Proposed Change to Data Protection
This notice pertains to Forms EIA-3, the Quarterly Coal Consumption and Quality Report-Manufacturing and Transformation/ Processing Coal Plants and Commercial and Institutional Coal Users; EIA-5, the Quarterly Coal Consumption and Quality Report-Coke Plants; EIA-7A, the Coal Production and Preparation ReportCoal Mines and Preparation Plants; and EIA-8A, the Coal Stocks Report-Traders and Brokers. EIA proposes to change and strengthen the data protection provisions on Forms EIA-3, EIA-5, EIA-7A, and EIA-8A. No changes are proposed for the standby surveys Forms: EIA-1, Weekly Coal Monitoring Report-General Industries and Blast Furnaces; EIA-4, Weekly Coal Monitoring Report-Coke Plants; EIA-6Q, Quarterly Coal Report-Coal Producers and Distributors; and EIA-20, Weekly Coal Monitoring Report of Coal Burning Utilities and Independent Power Producers. EIA's initial action was a request for comment(s) from interested parties and those who might be affected by changes in the EIA confidentiality procedure regarding these coal survey forms. The request for comments was widely publicized through a Federal Register Notice (FRN), emails to respondents and trade groups, and announcements on the Internet. (Refer to Federal Register: November 27, 2012 (Volume 77, No. 228) [pp 70745-70746]. Also, on December 19, 2012, EIA held a webinar with stakeholders, including members of the National Lime Association and National Mining Association, to explain the proposed change in the confidentiality protections and solicit comments. The comments received from the members of the National Lime Association and National Mining Association supported the proposed changes. In this notice, EIA proposes to protect and withhold from public release company level information reported on Forms EIA-3, EIA-5, EIA- 7A, and EIA-8A. Currently, data reported on these forms are not protected except for certain selected cost and revenue data elements. For Forms EIA-3, EIA-5, and EIA-8A, EIA proposes to protect company information reported on these forms from public release in identifiable form to the extent it satisfies exemption criteria under the Freedom of Information Act and the Trade Secrets Act. However, disclosure limitation procedures will not be applied to the State- and regional- level, statistical, and quantity data published from these surveys. Thus, there may be some statistics that are based on data from fewer than three respondents that may affect the identifiability of reported data. Disclosure limitation procedures will be applied to cost data reported on Forms EIA-3 and EIA-5 and revenue data reported on Forms EIA-7A and EIA-8A. With regards to Form EIA-7A only, the name and address of the responding company, the mine or plant type, and location will continue to be considered public information. These data elements will continue to be released in EIA's public use files and will not be protected from disclosure in identifiable form when releasing statistical aggregate (State-level) information. These data elements are currently released on the EIA Web site in the Form EIA-7A public use file, along with company identifiable Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) data, which are also not protected. All other information reported on Form EIA-7A will be protected from public release in identifiable form to the extent it satisfies exemption criteria under the Freedom of Information Act and the Trade Secrets Act. All proposed changes to the data protection provisions for Forms EIA-3, EIA-5, EIA-7A, and EIA-8A will be retroactive and apply to data reported for calendar years 2011 and 2012. Applying this change retroactively to data reported for 2011 preserves the continuity of certain data series and provides continuity for the main components of EIA's pre-2011 data protection policy. Responses to EIA-3, EIA-5, EIA- 7A, and EIA-8A are mandatory.
Agency Information Collection Extension
The EIA, pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, intends to extend for three years with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Form FE-746R, ``Natural Gas Imports and Exports.'' Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) 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; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.