[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 146 (Friday, July 30, 2010)]
[Pages 44944-44946]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-18801]



[EPA-HQ-OECA-2007-0468; ER-FRL-8991-9]

Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; 
Comment Request; Environmental Impact Assessment of Nongovernmental 
Activities in Antarctica; EPA ICR No. 1808.06, OMB Control No. 2020-

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 
U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this document announces that EPA is planning to 
submit a request to renew an existing approved Information Collection 
Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This ICR is 
scheduled to expire on January 31, 2011. 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 September 27, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-
OECA-2007-0468, by one of the following methods:
     http://www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line 
instructions for submitting comments.
     E-mail: [email protected].
     Fax: 202-564-0072.
     Mail: Enforcement and Compliance Docket, Environmental 
Protection Agency, Mailcode: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., 
Washington, DC 20460.
     Hand Delivery: EPA Headquarters West Building, Room 3334, 
located at 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460. Such 
deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal hours of 
operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of 
boxed information.
    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OECA-
2007-0468. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included 
in the public docket without change and may be made available online at 
www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, 
unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential 
Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is 
restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to 
be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or e-mail. 
The www.regulations.gov Web site is an ``anonymous access''system, 
which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information 
unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an e-
mail comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov 
your e-mail address will be automatically captured and included as part 
of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available 
on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends 
that you include your name and other contact information in the body of 
your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read 
your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for 
clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic 
files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of 
encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional 
information about EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center 
homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Aimee Hessert, Office of Federal 
Activities, Mail Code 2252A, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 
Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202-
564-0993; fax number: 202-564-0072; e-mail address: 
[email protected].


How can I access the docket and/or submit comments?

    EPA has established a public docket for this ICR under Docket ID 
No. EPA-HQ-OECA-2007-0468, which is available for online viewing at 
www.regulations.gov, or in person viewing at the Enforcement and 
Compliance Docket in the EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West, Room 
3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The EPA/DC Public 
Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Reading 
Room is 202-566-1744, and the telephone number for the Enforcement and 
Compliance Docket is 202-566-1752.
    Use www.regulations.gov to obtain a copy of the draft collection of 
information, submit or view public comments, access the index listing 
of the contents of the docket, and to access those documents in the 
public docket that are available electronically. Once in the system, 
select ``search,'' then key in the docket ID number identified in this 

What information is EPA particularly interested in?

    Pursuant to section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, EPA specifically 
solicits comments and information to enable it to:
    (i) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is 
necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, 
including 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. In particular, EPA is requesting comments from 
very small businesses (those that employ less than 25) on examples of 
specific additional efforts that EPA could make to reduce the paperwork 
burden for very small businesses affected by this collection.

What should I consider when I prepare my comments for EPA?

    You may find the following suggestions helpful for preparing your 
    1. Explain your views as clearly as possible and provide specific 
    2. Describe any assumptions that you used.
    3. Provide copies of any technical information and/or data you used 
that support your views.
    4. If you estimate potential burden or costs, explain how you 
arrived at the estimate that you provide.
    5. Offer alternative ways to improve the collection activity.

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    6. Make sure to submit your comments by the deadline identified 
under DATES.
    7. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, be sure to identify the docket 
ID number assigned to this action in the subject line on the first page 
of your response. You may also provide the name, date, and Federal 
Register citation.

What information collection activity or ICR does this apply to?

    Affected entities: Entities potentially affected by this action are 
all nongovernmental operators with activities in Antarctica, including 
tour operators, for which the United States is required to give advance 
notice under paragraph 5 of Article VII of the Antarctic Treaty of 
1959; this includes all nongovernmental expeditions to and within 
Antarctica organized in or proceeding from the territory of the United 
    Title: Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed 
Collection; Comment Request; Environmental Impact Assessment of 
Nongovernmental Activities in Antarctica (Renewal)
    ICR numbers: EPA ICR No. 1808.06, OMB Control No. 2020-0007.
    ICR status: This ICR is currently scheduled to expire on January 
31, 2011. 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 in title 40 of the CFR, after appearing in the Federal 
Register when approved, are listed in 40 CFR part 9, are displayed 
either by publication in the Federal Register or by other appropriate 
means, such as on the related collection instrument or form, if 
applicable. The display of OMB control numbers in certain EPA 
regulations is consolidated in 40 CFR part 9.
    Abstract: The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) regulations 
at 40 CFR part 8, Environmental Impact Assessment of Nongovernmental 
Activities in Antarctica (Rule), were promulgated pursuant to the 
Antarctic Science, Tourism, and Conservation Act of 1996 (Act), 16 
U.S.C. 2401 et seq., as amended, 16 U.S.C. 2403a, which implements the 
Protocol on Environmental Protection (Protocol) to the Antarctic Treaty 
of 1959 (Treaty). The Rule provides for assessment of the environmental 
impacts of nongovernmental activities in Antarctica, including tourism, 
for which the United States is required to give advance notice under 
Paragraph 5 of Article VII of the Treaty, and for coordination of the 
review of information regarding environmental impact assessments 
received from other Parties under the Protocol. The requirements of the 
Rule apply to operators of nongovernmental expeditions organized or 
proceeding from the territory of the United States to Antarctica and 
include commercial and non-commercial expeditions. Expeditions may 
include ship-based tours; yacht, skiing or mountaineering expeditions; 
privately funded research expeditions; and other nongovernmental 
activities. The Rule does not apply to individual U.S. citizens or 
groups of citizens planning travel to Antarctica on an expedition for 
which they are not acting as an operator. (Operators, for example, 
typically acquire use of vessels or aircraft, hire expedition staff, 
plan itineraries, and undertake other organizational responsibilities.) 
The rule provides nongovernmental operators with the specific 
requirements they need to meet in order to comply with the requirements 
of Article 8 and Annex I to the Protocol. The provisions of the Rule 
are intended to ensure that potential environmental effects of 
nongovernmental activities undertaken in Antarctica are appropriately 
identified and considered by the operator during the planning process 
and that to the extent practicable appropriate environmental safeguards 
which would mitigate or prevent adverse impacts on the Antarctic 
environment are identified by the operator.
    Environmental Documentation. Persons subject to the Rule must 
prepare environmental documentation to support the operator's 
determination regarding the level of environmental impact of the 
proposed expedition. Environmental documentation includes a Preliminary 
Environmental Review Memorandum (PERM), an Initial Environmental 
Evaluation (IEE), or a Comprehensive Environmental Evaluation (CEE). 
The environmental document is submitted to the Office of Federal 
Activities (OFA). If the operator determines that an expedition may 
have: (1) Less than a minor or transitory impact, a PERM needs to be 
submitted no later than 180 days before the proposed departure to 
Antarctica; (2) no more than minor or transitory impacts, an IEE needs 
to be submitted no later than 90 days before the proposed departure; or 
(3) more than minor or transitory impacts, a CEE needs to be submitted. 
Operators who anticipate such activities are encouraged to consult with 
EPA as soon as possible regarding the date for submittal of the CEE. 
(Article 3(4), of Annex I of the Protocol requires that draft CEEs be 
distributed to all Parties and the Committee for Environmental 
Protection 120 days in advance of the next Antarctic Treaty 
Consultative Meeting (ATCM) at which the CEE may be addressed.)
    The Protocol and the Rule also require an operator to employ 
procedures to assess and provide a regular and verifiable record of the 
actual impacts of an activity which proceeds on the basis of an IEE or 
CEE. The record developed through these measures needs to be designed 
to: (a) Enable assessments to be made of the extent to which 
environmental impacts of nongovernmental expeditions are consistent 
with the Protocol; and (b) provide information useful for minimizing 
and mitigating those impacts and, where appropriate, on the need for 
suspension, cancellation, or modification of the activity. Moreover, an 
operator needs to monitor key environmental indicators for an activity 
proceeding on the basis of a CEE. An operator may also need to carry 
out monitoring in order to assess and verify the impact of an activity 
for which an IEE would be prepared. For activities that require an IEE, 
an operator should be able to use procedures currently being 
voluntarily utilized by operators to provide the required information. 
Should an activity require a CEE, the operator should consult with EPA 
to: (a) Identify the monitoring regime appropriate to that activity, 
and (b) determine whether and how the operator might utilize relevant 
monitoring data collected by the U.S. Antarctic Program. OFA would 
consult with the National Science Foundation and other interested 
Federal agencies regarding the monitoring regime.
    In cases of emergency related to the safety of human life or of 
ships, aircraft, equipment and facilities of high value, or the 
protection of the environment which would require an activity to be 
undertaken without completion of the documentation procedures set out 
in the Rule, the operator would need to notify the Department of State 
within 15 days of any activities which would have otherwise required 
preparation of a CEE, and provide a full explanation of the activities 
carried out within 45 days of those activities. (During the time the 
Interim Final and Final Rules have been in effect, there were no 
emergencies requiring notification by U.S. operators. An Interim Final 
Rule was in effect from April 30, 1997, until replaced on December 6, 
2001, by the Final Rule.)
    Environmental documents (e.g., PERM, IEE, CEE) are submitted to 
OFA. Environmental documents are reviewed by OFA, in consultation with 

[[Page 44946]]

National Science Foundation and other interested Federal agencies, and 
also made available to other Parties and the public as required under 
the Protocol or otherwise requested. OFA notifies the public of 
document availability via the World Wide Web at: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/international/antarctica/index.html. The types of 
nongovernmental activities currently being carried out (e.g., ship-
based tours, land-based tours, flights, and privately funded research 
expeditions) are typically unlikely to have impacts that are more than 
minor or transitory, thus an IEE is the typical level of environmental 
documentation submitted. For the 1997-1998 through 2009-2010 austral 
summer seasons during the time the Rule has been in effect, all 
respondents submitted IEEs with the exception of one PERM. Paperwork 
reduction provisions in the Rule that are used by the operators 
include: (a) Incorporation of material in the environmental document by 
referring to it in the IEE, (b) inclusion of all proposed expeditions 
by one operator within one IEE; (c) use of one IEE to address 
expeditions being carried out by more than one operator; and (d) use of 
multi-year environmental documentation to address proposed expeditions 
for a period of up to five consecutive austral summer seasons.
    Coordination of Review of Information Received From Other Parties 
to the Treaty. The Rule also provides for the coordination of review of 
information received from other Parties and the public availability of 
that information including: (1) A description of national procedures 
for considering the environmental impacts of proposed activities; (2) 
an annual list of any IEEs and any decisions taken in consequence 
thereof; (3) significant information obtained and any action taken in 
consequence thereof with regard to monitoring from IEEs to CEEs; and 
(4) information in a final CEE. This provision fulfills the United 
States' obligation to meet the requirements of Article 6 of Annex I to 
the Protocol. The Department of State is responsible for coordination 
of these reviews of drafts with interested Federal agencies, and for 
public availability of documents and information. This portion of the 
Rule does not impose paperwork requirements on any nongovernmental 
person subject to U.S. regulation.
    Burden Statement: The annual public reporting and recordkeeping 
burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 1,708 
hours annually, or 78 hours per response. This hourly burden reflects 
annual submission of different levels of environmental documentation by 
an anticipated 22 respondents (e.g., U.S.-based nongovernmental 
operators). 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 
which have subsequently changed; 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.
    The ICR provides a detailed explanation of the Agency's estimate, 
which is only briefly summarized here:
    Estimated total number of potential respondents: 22.
    Frequency of response: Annual.
    Estimated total average number of responses for each respondent: 1.
    Estimated total annual burden hours: 1,708 hours.
    Estimated total annual costs: $136,675. This includes an estimated 
burden cost of $132,419 and an estimated cost of $4,256 for capital 
investment or maintenance and operational costs.

Are there changes in the estimates from the last approval?

    There is an increase of 45 hours in the total estimated respondent 
burden compared with that identified in the ICR currently approved by 
OMB. This increase is a result of a change in the type of environmental 
documentation EPA anticipates the respondents will submit.

What is the next step in the process for this ICR?

    EPA will consider the comments received and amend the ICR as 
appropriate. The final ICR package will then be submitted to OMB for 
review and approval pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.12. At that time, EPA will 
issue another Federal Register notice pursuant to 5 CFR 
1320.5(a)(1)(iv) to announce the submission of the ICR to OMB and the 
opportunity to submit additional comments to OMB. If you have any 
questions about this ICR or the approval process, please contact the 
technical person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    Dated: July 27, 2010.
Susan E. Bromn,
Director, Office of Federal Activities.
[FR Doc. 2010-18801 Filed 7-29-10; 8:45 am]