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Clean Air Act Final Full Approval of Operating Permit Programs; North Carolina, Mecklenburg County, and Western North Carolina

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Final full approval.

SUMMARY:

EPA is promulgating full approval of the operating permit programs of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Mecklenburg County Department of Environmental Protection, and the Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency. These programs were submitted in response to the directive in the 1990 Clean Air Act (CAA) Amendments that permitting authorities develop, and submit to EPA, programs for issuing operating permits to all major stationary sources and to certain other sources within the permitting authorities' jurisdiction. On November 15, 1995, EPA granted interim approval to the North Carolina, Mecklenburg County, and Western North Carolina operating permit programs. These agencies revised their programs to satisfy the conditions of the interim approval, and EPA proposed full approval in the Federal Register on June 12, 2001. EPA did not receive any comments on the proposed action, so this action promulgates final full approval of the North Carolina, Mecklenburg County, and Western North Carolina operating permit programs.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

October 1, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Copies of the North Carolina, Mecklenburg County, and Western North Carolina submittals and other supporting documentation used in developing the final full approval are available for inspection during normal business hours at EPA, Air & Radiation Technology Branch, 61 Forsyth Street, SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Interested persons wanting to examine these documents, which are contained in EPA docket number NC-T5-2001-01, should make an appointment at least 48 hours before the visiting day.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kim Pierce, EPA Region 4, at (404) 562-9124 or pierce.kim@epa.gov/.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This section provides additional information by addressing the following questions:

What is the operating permit program? Start Printed Page 45942

Why is EPA taking this action?

What is involved in this final action?

What Is the Operating Permit Program?

Title V of the CAA Amendments of 1990 required all state and local permitting authorities to develop operating permit programs that met certain federal criteria. In implementing the title V operating permit programs, the permitting authorities require certain sources of air pollution to obtain permits that contain all applicable requirements under the CAA. The focus of the operating permit program is to improve enforcement by issuing each source a permit that consolidates all of the applicable CAA requirements into a federally enforceable document. By consolidating all of the applicable requirements for a facility, the source, the public, and the permitting authorities can more easily determine what CAA requirements apply and how compliance with those requirements is determined.

Sources required to obtain an operating permit under the title V program include: “major” sources of air pollution and certain other sources specified in the CAA or in EPA's implementing regulations. For example, all sources regulated under the acid rain program, regardless of size, must obtain operating permits. Examples of major sources include those that have the potential to emit 100 tons per year or more of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide, lead, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides ( NOX), or particulate matter (PM10); those that emit 10 tons per year of any single hazardous air pollutant (specifically listed under the CAA); or those that emit 25 tons per year or more of a combination of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). In areas that are not meeting the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone, carbon monoxide, or particulate matter, major sources are defined by the gravity of the nonattainment classification. For example, in ozone nonattainment areas classified as “serious,” major sources include those with the potential of emitting 50 tons per year or more of VOCs or NOX.

Why Is EPA Taking This Action?

Where a title V operating permit program substantially, but not fully, met the criteria outlined in the implementing regulations codified at 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 70, EPA granted interim approval contingent on the state revising its program to correct the deficiencies. Because the North Carolina, Mecklenburg County, and Western North Carolina programs substantially, but not fully, met the requirements of part 70, EPA granted interim approval to these programs in a rulemaking (60 FR 57357) published on November 15, 1995. The interim approval notice described the conditions that had to be met in order for the North Carolina, Mecklenburg County, and Western North Carolina programs to receive full approval. Interim approval of these programs expires on December 1, 2001.

What Is Involved in This Final Action?

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Mecklenburg County Department of Environmental Protection, and the Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency have fulfilled the conditions of the interim approval granted on November 15, 1995. On June 12, 2001, EPA published a notice in the Federal Register (see 66 FR 31575) proposing full approval of the North Carolina, Mecklenburg County, and Western North Carolina title V operating permit programs, and proposing approval of other program revisions. Since EPA did not receive any comments on the proposal, this action promulgates final full approval of the North Carolina, Mecklenburg County, and Western North Carolina programs and final approval of the other program changes described in the proposal.

Administrative Requirements

A. Docket

Copies of the North Carolina, Mecklenburg County, and Western North Carolina submittals and other supporting documentation used in developing the final full approval are contained in docket files maintained at the EPA Region 4 office. The docket is an organized and complete file of all the information submitted to, or otherwise considered by, EPA in the development of this proposed full approval. The primary purposes of the docket are: (1) To allow interested parties a means to identify and locate documents so that they can effectively participate in the approval process, and (2) to serve as the record in case of judicial review. The docket files are available for public inspection at the location listed under the ADDRESSES section of this document.

B. Executive Order 12866

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

C. Executive Order 13045

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 is not an economically significant regulatory action as defined in Executive Order 12866, and it does not involve decisions intended to mitigate environmental health or safety risks.

D. Executive Order 13132

This rule does not have Federalism implications because it 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, “Federalism” (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999). This rule merely approves existing requirements under state law, and does not alter the relationship or the distribution of power and responsibilities between the state and the federal government established in the CAA.

E. Executive Order 13175

This rule does not have tribal implications because it will not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, 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, as specified by Executive Order 13175, “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments” (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000).

F. Executive Order 13211

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 significantly regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

G. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act generally requires an agency to conduct Start Printed Page 45943a 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 rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities because operating permit program approvals under section 502 of the CAA do not create any new requirements but simply approve requirements that the state is already imposing. Therefore, because this approval 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.

H. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

Under sections 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 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 the approval action proposed 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 approves 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.

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.

In reviewing operating permit programs, EPA's role is to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the CAA and EPA's regulations codified at 40 CFR part 70. In this context, in the absence of a prior existing requirement for the state to use VCS, EPA has no authority to disapprove an operating permit program for failure to use VCS. It would thus be inconsistent with applicable law for EPA, when it reviews an operating permit program, to use VCS in place of an operating permit program that otherwise satisfies the provisions of the CAA. Thus, the requirements of section 12(d) of NTTAA do not apply.

J. Paperwork Reduction Act

This action will not impose any collection of information subject to the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., other than those previously approved and assigned OMB control number 2060-0243. For additional information concerning these requirements, see 40 CFR part 70. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

K. Submission to Congress and the Comptroller General

The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 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. 804(2).

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List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 70

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

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Dated: August 22, 2001.

A. Stanley Meiburg,

Acting Regional Administrator, Region 4.

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For reasons set out in the preamble, title 40, chapter I, of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

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PART 70—[AMENDED]

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1. The authority citation for part 70 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

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2. Appendix A to part 70 is amended by adding paragraphs (a)(2), (c)(2), and (d)(2) in the entry for North Carolina to read as follows:

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Appendix A to Part 70—Approval Status of State and Local Operating Permits Programs

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North Carolina

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(a) * * *

(2) North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources submitted program revisions on March 23, 1995, August 16, 1996, March 19, 1997, July 29, 1998, November 15, 1999, January 21, 2000, June 14, 2000, and August 28, 2000. The rule revisions contained in the March 23, 1995, March 19, 1997, January 21, 2000, and August 28, 2000 submittals adequately addressed the conditions of the interim approval which would expire on December 1, 2001. The State is hereby granted final full approval effective on October 1, 2001.

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(c) * * *

(2) Mecklenburg County Department of Environmental Protection submitted program revisions on October 11, 1999, November 2, 1999, December 8, 1999, December 28, 1999, and July 26, 2000. The rule revisions contained in the October 11, 1999, December 8, 1999, December 28, 1999, and July 26, 2000 submittals adequately addressed the conditions of the interim approval which would expire on December 1, 2001. Mecklenburg County is hereby granted final full approval effective on October 1, 2001.

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(d) * * *

(2) Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency submitted program revisions on January 23, 1997, September 29, 1999, November 10, 1999, January 5, 2000, and August 17, 2000. The rule revisions contained in the January 23, 1997, January 5, 2000, and August 17, 2000 submittals adequately addressed the conditions of the interim approval which would expire on December 1, 2001. Western North Carolina is hereby granted final full approval effective on October 1, 2001.

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[FR Doc. 01-22018 Filed 8-30-01; 8:45 am]

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