(a) The General Counsel may make and issue a class determination under this section if he finds that -
(1) EPA possesses, or is obtaining, related items of business information;
(2) One or more characteristics common to all such items of information will necessarily result in identical treatment for each such item under one or more of the provisions in this subpart, and that it is therefore proper to treat all such items as a class for one or more purposes under this subpart; and
(3) A class determination would serve a useful purpose.
(b) A class determination shall clearly identify the class of information to which it pertains.
(c) A class determination may state that all of the information in the class -
(1) Is, or is not, voluntarily submitted information under § 2.201(i);
(2) Is, or is not, governed by a particular section of this subpart, or by a particular set of substantive criteria under this subpart;
(3) Fails to satisfy one or more of the applicable substantive criteria, and is therefore ineligible for confidential treatment;
(4) Satisfies one or more of the applicable substantive criteria; or
(5) Satisfies one or more of the applicable substantive criteria during a certain period, but will be ineligible for confidential treatment thereafter.
(d) The purpose of a class determination is simply to make known the Agency's position regarding the manner in which information within the class will be treated under one or more of the provisions of this subpart. Accordingly, the notice of opportunity to submit comments referred to in § 2.204(d)(1)(ii) and § 2.205(b), and the list of materials required to be furnished to the EPA legal office under § 2.204(d)(1)(iii), may be modified to reflect the fact that the class determination has made unnecessary the submission of materials pertinent to one or more issues. Moreover, in appropriate cases, action based on the class determination may be taken under § 2.204(b)(1), § 2.204(d), § 2.205(d), or § 2.206. However, the existence of a class determination shall not, of itself, affect any right a business may have to receive any notice under § 2.204(d)(2) or § 2.205(f).