Information Collection Activities, 65638-65643 [E7-22689]

Download as PDF 65638 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Notices provide incident data without having completed the S&S–30 Form. Also, FTA has modified the available answers to many of the questions from the old Safety & Security forms to reduce unneeded answers, and to fill in gaps where the previously provided answers did not account for all possible reporting situations. These changes are non-substantive in nature, as they do not add any additional reporting requirements, but may be found in the full 2008 Safety & Security Reporting Manual, available on the NTD Web site at https://www.ntdprogram.gov. Issued in Washington, DC, this 15th day of November, 2007. James S. Simpson, Administrator. [FR Doc. E7–22768 Filed 11–20–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–57–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Maritime Administration Reports, Forms and Recordkeeping Requirements; Agency Information Collection Activity Under OMB Review Maritime Administration, DOT. Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: pwalker on PROD1PC71 with NOTICES ACTION: SUMMARY: In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces that the Information Collection abstracted below will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. The nature of the information collection is described as well as its expected burden. The Federal Register Notice with a 60-day comment period soliciting comments on the following collection of information was published on August 27, 2007. No comments were received. DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before December 21, 2007. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Murray A. Bloom, Maritime Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 366–5320; or E-Mail: Murray.Bloom@dot.gov. Copies of this collection can also be obtained from that office. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Maritime Administration (MARAD). Title of Collection: Part 380, Subpart B—Application for Designation of Vessels as American Great Lakes Vessels. Type of Request: Extension of currently approved information collection. OMB Control Number: 2133–0521. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:56 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 Expiration Date of Approval: Three years from date of approval by the Office of Management and Budget. Affected Public: Shipowners of merchant vessels. Form Numbers: None. Abstract: In accordance with Public Law 101–624, the Secretary of Transportation issued requirements for the submission of applications for designation of vessels as American Great Lakes Vessels. Owners who wish to have this designation must certify that their vessel(s) meets certain criteria established in 46 CFR part 380. Expiration Date of Approval: Three years from date of approval by the Office of Management and Budget. Annual Estimated Burden Hours: 1.25 hours. Addressee: Send comments to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 725 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503, Attention: MARAD Desk Officer. Comments are invited on: 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; the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection; ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. A comment to OMB is best assured of having its full effect, if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication. Dated: November 14, 2007. Christine S. Gurland, Acting Secretary, Maritime Administration. [FR Doc. E7–22687 Filed 11–20–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–81–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration [Docket No. PHMSA–2007–27181 (Notice No. 07–10)] Information Collection Activities Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Information Collection Request (ICR) entitled ‘‘Hazardous Materials Public Sector Training and PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Planning Grants’’ is being revised to implement a statutory provision authorizing PHMSA to request information from states concerning fees related to the transportation of hazardous materials. In addition, this ICR is being revised to include more detailed information from grantees to enable us to more accurately evaluate the effectiveness of the grant program in meeting emergency response planning and training needs. In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces that the ICR will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for revision and extension. DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before December 21, 2007. ADDRESSES: Send comments regarding the burden estimates, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to the Office of Management and Budget, Attention: Desk Officer for PHMSA, 725 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503. We invite commenters to address the following issues: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Department, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the Department’s estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. A comment to OMB is most effective if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Deborah Boothe or T. Glenn Foster, Office of Hazardous Materials Standards (PHH–11), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., East Building, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20590–0001, Telephone (202) 366–8553. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background Section 1320.8(d), Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations requires PHMSA to provide interested members of the public and affected agencies an opportunity to comment on information collection and recordkeeping requests. This notice identifies an information collection PHMSA is submitting to OMB for revision under OMB Control Number 2137–0586. This collection is contained in 49 CFR part 110, Hazardous Materials Public Sector Training and Planning E:\FR\FM\21NON1.SGM 21NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Notices pwalker on PROD1PC71 with NOTICES Grants. We are revising the information collection to implement a statutory provision authorizing PHMSA to request information from states concerning fees related to the transportation of hazardous materials. In addition, we are revising the current information collection to include more detailed information from grantees to enable us to more accurately evaluate the effectiveness of the grant program in meeting emergency response planning and training needs. A. HMEP Program The Hazardous Materials and Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grants program, as mandated by the Federal hazardous materials transportation law (Federal hazmat law; 49 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) provides Federal financial and technical assistance to states and Indian tribes to ‘‘develop, improve, and carry out emergency plans’’ within the National Response System and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986 (Title III), 42 U.S.C. 11001 et seq. The grants are used to develop, improve, and implement emergency plans; to train public sector hazardous materials emergency response employees to respond to accidents and incidents involving hazardous materials; to determine flow patterns of hazardous materials within a state and between states; and to determine the need within a state for regional hazardous materials emergency response teams. The HMEP grants program is funded by registration fees collected from persons who offer for transportation or transport certain hazardous materials in intrastate, interstate, or foreign commerce. Federal hazmat law specifies that HMEP grant funds are to be allocated based on the needs of states and Indian tribes for emergency response planning and training, considering a number of factors including whether the state or tribe imposes and collects a fee on the transportation of hazardous materials and whether the fee is used only to carry out a purpose related to the transportation of hazardous materials. 49 U.S.C. 5116(b)(4). Accordingly, the HMEP grant application procedures in 49 CFR part 110 require applicants to submit a statement explaining whether the applicant assesses and collects fees for the transportation of hazardous materials and whether those fees are used solely to carry out purposes related to the transportation of hazardous materials. In addition, section 5125(f) of the Federal hazmat law permits a state, political subdivision of a state, or Indian tribe to impose a fee related to the VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:56 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 transportation of hazardous materials only if the fee is fair and used for a purpose related to transporting hazardous materials, including enforcement and planning, developing, and maintaining a capability for emergency response. In accordance with § 5125, the Department of Transportation may require a state, political subdivision of a state, or Indian tribe to report on the fees it collects, including: (1) The basis on which the fee is levied; (2) the purposes for which the revenues from the fee are used; and (3) the total amount of annual revenues collected from the fee. Until now, we have not proposed asking states, political subdivisions, or Indian tribes to report this information. B. 60-Day Notice On July 5, 2007, we published a Federal Register notice [72 FR 36754] with a 60-day comment period, soliciting comments on revisions to the instructions for submitting an HMEP grant application. The revisions are intended to increase the transparency of the programs funded by HMEP grants and to enable us to more accurately evaluate the effectiveness of the HMEP program in meeting emergency response planning and training needs. Specifically, in accordance with the statutory mandate in 49 U.S.C. 5116(b)(4) and 5125(f), we proposed to revise the grant application to request applicants to respond to the following questions: 1. Does your state or tribe assess a fee or fees in connection with the transportation of hazardous materials? 2. If the answer to question 1 is ‘‘yes,’’ a. What state agency administers the fee? b. What is the amount of the fee and the basis on which the fee is assessed? Examples of the bases on which fees may be assessed include: (1) An annual fee for each company which transports hazardous materials within your state or tribal territory; (2) a fee for each truck or vehicle used to transport hazardous materials within your state or tribal territory; (3) a fee for certain commodities or quantities of hazardous materials transported in your state or tribal territory; or (4) a fee for each hazardous materials shipment transiting your state or tribal territory. c. Is company size considered when assessing the fee? For instance, do companies meeting the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) definition of a small business pay the same or lesser fee amount than companies that do not meet the SBA definition? d. For what purpose(s) is the revenue from the fee used? For example, is the PO 00000 Frm 00083 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 65639 revenue used to support hazardous materials transportation enforcement programs? Is the fee used to support planning, developing, and maintaining an emergency response capability? e. What is the total annual amount of the revenue collected for the last fiscal year or 12-month accounting period? In addition, to assist us to evaluate the effectiveness of the HMEP grant program, we proposed to ask grant recipients to report the following specific information regarding the planning and training activities funded by the HMEP grants and to provide an overall evaluation of the effectiveness of their programs: Planning Grants 1. Did you complete or update assessments of commodity flow patterns in your jurisdiction? If so, how many and what were the results of those assessments? What was the amount of planning dollars devoted to this effort? What percentage of total planning dollars does this represent? 2. Did you complete or update assessments of the emergency response capabilities in your jurisdiction? What factors did you consider to complete such assessments? How many assessments were completed and what were the results of those assessments? What was the amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to this effort? What percentage of total HMEP planning grant funds does this represent? 3. Did you develop or improve emergency plans for your jurisdiction? If so, how many plans were either developed or updated? Briefly describe the outcome of this effort. What was the amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to this effort? What percentage of total HMEP planning grant funds does this represent? 4. Did you conduct emergency response drills or exercises in support of your emergency plan? How many exercises or drills did you conduct? Briefly describe the drill or exercise (tabletop, computer simulation, realworld simulation, or other drill or exercise), the number and types of participants, including shipper or carrier participants, and lessons learned. What was the amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to this effort? What percentage of total HMEP planning grant funds does this represent? 5. Did you use HMEP planning grant funds to provide technical staff in support of your emergency response planning program? If so, what was the amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to this effort? What percentage E:\FR\FM\21NON1.SGM 21NON1 65640 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Notices pwalker on PROD1PC71 with NOTICES of total HMEP planning grant funds does this represent? 6. How many Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) are located in your jurisdiction? How many LEPCs were assisted using HMEP funds? What was the amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to such assistance? What percentage of total HMEP planning grant funds does this represent? Training Grants 1. Did you complete an assessment of the training needs of the emergency response personnel in your jurisdiction? What factors did you consider to complete the assessment? What was the result of that assessment? What was the amount of HMEP training grant funds devoted to this effort? What percentage of total HMEP training grants funds does this represent? 2. Provide details concerning the number of individuals trained in whole or in part using HMEP training grant funds. You should include separate indications for the numbers of fire, police, emergency medical services (EMS) or other personnel who were trained and the type of training provided based on the categories listed in standards published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at 29 CFR 1910.120 pertaining to emergency response training. (Note that ‘‘other’’ personnel include public works employees, accident clean-up crews, and liaison and support officers. Note also that if HMEP training grant funds were used in any way to support the training, such as for books or equipment, you should show that the training was partially funded by HMEP training grant funds.) What was the amount of training dollars devoted to this effort? What percentage of total training dollars does this represent? 3. Did you incur expenses associated with training and activities necessary to monitor such training, including, for example, examinations, critiques, and instructor evaluations? What was the amount of HMEP training grant funds devoted to this activity? What percentage of total HMEP training grant funds does this represent? 4. Did you provide incident command systems training? If so, provide separate indications for the numbers of fire, policy, EMS, or other personnel who were trained. What was the amount of HMEP training grant funds devoted to this effort? What percentage of total HMEP training grant funds does this represent? 5. Did you develop new training using HMEP training grant funds in whole or VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:56 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 in part, such as training in handling specific types of incidents of specific types of materials? If so, briefly describe the new programs. Was the program qualified using the HMEP Curriculum Guidelines process? What was the amount of HMEP training grant funds devoted to this effort? What percentage of total HMEP training grant funds does this represent? 6. Did you use HMEP training grant funds to provide staff to manage your training program to increase benefits, proficiency, and rapid deployment of emergency responders? If so, what was the amount of HMEP training grant funds devoted to this effort? What percentage of total HMEP training grant funds does this represent? 7. Do you have a system in place for measuring the effectiveness of emergency response to hazardous materials incidents in your jurisdiction? Briefly describe the criteria you use (total response time, total time at an accident scene, communication among different agencies or jurisdictions, or other criteria). How many state and local response teams are located in your jurisdiction? What is the estimated coverage of these teams (e.g., the percent of state jurisdictions covered)? Overall Program Evaluation 1. Using a scale of 1–5 (with 5 being excellent and 1 being poor), how well has the HMEP grants program met your need for preparing hazmat emergency responders? 2. Using a scale of 1–5 (with 5 being excellent and 1 being poor), how well do you think the HMEP grants program will meet your future needs? 3. What areas of the HMEP grants program would you recommend for enhancement? II. Discussion of Comments The comment period for the 60-Day notice closed on September 5, 2007. PHMSA received 16 comments from the following companies, organizations, and individuals: (1) The American Trucking Association (ATA); (2) Colorado Emergency Planning Commission; (3) Kevin Crawford; (4) Robert E. Dopp; (5) Delaware Emergency Management Agency; (6) the Institute of Makers of Explosives (IME); (7) Lyle Milby; (8) Timothy Gablehouse; (9) Steven Goza; (10) Donald K. Hall; (11) the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC); (12) the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI); (13) Oklahoma Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Commission; (14) James J. Plum; (15) Daniel Roe; and (16) the State of Wisconsin/Department of Military Affairs Wisconsin Emergency Management. On October 12, 2007, we PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 received an additional comment from the Interested Parties for Hazardous Materials Transportation (Interested Parties) which had been filed with OMB. In addition, the National Association of SARA Title III Program Officials and the Oklahoma Hazardous Materials Response Commission submitted letters to OMB and copied PHMSA in response to the October 12 comment from the Interested Parties. All comments are included in the docket for this notice and are available for review at the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https://www.regulations.gov. Commenters expressing support for revisions to the HMEP application kit include ATA, IME, NEI, and NTTC. These commenters generally agree that additional information from grantees will assist PHMSA to evaluate the emergency response funding needs of states and Indian tribes and promote more effective use of HMEP grant funds. For example, in expressing its support, ATA, the national representative of over 37,000 trucking companies, states that the information being sought by PHMSA is critical to the effective administration of the HMEP grant program. In its support of the proposed revisions, NEI states that although limited resources will be expended responding to the additional questions, the net result is a better use of funds nationwide and improved responses to events involving hazardous materials. Similarly, NTTC, a trade association comprised of 210 trucking companies, states the additional information resulting from the HMEP revisions is necessary to ‘‘ensure proper funds allocation based on need under the HMEP grant program,’’ and will enable PHMSA ‘‘to better determine whether states’ fees are properly apportioned and being utilized for purposes associated with hazardous materials transportation.’’ In its comments, IME, the safety and security association of the commercial explosives industry, states that because its members are both shippers and carriers subject to fees that support the HMEP grants program, it has a keen interest in how these funds are used. The commenter supports PHMSA’s efforts to accurately evaluate the effectiveness of its grants program through the proposed questions, and asserts that utilizing the HMEP grant application process is the least burdensome method to capture the information authorized by section 5125 of the Federal hazmat law. In its October 12 comment sent to OMB and copied to PHMSA, the Interested Parties suggest that the additional questions will aid the E:\FR\FM\21NON1.SGM 21NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Notices pwalker on PROD1PC71 with NOTICES agency’s risk-based approach while ensuring that legislative intent is achieved. Commenters opposing the revisions include Colorado Emergency Planning Commission; Kevin Crawford; Delaware Emergency Management Agency; Robert E. Dopp; Lyle Milby; Timothy Gablehouse; Steven Goza; Donald K. Hall; Oklahoma Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Commission; James J. Plum; Daniel Roe; and the State of Wisconsin/Department of Military Affairs Wisconsin Emergency Management. The comments address three inter-related areas: (1) The need for the additional information, particularly the information on fees; (2) concern that funding may be reduced or eliminated based on grantees’ responses to the additional questions; and (3) whether the additional information collection burden resulting from the additional questions is off-set by measurable benefits. These comments are addressed below. In addition, the National Association of SARA Title III Program Officials and the Oklahoma Hazardous Materials Response Commission submitted letters to OMB and copied PHMSA in response to the October 12 comment from the Interested Parties. Both commenters question the motivation of the Interested Parties for submitting its comment and express opposition to the revisions of this ICR. A. Need for the Additional Information Several commenters suggest that PHMSA’s motivation in proposing to collect more detailed information on hazardous materials fees is to make it easier for hazardous materials shippers and carriers to challenge the fees. These commenters assert that aggrieved industry parties already have sufficient tools to pursue challenges to specific fees by utilizing the preemption provisions in Federal hazmat law and that information on hazardous materials fees assessed by state or tribal governments is already available through other sources. One commenter suggests that PHMSA ‘‘should have the industries claiming that they pay fees to the states and tribes (and perhaps local entities), identify themselves to PHMSA, at the Secretary of Transportation’s request. The facility could identify the state/tribe and agency to which they pay those fees and the amount of the fees, so that U.S. DOT nationally could wrap its arms around the issue to determine if there is, in fact, an identifiable problem.’’ A second commenter suggests that PHMSA conduct a further study of the proposed revisions to the grant application kit, such as convening a stakeholder’s forum VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:56 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 to include both state and tribal governments and industry representation to discuss issues related to the assessment and uses of hazardous materials fees. Commenters are not correct that PHMSA is proposing to require HMEP grant applicants to submit information concerning hazardous materials fees as a means to assist hazardous materials shippers or carriers to challenge those fees through preemption or other means. In awarding HMEP grants, PHMSA is required by the Federal hazmat law to consider whether the state or tribe imposes and collects a fee on the transportation of hazardous materials and whether the fee is used only to carry out a purpose related to the transportation of hazardous materials. The information we are requesting in the revised grant application kit is consistent with our statutory mandate. We disagree with the commenters that suggest information concerning hazardous materials fees assessed by state or tribal governments is readily available through other sources. We have considered utilizing internet or other resources, but generally we have found that the information is not consistently available or reliably accurate. We note in this regard that commenters’ suggestions concerning other methods for collecting information on state or tribal hazardous materials fees, such as through a separate survey or stakeholder meeting, would impose a similar or greater burden on respondents as the questions we propose to add to the grant application kit. Moreover, the overall response from state or tribal governments to such methods would likely be somewhat less than the overall response to the questions in the grant application kit and would not provide data to evaluate the effectiveness of the grant program. B. Reduced Funding A number of commenters express concern that HMEP grant funding for individual state or tribal governments may be reduced or eliminated as a result of responses by the applicants to the additional questions. For instance, Mr. Johnnie L. Smith of the State of Wisconsin/Department of Military Affairs Wisconsin Emergency Management states that ‘‘It would be inappropriate to withhold or reduce a state’s HMEP funding not supported by the appropriate legal action.’’ The commenter continues by stating that ‘‘* * * there is no reason why the emergency management community should be penalized by lost or reduced funding and why essential planning and training should not be performed.’’ The PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 65641 Colorado Emergency Planning Commission writes that ‘‘The collection of additional information in the manner advocated by petitioner and other commenters is unjustified because their suggested use of that information is improper.’’ Mr. Kevin Crawford comments that ‘‘As HMEP funding is the bulk of the resources * * * industry’s efforts to penalize states by artificially evaluating the use of funds is ill-conceived at best.’’ In proposing additional questions for inclusion in the grant application kit, PHMSA has no intent to penalize grant recipients by the reduction or elimination of grant funds. Rather, our purpose in proposing the revised questions is to enable us to work with grantees to promote the effective use of HMEP grant funds and identify additional state or Indian tribe emergency response planning and training needs. We note in this regard that the HMEP grant program was established over 15 years ago and has continued with few changes since its initial implementation. HMEP grantees have used program funds to train first responders; conduct commodity flow studies; write or update emergency plans; conduct emergency response exercises; and assist local emergency planning committees. As indicated above, the HMEP grant program is funded by registration fees paid by hazardous materials shippers and carriers. It is incumbent on the agency administering the grant program as well as the grantees themselves to ascertain that the program is accountable to those who fund it and is as effective as possible in meeting its emergency response planning and training goals. The information we are requesting will provide data to evaluate emergency response planning and training programs conducted by states and Indian tribes. The development of accurate output information will also summarize the achievements of the HMEP grant program. This is especially important in light of the increase in grant funding authorized under the Hazardous Materials Safety and Security Reauthorization Act (Title VII of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users), enacted on August 10, 2005. Under the Act, authorized funding for the HMEP grant program effectively doubles, from $14.3 million to $28 million. The information we seek from grantees will enhance emergency response preparedness and response by allowing PHMSA and its state and tribal partners to target gaps in current planning and training efforts and focus E:\FR\FM\21NON1.SGM 21NON1 65642 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Notices pwalker on PROD1PC71 with NOTICES on strategies that have been proven to be effective. C. Increased Information Collection Burden Many of the commenters who oppose the proposed revisions to the grant application kit consider them to be an excessive burden on applicants without a measurable benefit or an identified use of the information. For example, Ms. Montressa Jo Elder of the Oklahoma Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Commission comments that ‘‘These burdens are not trivial. Our local emergency planning committees and most of our rural fire departments are volunteer groups. Devoting time and energy to reports detracts from their other very important missions.’’ Mr. Daniel Roe states that ‘‘the proposed notice is going to place quite a burden not only on states, but on all funding recipients, to include tribes, locals and others.’’ The commenter further states that ‘‘funds that clearly are productively used for planning and training functions and are now adequately documented will be diverted to administrative burdens, the utility of which is quite questionable.’’ Mr. Timothy Gablehouse states that ‘‘it is unclear how the addition of the proposed questions to the ICR would enable PHMSA to glean any additional information about how effectively HMEP grant money is spent.’’ Similarly, Mr. Robert E. Dopp states that ‘‘We do not believe that DOT/PHMSA should impose the burden of information collection without a clear plan and purpose to use the information in a fashion that comports with statute and regulation. At this point all we really have is the advocacy of outsiders regarding the use of the information. Until and unless DOT/PHMSA is clear in its plans for the use of the information it appears that the proposed collection activity is simply an increased burden without a purpose.’’ The Colorado Emergency Planning Commission also notes that, as stated in PHMSA’s previous Federal Register notice, a large percentage of the information is already collected. PHMSA appreciates commenters’ concerns that the additional burden resulting from the proposed revisions to the way grantees report on the programs funded by the HMEP grants may detract from grantees planning and training efforts. We continue to believe, however, that grantees’ performance reports should include both quantitative and qualitative data in sufficient detail to enable the grantees and PHMSA to evaluate the programs, identify effective planning and training strategies, and target areas where improvements are VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:56 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 needed. Grantees are currently required to provide data on the planning and training programs they administer; the more detailed information we are requesting should be readily available. Nonetheless, in an effort to address the commenters concerns, we have revised the list of questions we initially proposed to modify those for which information can be obtained through other means, such as through discussions at our meetings and conferences with grant recipients. We have also reconfigured the questions to provide a more user-friendly format. We believe these adjustments will help to minimize the impact of the information collection burden on grantees. We have also identified two additional grantees and have revised the total number of respondents. Subsequently, we reviewed the burden hours and have recalculated the information collection burden associated with responding to the questions. The revised questions and information collection burden estimates are detailed under the ‘‘Revised HMEP Questions and Information Collection Burden’’ section of this notice. III. Revised HMEP Questions and Information Collection Burden Beginning with the application for FY 2008 funds, applicants will be asked to respond to the following additional questions: Hazardous Materials Fees 1. Does your state or tribe assess a fee or fees in connection with the transportation of hazardous materials? 2. If the answer to question 1 is ‘‘yes,’’ a. What state agency administers the fee? b. What is the amount of the fee and the basis on which the fee is assessed? Examples of the bases on which fees may be assessed include: (1) An annual fee for each company which transports hazardous materials within your state or tribal territory; (2) a fee for each truck or vehicle used to transport hazardous materials within your state or tribal territory; (3) a fee for certain commodities or quantities of hazardous materials transported in your state or tribal territory; or (4) a fee for each hazardous materials shipment transiting your state or tribal territory. c. Is company size considered when assessing the fee? For instance, do companies meeting the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) definition of a small business pay the same or lesser fee amount than companies that do not meet the SBA definition? d. For what purpose(s) is the revenue from the fee used? For example, is the PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 revenue used to support hazardous materials transportation enforcement programs? Is the fee used to support planning, developing, and maintaining an emergency response capability? e. What is the total annual amount of the revenue collected for the last fiscal year or 12-month accounting period? Planning Grants 1. Of the total amount of HMEP planning grant funds, what amount was used to assist Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs)? How many were assisted using HMEP funds? a. Did the LEPCs complete or update assessments of commodity flow patterns in their jurisdictions? If so, how many? What was the total amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to this effort? b. Did the LEPCs complete or update assessments of the emergency response capabilities in their jurisdictions? If so, how many? What was the total amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to this effort? c. Did the LEPCs develop or improve emergency plans for their jurisdictions? If so, how many plans were either developed or updated? What was the total amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to this effort? d. Did the LEPCs conduct exercises to support their emergency plans? If so, how many exercises were conducted? Did any of these exercises include shipper or carrier participation? What was the total amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to emergency response drills or exercises of all types? e. What was the total amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to other authorized activities by LEPCs (e.g., providing technical staff in support of emergency response planning efforts)? 2. Other than to assist LEPCs as addressed in Question 1, of the total amount of HMEP planning grant funds, what amount was used by the grantee (state or tribal government) to improve emergency response planning within the grantee’s jurisdiction? a. Did the grantee complete or update an assessment of commodity flow patterns in its entire jurisdiction? What was the total amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to this effort? b. Did the grantee complete or update an assessment of emergency response capabilities in its entire jurisdiction? What was the total amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to this effort? c. Did the grantee develop or improve an emergency plan for its entire jurisdiction? What was the total amount E:\FR\FM\21NON1.SGM 21NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Notices pwalker on PROD1PC71 with NOTICES of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to this effort? d. Did the grantee conduct exercises to support its emergency plan? How many exercises were conducted? Did any of these exercises include shipper or carrier participation? What was the total amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to emergency response drills or exercises of all types? e. What was the total amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to other authorized planning activities by the grantee (e.g., providing technical staff in support of emergency response planning efforts)? 3. Based on the activities outlined above, how well has the HMEP grants program met emergency response planning needs within your jurisdiction? Does your current ability to provide planning enable you to meet the needs you have identified? Do you have any recommendations for additional activities or programs that could further enhance your emergency response planning capabilities? Training Grants 1. What was the total amount of HMEP training grant funds utilized to assess training needs and provide training for emergency response personnel in your jurisdiction? a. Did you complete or update an assessment of the training needs of the emergency response personnel in your jurisdiction? What was the total amount of HMEP training grant funds devoted to this effort? b. How many individuals were trained in whole or in part using HMEP training grant funds? You should include separate totals for numbers of fire, police, emergency medical services (EMS) or other personnel who were trained and the type of training provided. (Note that ‘‘other’’ personnel include public works employees, accident clean-up crews, and liaison and support officers. Note also that if HMEP training grant funds were used in any way to support the training, such as for books or equipment, you should show that the training was partially funded by HMEP training grant funds.) What was the total amount of HMEP training grant funds devoted to this effort? c. Did you provide incident command systems training? If so, provide separate indications for the numbers of fire, policy, EMS, or other personnel who were trained. What was the total amount of HMEP training grant funds devoted to this effort? d. Did you develop new training using HMEP training grant funds in whole or in part, such as training in handling VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:56 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 specific types of incidents of specific types of materials? If so, briefly describe the new programs. Did a commodity flow assessment influence the development of new training programs? Was the program qualified using the HMEP Curriculum Guidelines process? What was the total amount of HMEP training grant funds devoted to this effort? e. What was the total amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to other authorized training activities (e.g., activities necessary to monitor training, including examinations, critiques, and instructor evaluations; management activities to increase the benefits, proficiency, and rapid deployment of emergency responders)? 2. Do you have a system in place for measuring the effectiveness of emergency response to hazardous materials incidents in your jurisdiction? Describe the criteria you use (total response time, total time at an accident scene, communication among different agencies or jurisdictions, or other criteria). How many state and local response teams are located in your jurisdiction? What is the estimated coverage of these teams (e.g., the percent of state jurisdictions covered)? 3. Based on the activities outlined above, how well has the HMEP grants program met emergency response training needs within your jurisdiction? Does your current ability to provide training enable you to meet the needs you have identified? Do you have any recommendations for additional activities or programs that could further enhance the effectiveness of emergency response to hazardous materials incidents in your jurisdiction? The total revised information collection budget for the HMEP grants program follows: Title: Hazardous Materials Public Sector Training and Planning Grants. OMB Control Number: 2137–0586. Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved information collection. Abstract: Part 110 of 49 CFR sets forth the procedures for reimbursable grants for public sector planning and training in support of the emergency planning and training efforts of states, Indian tribes and local communities to manage hazardous materials emergencies, particularly those involving transportation. Sections in this part address information collection and recordkeeping with regard to applying for grants, monitoring expenditures, and reporting and requesting modifications. Affected Public: State and local governments, Indian tribes. Recordkeeping: PO 00000 Frm 00087 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 65643 Number of Respondents: 68. Total Number of Responses: 68. Total Annual Burden Hours: 5,428. Frequency of collection: On occasion. Issued in Washington, DC on November 15, 2007. Edward T. Mazzullo, Director, Office of Hazardous Materials Standards. [FR Doc. E7–22689 Filed 11–20–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–60–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration [Docket: PHMSA–1998–4957] Request for Public Comments and Office of Management and Budget Approval of an Existing Information Collection Requirement (2137–0618) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), this notice announces that PHMSA forwarded an Information Collection Request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for an extension of the currently approved information collection: ‘‘Pipeline Safety: Periodic Underwater Inspections’’ (2137–0618). The purpose of this notice is to invite the public to submit comments on the request. DATES: Submit comments on or before December 21, 2007. ADDRESSES: Send comments directly to the Office of Management and Budget, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: Desk Officer for the Department of Transportation, 725 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Roger Little at (202) 366–4569, or by email at roger.little@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Federal pipeline safety regulations (49 CFR Parts 190–199) require operators to conduct appropriate underwater inspections in the Gulf of Mexico. If the operator finds pipeline exposed on the seabed floor or a hazard to navigation, the operator must contact the National Response Center by telephone within 24 hours of discovery and report the location of the exposed pipeline (49 CFR 192.612 and 195.413). PHMSA is now requesting that OMB grant a three- E:\FR\FM\21NON1.SGM 21NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 224 (Wednesday, November 21, 2007)]
[Notices]
[Pages 65638-65643]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-22689]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

[Docket No. PHMSA-2007-27181 (Notice No. 07-10)]


Information Collection Activities

AGENCY: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), 
DOT.

ACTION: Notice and request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Information Collection Request (ICR) entitled ``Hazardous 
Materials Public Sector Training and Planning Grants'' is being revised 
to implement a statutory provision authorizing PHMSA to request 
information from states concerning fees related to the transportation 
of hazardous materials. In addition, this ICR is being revised to 
include more detailed information from grantees to enable us to more 
accurately evaluate the effectiveness of the grant program in meeting 
emergency response planning and training needs. In compliance with the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces that the ICR 
will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for 
revision and extension.

DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before December 21, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Send comments regarding the burden estimates, including 
suggestions for reducing the burden, to the Office of Management and 
Budget, Attention: Desk Officer for PHMSA, 725 17th Street, NW., 
Washington, DC 20503.
    We invite commenters to address the following issues: (1) Whether 
the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper 
performance of the functions of the Department, including whether the 
information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the 
Department's estimate of the burden of the proposed information 
collection; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of 
the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of 
the collection of information on respondents, including the use of 
automated collection techniques or other forms of information 
technology.
    A comment to OMB is most effective if OMB receives it within 30 
days of publication.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Deborah Boothe or T. Glenn Foster, 
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards (PHH-11), Pipeline and 
Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., 
East Building, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001, Telephone (202) 
366-8553.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    Section 1320.8(d), Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations requires 
PHMSA to provide interested members of the public and affected agencies 
an opportunity to comment on information collection and recordkeeping 
requests. This notice identifies an information collection PHMSA is 
submitting to OMB for revision under OMB Control Number 2137-0586. This 
collection is contained in 49 CFR part 110, Hazardous Materials Public 
Sector Training and Planning

[[Page 65639]]

Grants. We are revising the information collection to implement a 
statutory provision authorizing PHMSA to request information from 
states concerning fees related to the transportation of hazardous 
materials. In addition, we are revising the current information 
collection to include more detailed information from grantees to enable 
us to more accurately evaluate the effectiveness of the grant program 
in meeting emergency response planning and training needs.

A. HMEP Program

    The Hazardous Materials and Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grants 
program, as mandated by the Federal hazardous materials transportation 
law (Federal hazmat law; 49 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) provides Federal 
financial and technical assistance to states and Indian tribes to 
``develop, improve, and carry out emergency plans'' within the National 
Response System and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know 
Act of 1986 (Title III), 42 U.S.C. 11001 et seq. The grants are used to 
develop, improve, and implement emergency plans; to train public sector 
hazardous materials emergency response employees to respond to 
accidents and incidents involving hazardous materials; to determine 
flow patterns of hazardous materials within a state and between states; 
and to determine the need within a state for regional hazardous 
materials emergency response teams. The HMEP grants program is funded 
by registration fees collected from persons who offer for 
transportation or transport certain hazardous materials in intrastate, 
interstate, or foreign commerce.
    Federal hazmat law specifies that HMEP grant funds are to be 
allocated based on the needs of states and Indian tribes for emergency 
response planning and training, considering a number of factors 
including whether the state or tribe imposes and collects a fee on the 
transportation of hazardous materials and whether the fee is used only 
to carry out a purpose related to the transportation of hazardous 
materials. 49 U.S.C. 5116(b)(4). Accordingly, the HMEP grant 
application procedures in 49 CFR part 110 require applicants to submit 
a statement explaining whether the applicant assesses and collects fees 
for the transportation of hazardous materials and whether those fees 
are used solely to carry out purposes related to the transportation of 
hazardous materials.
    In addition, section 5125(f) of the Federal hazmat law permits a 
state, political subdivision of a state, or Indian tribe to impose a 
fee related to the transportation of hazardous materials only if the 
fee is fair and used for a purpose related to transporting hazardous 
materials, including enforcement and planning, developing, and 
maintaining a capability for emergency response. In accordance with 
Sec.  5125, the Department of Transportation may require a state, 
political subdivision of a state, or Indian tribe to report on the fees 
it collects, including: (1) The basis on which the fee is levied; (2) 
the purposes for which the revenues from the fee are used; and (3) the 
total amount of annual revenues collected from the fee. Until now, we 
have not proposed asking states, political subdivisions, or Indian 
tribes to report this information.

B. 60-Day Notice

    On July 5, 2007, we published a Federal Register notice [72 FR 
36754] with a 60-day comment period, soliciting comments on revisions 
to the instructions for submitting an HMEP grant application. The 
revisions are intended to increase the transparency of the programs 
funded by HMEP grants and to enable us to more accurately evaluate the 
effectiveness of the HMEP program in meeting emergency response 
planning and training needs. Specifically, in accordance with the 
statutory mandate in 49 U.S.C. 5116(b)(4) and 5125(f), we proposed to 
revise the grant application to request applicants to respond to the 
following questions:
    1. Does your state or tribe assess a fee or fees in connection with 
the transportation of hazardous materials?
    2. If the answer to question 1 is ``yes,''
    a. What state agency administers the fee?
    b. What is the amount of the fee and the basis on which the fee is 
assessed? Examples of the bases on which fees may be assessed include: 
(1) An annual fee for each company which transports hazardous materials 
within your state or tribal territory; (2) a fee for each truck or 
vehicle used to transport hazardous materials within your state or 
tribal territory; (3) a fee for certain commodities or quantities of 
hazardous materials transported in your state or tribal territory; or 
(4) a fee for each hazardous materials shipment transiting your state 
or tribal territory.
    c. Is company size considered when assessing the fee? For instance, 
do companies meeting the Small Business Administration's (SBA) 
definition of a small business pay the same or lesser fee amount than 
companies that do not meet the SBA definition?
    d. For what purpose(s) is the revenue from the fee used? For 
example, is the revenue used to support hazardous materials 
transportation enforcement programs? Is the fee used to support 
planning, developing, and maintaining an emergency response capability?
    e. What is the total annual amount of the revenue collected for the 
last fiscal year or 12-month accounting period?
    In addition, to assist us to evaluate the effectiveness of the HMEP 
grant program, we proposed to ask grant recipients to report the 
following specific information regarding the planning and training 
activities funded by the HMEP grants and to provide an overall 
evaluation of the effectiveness of their programs:
Planning Grants
    1. Did you complete or update assessments of commodity flow 
patterns in your jurisdiction? If so, how many and what were the 
results of those assessments? What was the amount of planning dollars 
devoted to this effort? What percentage of total planning dollars does 
this represent?
    2. Did you complete or update assessments of the emergency response 
capabilities in your jurisdiction? What factors did you consider to 
complete such assessments? How many assessments were completed and what 
were the results of those assessments? What was the amount of HMEP 
planning grant funds devoted to this effort? What percentage of total 
HMEP planning grant funds does this represent?
    3. Did you develop or improve emergency plans for your 
jurisdiction? If so, how many plans were either developed or updated? 
Briefly describe the outcome of this effort. What was the amount of 
HMEP planning grant funds devoted to this effort? What percentage of 
total HMEP planning grant funds does this represent?
    4. Did you conduct emergency response drills or exercises in 
support of your emergency plan? How many exercises or drills did you 
conduct? Briefly describe the drill or exercise (tabletop, computer 
simulation, real-world simulation, or other drill or exercise), the 
number and types of participants, including shipper or carrier 
participants, and lessons learned. What was the amount of HMEP planning 
grant funds devoted to this effort? What percentage of total HMEP 
planning grant funds does this represent?
    5. Did you use HMEP planning grant funds to provide technical staff 
in support of your emergency response planning program? If so, what was 
the amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to this effort? What 
percentage

[[Page 65640]]

of total HMEP planning grant funds does this represent?
    6. How many Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) are located 
in your jurisdiction? How many LEPCs were assisted using HMEP funds? 
What was the amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to such 
assistance? What percentage of total HMEP planning grant funds does 
this represent?
Training Grants
    1. Did you complete an assessment of the training needs of the 
emergency response personnel in your jurisdiction? What factors did you 
consider to complete the assessment? What was the result of that 
assessment? What was the amount of HMEP training grant funds devoted to 
this effort? What percentage of total HMEP training grants funds does 
this represent?
    2. Provide details concerning the number of individuals trained in 
whole or in part using HMEP training grant funds. You should include 
separate indications for the numbers of fire, police, emergency medical 
services (EMS) or other personnel who were trained and the type of 
training provided based on the categories listed in standards published 
by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at 29 CFR 1910.120 
pertaining to emergency response training. (Note that ``other'' 
personnel include public works employees, accident clean-up crews, and 
liaison and support officers. Note also that if HMEP training grant 
funds were used in any way to support the training, such as for books 
or equipment, you should show that the training was partially funded by 
HMEP training grant funds.) What was the amount of training dollars 
devoted to this effort? What percentage of total training dollars does 
this represent?
    3. Did you incur expenses associated with training and activities 
necessary to monitor such training, including, for example, 
examinations, critiques, and instructor evaluations? What was the 
amount of HMEP training grant funds devoted to this activity? What 
percentage of total HMEP training grant funds does this represent?
    4. Did you provide incident command systems training? If so, 
provide separate indications for the numbers of fire, policy, EMS, or 
other personnel who were trained. What was the amount of HMEP training 
grant funds devoted to this effort? What percentage of total HMEP 
training grant funds does this represent?
    5. Did you develop new training using HMEP training grant funds in 
whole or in part, such as training in handling specific types of 
incidents of specific types of materials? If so, briefly describe the 
new programs. Was the program qualified using the HMEP Curriculum 
Guidelines process? What was the amount of HMEP training grant funds 
devoted to this effort? What percentage of total HMEP training grant 
funds does this represent?
    6. Did you use HMEP training grant funds to provide staff to manage 
your training program to increase benefits, proficiency, and rapid 
deployment of emergency responders? If so, what was the amount of HMEP 
training grant funds devoted to this effort? What percentage of total 
HMEP training grant funds does this represent?
    7. Do you have a system in place for measuring the effectiveness of 
emergency response to hazardous materials incidents in your 
jurisdiction? Briefly describe the criteria you use (total response 
time, total time at an accident scene, communication among different 
agencies or jurisdictions, or other criteria). How many state and local 
response teams are located in your jurisdiction? What is the estimated 
coverage of these teams (e.g., the percent of state jurisdictions 
covered)?
Overall Program Evaluation
    1. Using a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being excellent and 1 being poor), 
how well has the HMEP grants program met your need for preparing hazmat 
emergency responders?
    2. Using a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being excellent and 1 being poor), 
how well do you think the HMEP grants program will meet your future 
needs?
    3. What areas of the HMEP grants program would you recommend for 
enhancement?

II. Discussion of Comments

    The comment period for the 60-Day notice closed on September 5, 
2007. PHMSA received 16 comments from the following companies, 
organizations, and individuals: (1) The American Trucking Association 
(ATA); (2) Colorado Emergency Planning Commission; (3) Kevin Crawford; 
(4) Robert E. Dopp; (5) Delaware Emergency Management Agency; (6) the 
Institute of Makers of Explosives (IME); (7) Lyle Milby; (8) Timothy 
Gablehouse; (9) Steven Goza; (10) Donald K. Hall; (11) the National 
Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC); (12) the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI); 
(13) Oklahoma Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Commission; (14) 
James J. Plum; (15) Daniel Roe; and (16) the State of Wisconsin/
Department of Military Affairs Wisconsin Emergency Management. On 
October 12, 2007, we received an additional comment from the Interested 
Parties for Hazardous Materials Transportation (Interested Parties) 
which had been filed with OMB. In addition, the National Association of 
SARA Title III Program Officials and the Oklahoma Hazardous Materials 
Response Commission submitted letters to OMB and copied PHMSA in 
response to the October 12 comment from the Interested Parties. All 
comments are included in the docket for this notice and are available 
for review at the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https://
www.regulations.gov.
    Commenters expressing support for revisions to the HMEP application 
kit include ATA, IME, NEI, and NTTC. These commenters generally agree 
that additional information from grantees will assist PHMSA to evaluate 
the emergency response funding needs of states and Indian tribes and 
promote more effective use of HMEP grant funds. For example, in 
expressing its support, ATA, the national representative of over 37,000 
trucking companies, states that the information being sought by PHMSA 
is critical to the effective administration of the HMEP grant program.
    In its support of the proposed revisions, NEI states that although 
limited resources will be expended responding to the additional 
questions, the net result is a better use of funds nationwide and 
improved responses to events involving hazardous materials. Similarly, 
NTTC, a trade association comprised of 210 trucking companies, states 
the additional information resulting from the HMEP revisions is 
necessary to ``ensure proper funds allocation based on need under the 
HMEP grant program,'' and will enable PHMSA ``to better determine 
whether states' fees are properly apportioned and being utilized for 
purposes associated with hazardous materials transportation.''
    In its comments, IME, the safety and security association of the 
commercial explosives industry, states that because its members are 
both shippers and carriers subject to fees that support the HMEP grants 
program, it has a keen interest in how these funds are used. The 
commenter supports PHMSA's efforts to accurately evaluate the 
effectiveness of its grants program through the proposed questions, and 
asserts that utilizing the HMEP grant application process is the least 
burdensome method to capture the information authorized by section 5125 
of the Federal hazmat law.
    In its October 12 comment sent to OMB and copied to PHMSA, the 
Interested Parties suggest that the additional questions will aid the

[[Page 65641]]

agency's risk-based approach while ensuring that legislative intent is 
achieved.
    Commenters opposing the revisions include Colorado Emergency 
Planning Commission; Kevin Crawford; Delaware Emergency Management 
Agency; Robert E. Dopp; Lyle Milby; Timothy Gablehouse; Steven Goza; 
Donald K. Hall; Oklahoma Hazardous Materials Emergency Response 
Commission; James J. Plum; Daniel Roe; and the State of Wisconsin/
Department of Military Affairs Wisconsin Emergency Management. The 
comments address three inter-related areas: (1) The need for the 
additional information, particularly the information on fees; (2) 
concern that funding may be reduced or eliminated based on grantees' 
responses to the additional questions; and (3) whether the additional 
information collection burden resulting from the additional questions 
is off-set by measurable benefits. These comments are addressed below. 
In addition, the National Association of SARA Title III Program 
Officials and the Oklahoma Hazardous Materials Response Commission 
submitted letters to OMB and copied PHMSA in response to the October 12 
comment from the Interested Parties. Both commenters question the 
motivation of the Interested Parties for submitting its comment and 
express opposition to the revisions of this ICR.

 A. Need for the Additional Information

    Several commenters suggest that PHMSA's motivation in proposing to 
collect more detailed information on hazardous materials fees is to 
make it easier for hazardous materials shippers and carriers to 
challenge the fees. These commenters assert that aggrieved industry 
parties already have sufficient tools to pursue challenges to specific 
fees by utilizing the preemption provisions in Federal hazmat law and 
that information on hazardous materials fees assessed by state or 
tribal governments is already available through other sources. One 
commenter suggests that PHMSA ``should have the industries claiming 
that they pay fees to the states and tribes (and perhaps local 
entities), identify themselves to PHMSA, at the Secretary of 
Transportation's request. The facility could identify the state/tribe 
and agency to which they pay those fees and the amount of the fees, so 
that U.S. DOT nationally could wrap its arms around the issue to 
determine if there is, in fact, an identifiable problem.'' A second 
commenter suggests that PHMSA conduct a further study of the proposed 
revisions to the grant application kit, such as convening a 
stakeholder's forum to include both state and tribal governments and 
industry representation to discuss issues related to the assessment and 
uses of hazardous materials fees.
    Commenters are not correct that PHMSA is proposing to require HMEP 
grant applicants to submit information concerning hazardous materials 
fees as a means to assist hazardous materials shippers or carriers to 
challenge those fees through preemption or other means. In awarding 
HMEP grants, PHMSA is required by the Federal hazmat law to consider 
whether the state or tribe imposes and collects a fee on the 
transportation of hazardous materials and whether the fee is used only 
to carry out a purpose related to the transportation of hazardous 
materials. The information we are requesting in the revised grant 
application kit is consistent with our statutory mandate.
    We disagree with the commenters that suggest information concerning 
hazardous materials fees assessed by state or tribal governments is 
readily available through other sources. We have considered utilizing 
internet or other resources, but generally we have found that the 
information is not consistently available or reliably accurate. We note 
in this regard that commenters' suggestions concerning other methods 
for collecting information on state or tribal hazardous materials fees, 
such as through a separate survey or stakeholder meeting, would impose 
a similar or greater burden on respondents as the questions we propose 
to add to the grant application kit. Moreover, the overall response 
from state or tribal governments to such methods would likely be 
somewhat less than the overall response to the questions in the grant 
application kit and would not provide data to evaluate the 
effectiveness of the grant program.

B. Reduced Funding

    A number of commenters express concern that HMEP grant funding for 
individual state or tribal governments may be reduced or eliminated as 
a result of responses by the applicants to the additional questions. 
For instance, Mr. Johnnie L. Smith of the State of Wisconsin/Department 
of Military Affairs Wisconsin Emergency Management states that ``It 
would be inappropriate to withhold or reduce a state's HMEP funding not 
supported by the appropriate legal action.'' The commenter continues by 
stating that ``* * * there is no reason why the emergency management 
community should be penalized by lost or reduced funding and why 
essential planning and training should not be performed.'' The Colorado 
Emergency Planning Commission writes that ``The collection of 
additional information in the manner advocated by petitioner and other 
commenters is unjustified because their suggested use of that 
information is improper.'' Mr. Kevin Crawford comments that ``As HMEP 
funding is the bulk of the resources * * * industry's efforts to 
penalize states by artificially evaluating the use of funds is ill-
conceived at best.''
    In proposing additional questions for inclusion in the grant 
application kit, PHMSA has no intent to penalize grant recipients by 
the reduction or elimination of grant funds. Rather, our purpose in 
proposing the revised questions is to enable us to work with grantees 
to promote the effective use of HMEP grant funds and identify 
additional state or Indian tribe emergency response planning and 
training needs.
    We note in this regard that the HMEP grant program was established 
over 15 years ago and has continued with few changes since its initial 
implementation. HMEP grantees have used program funds to train first 
responders; conduct commodity flow studies; write or update emergency 
plans; conduct emergency response exercises; and assist local emergency 
planning committees. As indicated above, the HMEP grant program is 
funded by registration fees paid by hazardous materials shippers and 
carriers. It is incumbent on the agency administering the grant program 
as well as the grantees themselves to ascertain that the program is 
accountable to those who fund it and is as effective as possible in 
meeting its emergency response planning and training goals.
    The information we are requesting will provide data to evaluate 
emergency response planning and training programs conducted by states 
and Indian tribes. The development of accurate output information will 
also summarize the achievements of the HMEP grant program. This is 
especially important in light of the increase in grant funding 
authorized under the Hazardous Materials Safety and Security 
Reauthorization Act (Title VII of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, 
Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users), enacted on 
August 10, 2005. Under the Act, authorized funding for the HMEP grant 
program effectively doubles, from $14.3 million to $28 million. The 
information we seek from grantees will enhance emergency response 
preparedness and response by allowing PHMSA and its state and tribal 
partners to target gaps in current planning and training efforts and 
focus

[[Page 65642]]

on strategies that have been proven to be effective.

C. Increased Information Collection Burden

    Many of the commenters who oppose the proposed revisions to the 
grant application kit consider them to be an excessive burden on 
applicants without a measurable benefit or an identified use of the 
information. For example, Ms. Montressa Jo Elder of the Oklahoma 
Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Commission comments that ``These 
burdens are not trivial. Our local emergency planning committees and 
most of our rural fire departments are volunteer groups. Devoting time 
and energy to reports detracts from their other very important 
missions.'' Mr. Daniel Roe states that ``the proposed notice is going 
to place quite a burden not only on states, but on all funding 
recipients, to include tribes, locals and others.'' The commenter 
further states that ``funds that clearly are productively used for 
planning and training functions and are now adequately documented will 
be diverted to administrative burdens, the utility of which is quite 
questionable.'' Mr. Timothy Gablehouse states that ``it is unclear how 
the addition of the proposed questions to the ICR would enable PHMSA to 
glean any additional information about how effectively HMEP grant money 
is spent.'' Similarly, Mr. Robert E. Dopp states that ``We do not 
believe that DOT/PHMSA should impose the burden of information 
collection without a clear plan and purpose to use the information in a 
fashion that comports with statute and regulation. At this point all we 
really have is the advocacy of outsiders regarding the use of the 
information. Until and unless DOT/PHMSA is clear in its plans for the 
use of the information it appears that the proposed collection activity 
is simply an increased burden without a purpose.'' The Colorado 
Emergency Planning Commission also notes that, as stated in PHMSA's 
previous Federal Register notice, a large percentage of the information 
is already collected.
    PHMSA appreciates commenters' concerns that the additional burden 
resulting from the proposed revisions to the way grantees report on the 
programs funded by the HMEP grants may detract from grantees planning 
and training efforts. We continue to believe, however, that grantees' 
performance reports should include both quantitative and qualitative 
data in sufficient detail to enable the grantees and PHMSA to evaluate 
the programs, identify effective planning and training strategies, and 
target areas where improvements are needed. Grantees are currently 
required to provide data on the planning and training programs they 
administer; the more detailed information we are requesting should be 
readily available.
    Nonetheless, in an effort to address the commenters concerns, we 
have revised the list of questions we initially proposed to modify 
those for which information can be obtained through other means, such 
as through discussions at our meetings and conferences with grant 
recipients. We have also reconfigured the questions to provide a more 
user-friendly format. We believe these adjustments will help to 
minimize the impact of the information collection burden on grantees. 
We have also identified two additional grantees and have revised the 
total number of respondents. Subsequently, we reviewed the burden hours 
and have re-calculated the information collection burden associated 
with responding to the questions. The revised questions and information 
collection burden estimates are detailed under the ``Revised HMEP 
Questions and Information Collection Burden'' section of this notice.

III. Revised HMEP Questions and Information Collection Burden

    Beginning with the application for FY 2008 funds, applicants will 
be asked to respond to the following additional questions:
Hazardous Materials Fees
    1. Does your state or tribe assess a fee or fees in connection with 
the transportation of hazardous materials?
    2. If the answer to question 1 is ``yes,''
    a. What state agency administers the fee?
    b. What is the amount of the fee and the basis on which the fee is 
assessed? Examples of the bases on which fees may be assessed include: 
(1) An annual fee for each company which transports hazardous materials 
within your state or tribal territory; (2) a fee for each truck or 
vehicle used to transport hazardous materials within your state or 
tribal territory; (3) a fee for certain commodities or quantities of 
hazardous materials transported in your state or tribal territory; or 
(4) a fee for each hazardous materials shipment transiting your state 
or tribal territory.
    c. Is company size considered when assessing the fee? For instance, 
do companies meeting the Small Business Administration's (SBA) 
definition of a small business pay the same or lesser fee amount than 
companies that do not meet the SBA definition?
    d. For what purpose(s) is the revenue from the fee used? For 
example, is the revenue used to support hazardous materials 
transportation enforcement programs? Is the fee used to support 
planning, developing, and maintaining an emergency response capability?
    e. What is the total annual amount of the revenue collected for the 
last fiscal year or 12-month accounting period?
Planning Grants
    1. Of the total amount of HMEP planning grant funds, what amount 
was used to assist Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs)? How 
many were assisted using HMEP funds?
    a. Did the LEPCs complete or update assessments of commodity flow 
patterns in their jurisdictions? If so, how many? What was the total 
amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to this effort?
    b. Did the LEPCs complete or update assessments of the emergency 
response capabilities in their jurisdictions? If so, how many? What was 
the total amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to this effort?
    c. Did the LEPCs develop or improve emergency plans for their 
jurisdictions? If so, how many plans were either developed or updated? 
What was the total amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to this 
effort?
    d. Did the LEPCs conduct exercises to support their emergency 
plans? If so, how many exercises were conducted? Did any of these 
exercises include shipper or carrier participation? What was the total 
amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to emergency response 
drills or exercises of all types?
    e. What was the total amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted 
to other authorized activities by LEPCs (e.g., providing technical 
staff in support of emergency response planning efforts)?
    2. Other than to assist LEPCs as addressed in Question 1, of the 
total amount of HMEP planning grant funds, what amount was used by the 
grantee (state or tribal government) to improve emergency response 
planning within the grantee's jurisdiction?
    a. Did the grantee complete or update an assessment of commodity 
flow patterns in its entire jurisdiction? What was the total amount of 
HMEP planning grant funds devoted to this effort?
    b. Did the grantee complete or update an assessment of emergency 
response capabilities in its entire jurisdiction? What was the total 
amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to this effort?
    c. Did the grantee develop or improve an emergency plan for its 
entire jurisdiction? What was the total amount

[[Page 65643]]

of HMEP planning grant funds devoted to this effort?
    d. Did the grantee conduct exercises to support its emergency plan? 
How many exercises were conducted? Did any of these exercises include 
shipper or carrier participation? What was the total amount of HMEP 
planning grant funds devoted to emergency response drills or exercises 
of all types?
    e. What was the total amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted 
to other authorized planning activities by the grantee (e.g., providing 
technical staff in support of emergency response planning efforts)?
    3. Based on the activities outlined above, how well has the HMEP 
grants program met emergency response planning needs within your 
jurisdiction? Does your current ability to provide planning enable you 
to meet the needs you have identified? Do you have any recommendations 
for additional activities or programs that could further enhance your 
emergency response planning capabilities?
Training Grants
    1. What was the total amount of HMEP training grant funds utilized 
to assess training needs and provide training for emergency response 
personnel in your jurisdiction?
    a. Did you complete or update an assessment of the training needs 
of the emergency response personnel in your jurisdiction? What was the 
total amount of HMEP training grant funds devoted to this effort?
    b. How many individuals were trained in whole or in part using HMEP 
training grant funds? You should include separate totals for numbers of 
fire, police, emergency medical services (EMS) or other personnel who 
were trained and the type of training provided. (Note that ``other'' 
personnel include public works employees, accident clean-up crews, and 
liaison and support officers. Note also that if HMEP training grant 
funds were used in any way to support the training, such as for books 
or equipment, you should show that the training was partially funded by 
HMEP training grant funds.) What was the total amount of HMEP training 
grant funds devoted to this effort?
    c. Did you provide incident command systems training? If so, 
provide separate indications for the numbers of fire, policy, EMS, or 
other personnel who were trained. What was the total amount of HMEP 
training grant funds devoted to this effort?
    d. Did you develop new training using HMEP training grant funds in 
whole or in part, such as training in handling specific types of 
incidents of specific types of materials? If so, briefly describe the 
new programs. Did a commodity flow assessment influence the development 
of new training programs? Was the program qualified using the HMEP 
Curriculum Guidelines process? What was the total amount of HMEP 
training grant funds devoted to this effort?
    e. What was the total amount of HMEP planning grant funds devoted 
to other authorized training activities (e.g., activities necessary to 
monitor training, including examinations, critiques, and instructor 
evaluations; management activities to increase the benefits, 
proficiency, and rapid deployment of emergency responders)?
    2. Do you have a system in place for measuring the effectiveness of 
emergency response to hazardous materials incidents in your 
jurisdiction? Describe the criteria you use (total response time, total 
time at an accident scene, communication among different agencies or 
jurisdictions, or other criteria). How many state and local response 
teams are located in your jurisdiction? What is the estimated coverage 
of these teams (e.g., the percent of state jurisdictions covered)?
    3. Based on the activities outlined above, how well has the HMEP 
grants program met emergency response training needs within your 
jurisdiction? Does your current ability to provide training enable you 
to meet the needs you have identified? Do you have any recommendations 
for additional activities or programs that could further enhance the 
effectiveness of emergency response to hazardous materials incidents in 
your jurisdiction?
    The total revised information collection budget for the HMEP grants 
program follows:
    Title: Hazardous Materials Public Sector Training and Planning 
Grants.
    OMB Control Number: 2137-0586.
    Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved information 
collection.
    Abstract: Part 110 of 49 CFR sets forth the procedures for 
reimbursable grants for public sector planning and training in support 
of the emergency planning and training efforts of states, Indian tribes 
and local communities to manage hazardous materials emergencies, 
particularly those involving transportation. Sections in this part 
address information collection and recordkeeping with regard to 
applying for grants, monitoring expenditures, and reporting and 
requesting modifications.
    Affected Public: State and local governments, Indian tribes.
    Recordkeeping:
    Number of Respondents: 68.
    Total Number of Responses: 68.
    Total Annual Burden Hours: 5,428.
    Frequency of collection: On occasion.

    Issued in Washington, DC on November 15, 2007.
Edward T. Mazzullo,
Director, Office of Hazardous Materials Standards.
 [FR Doc. E7-22689 Filed 11-20-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-60-P