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FEDERAL REGISTER
VOL. 59, No. 20
Proposed Rules

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA)
40 CFR Parts 52 and 81
[VA17-1-6126 and VA18-1-6127; FRL-4831-3]

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

59 FR 4263

DATE: Monday, January 31, 1994
ACTION: Proposed rule.

SUMMARY: EPA is withdrawing its proposed approval of the request to redesignate the Richmond ozone nonattainment area from moderate nonattainment to attainment and its proposed approval of the associated maintenance plan as a revision to the State Implementation Plan (SIP). Both proposed actions were published in the Federal Register on August 17, 1993. EPA is now 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. The intended effect of these actions is to withdraw the August 17, 1993 proposed approval of the request to redesignate Richmond and the proposed approval of the maintenance plan, and to propose to disapprove both the redesignation request and associated maintenance plan SIP revision. The redesignation request and maintenance plan SIP revision were submitted by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) on November 12, 1992. These actions are being taken in accordance with the provisions of section 110 of the Clean Air Act.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before March 2, 1994.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be mailed to Thomas J. Maslany, Director, Air, Radiation, and Toxics Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 841 Chestnut Building, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107. 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; and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, 629 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia, 23219.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cristina M. Schulingkamp, (215) 597-0545.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

On November 12, 1992, the VDEQ submitted a request to EPA to redesignate the Richmond moderate ozone nonattainment area from nonattainment to attainment. On that date, the VDEQ also submitted a maintenance plan for the Richmond area as a revision to the Virginia SIP.

According to section 107(d)(3)(E) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. 7407(d)(3)(E), five specific criteria must be met in order for EPA to redesignate an area from nonattainment to attainment:

1. The Administrator determines that the area has attained the NAAQS;

2. The Administrator has fully approved the applicable implementation plan for the area under section 110(k);

3. The Administrator determines that the improvement in air quality is due to permanent and enforceable reductions in emissions resulting from implementation of the applicable implementation plan and applicable Federal air pollutant control regulations and other permanent and enforceable reductions;

4. The Administrator has fully approved a maintenance plan for the area as meeting the requirements of section 175A; and

5. The State containing such area has met all requirements applicable to the area under section 110 and part D.

The Richmond area appeared to have attained the ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS), based on air quality data monitored from 1989 through 1991. The VDEQ's November 12, 1992 request for redesignation and its submittal of a maintenance plan SIP revision for the Richmond area were evaluated by EPA and determined to have satisfied the five criteria listed above. On August 17, 1993, EPA proposed approval of both the redesignation request and the maintenance plan (58 FR 43609). EPA's rationale for its proposed approval actions was provided in that notice of proposed rulemaking and will not be restated here. That notice did indicate, however, that EPA would not take final action until after the 1993 ozone season (April through October of each calendar year) to ensure that no violations of the applicable NAAQS occurred, as further justification for approving the redesignation request.

II. 1993 Violation of the NAAQS for Ozone in the Richmond Area

After review of the 1993 ambient air quality data monitored during the 1993 ozone season, EPA has determined that the Charles City County monitor, located in the Richmond nonattainment area, registered a violation of the ozone NAAQS. The ambient data has been quality assured in accordance with established procedures for validating such monitoring data. The VDEQ does not contest that the NAAQS for ozone was violated in the Richmond area during the 1993 ozone season. Therefore, the Richmond area does not meet the statutory criteria for redesignation to attainment of the ozone NAAQS found in section 107(d)(3)(E)(i) of the CAA.

The maintenance plan SIP revision is not approvable because its demonstration is based on a level of ozone precursor emissions in the ambient air thought to represent an inventory of emissions that would provide for attainment and maintenance. That underlying basis of the maintenance plan's demonstration is no longer valid due to the violation of the NAAQS that occurred during the 1993 ozone season.

III. Public Comments Received on EPA's August 17, 1993 Proposal

EPA received six comment letters on its August 17, 1993 proposal to approve Virginia's redesignation request and maintenance plan SIP revision. Only one letter of comment supported EPA's proposed actions. The remaining letters of comment all opposed EPA's proposed approval to redesignate the Richmond ozone nonattainment area and the maintenance plan SIP revision. In general, the comments expressed concerns that the Richmond area had violated the NAAQS and that the Commonwealth's request did not satisfy section 107(d)(3)(E)(i) of the CAA. As EPA is withdrawing its proposed approval of the redesignation request and maintenance plan, the majority of the public's concerns have been addressed.

Proposed Action

EPA is withdrawing its August 17, 1993 proposed approval (FR 58 43609) of the Commonwealth of Virginia's request to redesignate the Richmond ozone nonattainment area to attainment and its proposed approval of the associated maintenance plan SIP revision. For the reasons provided in this notice, EPA is proposing to disapprove the Commonwealth's November 12, 1992 redesignation request and maintenance plan SIP revision.

EPA is soliciting public comments on this notice and on issues relevant to EPA's proposed action. Comments will be considered before taking final action. Interested parties may participate in the Federal rulemaking procedure by submitting written comments to the person listed in the ADDRESSES section.

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.

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 600 et seq., EPA must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis assessing the impact of any proposed or final rule on small entities. 5 U.S.C. 603 and 604. Alternatively, EPA may certify that the rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. Small entities include small businesses, small not-for-profit enterprises, and government entities with jurisdiction over populations of less than 50,000.

EPA's proposed disapproval of the Commonwealth's request to redesignate under section 107(d)(3)(E) and the revision to include the maintenance plan in the SIP does not affect any existing requirements applicable to small entities nor does it impose any additional requirements beyond those required of a moderate ozone nonattainment area. The area retains its current designation status and will continue to be subject to the same statutory requirements. To the extent that the area must adopt regulations, based on its nonattainment status, EPA will review the effect of those actions on small entities at the time the Commonwealth submits those regulations. Therefore, the Administrator certifies that the disapproval of the redesignation request will not affect a substantial number of small entities.

These actions withdrawing the proposed approval of the Commonwealth of Virginia's request to redesignate the Richmond ozone nonattainment area to attainment and the maintenance plan SIP revision and proposing to disapprove them have been classified as Table 2 actions for signature by the Regional Administrator under the procedures published in the Federal Register on January 19, 1989 (54 FR 2214-2225). On January 6, 1989, the Office of Management and Budget waived Table 2 and Table 3 SIP revisions from the requirements of section 3 of Executive Order 12291 for a period of two years. EPA has submitted a request for a permanent waiver for Table 2 and 3 SIP revisions. OMB has agreed to continue the waiver until such time as it rules on EPA's request. This request continues in effect under Executive Order 12866 which superseded Executive Order 12291 on September 30, 1993.

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

Dated: January 14, 1994.

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

[FR Doc. 94-2096 Filed 1-28-94; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-F


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