[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 234 (Monday, December 7, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 75948-75951]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-30798]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

48 CFR Parts 1501 and 1502

[EPA-HQ-OARM-2015-0244; FRL-9925-90-OARM]


Environmental Protection Agency Acquisition Regulation (EPAAR); 
Ratification of Unauthorized Commitments

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Direct final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) amends the EPA 
Acquisition Regulation (EPAAR) to address minor non-substantive changes 
in one subpart and one definition. The direct final rule updates 
``Ratification of Unauthorized Commitments'' and revises the definition 
of Chief of the Contracting Office (CCO). EPA does not anticipate any 
adverse comments.

DATES: This rule is effective on February 5, 2016 without further 
notice, unless adverse comment is received January 6, 2016. If adverse 
comment is received, the EPA will publish a timely withdrawal of the 
rule in the Federal Register.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-
OARM-2015-0244 by one of the following methods:
     www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for 
submitting comments.
     Email: [email protected].
     Fax: (202) 566-1753.
     Mail: EPA-HQ-OARM-2015-0244, OEI Docket, Environmental 
Protection Agency, 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 
20460. Please include a total of three (3) copies.
     Hand Delivery: EPA Docket Center--Attention OEI Docket, 
EPA West, Room B102, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20004. 
Such

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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-OARM-
2015-0244. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included 
in the public docket without change and may be made available online at 
http://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 http://www.regulations.gov or email. The http://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 http://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.
    Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some 
information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information 
whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such 
as copyrighted material, will be publicly available only in hard copy. 
Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically 
in http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Government 
Property-Contract Property Administration Docket, EPA/DC, EPA West, 
Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The 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 Public 
Reading Room is (202) 566-1744 and the telephone number for the EPA 
Docket Center is (202) 566-1752. This Docket Facility is open from 8:30 
a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rodney Neely, Policy, Training, and 
Oversight Division, Acquisition Policy and Training Service Center 
(3802R), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., 
Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202-564-2330; email address: 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

General Information

    1. Do not submit Classified Business Information (CBI) to EPA Web 
site http://www.regulations.gov or email. Clearly mark the part or all 
of the information that you claim to be CBI. For CBI information in a 
disk or CD-ROM that you mail to EPA, mark the outside of the disk or 
CD-ROM as CBI, and then identify electronically within the disk or CD-
ROM the specific information that is claimed as CBI. In addition to one 
complete version of the comment that includes information claimed as 
CBI, a copy of the comment that does not contain the information 
claimed as CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public docket. 
Information so marked will not be disclosed except in accordance with 
procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2.
    2. Tips for Preparing Your Comments. When submitting comments, 
remember to:
     Identify the rulemaking by docket number and other 
identifying information (subject heading, Federal Register date and 
page number).
     Follow directions--The Agency may ask you to respond to 
specific questions or organize comments by referencing a Code of 
Federal Regulations (CFR) Part or section number.
     Explain why you agree or disagree, suggest alternatives, 
and substitute language for your requested changes.
     Describe any assumptions and provide any technical 
information and/or data that you used.
     If you estimate potential costs or burdens, explain how 
you arrived at your estimate in sufficient detail to allow for it to be 
reproduced.
     Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns, and 
suggest alternatives.
     Explain your views as clearly as possible, avoiding the 
use of profanity or personal threats.
    3. Make sure to submit your comments by the comment period deadline 
identified.

I. Background

    The EPA is revising EPAAR subpart 1501.602-3 Ratification of 
Unauthorized Commitments to the approval authorities and levels to be 
consistent with the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR). The Senior 
Procurement Executive (SPE) is responsible for ratification approvals 
for $25,000 and above. The CCO is the approval authority for 
ratifications below $25,000. The procedures of this subpart are 
clarified, along with minor editorial changes. 1502.100 Definitions is 
revised to update the definition of CCO.

II. Final Rule

    This final rule makes the following changes:
    1. Revise EPAAR subpart 1501.602-3 to update approval authorities 
and levels, remove procedures, and execute minor editorial changes.
    2. Revise EPAAR 1502.100 to modify the definition of Chief of the 
Contracting Office.

Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive 
Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

    This action is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under the 
terms of Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) 
and is therefore not subject to review under the E.O. 12866 and 13563 
(76 FR 3821, January 21, 2011).

B. Paperwork Reduction Act

    This action does not impose an information collection burden under 
the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. 
Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.3(b).

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), As Amended by the Small Business 
Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), 5 U.S.C. 601 et. 
seq.

    The RFA generally requires an agency to prepare a regulatory 
flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice and comment 
rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act or any 
other statute; unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have 
a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. Small entities include small businesses, small organizations, 
and small governmental jurisdictions. For purposes of assessing the 
impact of

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today's final rule on small entities, ``small entity'' is defined as: 
(1) A small business that meets the definition of a small business 
found in the Small Business Act and codified at 13 CFR 121.201; (2) a 
small governmental jurisdiction that is a government of a city, county, 
town, school district or special district with a population of less 
than 50,000; or (3) a small organization that is any not-for-profit 
enterprise which is independently owned and operated and is not 
dominant in its field. After considering the economic impacts of this 
rule on small entities, I certify that this action will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
In determining whether a rule has a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities, the impact of concern is any 
significant adverse economic impact on small entities, because the 
primary purpose of the regulatory flexibility analyses is to identify 
and address regulatory alternatives ``which minimize any significant 
economic impact of the proposed rule on small entities'' 5 U.S.C. 503 
and 604. Thus, an agency may certify that a rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities 
if the rule relieves regulatory burden, or otherwise has a positive 
economic effect on all of the small entities subject to the rule. This 
action revises current EPAAR clauses and will not have a significant 
economic impact on substantial number of small entities. We continue to 
be interested in the potential impacts of the proposed rule on small 
entities and welcome comments on issues related to such impacts.

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    This action contains no federal mandates under the provisions of 
Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), 2 U.S.C. 
1531-1538 for State, local, and tribal governments or the private 
sector. The action imposes no enforceable duty on any State, local or 
tribal governments or the private sector. Therefore, this action is not 
subject to the requirements of Sections 202 or 205 of the UMRA. This 
action is also not subject to the requirements of section 203 of UMRA 
because it contains no regulatory requirements that might significantly 
or uniquely affect small governments.

E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    This action does not have federalism implications. It will not have 
substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between 
the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power 
and responsibilities among the various levels of government, as 
specified in Executive Order 13132. Thus, Executive Order 13132 does 
not apply to this action. In the spirit of Executive Order 13132, and 
consistent with EPA policy to promote communications between EPA and 
State and local governments, EPA specifically solicits comment on this 
proposed action from State and local officials.

F. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian 
Tribal Governments

    This action does not have tribal implications, as specified in 
Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000). Thus, Executive 
Order 13175 does not apply to this action.

G. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental 
Health and Safety Risks

    Executive Order 13045, entitled ``Protection of Children from 
Environmental Health and Safety Risks'' (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997), 
applies to any rule that: (1) Is determined to be economically 
significant as defined under E.O. 12886, and (2) concerns an 
environmental health or safety risk that may have a proportionate 
effect on children. This rule is not subject to E.O. 13045 because it 
is not an economically significant rule as defined by E.O. 12866, and 
because it does not have a proportionate effect on children.

H. Executive Order 13211: Actions That Significantly Affect Energy 
Supply, Distribution, or Use

    This action is not subject to Executive Order 13211 (66 FR 28335 
May 22, 2001) because it is not a significant regulatory action under 
Executive Order 12866.

I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA)

    Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement 
Act of 1995 (``NTTAA''), Public Law 104-113, 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272 note) 
directs EPA to use voluntary consensus standards in its regulatory 
activities unless to do so would be inconsistent with applicable law or 
otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical 
standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling 
procedures and business practices) that are developed or adopted by 
voluntary consensus standards bodies. NTTAA directs EPA to provide 
Congress, through OMB, explanations when the Agency decides not to use 
available and applicable voluntary consensus standards. This action 
does not involve technical standards. Therefore, EPA is not considering 
the use of any voluntary consensus standards.

J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental 
Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations

    Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629 (Feb. 16, 1994) establishes 
federal executive policy on environmental justice. Its main provision 
directs federal agencies, to the greatest extent practicable and 
permitted by law, to make environmental justice part of their mission 
by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high 
and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs, 
policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income 
populations in the United States. EPA has determined that this final 
rule will not have disproportionately high and adverse human health or 
environmental effects on minority or low-income populations because it 
does not affect the level of protection provided to human health or the 
environment in the general public.

K. Congressional Review Act

    The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added by the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally 
provides that before a rule may take effect, the Agency promulgating 
the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, 
to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the 
United States. Section 804 exempts from section 801 the following types 
of rules (1) rules of particular applicability; (2) rules relating to 
agency management or personnel; and (3) rules of Agency organization, 
procedure, or practice that do not substantially affect the rights or 
obligations of non-agency parties. 5 U.S.C. 804(3). EPA is not required 
to submit a rule report regarding today's action under section 801 
because this is a rule of agency organization, procedure, or practice 
that does not substantially affect the rights or obligations of non-
agency parties.

List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 1501 and 1502

    Environmental protection, Government procurement.

    Dated: November 12, 2015.
John R. Bashista,
Director, Office of Acquisition Management.
    For the reasons stated in the preamble, Chapter 15 of Title 48 Code

[[Page 75951]]

of Federal Regulations, parts 1501 and 1502 are amended as set forth 
below:

0
1. The authority citation for parts 1501 and 1502 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; Sec. 205(c), 63 Stat. 390, as amended, 
40 U.S.C. 486(c); and 41 U.S.C. 418b.

PART 1501--GENERAL

0
2. Amend 1501.602-3 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:


1501.602-3  Ratification of unauthorized commitments.

* * * * *
    (b)(1) Ratification Approval. The Senior Procurement Executive 
(SPE) as defined in 1502.100 is the ratifying official for all 
ratification actions $25,000 and above.
    (2) The Chief of the Contracting Office (CCO) as defined in 
1502.100 is delegated authority to be the ratifying official for all 
ratification actions below $25,000.
    (3) The CCOs defined in 1502.100 for purposes of ratification 
authority only must meet the following criteria:
    (i) Must possess a contracting officer's warrant and be in the 1102 
job series;
    (ii) Are prohibited from re-delegating their ratification 
authority;
    (iii) Are prohibited from approving a ratification if he/she acted 
as a contracting officer in preparing the determination and findings 
required under paragraph (c)(3) of this section; and
    (iv) Must abide by the other limitations on ratification of 
unauthorized commitments set forth in FAR 1.602-3(c) and the EPAAR.
* * * * *

PART 1502--DEFINITION OF WORDS AND TERMS

0
3. Amend 1502.100 by revising the definition of ``Chief of the 
Contracting Office (CCO)'' to read as follows:


1502.100  Definitions.

    Chief of the Contracting Office (CCO) means the Office of 
Acquisition Management Division Directors at Headquarters, Research 
Triangle Park and Cincinnati. For purposes of ratification authority 
only, CCO also includes Regional Acquisition Managers. (See 1501.602-
3(b)(3) for the criteria for this ratification authority).
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2015-30798 Filed 12-4-15; 8:45 am]
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