Thursday, March 31, 2011

EPA Methyl Bromide Phaseout Exemption Rule Approved by OMB

Yesterday the web site announced that the Office of Management and Budget approved the EPA’s NPRM (Docket #: EPA-HQ-OAR-2008-0321) for the ‘2011 Critical Use Exemption from the Phaseout of Methyl Bromide’. According to the Administrations Fall 2010 Unified Agenda this NPRM was scheduled for publication in December of last year with a final rule publication date in May of this year.

Schedule for Rule

Since this OMB approval was approved ‘Consistent with Change’ it will be at least next week before EPA can get this NPRM published in the Federal Register. Even with an emergency 30-day comment period there is no way that this can get to a final rule published until June or July. The importation or manufacture of MeBr for the 2011 season cannot begin until the final rule is published. There should be ‘adequate’ stocks of the material on-hand for the pre-plant fumigation season.

Methyl Bromide and Appendix A

MeBr Rant Warning: Once again I want to point out that DHS did not include methyl bromide, a dangerous toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) chemical, on its list of DHS Chemicals of Interest (Appendix A to 6 CFR part 27) because it was being ‘phased out’ of use by law and international convention. It is produced, stored, transported and used throughout the country and it should be included in Appendix A.

Because MeBr is an environmental hazard (ozone depleting chemical) as well as a human hazard, it could be expected to draw the ire of radical environmental activists. Since it is mainly migrant farm workers who are exposed to this chemical in the workplace radical immigrants rights activists object to this chemical. All of which raises the risk of attack on facilities that make, store, transport or use MeBr by wacko-fringe elements of those activist organizations; not to mention the garden variety terrorist that just wants to kill people using poison gas.

Until MeBr is actually phased out (and environmental activists in California are slowing that phase out by their objection to the use of methyl iodide, a not-quite-so-toxic nasty TIH chemical) and the existing stocks disposed of or used, MeBr should remain on the Appendix A list of DHS chemicals of interest.

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