[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 219 (Thursday, November 12, 2020)]
[Pages 71892-71893]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-24998]



[EPA-HQ-OLEM-2020-0521; FRL-10016-49-OLEM]

Proposed Information Collection Request; Comment Request; Survey 
of State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs)

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to submit an 
information collection request (ICR), ``Survey of State Emergency 
Response Commissions (SERCs)'' (EPA ICR No. 2660.01, OMB Control No. 
2050-new) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and 
approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act. Before doing 
so, EPA is soliciting public comments on specific aspects of the 
proposed information collection as described below. This is a request 
for approval of a new collection. 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.

DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before January 11, 2021.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OLEM-
2020-0521, online using www.regulations.gov (our preferred method) or 
by mail to: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail 
Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460.
    EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the 
public docket without change including any personal information 
provided, unless the comment includes profanity, threats, information 
claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other 
information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sicy Jacob, Regulations Implementation 
Division, Office of Emergency Management, Mail Code 5104A, 
Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, 
DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 564-8019; email address: 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supporting documents which explain in detail 
the information that the EPA will be collecting are available in the 
public docket for this information collection request (ICR). The docket 
can be viewed online at www.regulations.gov or in person at the EPA 
Docket Center, WJC West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW, 
Washington, DC. The telephone number for the Docket Center is 202-566-
1744. For additional information about EPA's public docket, visit 
    Pursuant to section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, EPA is soliciting 
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 

[[Page 71893]]

e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. 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. At that 
time, EPA will issue another Federal Register notice to announce the 
submission of the ICR to OMB and the opportunity to submit additional 
comments to OMB.
    Abstract: The EPA's Office of Emergency Management is conducting a 
survey of the State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) of each 
State and territories of the U.S. The SERCs were created under the 
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986. The 
purpose of this survey is to gather information on how EPCRA is being 
implemented, best practices, challenges, and gaps in meeting the 
requirements. After the survey is completed, EPA is planning to publish 
the results of the survey, including success stories and lessons 
learned to share with all states and territories.
    EPCRA established State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) and 
Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) and assigned implementation 
responsibilities to these state and local agencies. EPCRA required 
SERCs to appoint LEPCs \1\ within a few months after the enactment of 
EPCRA and to supervise their activities. Importantly, SERCs should 
ensure that LEPCs develop local emergency response plans for their 
community, review the plans, and make suggestions to coordinate the 
plans with neighboring LEPCs. In addition, SERCs are required to 
collect and manage hazardous chemical information from facilities and 
to provide access to the public on the presence of hazardous chemicals 
in the community.

    \1\ Approximately, 3,000 LEPCs were established within few 
months after the enactment of EPCRA.

    In response to the deadly explosion at a fertilizer distribution 
facility in West Texas, Executive Order (E.O.) 13650 was signed, which 
directed the federal government to improve the safety and security of 
chemical facilities and reduce the risks of hazardous chemicals to 
workers and communities. One of the key components of the E.O. was to 
strengthen the state and local infrastructure created by EPCRA for 
emergency planning and preparedness. EPA published additional guidance 
documents, and developed on-line training for states, tribes and local 
agencies to implement EPCRA to protect their community and first 
    As part of the America's Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA),\2\ 
promulgated in October 2018, additional coordination and provision of 
information responsibilities were established for SERCs and LEPCs under 
EPCRA. Specifically, these EPCRA amendments establish notification and 
information coordination with State Drinking Water Agency and Community 
Water Systems to ensure that these agencies prepare and protect the 
community from contamination of their water.

    \2\ The America's Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) amended the 
emergency release notification and the hazardous chemical inventory 
provisions of the 1986 legislation. The amendments require the SERCs 
to provide immediate notification to the State Drinking Water 
Primacy Agency or the Community Water Systems where there is no 
primacy agency. The amendment to the hazardous chemical inventory 
provisions require the SERCs and LEPCs to provide access to the 
``Tier II'' information upon request by the community water systems.

    The data collected in this survey will inform the Agency about how 
SERCs are fulfilling the requirements of the law, specifically in 
sharing key information among all appropriate State organizations and 
managing LEPCs and their activities. Additionally, the results of the 
survey will help to identify areas where SERCs are having difficulty 
meeting their requirements, the specific challenges they are facing, 
and will identify areas where EPA can better assist SERCs and LEPCs in 
implementing EPCRA and its amendments under AWIA.
    Form Numbers: None.
    Respondents/affected entities: Respondents to this voluntary ICR 
are State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs).
    Respondent's obligation to respond: Voluntary.
    Estimated number of respondents: Approximately 56 (total).
    Frequency of response: Once.
    Total estimated burden: 4 Hours/respondent, 224 hours total. Burden 
is defined at 5 CFR 1320.03(b).
    Total estimated cost: $284/respondent, $15,904 total, includes $0 
annualized capital or operation & maintenance costs.

Reggie Cheatham,
Director, Office of Emergency Management.
[FR Doc. 2020-24998 Filed 11-10-20; 8:45 am]