[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 29 (Friday, February 12, 1999)]
[Pages 7189-7190]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-3532]




Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; 
Comment Request; The 1999 National Survey of Local Emergency Planning 

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 
et seq.), this document announces that EPA is planning to submit the 
following proposed Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB): The 1999 National Survey of Local 
Emergency Planning Committees. Before submitting the ICR to OMB for 
review and approval, EPA is soliciting comments on specific aspects of 
the proposed information collection as described below.

DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before April 13, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Dan Waldeck, Office of Chemical Emergency Preparedness and 
Prevention, US EPA, 401 M St. SW, Washington, DC 20460. Interested 
persons may obtain a copy of the ICR, including survey questionnaire, 
without charge by calling Dan Waldeck at 202-260-4520 or via e-mail at 
[email protected] or Kate Narburgh at 202-260-8247, 
[email protected].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Waldeck, 202-260-4520 (phone), 
202-401-3448 (facsimile), [email protected].

    Affected entities: Entities potentially affected by this action are 
those which hold a leadership position on Local Emergency Planning 
Committees (LEPCs). It is anticipated that the majority of respondents 
will be LEPC chairs.
    Title: The 1999 National Survey of Local Emergency Planning 
Committees. (OMB Control No. XXXX-XXXX; EPA ICR No. 1903.01.) This is a 
new collection.
    Abstract: The Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Chemical 
Emergency Preparedness and Prevention (CEPPO) proposes to conduct a 
nationwide survey of Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs). The 
information will be used to assess the general progress, status, and 
activity level of LEPCs. This collection also addresses reporting 
requirements under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 
1993, which stipulates that agencies focus on evaluating their program 
activities in terms of outputs and outcomes. This ICR is necessary to 
evaluate whether CEPPO is successfully providing national leadership 
and assistance to local communities in preparing for and preventing 
chemical emergencies.
    The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 
(EPCRA) introduced a fundamental change in the regulation of chemical 
facilities and the prevention of and preparedness for chemical 
accidents. This law seeks to improve emergency preparedness and reduce 
the risk of chemical accidents by providing information to citizens 
about chemical hazards in their community. EPCRA is premised on the 
concept that the more informed local citizens are the more involved 
they will become in prevention and preparedness activities. For this 
``informational regulation'' to be effective, the public must receive 
accurate and reliable information that is easy to understand and 
practical to use.
    EPCRA mandates the creation of LEPCs as a means for local 
government, law enforcement, health officials, and emergency responders 
to work with chemical facilities, the media, and community groups to 
develop formal plans for responding to chemical emergencies.
    LEPC activities include:
     Receiving chemical hazards data from facilities in their 
community and providing this information to the local public.
     Developing local emergency response plans, which are 
annually reviewed, tested, and updated.
     Serving as point of contact for discussing and sharing 
information about hazardous substances, emergency planning, and health 
and environmental risk.
     Notifying the public of LEPC activities and other 
pertinent information.
    In general, LEPCs provide local citizens an opportunity to 
participate actively in understanding chemical hazards, planning for 
emergency response, and reducing the risk of chemical emergencies. To 
be judged effective, LEPCs must be compliant with the requirements of 
EPCRA and actively carry out these responsibilities. LEPC's level of 
satisfaction with the information, guidance, and support they receive 
will heavily influence their ability to fulfill their duties. The 1999 
National Survey of LEPCs will collect information to evaluate the 
status and activity level of these planning bodies and their 
satisfaction with CEPPO products and services.
    This proposed information collection builds upon previous 
assessments conducted by CEPPO. In 1994, a nationwide survey of LEPCs 
revealed various strengths and weaknesses among LEPCs. Since that time, 
no systematic nationwide measurement of the progress of LEPCs has been 
conducted. Over the past five years, local emergency planning has 
evolved, most notably, in the amount of information that is now 
available to assist LEPCs in preparing for and preventing chemical 
emergencies. Moreover, in June 1999, this information will expand 
further with the addition of facility specific chemical hazards data 
and risk management plans made available under amendments to the Clean 
Air Act in 1990 (section 112(r)--the Risk Management Program Rule for 
the prevention of chemical accidents).
    The primary goals of this research are to: (1) track the progress 
of LEPCs by updating the 1994 baseline data on a series of key 
performance indicators; and (2) probe current LEPC practices and 
preferences regarding several important sets of issues--including: 
communications with local citizens, proactive accident prevention 
efforts, and the effectiveness of selected CEPPO products and services.
    An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required 
to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a 
currently valid OMB control number. The OMB control numbers for EPA's 
regulations are listed in 40 CFR part 9 and 48 CFR Chapter 15.
    The EPA would like to solicit comments to:
    (i) evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is 
necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, 

[[Page 7190]]

whether the information will have practical utility;
    (ii) evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden 
of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of 
the methodology and assumptions used;
    (iii) enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information 
to be collected; and
    (iv) minimize the burden of the collection of information on those 
who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated 
electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or 
other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic 
submission of responses.
    Burden Statement: CEPPO estimates that there will be 3,300 
respondents to this information collection and each respondent will 
spend 15 minutes completing and submitting either an on-line response 
form or a mail-in survey, for a total response burden of 825 hours.
    There is no need for ``developing, acquiring or utilizing 
technology systems for the purpose of collecting, validating or 
verifying information,'' ``* * * disclosing and providing 
information,'' ``adjusting the existing ways to comply with any 
previous applicable instructions or requirements,'' ``training 
personnel to be able to respond to a collection of information,'' 
``searching data sources,'' nor a need for respondents to keep records. 
Burden activities include only a few steps: reading instructions, 
reading survey questions, responding to survey questions, submitting 
completed questionnaire (electronically or US mail). CEPPO estimates an 
average cost per respondent of $6.59.
    CEPPO estimates that 3,300 respondents will voluntarily respond to 
the national survey at a total burden of 825 hours and a total cost of 
    Burden means the total time, effort, or financial resources 
expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, or disclose or 
provide information to or for a Federal agency. This includes the time 
needed to review instructions; develop, acquire, install, and utilize 
technology and systems for the purposes of collecting, validating, and 
verifying information, processing and maintaining information, and 
disclosing and providing information; adjust the existing ways to 
comply with any previously applicable instructions and requirements; 
train personnel to be able to respond to a collection of information; 
search data sources; complete and review the collection of information; 
and transmit or otherwise disclose the information.

    Dated: February 9, 1999.
Kathy Jones,
Associate Director, EPA/OSWER/CEPPO.
[FR Doc. 99-3532 Filed 2-11-99; 8:45 am]