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Fact Sheet - Final Rule to Create a Critical Use Exemption to
the Phaseout of Methyl Bromide for the Year 2006
- On January 30, 2006, the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) promulgated a final rule that provides
an exemption to the phaseout of methyl bromide
production and import for 2006 critical uses. The
final rule lists the uses that will qualify for the
2006 critical use exemption and the amount of methyl
bromide that companies may produce, import, or make
available from stocks for those uses in 2006. This is
a de-regulatory action because it establishes an
exemption for 2006.
- Critical use exemptions may be available for
those uses of methyl bromide that the Parties to the
Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the
Ozone Layer (Protocol) agree have no technically or
economically feasible alternatives. With this action,
EPA is amending the regulatory framework and the list
of approved critical uses that was originally
published on December 23, 2004 (69 FR 76982).
- Under the critical use exemption framework, end
users of methyl bromide that meet the specified
criteria of critical users may purchase methyl
bromide from their normal suppliers but must certify
that they are approved critical users.
- EPA is granting "critical use allowances" to producers and importers
of MeBr that would allow them to produce and import up to 6,927,649
kilograms (27.1 % of the 1991 baseline) for critical uses in 2006. In
addition, EPA is distributing an additional 1,136,008 kg (4.4% of
baseline) worth of "critical stock allowances" to producers, importers,
and distributers that would allow the holder to sell MeBr to critical
uses from stocks that were manufactured/imported before January 1, 2005.
- Methyl bromide, an odorless, colorless gas, is
used to control a variety of pests in many different
situations. It is heavily used by growers of minor
crops, such as tomatoes and strawberries, to fumigate
the soil prior to planting.
- The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 direct EPA
to issue regulations to implement the provisions of
the Montreal Protocol within the United States.
Accordingly, EPA developed a scheme of production and
consumption controls for substances addressed by the
Protocol. EPA regulations, at 40 CFR Part 82,
implement the provisions of the Protocol and the
CAAA) by limiting the production and consumption of
- EPA promulgates rules annually to provide notice
and comment on the amount of methyl bromide to be
made available for specifically identified critical
uses during each calendar year. This rulemaking
follows the annual decisions by the Parties to the
Protocol for the 2006 calendar year.
- Before allocating critical use methyl bromide,
EPA publishes a Federal Register notice requesting
applications from end users asking them to explain
why no technically and economically feasible
alternatives are available. EPA analyzes these
applications and compiles a U.S. nomination for
critical use methyl bromide, which is submitted to
the Montreal Protocol’s Ozone Secretariat. The
Secretariat forwards the nominations to the Methyl
Bromide Technical Options Committee (MBTOC), which is
an international technical body that advises the
Parties. The Parties authorize critical uses for each
nominating country based on the MBTOC’s
recommendations. The U.S. nomination for 2006, and
today’s final rule, represent the second round
of critical use nominations under this
- EPA’s framework for the critical use
program was promulgated on December 23, 2004 (69 FR
76892). It reflects feedback from six stakeholder
meetings held in 2003 that sought public feedback on
the design and implementation of the critical use
- This action affects regulations that govern the
production, import, and export of methyl bromide, an
ozone-depleting substance, under the authority of
Title VI of the CAA and in accordance with U.S.
obligations under the Montreal Protocol.
Specifically, today’s final rule amends EPA
regulations under the authority of section 604 (d)(6)
of the CAA to create critical use exemptions, in
accordance with Article 2H paragraph 5 of the
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