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Nebraska; Final Approval of State Underground Storage Tank Program

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Environmental Protection Agency.

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Final rule; final determination on application of State of Nebraska for final approval.


The State of Nebraska has applied for final approval of its underground storage tank (UST) program under Subtitle I of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reviewed Nebraska's application and has reached a final determination that Nebraska's underground storage tank program satisfies all of the requirements necessary to qualify for final approval. Thus, EPA is granting final approval to the State of Nebraska to operate its program.


Final approval for Nebraska shall be effective September 18, 2002.

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Linda Garwood, EPA Region 7, ARTD/USTB, 901 North 5th Street, Kansas City, Kansas 66101, (913) 551-7268.

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A. Background

Subtitle I of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), as amended, requires that the EPA develop standards for Underground Storage Tanks (UST) systems as may be necessary to protect human health and the environment, and procedures for approving State programs in lieu of the Federal program. EPA promulgated State program approval procedures at 40 CFR part 281. 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 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). Note that RCRA sections 9005 (information-gathering) and 9006 (Federal enforcement) by their terms apply even in states with programs approved by EPA under RCRA section 9004. Thus, the Agency retains its authority under RCRA sections 9005 and 9006, 42 U.S.C. 6991d and 6991e, and other applicable statutory and regulatory provisions to undertake inspections and enforcement actions in approved states. With respect to such an enforcement action, the Agency will rely on Federal sanctions, Federal inspection authorities, and Federal procedures rather than the state authorized analogues to these provisions.

B. State of Nebraska

The UST program in Nebraska is implemented jointly by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) and the Nebraska State Fire Marshal (NSFM). Section 81-15, 118 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes (N.R.S.) designates NDEQ as the lead agency for the UST program, but specifies that NSFM will conduct preventative activities under an interagency agreement with NDEQ.

The State of Nebraska initially submitted a state program approval application to EPA by letter dated December 15, 2000. Additional information was provided by Nebraska on March 21, 2001. EPA evaluated that information as well as other issues and determined the application package met all requirements for a complete program application. On December 5, 2001, EPA notified Nebraska that the application package was complete.

The Nebraska program provides for regulation of both petroleum and hazardous substance tanks. Nebraska also regulates UST systems used to store fuel solely for use by emergency power generators, regulates certain USTs used to store heating oil, regulates any tank used for consumptive on-site purposes and not for resale, requires registration of permanently abandoned systems, regulates above ground storage tanks for those tanks to be eligible for reimbursement from the state cleanup fund, imposes licensing and certification requirements on tank installation and removal contractors, licenses and imposes a remedial action fee on certain refiners and suppliers, and requires any person who deposits regulated substances in a tank to make certain notifications to owners and operators of UST systems, and subjects UST systems previously closed between December 22, 1988 and January 1, 1989 to being directed to close in accordance with the state closure requirements. However, these parts of the Nebraska program are broader in scope than the Federal program and are not included in this final approval. Additionally, the Nebraska program is not as broad as the federal program because Nebraska does not regulate tank systems installed between December 22, 1988 and January 1, 1989 as new tank systems. However, for tank systems installed within this 9-day window, through the Nebraska and EPA Memorandum of Agreement included in the State Program Approval application, EPA has agreed to assume all related enforcement responsibilities.

On March 7, 2002, EPA published a tentative decision announcing its intent to grant Nebraska final approval. Further background on the tentative decision to grant approval is available by contacting Linda Garwood, EPA Region 7, ARTD/USTB, 901 North 5th Street, Kansas City, Kansas 66101, (913) 551-7268.

Along with the tentative determination, EPA announced the opportunity for public comment. Also, EPA provided notice that a public hearing would be provided but only if significant public interest on substantive issues was shown. EPA did not receive any significant comments and no public hearing was held.

C. Decision

I conclude that the State of Nebraska's application for final approval meets all the statutory and regulatory requirements established by Subtitle I of RCRA. Accordingly, Nebraska is granted final approval to operate its UST program. The State of Nebraska now has the responsibility for managing all regulated UST facilities within its borders and carrying out all aspects of the UST program, except with regard to Indian lands, where EPA will retain and otherwise exercise regulatory authority. Nebraska also has primary enforcement responsibility, for the UST's it regulates, although EPA retains the right to conduct inspections under Section 9005 of RCRA, 42 U.S.C. 6991d, and to take enforcement actions under Section 9006 of RCRA, 42 U.S.C. 6991e.

Administrative Requirements

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has exempted this action from the requirements of Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993), and therefore this action is not subject to review by OMB. This action authorizes State requirements for the purpose of RCRA 9004 and imposes no additional requirements beyond those imposed by State law. Accordingly, I certify that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). Because this action authorizes pre-existing requirements under State law and does not impose any additional enforceable duty beyond that required by State law, it does not contain any unfunded mandate or significantly or uniquely affect small governments, as described in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4). For the same reason, this action does not have tribal implications within the meaning of Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 6, 2000). It does not have substantial direct effects on tribal governments, on the relationship Start Printed Page 53745between the Federal government and the Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal government and Indian tribes, as specified in Executive Order 13175. This action 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 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999), because it merely authorizes State requirements as part of the State underground storage tank program without altering the relationship or the distribution of power and responsibilities established by RCRA. This action also is not subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997), because it is not economically significant and it does not make decisions based on environmental health or safety risks. 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.

Under RCRA 9004, EPA grants approval of a State's program as long as the State meets the criteria required by RCRA. It would thus be inconsistent with applicable law for EPA, when it reviews a State program application, to require the use of any particular voluntary consensus standard in place of another standard that otherwise satisfies the requirements of RCRA. Thus, the requirements of section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note) do not apply. As required by section 3 of Executive Order 12988 (61 FR 4729, February 7, 1996), in issuing this rule, EPA has taken the necessary steps to eliminate drafting errors and ambiguity, minimize potential litigation, and provide a clear legal standard for affected conduct. EPA has complied with Executive Order 12630 (53 FR 8859, March 15, 1988) by examining the takings implications of the rule in accordance with the “Attorney General's Supplemental Guidelines for the Evaluation of Risk and Avoidance of Unanticipated Takings” issued under the executive order. This rule does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

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 document 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 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 281

  • Environmental protection
  • Administrative practice and procedure
  • Hazardous materials
  • State program approval
  • Underground storage tanks
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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).

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Dated: July 25, 2002.

James B. Gulliford,

Regional Administrator, Region 7.

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[FR Doc. 02-20987 Filed 8-16-02; 8:45 am]