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EPA Amends Process to Seek Exemptions from Import Ban on Ozone-Depleting Substances

Friday, June 06, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a notice amending the process for submitting applications for essential use exemptions for all future years. Essential use exemptions are exceptions to the phaseout of production and import of controlled class I ozone-depleting substances, must be authorized by the parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layerand must be in accordance with the Clean Air Act. Applications received in accordance with this notice will be considered as the basis for submitting potential nominations for essential use exemptions to future meetings of the parties to the Montreal Protocol.

In the past, the EPA issued an annual notice requesting applications for essential use exemptions. The agency is now providing an opportunity to submit applications for essential use exemptions for class I substances for all future control periods. Such applications must be submitted no later than Sept. 30 three years prior to the intended use.

Use of a controlled substance qualifies as essential only if (a) it is necessary for the health or safety or is critical for the functioning of society and (b) there are no available technically and economically feasible alternatives or substitutes that are acceptable from the standpoint of environment and health. An essential use allowance for the U.S. was last authorized in 2008 for the 2010 calendar year. The Clean Air Act provides for essential use exemptions for Class I substances for medical devices and halons for aviation safety, but all chlorofluorocarbon-containing metered dose inhalers have been removed from the Food and Drug Administration’s list of essential uses as of Dec. 31, 2013, and the U.S. has not nominated halons for aviation safety as an essential use.

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