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EPA/OEI RIN: 2025-AA07 Publication ID: Spring 2003 
Title: Cross-Media Electronic Reporting (ER) and Recordkeeping Rule (CROMERRR) 
Abstract: As proposed, the Cross-Media Electronic Reporting (ER) and Recordkeeping Rule (CROMERRR) was intended to provide a uniform legal framework for paperless electronic reporting and recordkeeping, including electronic signature/certification, across EPA's environmental compliance programs. Based on public comment, however, EPA now plans to focus on finalizing the electronic reporting components of the proposed CROMERRR, and to defer further action on the electronic recordkeeping components until a later time. Under current plans, the final electronic reporting (ER) rule will address electronic reporting by companies regulated under all of EPA's programs: air, water, pesticides, toxic substances, wastes, and emergency response. The final rule will remove existing regulatory obstacles to electronic reporting, and it would set requirements for companies choosing to report electronically. In addition, the rule would set the conditions for allowing electronic reporting under State, tribal or local environmental programs that operate under EPA authorization. The final ER rule is intended to make electronic reporting as simple, efficient, and cost-effective as possible for regulated companies, while ensuring that a transition from paper to electronic reporting does not compromise EPA's compliance and enforcement programs. Consequently, the Agency's strategy is to impose as few specific requirements as possible, and to keep those requirements neutral with respect to technology, so the rule will pose no obstacles to adopting new technologies as they emerge. To ensure that authorized programs at the State, tribal, and local levels meet EPA's electronic reporting goals, the final ER rule would specify a set of criteria that these program's must satisfy as they initiate electronic reporting. In response to public comments, EPA is also planning to include provisions for a streamlined process for EPA to review and approve authorized program revisions or modifications to allow electronic reporting. EPA is required by the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) of 1998 to make the option of electronic reporting and recordkeeping available, where practicable, to its regulated community by October 2003. 
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: uncollected 
CFR Citation: 40 CFR 3 (New)    40 CFR 9 (Revision)   
Legal Authority: PL 104-13    PL 105-277   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: EPA is required by the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) of 1998 to provide electronic reporting and recordkeeping as an option to its regulated community by 2003. To meet this deadline and comply with GPEA, the legal framework for electronic reporting must be in place by that time. The CROMERR rule is necessary to establish the legal framework to: 1) remove legal obstacles to electronic reporting and record-keeping under most EPA regulations; and 2) assure that these electronic documents will have the same legal and evidentiary force as their paper counterparts. Electronic Reporting is also a capstone of the Administration's Reinventing Government Initiative and the Administrator's Integrated Information Initiative (I3).

Summary of the Legal Basis: 1) Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) of 1998. GPEA requires federal agencies to provide electronic reporting and recordkeeping to its regulated community by 2003. 2) Electronic Signature National and Global Commerce Act (ESIGN), June 30, 2000. This law eliminates legal barriers to the use of electronic technology to form and sign contracts, collect and store documents, and send and receive notices and disclosures. ESIGN applies broadly to Federal statutes and regulations governing private sector (including business-to-business and business-to-consumer) activities. In general, it does not cover activities that are primarily governmental, which are governed by GPEA. ESIGN begins to take effect on October 1, 2000.

Alternatives: The alternative to an EPA cross-media rule that applies to most compliance reports under 40 CFR, would be individual rulemakings by each of the program offices. EPA's past experience with such rulemakings has demonstrated that such a course of action would not bring EPA in compliance with GPEA by the 2003 deadline.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: The cost-benefit analysis prepared for the proposed rule indicates that CROMERRR could produce an average annual savings of $52.3 million per year for regulated entities, $1.2 million per year for EPA, and $1.24 million for each of the 30 states that were assumed to implement electronic reporting/record-keeping programs under CROMERRR over the eight years of the analysis. Three forms of electronic reporting were considered ? web forms, electronic data interchange (EDI), and extensible mark-up language (XML) ? and it was assumed that 77 percent of all reports would be prepared and submitted electronically at full implementation. The costs of electronic reporting for entities using web forms would be negligible, as EPA intends to provide the web forms and signature capabilities needed. For EDI and XML, EPA anticipates that entities would incur additional up-front cost, but the savings would be larger over time, as these entities could more fully automate their reporting to EPA. Qualitative benefits of electronic reporting were also identified, including: enhanced data quality, faster public access to submitted data, better tracking of compliance submissions, and opportunities for re-engineering current paper processes. In considering electronic records, the assessment indicated an average annual cost of $40,000 to implement a new electronic record-keeping system; therefore it was assumed that only 0.5 percent of regulated entities would elect to acquire new electronic record-keeping systems to implement the CROMERRR. For those entities, the net average annual cost savings for operating the electronic records system would be $23,080. The baseline of current costs for paper-based reporting and record-keeping was established by analyzing EPA?s official information collection request (ICR) submissions that would be subject to the CROMERRR rule, as well by developing detailed cost estimates for major EPA systems. In addition to the ICR analysis, the assessment considered the general costs and benefits of electronic reporting experienced by commercial and government agencies, and included an in-depth analyses of business processes and associated costs for several major EPA programs. Given the rapidly changing technology environment as well as the public comments received on the NPRM, the cost/benefit analysis is being revised for the final rule.

Risks: The risks are undetermined.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  08/31/2001  66 FR 46161   
Final Action  08/00/2003    
Additional Information: SAN No. 4270
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State, Tribal 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Evi Huffer
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Environmental Information
2823T,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 566-1697
Fax:202 566-1684
Email: Huffer.Evi@epamail.epa.gov

David Schwarz
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Environmental Information
2136T,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 566-1704
Email: Schwarz.David@epamail.epa.gov