Monday, March 10, 2014

EPA Publishes Very Late NPRM for 2014 Methyl Bromide CUE

Last Friday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register (79 FR 13006-13017) for the 2014 and 2015 critical use exemptions (CUE) for the use of Methyl Bromide.

Critical Use Exemptions

In the past these CUE rules have been done on an annual basis, but the EPA has been getting later and later in introducing the NPRM and publishing the final rule for this recurring action. The 2013 NPRM, for instance was published in December 2012 with the subsequent final rule being published in July 2013. Friday’s publication of the NPRM for the 2014 use of methyl bromide means that the final rule won’t be published until almost all of the approved uses of methyl bromide have been completed for the year. Including the 2015 CUE in this NPRM means that for the first time in years, producers and users of methyl bromide will have their legal authorization to produce and use the material before they actually do so.

Last year, EPA included in the public docket for the final rule a copy of the letter that it sent to users and producers of methyl bromide in December of 2012 notifying them that while the rulemaking process was underway for the 2013 CUE that EPA would take no regulatory action against users and producers that were listed in the NPRM for the use or production of the listed amounts of methyl bromide. I am relatively certain that a similar letter was sent for this year’s CUE, though it is not yet in the public record. With the 2015 CUE being included in this NPRM, perhaps the EPA will not be forced to take such extra-legal actions for the 2015 growing season.

The table below lists the approved producers/importers of methyl bromide and the amounts (in pounds) that they will be authorized to produce/import during 2014 and 2015 along with the number’s from last year’s rule.

2013 CUE
2014 CUE
2015 CUE
Great Lakes Chemical
Albemarle Corp
ICL-IP America
TriCal Inc

Methyl Bromide Phase Out

It is obvious that while the phase out of methyl bromide continues it will continue to be used and produced in this country for the foreseeable future. Thus (here it comes), the DHS basis for not including this toxic inhalation hazard chemical in the DHS list of chemicals of interest (COI) is still questionable. DHS should take steps to add this chemical to the list of chemicals that could require facilities to report under the Top Screen provisions of the CFATS regulations.

Public Comments

The EPA is soliciting public comments on this proposed rule. Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (; Docket # EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0065). Comments should be submitted by April 21st, 2014.

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