Applicability of subpart; priority where provisions conflict; records containing more than one kind of information.
(a) Sections 2.201 through 2.215 establish basic rules governing business confidentiality claims, the handling by EPA of business information which is or may be entitled to confidential treatment, and determinations by EPA of whether information is entitled to confidential treatment for reasons of business confidentiality.
(b) Various statutes (other than 5 U.S.C. 552) under which EPA operates contain special provisions concerning the entitlement to confidential treatment of information gathered under such statutes. Sections 2.301 through 2.311 prescribe rules for treatment of certain categories of business information obtained under the various statutory provisions. Paragraph (b) of each of those sections should be consulted to determine whether any of those sections applies to the particular information in question.
(c) The basic rules of §§ 2.201 through 2.215 govern except to the extent that they are modified or supplanted by the special rules of §§ 2.301 through 2.311. In the event of a conflict between the provisions of the basic rules and those of a special rule which is applicable to the particular information in question, the provision of the special rule shall govern.
(d) If two or more of the sections containing special rules apply to the particular information in question, and the applicable sections prescribe conflicting special rules for the treatment of the information, the rule which provides greater or wider availability to the public of the information shall govern.
(e) For most purposes, a document or other record may usefully be treated as a single unit of information, even though in fact the document or record is comprised of a collection of individual items of information. However, in applying the provisions of this subpart, it will often be necessary to separate the individual items of information into two or more categories, and to afford different treatment to the information in each such category. The need for differentiation of this type may arise, e.g., because a business confidentiality claim covers only a portion of a record, or because only a portion of the record is eligible for confidential treatment. EPA offices taking action under this subpart must be alert to this problem.
(f) In taking actions under this subpart, EPA offices should consider whether it is possible to obtain the affected business's consent to disclosure of useful portions of records while protecting the information which is or may be entitled to confidentiality (e.g., by withholding such portions of a record as would identify a business, or by disclosing data in the form of industry-wide aggregates, multi-year averages or totals, or some similar form).
(g) This subpart does not apply to questions concerning entitlement to confidential treatment or information which concerns an individual solely in his personal, as opposed to business, capacity.