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63 FR 4589-4591 January 30, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 20) 40 CFR Part 281 [FRL-5938-5] Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; Final Approval of State Underground Storage Tank Program

[Federal Register: January 30, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 20)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 4589-4591]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr30ja98-16]

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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
40 CFR Part 281
[FRL-5938-5]
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; Final Approval of State Underground Storage Tank Program
AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency.
ACTION: Notice of final determination on the Commonwealth of Puerto 
Rico's application for program approval.
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SUMMARY: The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has applied for final approval 
of its underground storage tank program for petroleum and hazardous 
substances under subtitle I of the Resource Conservation and Recovery 
Act of 1976 (RCRA), as amended. The United States Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA) has reviewed the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico's 
application and has made a final determination that the Commonwealth of 
Puerto Rico's underground storage tank program for petroleum and 
hazardous substances satisfies all of the requirements necessary to 
qualify for final approval. Thus, EPA is granting final approval to the 
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to operate its underground storage tank 
program for petroleum and hazardous substances.

EFFECTIVE DATES: Final approval for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico 
shall be effective on March 31, 1998.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Madho Ramnarine Singh, Water 
Compliance Branch (DECA-WCB), U.S. EPA Region 2, 290 Broadway, New 
York, NY 10007-1866, Phone: (212) 637-4237 or Mr. Victor Trinidad, 
Caribbean Environmental Protection Division, Centro Europa Building, 
Suite 417, 1492 Ponce De Leon Avenue, Stop 22, Santurce, Puerto Rico 
00907-4127, Phone: (787) 729-6951.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    Section 9004 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 
(RCRA), as amended, 42 U.S.C. 6991c, authorizes EPA to grant approval 
to any State, which term includes the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico 
pursuant to section 1004(31) of RCRA, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 6903(31), to 
operate its underground storage tank program in the State in lieu of 
the federal underground storage tank (UST) program. To qualify for 
approval, a State's program must be "no less stringent" than the 
federal program in all seven elements set forth at section 9004(a) (1) 
through (7) of RCRA, 42 U.S.C. 6991c(a) (1) through (7); include the 
notification requirements of section 9004(a)(8) of RCRA, 42 U.S.C. 
6991c(a)(8); and provide for adequate enforcement of compliance with 
UST standards (section 9004(a) of RCRA, 42 U.S.C. 6991c(a)).
    On January 17, 1996, EPA received the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico's 
formal application for approval of its underground storage tank 
program. In 1997 EPA received supplemental information as part of the 
Commonwealth's application. On August 6, 1997, EPA published a 
tentative determination announcing its intent to approve the 
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico program. Further background on the 
tentative decision to grant approval appears in the Federal Register at 
62 FR 42222 (August 6, 1997).
    Along with the tentative determination, EPA announced the 
availability of the application for public review and comment and the 
date of public hearings on the application and EPA's tentative 
determination. EPA requested advance notice for testimony and reserved 
the right to cancel the public hearing in the event of insufficient 
public interest. The public hearings were held on September 8, 1997 in 
the Public Hearing Room of the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board 
in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, and on

[[Page 4590]]

September 9, 1997 in the Public Hearing Room of the Environmental 
Quality Board, Mayaguez Regional Office in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. While 
a number of people attended the hearings, none of them chose to comment 
on EPA's decision. In addition, no written comments were submitted to 
EPA. As a result, no substantive issues were raised and EPA has decided 
to finalize its decision to approve the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico 
program.
    Some provisions of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico's underground storage tank 
program will not be part of the federally approved State 
program, because they are broader in scope than the federal program. 
"Broader in scope" provisions cannot be enforced by EPA; the 
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, however, will continue to enforce such 
provisions. For instance, the federal program does not cover any 
underground storage tank system used for storing heating oil for 
consumptive use on the premises where stored, but this type of 
underground storage tank system is regulated under the Commonwealth's 
program. In addition, the Commonwealth charges fees for certain 
underground storage tank activities, such as annual notification and 
re-certification of underground storage tank facilities, transfer of 
ownership, duplication of records, and revision of permanent closure 
plans, and requires underground storage tank owners to obtain permits 
for certain activities, such as drilling and installation of 
groundwater monitoring and/or extraction wells. Although the federal 
underground storage tank program addresses neither fees nor permits, 
the Commonwealth may charge such fees and require such permits as it 
deems appropriate.
    The public should also be aware that the Commonwealth's statutes, 
regulations and rules that will become part of the federally approved 
State program are available in English and Spanish translation. The 
English translation of the Commonwealth's statutes, regulations and 
rules is referenced as follows:

Statutes

    (1) Puerto Rico Public Policy Environmental Act of 1970, Act Number 
9, June 18, 1970, as amended, 12 Law of Puerto Rico Annotated 
(L.P.R.A.) Secs. 1121 et seq.
    (2) Puerto Rico Environmental Emergency Fund Act, 12 
L.P.R.A.Sec. 1271 et seq.

Regulations

    (1) Underground Storage Tank Control Regulations, Regulation Number 
4362, promulgated by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Environmental 
Quality Board on November 7, 1990.

Rules

    (1) Puerto Rico Civil Procedure Rules of 1979, 32 L.P.R.A. Appendix 
III
    (2) Rules of Administrative Procedure for Hearings in Environmental 
Quality Board, Regulation Number 3672, promulgated in October 19, 1988.

II. Final Decision

    I conclude that the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico's application for 
program approval meets all of the statutory and regulatory requirements 
established by subtitle I of RCRA and 40 CFR part 281. Accordingly, the 
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is granted final approval to operate its 
underground storage tank program for petroleum and hazardous substances 
in lieu of the federal underground storage tank program. This approval 
is subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Commonwealth's 
application for approval (including, but not limited to, the Memorandum 
of Agreement) and in the August 6, 1997 Federal Register Notice of 
Tentative Determination on Application of the Commonwealth of Puerto 
Rico for Final Approval.

III. Compliance With Executive Order 12866

    The Office of Management and Budget has exempted this action from 
the requirements of section 6 of Executive Order 12866.

IV. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), P.L. 
104-4, establishes requirements for federal agencies to assess the 
effects of certain regulatory actions on State, local, and tribal 
governments and the private sector. Under sections 202 and 205 of the 
UMRA, EPA generally must prepare a written statement of economic and 
regulatory alternatives analyses for proposed and final rules with 
federal mandates, as defined by the UMRA, that may result in 
expenditures to State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, 
or to the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year. The 
section 202 and 205 requirements do not apply to today's action because 
it is not a "federal mandate" and because it does not impose annual 
costs of $100 million or more.
    Today's rule contains no federal mandates for state, local or 
tribal governments or the private sector for two reasons. First, 
today's action does not impose new or additional enforceable duties on 
any state, local or tribal governments or the private sector because 
the requirements of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico program are already 
part of the Commonwealth law. Second, the Act also generally excludes 
from the definition of a "federal mandate" duties that arise from 
participation in a voluntary federal program. The Commonwealth's 
participation in an authorized UST program is voluntary.
    Even if today's rule did contain a federal mandate, this rule will 
not result in annual expenditures of $100 million or more for State, 
local, and/or tribal governments in the aggregate, or the private 
sector. Costs to State, local and/or tribal governments already exist 
under the Commonwealth's program, and today's action does not impose 
any additional obligations on regulated entities. In fact, EPA's 
approval of State programs generally may reduce, not increase, 
compliance costs for the private sector.
    The requirements of section 203 of UMRA also do not apply to 
today's action. Before EPA establishes any regulatory requirements that 
may significantly or uniquely affect small governments, section 203 of 
the UMRA requires EPA to develop a small government agency plan. This 
rule contains no regulatory requirements that might significantly or 
uniquely affect small governments. The Agency recognizes that although 
small governments may own and/or operate USTs, they are already subject 
to the regulatory requirements under existing Commonwealth law, and, 
thus, are not subject to any additional significant or unique 
requirements by virtue of this program approval of such requirements.

V. Certification Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act

    EPA has determined that this authorization will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
Such small entities which own and/or operate USTs are already subject 
to the regulatory requirements under existing Commonwealth law. EPA's 
authorization does not impose any additional burdens on these small 
entities. This is because EPA's authorization would simply result in an 
administrative change, rather than a change in the substantive 
requirements imposed on these small entities.
    Therefore, EPA provides the following certification under the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended by the Small Business Regulatory 
Enforcement Fairness Act. Pursuant to the provision at 5 U.S.C. 605(b), 
I hereby certify that this authorization will not have a

[[Page 4591]]

significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
This authorization approves regulatory requirements under existing 
Commonwealth law to which small entities are already subject. It does 
not impose any new burdens on small entities. This rule, therefore, 
does not require a regulatory flexibility analysis.

VI. Submission to Congress and the General Accounting Office

    Under 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A) as added by the Small Business 
Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, EPA submitted a report 
containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, 
the U.S. House of Representatives and the Comptroller General of the 
General Accounting Office prior to publication of the rule in today's 
Federal Register. This rule is not a "major rule" as defined by 5 
U.S.C. 804(2).

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 281

    Environmental protection, Administrative Practice and Procedure, 
Hazardous Materials, State Program Approval, and Underground Storage Tanks.

    Authority: This document is issued under the authority of 
Section 9004 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 
(RCRA), as amended, 42 U.S.C. 6991c.

    Dated: December 10, 1997.
Jeanne M. Fox,
Regional Administrator.
[FR Doc. 98-1531 Filed 1-29-98; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P

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