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Rule

Approval and Disapproval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Colorado; Affirmative Defense Provisions for Startup and Shutdown; Common Provisions Regulation and Regulation No. 1

Action

Final Rule.

Summary

EPA is partially approving and partially disapproving a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted by the State of Colorado. The revision establishes affirmative defense provisions for source owners and operators for excess emissions during periods of startup and shutdown. The affirmative defense provisions are contained in the State of Colorado's Common Provisions regulation. The intended effect of this action is to approve those portions of the rule that are approvable and to disapprove those portions of the rule that are inconsistent with the Clean Air Act. This action is being taken under section 110 of the Clean Air Act. In addition, EPA is announcing that it no longer considers the State of Colorado's May 27, 1998 submittal of revisions to Regulation No. 1 to be an active SIP submittal. Those revisions, which we proposed to disapprove on September 2, 1999 and October 7, 1999, would have provided exemptions from existing limitations on opacity and sulfur dioxide (SO 2) emissions for coal-fired electric utility boilers during periods of startup, shutdown, and upset. Since our proposed disapproval, the State of Colorado has removed or replaced the provisions in Regulation No. 1 that we proposed to disapprove, and has instead pursued adoption of the affirmative defense provisions in the State of Colorado's Common Provisions regulation that we are approving today.

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

This final rule is effective March 24, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Back to Top

EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-R08-OAR-2005-CO-0004. All documents in the docket are listed on the http://www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Air and Radiation Program, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 8, 999 18th Street, Suite 300, Denver, Colorado 80202-2466. EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to view the hard copy of the docket. You may view the hard copy of the docket Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., excluding Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Laurie Ostrand, Air and Radiation Program, Mailcode 8P-AR, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 8, 999 18th Street, Suite 200, Denver, Colorado 80202-2466, (303) 312-6437, ostrand.laurie@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Back to Top

Table of Contents Back to Top

I. Background of State Submittal

II. EPA Analysis of State Submittal

III. Final Action

IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

Definitions Back to Top

For the purpose of this document, we are giving meaning to certain words as follows:

(i) The words or initials Act or CAA mean or refer to the Clean Air Act, unless the context indicates otherwise.

(ii) The words EPA, we, us or our mean or refer to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

(iii) The initials SIP mean or refer to State Implementation Plan.

(iv) The words State or Colorado mean the State of Colorado, unless the context indicates otherwise.

I. Background of State Submittal Back to Top

On July 31, 2002, the State of Colorado submitted a SIP revision that added affirmative defense provisions for excess emissions during startup and shutdown. These affirmative defense provisions are contained in the Common Provisions Regulation at section II.J and were adopted by the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) on August 16, 2001.

On December 7, 2005 (70 FR 72741), we proposed to approve sections II.J.1 through II.J.4 of the Common Provisions regulation and proposed to disapprove section II.J.5 of the Common Provisions regulation. No comments were received on the December 7, 2005 proposal. See the December 7, 2005 notice of proposed rulemaking for additional information.

On December 7, 2005 (70 FR 72741) we also announced that we no longer consider Colorado's May 27, 1998 submittal of revisions to Regulation No. 1 to be an active submittal, and that we do not intend to finalize our proposed disapprovals. The May 1998 Regulation

No. 1 submittal would have provided exemptions from the existing limitations on opacity and sulfur dioxide (SO 2) emissions for coal-fired electric utility boilers during periods of startup, shutdown, and upset. We proposed to disapprove the May 1998 Regulation No. 1 submittal on September 2, 1999 (64 FR 48127) and October 7, 1999 (64 FR 54601).

II. EPA Analysis of State Submittal Back to Top

EPA's interpretations of the Act regarding excess emissions during malfunctions, startup and shutdown are contained in, among other documents, a September 20, 1999 memorandum titled “State Implementation Plans: Policy Regarding Excess Emissions During Malfunctions, Startup, and Shutdown,” from Steven A. Herman, Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, and Robert Perciasepe, Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation. [1] That memorandum indicates that because excess emissions might aggravate air quality so as to prevent attainment and maintenance of the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) or jeopardize the prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) increments, all periods of excess emissions are considered violations of the applicable emission limitation. However, the memorandum recognizes that in certain circumstances states and EPA have enforcement discretion to refrain from taking enforcement action for excess emissions. In addition, the memorandum also indicates that states can include in their SIPs provisions that would, in the context of an enforcement action for excess emissions, excuse a source from penalties (but not injunctive relief) if the source can demonstrate that it meets certain objective criteria (an “affirmative defense”). [2] Finally, the memorandum indicates that EPA does not intend to approve SIP revisions that would recognize a state director's decision to bar EPA's or citizens' ability to enforce applicable requirements.

We have evaluated Colorado's affirmative defense provisions for startup and shutdown and find that, except for one paragraph, they are consistent with our interpretations under the Act regarding the types of affirmative defense provisions we can approve in SIPs. The Affirmative Defense provisions in the Common Provisions Regulation, sections II.J.1 through II.J.4 are consistent with the provisions for startup and shutdown we suggested in our September 20, 1999 memorandum. Thus, these provisions will provide sources with appropriate incentives to comply with their emissions limitations and help ensure protection of the NAAQS and increments and compliance with other Act requirements.

However, we cannot approve the provisions in section II.J.5 of the Common Provisions regulation. Section II.J.5 reads as follows:

II.J.5. Affirmative Defense Determination: In making any determination whether a source established an affirmative defense, the Division shall consider the information within the notification required in paragraph 2 of this section and any other information the division deems necessary, which may include, but is not limited to, physical inspection of the facility and review of documentation pertaining to the maintenance and operation of process and air pollution control equipment.

Under this language, the Division could make a determination outside the context of an enforcement action, or at any time during an enforcement action, that a source has established the affirmative defense. If we were to approve section II.J.5, a court might conclude that we had ceded the authority to the Division to make this determination, not just for the State, but on behalf of EPA and citizens as well. Consequently, a court might also view the Division's determination that a source had established the affirmative defense as barring an EPA or citizen action for penalties.

As we stated in the September 1999 memoranda, we do not intend to approve SIP language that would allow a state's decision to constrain our or citizens' enforcement discretion. To do so would be inconsistent with the regulatory scheme established in Title I of the Act, which allows independent EPA and citizen enforcement of violations, regardless of a state's decisions regarding those violations and any potential defenses. [3]

Section 110(l) of the Clean Air Act states that a SIP revision cannot be approved if the revision would interfere with any applicable requirement concerning attainment and reasonable further progress towards attainment of the NAAQS or any other applicable requirements of the Act. The Colorado SIP revision that is the subject of this document does not interfere with the maintenance of the NAAQS or any other applicable requirement of the Act. The July 31, 2002 submittal merely adopts affirmative defense provisions for source owners and operators for excess emissions during periods of startup and shutdown. These provisions provide, that in the context of an enforcement action for excess emissions, a source can be excused from penalties (but not injunctive relief) if the source can demonstrate that it meets certain objective criteria. Therefore, section 110(l) requirements are satisfied.

III. Final Action Back to Top

We are approving sections II.J.1 through II.J.4 of the Common Provisions Regulation submitted on July 31, 2002 for the reasons expressed above. We are disapproving section II.J.5 of the Common Provisions Regulation submitted on July 31, 2002 because this section is inconsistent with the Clean Air Act.

IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews Back to Top

A. Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has exempted this regulatory action from Executive Order 12866, entitled “Regulatory Planning and Review.”

B. Paperwork Reduction Act

Under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., OMB must approve all “collections of information” by EPA. The Act defines “collection of information” as a requirement for “answers to * * * identical reporting or recordkeeping requirements imposed on ten or more persons * * *” 44 U.S.C. 3502(3)(A). Because this final rule does not impose an information collection burden, the Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply.

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) generally requires an agency to conduct a regulatory flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice and comment rulemaking requirements unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Small entities include small businesses, small not-for-profit enterprises, and small governmental jurisdictions.

This final rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities because SIP approvals and disapprovals under section 110 and subchapter I, part D of the Clean Air Act do not create any new requirements but simply approve or disapprove requirements that the State is already imposing. Therefore, because the Federal SIP approval/disapproval does not create any new requirements, I certify that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Moreover, due to the nature of the Federal-State relationship under the Clean Air Act, preparation of flexibility analysis would constitute Federal inquiry into the economic reasonableness of state action. The Clean Air Act forbids EPA to base its actions concerning SIPs on such grounds. Union Electric Co., v. U.S. EPA, 427 U.S. 246, 255-66 (1976); 42 U.S.C. 7410(a)(2).

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

Under section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (“Unfunded Mandates Act”), signed into law on March 22, 1995, EPA must prepare a budgetary impact statement to accompany any proposed or final rule that includes a Federal mandate that may result in estimated costs to State, local, or tribal governments in the aggregate; or to the private sector, of $100 million or more. Under section 205, EPA must select the most cost-effective and least burdensome alternative that achieves the objectives of the rule and is consistent with statutory requirements. Section 203 requires EPA to establish a plan for informing and advising any small governments that may be significantly or uniquely impacted by the rule.

EPA has determined that this final action does not include a Federal mandate that may result in estimated costs of $100 million or more to either State, local, or tribal governments in the aggregate, or to the private sector. This Federal action partially approves and partially disapproves pre-existing requirements under State or local law, and imposes no new requirements. Accordingly, no additional costs to State, local, or tribal governments, or to the private sector, result from this action.

E. Executive Order 13132, Federalism

Executive Order 13132, Federalism (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999), revokes and replaces Executive Orders 12612 (Federalism) and 12875 (Enhancing the Intergovernmental Partnership). Executive Order 13132 requires EPA to develop an accountable process to ensure “meaningful and timely input by State and local officials in the development of regulatory policies that have federalism implications.” “Policies that have federalism implications” is defined in the Executive Order to include regulations that have “substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.” Under Executive Order 13132, EPA may not issue a regulation that has federalism implications, that imposes substantial direct compliance costs, and that is not required by statute, unless the Federal government provides the funds necessary to pay the direct compliance costs incurred by State and local governments, or EPA consults with State and local officials early in the process of developing the proposed regulation. EPA also may not issue a regulation that has federalism implications and that preempts State law unless the Agency consults with State and local officials early in the process of developing the proposed regulation.

This final rule will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, as specified in Executive Order 13132, because it merely partially approves and partially disapproves state rules implementing a federal standard, and does not alter the relationship or the distribution of power and responsibilities established in the Clean Air Act. Thus, the requirements of section 6 of the Executive Order do not apply to this rule.

F. Executive Order 13175, Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

Executive Order 13175, entitled “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments” (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), requires EPA to develop an accountable process to ensure “meaningful and timely input by tribal officials in the development of regulatory policies that have tribal implications.” This final rule does not have tribal implications, as specified in Executive Order 13175. It will not have substantial direct effects on tribal governments, on the relationship between the Federal government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal government and Indian tribes. This action does not involve or impose any requirements that affect Indian tribes. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this rule.

G. Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children From Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks

Protection of Children From Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997), applies to any rule that: (1) Is determined to be “economically significant” as defined under Executive Order 12866, and (2) concerns an environmental health or safety risk that EPA has reason to believe may have a disproportionate effect on children. If the regulatory action meets both criteria, the Agency must evaluate the environmental health or safety effects of the planned rule on children, and explain why the planned regulation is preferable to other potentially effective and reasonably feasible alternatives considered by the Agency.

This rule is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it does not involve decisions intended to mitigate environmental health or safety risks.

H. Executive Order 13211, Actions That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

This rule is not subject to Executive Order 13211, “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use” (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001) because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

Section 12 of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) of 1995 requires Federal agencies to evaluate existing technical standards when developing a new regulation. To comply with NTTAA, EPA must consider and use “voluntary consensus standards” (VCS) if available and applicable when developing programs and policies unless doing so would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical.

The EPA believes that VCS are inapplicable to this action. Today's action does not require the public to perform activities conducive to the use of VCS.

J. Congressional Review Act

The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. section 801 et seq., as added by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. EPA will submit 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 United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. A major rule cannot take effect until 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. section 804(2). This rule will be effective March 24, 2006.

K. Petitions for Judicial Review

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 April 24, 2006. 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 may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. (See section 307(b)(2) of the Clean Air Act.)

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52 Back to Top

Dated: January 30, 2006.

Robert E. Roberts,

Regional Administrator, Region 8.

begin regulatory text

40 CFR part 52 is amended to read as follows:

PART 52—[AMENDED] Back to Top

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

Authority:

42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

Subpart G—Colorado Back to Top

2.Section 52.320 is amended by adding paragraph (c)(109) to read as follows:

§ 52.320 Identification of plan.

* * * * *

(c) * * *

(109) A revision to the State Implementation Plan was submitted by the State of Colorado on July 31, 2002. The submittal revises the Common Provisions regulation by adding affirmative defense provisions for source owners and operators for excess emissions during periods of startup and shutdown.

(i) Incorporation by reference.

(A) Common Provisions Regulation, 5 CCR 1001-2, sections II.J.1 through II.J.4, adopted August 16, 2001, effective September 30, 2001.

3.Section 52.329 is amended by adding paragraph (c) to read as follows:

§ 52.329 Rules and regulations.

* * * * *

(c) A revision to the State Implementation Plan was submitted by the State of Colorado on July 31, 2002. The submittal revises the Common Provisions regulation by adding affirmative defense provisions for source owners and operators for excess emissions during periods of startup and shutdown. The affirmative defense provisions are contained in section II.J. As indicated in 40 CFR 52.320(c)(109), EPA approved the affirmative defense provisions contained in sections II.J.1 through II.J.4 of the Common Provisions regulation, adopted August 16, 2001 and effective September 30, 2001. Section II.J.5 of the Common Provisions regulation, adopted August 16, 2001 and effective September 30, 2001, is disapproved.

end regulatory text

[FR Doc. 06-1567 Filed 2-21-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-P

Footnotes Back to Top

1. Earlier expressions of EPA's interpretations regarding excess emissions during malfunctions, startup, and shutdown are contained in two memoranda, one dated September 28, 1982, the other February 15, 1983, both titled “Policy on Excess Emissions During Startup, Shutdown, Maintenance, and Malfunctions” and signed by Kathleen M. Bennett. However, the September 1999 memorandum directly addresses the creation of affirmative defenses in SIPs and, therefore, is most relevant to this action.

Back to Context

2. EPA's September 20, 1999 memorandum indicates that the term affirmative defense means, in the context of an enforcement proceeding, a response or defense put forward by a defendant, regarding which the defendant has the burden of proof, and the merits of which are independently and objectively evaluated in a judicial or administrative proceeding. See footnote 4 of the attachment to the memorandum.

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3. Section II.J.5 may be confusing the concept of affirmative defense with the concept of enforcement discretion. By definition, an affirmative defense is a defense that may be raised in the context of an enforcement proceeding before an independent trier of fact. Before pursuing an enforcement action, the state might evaluate the likelihood that an owner/operator could prove the elements of the affirmative defense, but this would go to the state's exercise of enforcement discretion. While the state might decide not to pursue an enforcement action based on such an evaluation, if EPA or citizens were to pursue enforcement action, an independent trier of fact might reach a conclusion different from the state's, i.e., that the owner/operator had not proved the elements of the affirmative defense.

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