentally sustainable electronic products. It is possible 
that in the future other options may be developed that align with EPA 
Guidelines and support the electronic stewardship mandates of section 
3(l) of Executive Order 13693. Any future tools will have to meet or 
exceed current levels of sustainable and environmental performance.
    Once the EPA Draft Guidelines for Environmental Performance 
Standards and Ecolabels for Voluntary Use in Federal Procurement are 
finalized, EPA will apply the Guidelines to product and service 
categories which ``represent the largest share of procurement spending 
across agencies and potential environmental impact,'' per the 
Implementing Instructions. It is expected that electronics may be in 
the next group of additional product categories to which the Guidelines 
could be applied. When the Guidelines are applied to the electronics 
category, stakeholders will be asked to volunteer other specifications, 
standards and

[[Page 57811]]

ecolabels to be reviewed against the Guidelines. EPA will review 
additional specifications, standards and/or ecolabels to determine if 
they meet or exceed the current sustainability mandate for electronics 
and conform to the EPA Guidelines.

IV. References

    The following is a listing of the documents that are referenced in 
this document. The docket includes these documents and other 
information considered by EPA, even if the referenced document is not 
physically located in the docket. For assistance in locating these 
other documents, please consult the technical person listed under FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

1. The President. Executive Order 13693 of March 19, 2015; Planning 
for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade. Federal Register (80 
FR 15869, March 25, 2015). Available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-03-25/pdf/2015-07016.pdf.
2. The White House Council on Environmental Quality, Office of 
Federal Sustainability. Implementing Instructions for Executive 
Order 13693 Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade. 
June 10, 2015. Available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/eo_13693_implementing_instructions_june_10_2015.pdf.
3. EPA. Draft Guidelines for Environmental Performance Standards and 
Ecolabels for Voluntary Use in Federal Procurement; Notice of 
Availability and Request for Comments. Federal Register (78 FR 
70938, November 27, 2013; FRL-9394-7). Available in EPA-HQ-OPPT-
2013-0579 at http://www.regulations.gov.
4. EPA. Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed 
Collection and Comment Request; Assessment of Environmental 
Performance Standards and Ecolabels for Federal Procurement; Notice. 
Federal Register (80 FR 14372, March 19, 2015; FRL-9923-58). 
Available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-03-19/pdf/2015-06275.pdf.
5. General Services Administration (GSA) Federal Acquisition 
Service, Green Procurement Compilation (GPC). Available at https://sftool.gov/greenprocurement.
6. Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB Circular A-119 
(Revised). Federal Participation in the Development and Use of 
Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment 
Activities. February 10, 1998. Available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_a119/.

    Authority:  42 U.S.C.A. 13103(b)(11), 15 U.S.C. 272 note, and 
Executive Order 13693 of March 19, 2015.

    Dated: September 17, 2015.
James J. Jones,
Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution 
Prevention.
[FR Doc. 2015-24456 Filed 9-24-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P