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Finding of Substantial Inadequacy of Implementation Plan; Call for California State Implementation Plan Revision

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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 rule.

SUMMARY:

EPA is finalizing our February 13, 2003 proposed finding (68 FR 7327) that the California State Implementation Plan (SIP) is substantially inadequate for all nonattainment air pollution control districts in the State and for all Start Printed Page 37747attainment area districts that have an approved Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program. We did not receive any comments on our proposal. EPA is finalizing this finding, pursuant to our authority in section 110(k)(5) of the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act), because the State cannot provide “necessary assurances” that it or the districts have authority to carry out the applicable nonattainment New Source Review (NSR) or PSD portions of the SIP. This action requires California to amend its State law to eliminate the permitting exemption as it pertains to major agricultural sources of air pollution and submit the necessary assurances by November 23, 2003 to support an affirmative finding by EPA under section 110(a)(2)(E). If the State fails to submit the necessary assurances of authority or if EPA disapproves any such submittal in response to this final SIP call, the sanctions clock in section 179 of the Act will be triggered.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This rule is effective on July 25, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

You can inspect copies of the administrative record for this action at EPA's Region IX office from 8:30 AM to 5 PM, Monday-Friday. Please call 24 hours in advance to accommodate building security procedures. A reasonable fee may be charged for copying.

Copies of the SIPs for the State of California are also available for inspection at the following location: California Air Resources Board, Stationary Source Division, Rule Evaluation Section, 1001 “I” Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Please call Ed Pike, EPA Region IX, at (415) 972-3974 or send e-mail to pike.ed@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Throughout this document, “we,” “us” and “our” refer to EPA.

Table of Contents

I. Background

A. What action is EPA finalizing?

B. How can California correct the SIP inadequacy?

C. What are the consequences if California does not correct the SIP inadequacy ?

II. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

A. Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review

B. Paperwork Reduction Act

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

E. Executive Order 13132, Federalism

F. Executive Order 13175, Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments

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

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

I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

J. Congressional Review Act

K. Petitions for Judicial Review

I. Background

A. What Action Is EPA Finalizing?

CAA section 110(k)(5) provides that whenever EPA finds the applicable implementation plan “is substantially inadequate to attain or maintain the relevant national ambient air quality standard, * * * or to otherwise comply with any requirement of this Act, the Administrator shall require the State to revise the plan as necessary to correct such inadequacies.” EPA did not receive any comments on our February 13, 2003 proposed finding of inadequacy. Today we are finalizing our finding that the approved California SIP is substantially inadequate. The SIP cannot provide “necessary assurances” that the State or districts have the authority to issue permits under their PSD and nonattainment NSR SIPs to all major sources because Health & Safety Code section 42310(e) exempts major agricultural stationary sources from these permitting requirements.

Specifically, sections 110(a)(2)(C) and (I) and 172 of the Act require the applicable implementation plan to contain a program for issuing permits to major stationary sources of air pollution pursuant to parts C and D of title I of the Act. In addition, section 110(a)(2)(E) requires that each SIP provide necessary assurances that the State or districts have adequate authority to carry out the SIP and that no State law prohibits the State or districts from carrying out any portion of the SIP. The California SIP does not meet these requirements because California Health & Safety Code section 42310(e) exempts “equipment used in agricultural operations in the growing of crops or the raising of fowl or animals” from all permitting, including PSD and NSR permitting otherwise required by parts C and D of title I of the Act. As a result, the State and districts cannot issue permits to these agricultural sources, even if they are major stationary sources under the Act. The CAA NSR and PSD permitting requirements do not provide for this exemption.

B. How Can California Correct the SIP Inadequacy?

To correct the deficiency, EPA recommends that the State legislature amend Health & Safety Code section 42310(e) to remove the exemption as it applies to major agricultural sources. The State is already subject to a sanctions clock based on the Notice of Deficiency (NOD) that EPA issued on May 22, 2002, 67 FR 35990, with respect to the State's title V operating permits program. In that NOD, EPA explained that California Health & Safety Code section 42310(e) improperly exempted major agricultural sources from CAA title V permitting. The NOD stated: “EPA has determined that significant action in this instance means the revision or removal of Health and Safety Code 42310(e) so that local air pollution control districts have the required authority to issue title V permits to stationary agricultural sources that are major sources of air pollution.” A similar correction with respect to NSR and PSD permitting is necessary by November 23, 2003 to comply with this final action, i.e. remove the agricultural exemption for major sources. We are setting this deadline to be consistent with the deadline established in the May 22, 2002 NOD for making the revision for Title V purposes.

Our proposal listed several districts that have New Source Review exemptions that may pose problems for permitting major agricultural stationary sources, but did not call for specific revisions at this time. We believe it is reasonable to wait for the State legislature to correct Health and Safety Code section 42310(e) before we determine whether any such exemptions at the district level represent authority problems under section 110(a)(2)(E).[1] EPA, nonetheless, encourages districts to evaluate their SIP-approved rules to ensure that exemptions do not create potential authority problems. Once the State acts to address Health and Safety Code section 42310(e), EPA will work with the districts to determine if further rulemaking is necessary to address specific local deficiencies that remain after the State law change.

C. What Are the Consequences if California Does Not Correct the SIP Inadequacy?

As noted earlier, California must adopt and submit to EPA a revision to Start Printed Page 37748State law that will provide the necessary assurances that it (or the districts) can fully implement the required NSR and PSD programs for all major sources, including agricultural sources, within the State. If EPA determines that the State has failed to amend State law by November 23, 2003, or if EPA subsequently finds the correction does not adequately provide such assurances, EPA will make a finding under section 179 of the Act that will start a sanctions clock as specified under 40 CFR 52.31.[2] There are two types of sanctions: highway funding sanctions (section 179(b)(1)) and offset sanctions (section 179(b)(2)). Pursuant to our regulations at 40 CFR 52.31, offset sanctions will apply 18 months following a finding by EPA under section 179(a); highway funding sanctions would apply six months later. However, we expect that the State will make the necessary corrections to avoid sanctions.

II. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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.)

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.

Today's SIP call does not establish requirements applicable to small entities. Instead, it requires the State of California to develop, adopt, and submit SIP revisions that would provide the necessary assurances that the applicable NSR and PSD programs do not exempt major agricultural sources.

This rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities because the rule does not establish requirements applicable to small entities. Therefore, the Administrator certifies that this action will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities.

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

Under sections 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), 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 action will require the State of California to revise laws and regulations governing exemptions for agricultural sources. This requirement, even if considered a Federal mandate,[3] would not result in aggregate costs over $100 million to either the state or local districts. In addition, this final action will not significantly or uniquely impact small governments.

E. Executive Order 13132, Federalism

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 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 does not impose a new enforceable duty on the State, 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. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this rule. Start Printed Page 37749

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. 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). This rule will be effective July 25, 2003.

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 August 25, 2003. 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).)

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List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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Dated: July 16, 2003.

Alexis Strauss,

Acting Regional Administrator, Region IX.

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Footnotes

1.  We note that certain local exemptions are tied to exemptions such as Health and Safety Code section 42310(e) provided under State law. Removal of the exemption at the State level could automatically resolve authority problems at the district level. In addition, if the State legislature were to not only revise the language of Health and Safety Code section 42310(e) but also to clarify that any such local exemptions were also void, no further action by the districts may be necessary. Depending on the action at the State level, EPA may be able to make the required finding under 110(a)(2)(E) that the authority to carry out the air permitting programs is not prohibited by any State or local law.

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2.  EPA is using its authority in section 110(k)(5) to set a deadline for a corrective submittal that is less than 18 months. We believe the November 23, 2003, deadline for beginning the 18 month sanctions clock is reasonable because action by this date is otherwise required to address the title V problems noted above.

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3.  It is unclear whether a requirement to submit a SIP revision would constitute a federal mandate. The obligation for a state to revise its SIP that arises out of sections 110(a) and 110(k)(5) of the CAA is not legally enforceable by a court of law, and at most is a condition for continued receipt of highway funds. Therefore, it is possible to view an action requiring such a submittal as not creating any enforceable duty within the meaning of section 421(5)(9a)(I) of UMRA (2 U.S.C. 658 (a)(I)). Even if it did, the duty could be viewed as falling within the exception for a condition of Federal assistance under section 421(5)(a)(i)(I) of UMRA (2 U.S.C. 658(5)(a)(i)(I)).

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[FR Doc. 03-16028 Filed 6-24-03; 8:45 am]

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