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Letter dated 12/17/97 - Environmental Protection Agency

Mr. Robert Perciasepe
Assistant Administrator for Water
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
401 M Street SW
Washington, DC 20416

Subject: SBREFA Panel Recommendations and Proposed Effluent Guidelines and Limitations for Industrial Laundries; 40 CFR Part 441, December 17, 1997.

Dear Mr. Perciasepe:

I am writing concerning the proposed Effluent Guidelines and Limitations for Industrial Laundries rulemaking by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which is scheduled to be published today. This rule is the first rule proposed by EPA's Office of Water subject to the provisions of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Flexibility Act (SBREFA) of 1996. I congratulate the agency and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for its exemplary work in implementing the requirements of SBREFA.

I am pleased that the SBREFA Panel, which consisted of representatives from the OMB Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy and EPA, played an integral role in the formulation of this proposal. The Panel process provided an important opportunity for small businesses to offer substantive comments to the Federal Panel and the EPA project managers who developed the regulations before the rule was proposed.

With the advice of the small business representatives and owners provided to the Panel, EPA was able to propose a small business exemption which eliminated 8% of the affected businesses without an adverse effect to the environment. Furthermore, in a remarkable departure from "business as usual," EPA describes in great detail the factual and legal foundations for alternative small business exemptions, including the no regulation option, in the proposed rule's preamble. The full and frank discussion allows the public to provide more informed comments and should lead to a better regulation or no regulation. During the SBREFA process, the agency also agreed to perform additional economic analyses, using different assumptions, to analyze further the impacts of this rule, which is now available for public comment. Finally, as a result of the Panel process, EPA made available a "model plant" analysis which combined the data from groups of similar-sized plants and allowed review of the underlying economic impacts on different size plants without compromising confidential business information. This information, normally not made available to the public, can be used by the public to further analyze the economic and environmental effects of the proposed rule.

Although my office does not agree with EPA regarding the merits of the proposal, based on our current knowledge, we do believe that EPA did fulfill the analytic goals of SBREFA, and thereby significantly enhanced the rulemaking product. We will be working with the agency and OMB in drafting the final regulation.

I commend Ms. Sheila Frace and her staff in the Engineering and Analysis Division for their prodigious work during the Panel process and the subsequent interagency review. I was impressed by their knowledge of the subject matter, appropriate insights, and their dedication to this collaborative process, and look forward to working with this office on future Panels.

Sincerely,

Jere W. Glover
Chief Counsel for Advocacy


cc: Carol Browner, EPA
Thomas E. Kelly, EPA
Sheila Frace, EPA
Tudor Davies, EPA
Margaret Schneider, EPA
Leslye Fraser, EPA
Small Entity Representatives