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Fact Sheet - Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: The 2013 Critical Use Exemption from the Phaseout of Methyl Bromide

ACTION

EPA is authorizing the uses that qualify for the 2013 critical use exemption from the phaseout of methyl bromide. With this action, the EPA is allowing 562 metric tons of methyl bromide to be produced or imported for critical uses in 2013. EPA is also amending the regulatory framework to remove requirements that limit the sale of pre-phaseout inventory for critical uses.

Critical use exemptions may be available for those uses of methyl bromide that the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer agree have no technically or economically feasible alternatives. The framework for critical use exemptions was created on December 23, 2004 (69 FR 76982).

BACKGROUND

Methyl bromide, an odorless, colorless gas, is used to control a variety of pests in a range of agricultural industries. For example, it has been used by growers of specialty crops, such as tomatoes and strawberries, to fumigate the soil prior to planting.

EPA issues rules on an annual basis to provide notice and comment on the amount of methyl bromide to be made available for specifically identified critical uses during each calendar year. This rule is consistent with Decision XXIII/4, which was taken at the 23rd Meeting of the Parties in November 2011. In that decision, the Parties authorized critical uses in the U.S. for 2013.

Today’s action affects regulations that govern the production, import, and export of methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting substance, under Title VI of the Clean Air Act and in accordance with U.S. obligations under the Montreal Protocol. Specifically, today’s rule amends EPA regulations under the authority of the Clean Air Act to create critical use exemptions, in accordance with Article 2H paragraph 5 of the Montreal Protocol, “to permit the level of production or consumption that is necessary to satisfy uses agreed to them [the Parties to the Montreal Protocol] to be critical uses.”  

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

For further information about this action, contact Jeremy Arling of EPA’s Office of Atmospheric Programs at (202) 343-9055.

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