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FEDERAL REGISTER
VOL. 59, No. 84
Rules and Regulations

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA)

40 CFR Part 52
[VA17-1-6339 and VA18-1-6340; FRL-4879-4]

Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Commonwealth of Virginia-Disapproval of the Request to Redesignate the Richmond Ozone Nonattainment Area to Attainment and the Associated Maintenance Plan

59 FR 22757

DATE: Tuesday, May 3, 1994
ACTION: Final rule.

SUMMARY: EPA is disapproving the request to redesignate the Richmond ozone nonattainment area from moderate nonattainment to attainment and is also disapproving the associated maintenance plan as a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision. The intended effect of this action is to retain the current designation for ozone nonattainment in the Richmond area. This action is being taken under sections 107 and 110 of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

EFFECTIVE DATE: This final rule will become effective on June 2, 1994.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the documents relevant to this action are available for public inspection during normal business hours at the Air, Radiation, and Toxics Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 841 Chestnut Building, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107; Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, 629 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Harold A. Frankford at (215) 597-1325.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

On November 12, 1992, the Commonwealth of Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) submitted a request to EPA to redesignate the Richmond moderate ozone nonattainment area from nonattainment to attainment, and to approve a maintenance plan for the Richmond area as a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision.

On August 17, 1993, (59 FR 43609), EPA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) proposing approval of the Commonwealth's request to redesignate the Richmond moderate ozone nonattainment area to attainment and its associated maintenance plan SIP revision. EPA's rationale for its proposed approval was stated in that NPR and will not be restated here. However, on January 31, 1994, (59 FR 4263) EPA published a NPR withdrawing its August 17, 1993 proposed approval and proposing to disapprove the request to redesignate the Richmond ozone nonattainment area from moderate nonattainment to attainment and proposed to disapprove the maintenance plan as a SIP revision. EPA converted its proposed approval action to a proposed disapproval because review of the 1993 ambient air quality data monitored during the 1993 ozone season indicated that the Charles City County monitor, located in the Richmond nonattainment area, had registered a violation of the ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). The ambient data was quality assured in accordance with established procedures for validating such monitoring data. The VDEQ did not contest the registered data. Therefore, the Richmond area does not meet the statutory criteria for redesignation to attainment found in section 107(d)(3)(E) of the CAA. The maintenance plan SIP revision is not approvable because its demonstration of attainment and maintenance of the ozone NAAQS is based on a level of ambient ozone precursor emissions which was thought to represent an inventory of emissions that would provide for attainment and maintenance of the NAAQS, but which does not as evidenced by the ozone violations recorded during the 1993 ozone season.

II. Comments Received on EPA's January 31, 1994 Proposal

Letters of Public Comment: EPA received four comment letters concerning the January 31, 1994 action proposing to disapprove the request to redesignate the Richmond ozone nonattainment area from moderate nonattainment to attainment and proposing to disapprove the maintenance plan as a revision to the SIP. One comment letter supported EPA's proposal to disapprove both the request to redesignate the Richmond ozone nonattainment area and to disapprove the maintenance plan SIP revision. Three comment letters opposed EPA's proposed disapproval of the request to redesignate the Richmond area. The commenters opposing EPA's proposed disapproval stated that that even though exceedances of the ozone standard had been registered at the Charles City County monitor, the monitor is located in a rural location downwind of a more populated urban area. The commenters stated that, based on meteorological data, the recorded violations were caused by a small portion of the urban portion of the Richmond nonattainment area and are localized. The commenters stated that the rest of the Richmond ozone nonattainment area should not be economically penalized by the disapproval of the Richmond redesignation request.

EPA's Response: EPA's response to the latter comments is that EPA has determined that ozone is a regional pollutant driven by several factor including, but not restricted to, weather and climate changes and ozone precursors so that the effect of ozone emissions are not localized. In light of this, and the lack of evidence that the violations in the Richmond area are due only to localized emissions, EPA does not believe that it would be appropriate to redesignate as attainment portions of the Richmond ozone nonattainment area. Such an action would not be appropriate unless it were firmly established that, contrary to the bases underlying the establishment of the boundaries of the Richmond ozone nonattainment area following the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, certain portions of the Richmond ozone nonattainment area do not contribute to nonattainment of other portions of the Richmond ozone nonattainment area.

Final Action

EPA is disapproving both the request to redesignate the Richmond ozone nonattainment area to attainment and the associated maintenance SIP revision, both submitted on November 12, 1992 by VDEQ. This disapproval will have the effect of retaining the designations of Virginia for ozone found in 40 CFR part 81 (56 FR 56843) dated November 6, 1991.

Nothing in this action should be construed as permitting or allowing or establishing a precedent for any future request for revision to any state implementation plan. Each request for revision to the state implementation plan shall be considered separately in light of specific technical, economic, and environmental factors and in relation to relevant statutory and regulatory requirements.

This action disapproving the request for redesignation of the Richmond moderate ozone nonattainment area and the associated maintenance plan SIP revision has been classified as a Table 2 action for signature by the Acting Regional Administrator under the procedures published in the Federal Register on January 19, 1989 (54 FR 2214-2225), as revised by an October 4, 1993 memorandum from Michael H. Shapiro, Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation. A future document will inform the general public of these tables. On January 6, 1989, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) waived Table 2 and Table 3 SIP revisions (54 FR 2222) from the requirements of section 3 of Executive Order 12291 for a period of two years. The EPA has submitted a request for a permanent waiver for Table 2 and 3 SIP revisions. The OMB has agreed to continue the waiver until such time as it rules on U.S. EPA's request. This request continues in effect under Executive Order 12866, which superseded Executive Order 12291 on September 30, 1993.

Under section 307(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by July 5, 1994. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this rule for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action disapproving the request to redesignate the Richmond moderate ozone nonattainment area to attainment and the associated maintenance plan SIP revision may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. (See section 307(b)(2).)

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Intergovernmental cooperation, Ozone.

Dated: March 30, 1994.

Stanley L. Laskowski, Acting Regional Administrator, Region III.

40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

PART 52-[AMENDED]

1. The authority citation for part 52 continues to read as follows:

Authority: 42 U.S.C. 7401-7671q.

Subpart VV-Virginia

2. Section 52.2423 is amended by adding paragraph (k) to read as follows:

@ 52.2423 -- Approval status.

* * * * *

(k) The maintenance plan SIP revision, and request to redesignate the Richmond moderate ozone nonattainment area to attainment were submitted on November 12, 1992, by the Department of Environmental Quality. These requests are disapproved because review of the 1993 ambient air quality data monitored during the 1993 ozone season indicated that a violation of the ozone NAAQS occurred at the Charles City monitor in the Richmond nonattainment area. Because of the registered violation during the 1993 ozone season, the underlying basis of the Commonwealth's November 12, 1992 maintenance plan's demonstration is no longer valid.

[FR Doc. 94-10522 Filed 5-2-94; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-F


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