[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 101 (Thursday, May 24, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 31006-31008]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-12298]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[EPA-HQ-OA-2012-0033; FRL-9674-7]


Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; 
Comment Request; Valuing Improved Water Quality in the Chesapeake Bay 
Using Stated Preference Methods; EPA ICR No. 2456.01, OMB Control No. 
20XX--New

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION: Notice.

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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 for a new Information Collection Request (ICR) to the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB). 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 July 23, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OA-
2012-0033 by one of the following methods:
     www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for 
submitting comments.
     Email: [email protected].
     Fax: (202) 566-9744.
     Mail: Office of Environmental Information, Environmental 
Protection Agency, Mailcode: 28221T, 1200

[[Page 31007]]

Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460.
    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OA-2012-
0033. 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 email. 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 email comment 
directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov your email 
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: Dr. Nathalie Simon, National Center 
for Environmental Economics, Office of Policy, (1809T), Environmental 
Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; 
telephone number: 202-566-2347; fax number: 202-566-2363; email 
address: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

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-OA-2012-0033, which is available for online viewing at 
www.regulations.gov, or in person viewing at the Office of 
Environmental Information (OEI) 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 
OEI 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 
document.

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 
comments:
    1. Explain your views as clearly as possible and provide specific 
examples.
    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.
    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?

    Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OA-2012-0033.
    Affected entities: Entities potentially affected by this action are 
members of the general public who may be contacted to participate in 
the study.
    Title: Willingness to Pay for Improved Water Quality in the 
Chesapeake Bay.
    ICR numbers: EPA ICR No. 2456.01, OMB Control No. 2012-new.
    ICR status: This ICR is for a new information collection activity. 
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: On May 12, 2009 the President signed Executive Order 
13508 calling for the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. 
In response to the Executive Order and other considerations the 
Environmental Protection Agency established Total Maximum Daily Loads 
(TMDLs) of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment for the Chesapeake Bay. 
These TMDLs called for reductions of 25, 24, and 20%, respectively, of 
these pollutants (EPA 2011).
    The Chesapeake Bay watershed encompasses 64,000 square miles in 
parts of six states and the District of Columbia. While efforts have 
been underway to restore the Bay for more than 25 years, and 
significant progress has been made over that period, the TMDLs are 
necessary to continue progress toward the goal of a healthy Bay. As 
might be expected, a program on this scale is likely to be expensive. A 
2004 report on implementation of the ``tributary strategies'' proposed 
under an earlier plan for Bay restoration

[[Page 31008]]

estimated their cost at $28 billion in capital costs plus an additional 
$2.7 billion dollars per year in perpetuity for operating and 
maintenance costs (Blue Ribbon Panel 2004). The watershed states of New 
York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland, as 
well as the District of Columbia, have developed Watershed 
Implementation Plans (WIPs) detailing the steps each will take to meet 
its obligations under the TMDLs. EPA has begun a new study to estimate 
costs of compliance with the TMDLs. While these costs may prove high, a 
multitude of benefits may also be anticipated to arise from restoring 
the Chesapeake Bay. It is important to put cost estimates in 
perspective by estimating corresponding benefits.
    EPA's National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE) is 
undertaking a benefits analysis of improvements in Bay water quality 
under the TMDLs, as well as of ancillary benefits that might arise from 
terrestrial measures taken to improve water quality. As part of this 
analysis, NCEE plans to conduct a broad-based inquiry into benefits 
using a state-of-the-art stated preference survey. Benefits from the 
TMDLs for the Chesapeake will accrue to those who live on or near the 
Bay and its tributaries, as well as to those who live further away and 
may never visit the Bay but have a general concern for the environment. 
The latter category of benefits is typically called ``non-use values'' 
and estimating the monetary value can only be achieved through a stated 
preference survey.
    In addition, a stated preference survey is able to estimate ``use 
values,'' those benefits that accrue to individuals who choose to live 
on or near the Bay or recreate in the watershed. Stated preference 
surveys allow the analyst to define a specific object of choice or 
suite of choices such that benefits are defined in as precise a manner 
as feasible. While use benefits of water quality improvements in the 
Chesapeake Bay watershed will also be estimated through other revealed 
preference methods, the stated preference survey allows for careful 
specification of the choice scenarios and will complement estimates 
found using other methods.
    Participation in the survey will be voluntary and the identity of 
the participants will be kept confidential.
    Burden Statement: The annual public reporting and recordkeeping 
burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 0.5 
hours per response. 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: 1500.
    Frequency of response: once.
    Estimated total average number of responses for each respondent: 1.
    Estimated total annual burden hours: 750 hours.
    Estimated total annual costs: $ 15,975. This includes estimated 
respondent burden costs only as there are no capital costs or operating 
and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.

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: May 2, 2012.
Al McGartland,
Office Director, National Center for Environmental Economics.
[FR Doc. 2012-12298 Filed 5-23-12; 8:45 am]
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