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California State Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Standards; Request for Waiver of Federal Preemption; Opportunity for Public Hearing

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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


Notice of opportunity for public hearing and comment.


The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has notified EPA that it has adopted Greenhouse Gas Emission (GHG) regulations for passenger cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles beginning with the 2009 model year (MY). By letter dated December 21, 2005, CARB submitted a request that EPA grant a waiver of preemption under section 209(b) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. 7543(b) for these regulations. This notice announces that EPA has scheduled a public hearing concerning California's request and that EPA is accepting written comment on the request.


EPA has scheduled a public hearing concerning CARB's request on May 22, 2007, beginning at 9 a.m. Any party planning to present oral testimony should notify EPA by May 15, 2007, expressing its interest. Any party may submit written comments by June 15, 2007.


EPA will make available for in person inspection, at the Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, written comments received from interested parties, in addition to any testimony given at the public hearing. The official public docket is the collection of materials that is available for public viewing at the Air and Radiation Docket in the EPA Docket Center, (EPA/DC) EPA West, Room B102, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The EPA Docket Center Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the Air and Radiation Docket is (202) 566-1743. The reference number for this docket is EPA-HQ-OAR-2006-0173. Parties wishing to present oral testimony at the public hearing should provide notice to David Dickinson at the address noted below. We plan to hold the public hearing at EPA Headquarters in Washington, DC.

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David Dickinson, Compliance and Innovative Strategies Division (6405J), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW., Washington, DC 20460. Telephone: (202) 343-9256, Fax: (202) 343-2804, e-mail address: Dickinson.David@EPA.GOV. EPA will make available an electronic copy of this Notice on the Office of Transportation and Air Quality's (OTAQ's) homepage (​otaq/​). Users can find this document by accessing the OTAQ homepage and looking at the path entitled “Regulations.” This service is free of charge, except any cost you already incur for Internet connectivity. Users can also get the official Federal Register version of the Notice on the day of publication on the primary website: (​docs/​fedrgstr/​EPA-AIR/​).

Please note that due to differences between the software used to develop the documents and the software into which the documents may be downloaded, changes in format, page length, etc., may occur.

For Obtaining and Submitting Electronic Copies of Comments:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2006-0173, by one of the following methods:

  • Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • E-mail:
  • Fax: (202)343-2804.
  • Mail: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA West (Air Docket), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Room B108, Mail Code 6102T, Washington, DC 20460, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2006-0173. Please include a total of two copies.
  • Hand Delivery: EPA Docket Center, EPA/DC, EPA West, Room B102, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No EPA-HQ-OAR-2006-0173.

EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through or e-mail.

The web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an e-mail comment directly to EPA without going through your e-mail address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. Docket: All documents in the Start Printed Page 21261docket are listed in the index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, will be publicly available only in hard copy.

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(A) Background and Discussion

Section 209(a) of the Clean Air Act, as amended (“Act”), 42 U.S.C. 7543(a), provides:

No State or any political subdivision thereof shall adopt or attempt to enforce any standard relating to the control of emissions from new motor vehicles or new motor vehicle engines subject to this part. No state shall require certification, inspection or any other approval relating to the control of emissions from any new motor vehicle or new motor vehicle engine as condition precedent to the initial retail sale, titling (if any), or registration of such motor vehicle, motor vehicle engine, or equipment.

Section 209(b) of the Act requires the Administrator, after notice and opportunity for public hearing, to waive application of the prohibitions of section 209(a) for any state that has adopted standards (other than crankcase emission standards) for the control of emissions from new motor vehicles or new motor vehicle engines prior to March 30, 1966, if the state determines that the state standards will be, in the aggregate, at least as protective of public health and welfare as applicable Federal standards. California is the only state that is qualified to seek and receive a waiver under section 209(b). The Administrator must grant a waiver unless he finds that (A) the determination of the state is arbitrary and capricious, (B) the state does not need the state standards to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions, or (C) the state standards and accompanying enforcement procedures are not consistent with section 202(a) of the Act. Previous decisions granting waivers of Federal preemption for motor vehicles have stated that State standards are inconsistent with section 202(a) if, for example, there is inadequate lead time to permit the development of the necessary technology giving appropriate consideration to the cost of compliance within that time period or if the Federal and State test procedures impose inconsistent certification procedures.[1]

CARB's December 21, 2005, letter to the Administrator notified EPA that the CARB Board had adopted its GHG regulations at a public hearing on September 23-24, 2004 and subsequently California's Office of Administrative Law approved the regulatory action on September 15, 2005. The amendment and adoption of regulations can be found at title 13, California Code of Regulations (CCR), sections 1900, 1961 and 1961.1.

Please provide comment as to whether (a) California's determination that its motor vehicle emission standards are, in the aggregate, at least as protective of public health and welfare as applicable Federal standards is arbitrary and capricious, (b) California needs such standards to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions, and (c) California's standards and accompanying enforcement procedures are consistent with section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act. Within the context of these statutory criteria we also request comment on the following: (1) Given that the regulations referenced in the December 21, 2005, request letter relate to global climate change, should that have any effect on EPA's evaluation of the criteria, and if so, in what manner; (2) whether the United States Supreme Court's decision, issued on April 2, 2007 (549 U.S. ____(2007)), regarding the regulation of emissions of greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles under Title II of the Clean Air Act, is relevant to EPA's evaluation of the three criteria, and if so, in what manner; and (3) whether the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) fuel economy provisions are relevant to EPA's consideration of this petition or to CARB's authority to implement its vehicle GHG regulations.

Procedures for Public Participation

In recognition that public hearings are designed to give interested parties an opportunity to participate in this proceeding, there are no adverse parties as such. Statements by participants will not be subject to cross-examination by other participants without special approval by the presiding officer. The presiding officer is authorized to strike from the record statements that he or she deems irrelevant or repetitious and to impose reasonable time limits on the duration of the statement of any participant.

The Agency will make a verbatim record of the proceedings. Interested parties may arrange with the reporter at the hearing(s) to obtain a copy of the transcript at their own expense. EPA will keep the record open until June 15, 2007. Upon expiration of the comment period, the Administrator will render a decision on CARB's request based on the record of the public hearing, relevant written submissions, and other information that he deems pertinent.

Persons with comments containing proprietary information must distinguish such information from other comments to the greatest possible extent and label it as “Confidential Business Information” (CBI). If a person making comments wants EPA to base its decision in part on a submission labeled CBI, then a non-confidential version of the document that summarizes the key data or information should be submitted for the public docket. To ensure that proprietary information is not inadvertently placed in the docket, submissions containing such information should be sent directly to the contact person listed above and not to the public docket. Information covered by a claim of confidentiality will be disclosed by EPA only to the extent allowed and by the procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2. If no claim of confidentiality accompanies the submission when EPA receives it, EPA will make it available to the public without further notice to the person making comments.

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Dated: April 24, 2007.

William L. Wehrum,

Acting Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation.

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1.  To be consistent, the California certification procedures need not be identical to the Federal certification procedures. California procedures would be inconsistent, however, if manufacturers would be unable to meet the state and the Federal requirements with the same test vehicle in the course of the same test. See, e.g., 43 FR 32182 (July 25, 1978).

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[FR Doc. E7-8168 Filed 4-27-07; 2:09 pm]