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61 FR 51875-51877 October 4, 1996 (Volume 61, Number 194) 40 CFR Part 281 [FRL-5620-3] Alabama; Approval of State Underground Storage Tank Program

[Federal Register: October 4, 1996 (Volume 61, Number 194)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 51875-51877]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr04oc96-26]

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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 281

[FRL-5620-3]

 
Alabama; Approval of State Underground Storage Tank Program

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION: Notice of tentative determination on application of State of 
Alabama for final approval, public hearing and public comment period.

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SUMMARY: The State of Alabama has applied for approval of its 
underground storage tank program for petroleum and hazardous substances 
under Subtitle I of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). 
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reviewed Alabama's 
application and has made the tentative decision that Alabama's 
underground storage tank program for petroleum and hazardous substances 
satisfies all of the requirements necessary to qualify for approval. 
Alabama's application for approval is available for public review and 
comment. A public hearing will be held to solicit comments on the 
application, unless insufficient public interest is expressed.

DATES: A public hearing is scheduled for November 14, 1996, unless 
insufficient public interest is expressed in holding a hearing. EPA 
reserves the right to cancel the public hearing if sufficient public 
interest is not communicated to EPA in writing by November 4, 1996. EPA 
will determine by November 8, 1996, whether there is significant 
interest to hold the public hearing. The State of Alabama will 
participate in the public hearing held by EPA on this subject. Written 
comments on Alabama's approval application, as well as requests to 
present oral testimony, must be received by the close of business on 
November 4, 1996.

ADDRESSES: Copies of Alabama's approval application are available 
during the hours of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at the following addresses for 
inspection and copying:

Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Ground Water Branch, 
1751 W. L. Dickinson Drive, Montgomery, AL 36130, phone: (334) 270-
5655.
U.S. EPA Docket Clerk, Office of Underground Storage Tanks, 1235 
Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA 22202, phone: (703) 603-9231; 
and,
U.S. EPA Region 4, Underground Storage Tank Section, Atlanta Federal 
Center, 15th Floor, 100 Alabama Street SW., Atlanta, GA 30303, phone: 
(404) 562-9438.

    Written comments should be sent to Mr. John K. Mason, Chief of 
Underground Storage Tank Section, U.S. EPA Region 4, 100 Alabama Street 
S.W., Atlanta, Georgia 30303, telephone (404) 562-9438.
    Unless insufficient public interest is expressed, EPA will hold a 
public hearing on the State of Alabama's application for program 
approval on November 14, 1996, at 7:00 pm at the Alabama Department of 
Environmental Management Hearing Room, 1751 W.L. Dickinson Drive, 
Montgomery, Alabama 36109-2608. Anyone who wishes to learn whether or 
not the public hearing on the State's application has been cancelled 
should telephone the following contacts after November 8, 1996:

Mr. John K. Mason, Chief, Underground Storage Tank Section, U.S. EPA 
Region 4, 100 Alabama Street SW., Atlanta, GA 30303, phone: (404) 562-
9438, or
Ms. Sonja Massey, Chief, Ground Water Branch, Alabama Department of 
Environmental Management, 1751 Congressman W.L. Dickinson Drive, 
Montgomery, AL 36130, phone: (334) 270-5655.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. John K. Mason, Chief, Underground 
Storage Tank Section, U.S. EPA Region 4, 100 Alabama Street SW., 
Atlanta, GA 30303, phone: (404) 562-9438.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

    Section 9004 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) 
authorizes EPA to approve State underground storage tank programs to 
operate in the State in lieu of the Federal underground storage tank 
(UST) program. Program approval may be granted by EPA pursuant to RCRA 
Section 9004(b), if the Agency finds that the State program is ``no 
less stringent'' than the Federal program for the seven elements set 
forth at RCRA Section

[[Page 51876]]

9004(a)(1) through (7); includes the notification requirements of RCRA 
Section 9004(a)(8); and provides for adequate enforcement of compliance 
with UST standards of RCRA Section 9004(a).

B. Alabama

    The State of Alabama submitted their draft state program approval 
application to EPA by letter dated April 29, 1992. After reviewing the 
package, EPA submitted comments to the state for review. Alabama 
submitted their complete state program approval application for EPA's 
tentative approval on July 26, 1994.
    On April 5, 1989, Alabama adopted UST program regulations. Prior to 
the adoption of the regulations, Alabama solicited public comment and 
held a public hearing on the draft UST program regulations. EPA has 
reviewed Alabama's application, and has tentatively determined that the 
State's UST program for petroleum and hazardous substances meets all of 
the requirements necessary to qualify for final approval.
    EPA will hold a public hearing on its tentative decision on 
November 14, 1996, unless insufficient public interest is expressed. 
The public may also submit written comments on EPA's tentative 
determination until November 4, 1996. Copies of Alabama's application 
are available for inspection and copying at the location indicated in 
the ADDRESSES section of this notice.
    EPA will consider all public comments on its tentative 
determination received at the hearing, or received in writing during 
the public comment period. Issues raised by those comments may be the 
basis for a decision to deny final approval to Alabama. EPA expects to 
make a final decision on whether or not to approve Alabama's program by 
January 14, 1996, and will give notice of it in the Federal Register. 
The notice will include a summary of the reasons for the final 
determination and a response to all major comments.

Compliance With Executive Order 12866

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

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), Pub. 
L. 104-4, establishes requirements for Federal agencies to assess the 
effects of their regulatory actions on State, local, and tribal 
governments and the private sector. Under section 202 of the UMRA, EPA 
generally must prepare a written statement, including a cost-benefit 
analysis, for proposed and final rules with ``Federal mandates'' 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. Before promulgating an EPA rule for which a written statement 
is needed, section 205 of the UMRA generally requires EPA to identify 
and consider a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives and adopt 
the least costly, most cost-effective or least burdensome alternative 
that achieves the objectives of the rule. The provisions of section 205 
do not apply when they are inconsistent with applicable law. Moreover, 
section 205 allows EPA to adopt an alternative other than the least 
costly, most cost-effective or least burdensome alternative if the 
Administrator publishes with the final rule an explanation why that 
alternative was not adopted. Before EPA establishes any regulatory 
requirements that may significantly or uniquely affect small 
governments, including tribal governments, it must have developed under 
section 203 of the UMRA a small government agency plan. The plan must 
provide for notifying potentially affected small governments, enabling 
officials of affected small governments to have meaningful and timely 
input in the development of EPA regulatory proposals with significant 
Federal intergovernmental mandates, and informing, educating, and 
advising small governments on compliance with the regulatory 
requirements.
    Todays's rule contains no Federal mandates for State, local or 
tribal governments or the private sector. The Act excludes from the 
definition of a ``Federal mandate'' duties that arise from 
participation in a voluntary Federal program, except in certain cases 
where a ``federal intergovernmental mandate'' affects an annual federal 
entitlement program of $500 million or more that are not applicable 
here. Alabama's request for approval of an underground storage tank 
(UST) program is voluntary and imposes no Federal mandate within the 
meaning of the Act. Rather, by having its UST program approved, the 
State will gain the authority to implement the federally approved 
program within its jurisdiction, in lieu of EPA, thereby eliminating 
duplicative State and Federal requirements. If a State chooses not to 
seek authorization for administration of an UST program under RCRA 
Subtitle I, RCRA underground storage tank regulation is left to EPA.
    In any event, EPA has determined that this rule does not contain a 
Federal mandate that may result in expenditures of $100 million or more 
for State, local, and tribal governments in the aggregate, or the 
private sector in any one year. EPA does not anticipate that the 
approval of Alabama's UST program referenced in today's notice will 
result in annual costs of $100 million or more. EPA's approval of state 
programs generally may reduce, not increase, compliance costs for the 
private sector since the State, by virtue of the approval, may now 
administer the program in lieu of EPA and exercise primary enforcement 
responsibility. Hence, owners and operators of underground storage 
tanks (USTs) generally no longer face dual Federal and State compliance 
requirements, thereby reducing overall compliance costs. Thus, today's 
rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of the 
UMRA.
    EPA has determined that this rule contains no regulatory 
requirements that might significantly or uniquely affect small 
governments. The Agency recognizes that small governments may own and/
or operate USTs that will become subject to the requirements of an 
approved State UST tank program. However, such small governments which 
own and/or operate USTs are already subject to the requirements in 40 
CFR part 280 and are not subject to any additional significant or 
unique requirements by virtue of this program approval. Once EPA 
authorizes a State to administer its own UST program and any revisions 
to that program, these same small governments will be able to own and 
operate their USTs under the approved State program, in lieu of the 
Federal program.

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. 
EPA recognizes that small entities may own and/or operate USTs that 
will become subject to the requirements of an approved state UST 
program. However, since such small entities which own and/or operate 
USTs are already subject to the requirements in 40 CFR Part 280, this 
authorization does not impose any additional burdens on these small 
entities. This is because EPA's authorization would result in an 
administrative change (i.e., whether EPA or the state administers the 
UST program in that state, rather than result in a change in the 
substantive requirements imposed on small

[[Page 51877]]

entities). Once EPA authorizes a state to administer its own UST 
program and any revisions to that program, these same small entities 
will be able to own and operate their USTs under the approved state 
program, in lieu of the federal program. Moreover, this authorization, 
in approving a state program to operate in lieu of the federal program, 
eliminates duplicative requirements for owners and operators of USTs in 
that particular state.
    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 significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This 
authorization effectively approves the Alabama program to operate in 
lieu of the federal program, thereby eliminating duplicative 
requirements for owners and operators of USTs in the state. It does not 
impose any new burdens on small entities. This rule, therefore, does 
not require a regulatory flexibility analysis.

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 notice is issued under the authority of Section 
9004 of the Solid Waste Disposal Act as amended 42 U.S.C. 6912(a), 
6926, 6974(b).

    Dated: September 23, 1996.
A. Stanley Meiburg,
Acting Regional Administrator.
[FR Doc. 96-25107 Filed 10-3-96; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P

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