On Friday the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced [link added 12:53 EDT] that it had received the proposed rule (NPRM) establishing the EPA’s 2013 critical use exemption from the phaseout of methyl bromide. This should be a standard rule with the amounts of methyl bromide slowly decreasing from year-to-year.
Delayed Longer than Normal
As I have noted on a number of occasions the final rule is typically approved late in the year that it is designed to regulate; the 2012 final rule was published on May 18th, 2012, for instance. This usually results in EPA sending a letter to methyl bromide suppliers giving them extra-legal approval to produce-import methyl bromide for the planting season.
Last year the EPA submitted the 2012 rule to OMB on July 8th. This year’s submission is almost a month later, but that is probably due to the addition of a new approved use for methyl bromide which may have actually resulted in an increase in authorized useage for 2013. In any case, they are already a month further behind in getting the final rule out.
One other interesting note; the 2013 critical use exemption rule was not included in the Unified Agenda. Last year’s rule appeared in the 2011 Spring Unified Agenda. Since the Obama Administration has yet to publish the 2012 Spring Unified Agenda, it is probably not surprising that this has yet to be included. It’s getting so late that they may just want to skip the 2012 Spring Unified Agenda and go directly to the 2012 Fall Unified Agenda.
Methyl Bromide and DHS COI
As with any blog post about methyl bromide I feel duty bound to once again raise the issue of the failure of DHS to include methyl bromide on their list of DHS chemicals of interest (COI; 6 CFR 29, Appendix A). While the original reason for leaving this toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) chemical off of the list appeared to be reasonable at the time, it has become clear that the EPA process for phasing out the use of methyl bromide is taking, and will continue to take, much more time than the crafters of the CFATS regulations expected. Methyl bromide needs to be added to the CFATS COI list.