Defense Logistics Agency PCB Import Petition: FAQs
Why is EPA proposing to grant the petition?
EPA is proposing to grant the petition to: (1) avoid the risks of long-term storage of the PCBs on military installations in Japan, (2) ensure proper and safe disposal of PCBs, and (3) ensure the safety of US military personnel and Japanese citizens.
Why is EPA withdrawing the direct final rule?
We stated in the direct final rule that if we received adverse comment on the proposed rule by May 2, 2014, the direct final rule would not take effect and we would publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register. We subsequently received adverse comment on that direct final rule, which will be considered as part of the parallel proposed rule.
What is the status of the proposed rule?
The proposed rule (79 FR 18497) published on April 2, 2014 has not been withdrawn. The main comment period for the proposed rule is now closed. EPA will determine the appropriate course of action after the informal hearing procedures have been completed.
What happens at the informal hearing?
The EPA Hearing Clerk will distribute a hearing schedule 3 days prior to the informal hearing. The hearing schedule contains the list of hearing participants, their scheduled time to speak, and the length of time they have to present their comments. Additionally, members of the public can attend without prior notification to the Hearing Clerk, but they will not be part of the hearing schedule to give presentations and/or oral comments. However, attendees not on the hearing schedule may be permitted to speak if time allows.
A panel of EPA employees will preside at the hearing, and one panel member will act as the Hearing Officer, who will conduct the hearing. Hearing participants may be asked to answer questions submitted by the audience (in writing, at the hearing), at EPA's discretion (40 CFR 750.19). Participants in the hearing may also submit additional material for the record.
What will EPA do with the information it receives at the informal hearing?
The information received at the public hearing including a verbatim transcript as well as information received as part of the cross examination process and reply comments will all be posted to the rulemaking docket.
What is EPA’s estimated schedule for a final decision?
The estimated schedule for the rulemaking and informal hearing steps are included in the table provided below. The timing for a final decision on the import petition is dependent on the informal hearing proceedings.
Rulemaking ScheduleProjected Timeline of Rulemaking Actions
Action Date Direct Final Rule published April 2, 2014 Proposed Rule published April 2, 2014 Main comment period ended May 2, 2014 Withdrawal of Direct Final Rule June 13,2014 FR Notice of Informal Hearing June 13,2014 Requests to participate in hearing due July 1, 2014 Hearing Clerk distributes hearing schedule July 3, 2014 Informal hearing date July 8, 2014 Hearing transcript posted to the docket *July 15, 2014 Comments and questions on hearing presentations due to Hearing Clerk *July 22, 2014 Hearing Clerk sends out questions to appropriate participants *July 29, 2014 Answers from participants are due to Hearing Clerk *August 5, 2014 Answers received are posted to the docket and website by Hearing Clerk *August 12, 2014 Reply comments due to Hearing Clerk *, **August 19, 2014 Final Rule TBD * Estimated date for posting the hearing transcript will determine the timeline for the remaining actions. All dates are subject to change.
** Reply comments are due one week after participants’ answers are made available to the public. If no questions on the hearing are received, then reply comments on the hearing testimony will be due on August 5, 2014 (giving EPA time to post a revised schedule and notice that no questions on the hearing testimony had been received by the Hearing Clerk).
What findings does EPA have to make under TSCA in order to grant this petition?
There are two required findings EPA must make under TSCA Section 6(e)(3)(B) in order to grant this petition:
- an unreasonable risk of injury to health or environment would not result, and
- good faith efforts have been made to develop a chemical substance which does not present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment and which may be substituted for such polychlorinated biphenyl.
EPA believes that the relevant "good faith" issue for an exemption request to import PCBs for disposal is whether the disposal of the waste could and/or should occur outside the United States.
Has EPA previously received similar petitions from DLA? Did EPA approve those?
EPA received two previous petitions from DLA to allow PCBs from DoD installations in Japan to be returned to the United States for proper disposal; these petitions were granted in 2003 (see January 31st, 2003 Federal Register, 68 FR 4934) and in 2007 (see September 18, 2007 Federal Register, 72 FR 53152).
How much PCB waste would be imported if EPA were to grant DLA’s petition?
DLA's petition to EPA would allow for the import of up to 1,014,222 pounds of waste contaminated with PCBs, of which 94 percent contains less than 50 parts per million (ppm). In order to protect human health and the environment, EPA has specific provisions for the disposal of the waste containing less than 50 ppm of PCBs, as well as the waste containing greater than or equal to 50 ppm of PCBs.