Earlier this week the EPA published a final rule and a notice in the Federal Register relating to the use of methyl bromide. The final rule (77 FR 29218-29231) authorized the 2012 ‘critical use exemptions’ to the methyl bromide phase-out under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The notice (77 FR 29341-29344) was a solicitation for data to formulate the 2015 critical use exemption numbers.
2012 Final Rule
As I mentioned in an earlier blog post this publication comes way too late to be an effective tool in the control of the use and production of methyl bromide. I noted in that blog that in 2011 EPA had provided a letter to the affected parties that provided dispensation to use methyl bromide outside of the required publish and comment process. This final rule notes that the same was done in December of 2011 for this year’s program.
This delay in the issuance of the final rule was addressed in the preamble to the rule. And to be fair EPA did get OMB’s approval for this year’s rule before they issued the final rule for last year’s allocations; so they are getting better.
This rule became effective on the date of its publication.
In order to provide for timely rulemaking EPA requires input from the affected methyl bromide community. The information being solicited in this weeks’ notice will support the rulemaking process for 2015. Anyone wishing to obtain a critical use exemption for 2015 must provide EPA with technical and economic information to support a “critical use” claim and must do so by the deadline specified (August 15, 2012) even if they have applied for a CUE for earlier years.
The notice provides a summary of the different information that would be required for a number of different uses. Those uses include:
• Strawberry Fruit; and
Applications may be emailed to email@example.com.
Methyl Bromide and CFATS
Once again it is clear that DHS overestimated the ability of EPA to actually phase out the use of methyl bromide; the justification that DHS used to remove methyl bromide from the proposed list of DHS chemicals of interest (COI) that form the basis for the initial screening of chemical facilities to determine if they are at high-risk of terrorist attack.
Once again (and I know that I am continuing to beat this drum at every opportunity) I urge DHS to add methyl bromide back to the Appendix A list of COI for the CFATS program. This toxic inhalation chemical will almost certainly be around for much longer than 2015.