Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another Methyl Bromide Screed

I’m sorry, but every time I think that I am done writing about the issue of methyl bromide as a potential release toxic chemical, the EPA has to come along and push my buttons one more time. Today they posted a notice in the Federal Register requesting applications for methyl bromide ‘critical use’ exemptions for the use of methyl bromide as a soil fumigant for 2013. As long-time readers of this blog will undoubtedly remember I was concerned when DHS removed methyl bromide from the original DHS chemicals of interest list (Appendix A, 6 CFR Part 27). The justification was that EPA was phasing out the use of methyl bromide as a fumigant in accordance with Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol. An exception to the phase out is authorized for ‘critical use’ situations and according to this notice the “EPA has allocated critical use methyl bromide through rulemaking for each of the six years (2005-2010) since the U.S. phaseout, and plans to do so for another four years (2011-2014)” (75 FR 41177). Interestingly this notice also makes the point that EPA has yet to determine when it will stop considering the approval of ‘critical use exceptions’. The EPA explains in this notice that:
“While EPA with this notice is seeking applications for 2013 and will likely request applications for 2014, EPA believes it is appropriate at this time to consider a year in which the Agency will stop requesting applications for critical use exemptions. EPA will seek comment on this issue in the proposed rule for the 2011 critical use exemption.”
Ignoring for the moment the issue of justifying the continued use of a chemical that adversely affects the ozone layer (I have my opinion, but that is of little interest to the chemical security community), it is obvious that methyl bromide is going to be continued to be used and distributed in the United States for a number of years; perhaps a large number of years. The failure to consider this toxic gas a release toxic COI under CFATS cannot be justified as a diminishing threat because it is being ‘phased out’.

No comments:

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */