Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Focus Groups as Used by EPA for Economics Projects (Renewal); EPA ICR No. 2205.02, OMB Control No. 2090-0028

Summary:

In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this document announces that EPA is planning to submit a request to renew an existing approved Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This ICR is scheduled to expire on November 30, 2008. Before submitting the ICR to OMB for review and approval, EPA is soliciting comments on specific aspects of the proposed information collection as described below.

Table of Contents

Dates:

Comments must be submitted on or before November 24, 2008.

Addresses:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OA-2008-0701, by one of the following methods:

http://www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.

E-mail: oei.docket@epa.gov.

Fax:(202) 566-9744

Mail: Office of Environmental Information, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode:28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460.

Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OA-2008-0701. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or e-mail. The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an e-mail comment directly to EPA without going through http://www.regulations.gov your e-mail address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional informationabout EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.

For further information contact:

Nathalie Simon, Office of Policy Economics and Innovation, (MC 1809T), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202-566-2347; fax number: 202-566-2363; e-mail address:simon.nathalie@epa.gov.

Supplementary information:

How Can I Access the Docket and/or Submit Comments?

EPA has established a public docket for this ICR under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OA-2008-0701 which is available for online viewing at http://www.regulations.gov, or in person viewing at the Office of Environmental Information (OEI) Docket in the EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The EPA/DC Public Reading Room is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Reading Room is 202-566-1744, and the telephone number for the OEI Docket is 202-566-1752.

Use http://www.regulations.gov to obtain a copy of the draft collection of information, submit or view public comments, access the index listing of the contents of the docket, and to access those documents in the public docket that are available electronically. Once in the system, select “search,” then key in the docket ID number identified in this document.

What Information Is EPA Particularly Interested in?

Pursuant to section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, EPA specifically solicits comments and information to enable it to:

(i) Evaluate 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;

(ii) Evaluate 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;

(iii) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

(iv) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. In particular, EPA is requesting comments from very small businesses (those that employ less than 25) on examples of specific additional efforts that EPA could make to reduce the paperwork burden for very small businesses affected by this collection.

What Should I Consider When I Prepare My Comments for EPA?

You may find the following suggestions helpful for preparing your comments:

1. Explain your views as clearly as possible and provide specific examples.

2. Describe any assumptions that you used.

3. Provide copies of any technical information and/or data you used that support your views.

4. If you estimate potential burden or costs, explain how you arrived at the estimate that you provide.

5. Offer alternative ways to improve the collection activity.

6. Make sure to submit your comments by the deadline identified under DATES.

7. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, be sure to identify the docket ID number assigned to this action in the subject line on the first page of your response. You may also provide the name, date, and Federal Register citation.

What Information Collection Activity or ICR Does This Apply to?

Docket ID No. EPA EPA-HQ-OA-2008-0701

Affected entities: Entities potentially affected by this action are members of the general public, although the target population for the focus group discussions will vary by project.

Title: Focus Groups as used by EPA for Economics Projects (Renewal).

ICR numbers: EPA ICR No. 2205.02, OMB Control No. 2090-0028.

ICR status: This ICR is currently scheduled to expire on November 30, 2008. An Agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information, unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. The OMB control numbers for EPA's regulations in title 40 of the CFR, after appearing in the Federal Register when approved, are listed in 40 CFR part 9, are displayed either by publication in the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, such as on the related collection instrument or form, if applicable. The display of OMB control numbers in certain EPA regulations is consolidated in 40 CFR part 9.

Abstract: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking renewal of a generic information collection request (ICR) for the conduct of focus groups and protocol interviews (hereafter jointly referred to as focus groups) related to economics projects. Over the next three years, the Agency anticipates embarking on a number of survey development efforts associated with a variety of economics projects including those related to valuation of ecosystems, children's health risks, improvements to coastal waters, and invasive species to name a few. Focus groups are an important part of any survey development process, allowing researchers to directly gauge what specific issues are important to the public and providing a means for explicitly testing draft survey materials. Through these focus groups, the Agency will be able to gain a more in-depth understanding of the public's attitudes, beliefs, motivations and feelings regarding specific issues and will provide valuable information regarding the quality of draft survey instruments.

The information collected in the focus groups will be used to develop and improve economics-related surveys. To the extent that these surveys are ultimately successfully administered, they will serve to expand the Agencies understanding of benefits and costs of a variety of actions and could provide the means to quantitatively assess the effects of others. Participation in the focus groups will be voluntary and the identity of the participants will be kept confidential.

Burden Statement: The annual public reporting and recordkeeping burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 2.4 hours per response. Burden means the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, or disclose or provide information to or for a Federal agency. This includes the time needed to review instructions; develop, acquire, install, and utilize technology and systems for the purposes of collecting, validating, and verifying information, processing and maintaining information, and disclosing and providing information; adjust the existing ways to comply with any previously applicable instructions and requirements which have subsequently changed; train personnel to be able to respond to a collection of information; search data sources; complete and review the collection of information; and transmit or otherwise disclose the information.

The ICR provides a detailed explanation of the Agency's estimate, which is only briefly summarized here:

Estimated total number of potential respondents:1758.

Frequency of response: Once.

Estimated total average number of responses for each respondent:1.

Estimated total annual burden hours:$30,147.

Estimated total annual costs:$30,147. This includes estimated burden costs only as there are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.

Are There Changes in the Estimates From the Last Approval?

Burden estimates included here are based on the supporting statement submitted for the original, approved ICR. Burden estimates will be revised to reflect new information and will be made available for public comment at the time the ICR is submitted to OMB for approval.

What is the Next Step in the Process for This ICR?

EPA will consider the comments received and amend the ICR as appropriate. The final ICR package will then be submitted to OMB for review and approval pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.12. At that time, EPA will issue another Federal Register notice pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.5(a)(1)(iv) to announce the submission of the ICR to OMB and the opportunity to submit additional comments to OMB. If you have any questions about this ICR or the approval process, please contact the technical person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Dated: September 15, 2008. Brett R. Snyder,

Acting Director, National Center for Environmental Economics.

References

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