Sunday, May 2, 2010

Methyl Bromide Final Rule 2010

Well, the EPA is a couple of days late on my earlier prediction, but they are publishing the final rule for the methyl bromide ‘exception’ in Monday’s Federal Register (actually published on-line on Saturday, but the official date is May 3rd). I’ll leave the detailed discussion of the environmental implications of the continued use of methyl bromide as a fumigant for the OSHA and EPA bloggers. I’ll just hit upon the chemical security implications one last time for this year (actually I expect that the next NPRM will be issued sometime in October for the 2011 exception that almost certainly will come). This rule authorizes industry to use up to 2.0 million kilograms of methyl bromide (75 FR 23180) over the remainder of this year. This will come in-part from new production and importation as well as from current (as of January 2010) stockpiles of 3.0 million kilograms of methyl bromide (75 FR 23181) currently held in the United States. While methyl bromide is a toxic inhalation hazard chemical, much like chlorine or anhydrous ammonia, it is not a DHS chemical of interest (COI). DHS elected not to include methyl bromide in their Appendix A to the CFATS regulations because the EPA was ‘phasing out’ methyl bromide. Obviously, DHS misunderstood what EPA means by ‘phasing out’. In any case, none of the facilities holding the current inventory are required by CFATS to have security measures to protect them against terrorist attack. I am sure that there are security measures in place protect these stocks, but there is no federal requirement for the security measures nor is there any check of the adequacy of the existing security measures. One last time (until the next NPRM, of course) I urge DHS to reconsider their decision not to list methyl bromide (and while I’m at it chloropicrin, another TIH chemical being ‘phased out’ by EPA) in Appendix A.

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