Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
EPA is taking final action to approve a request submitted on June 7, 2007, from the State of North Carolina, through the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR), to redesignate the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill 8-hour ozone nonattainment area to attainment for the 8-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (“NAAQS”, or “standard”). The Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill 8-hour ozone area is comprised of Durham, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Orange, Person and Wake Counties in their entireties, and Baldwin, Center, New Hope and Williams Townships in Chatham County in North Carolina (hereafter referred to as the “Triangle Area”). EPA's approval of the redesignation request is based on the determination that North Carolina has demonstrated that the Triangle Area has met the criteria for redesignation to attainment specified in the Clean Air Act (CAA), including the determination that the Triangle Area has attained the 8-hour ozone standard. Additionally, EPA is approving a revision to the North Carolina State Implementation Plan (SIP) including the 8-hour ozone maintenance plan for the Triangle Area that contains the new subarea 2008 and 2017 motor vehicle emission budgets (MVEBs) for nitrogen oxides (NOX), and an insignificance determination for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) contribution from motor vehicle emissions to the 8-hour ozone pollution in the entire Triangle Area. Through this action, EPA is also finding the new subarea 2008 and 2017 NOX MVEBs, and the VOC insignificance determination, adequate for the purposes of transportation conformity. The above described actions were proposed for public comment on October 3, 2007; no comments were received. EPA is also making corrections to inadvertent errors made in the proposed rulemaking published on October 3, 2007, (72 FR 56312) to Tables 1, 6, and 7.
Effective Date: This action is effective December 26, 2007.
EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket Identification No. EPA-R04-OAR-2007-0601. All documents in the docket are listed on the www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, i.e., Confidential Business Information 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 www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Regulatory Development Section, Air Planning Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street, SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to schedule your inspection. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 4:30, excluding federal holidays.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Nacosta Ward, Regulatory Development Section, Air Planning Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, Region 4, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 61 Forsyth Street, SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Ms. Nacosta Ward can be reached via telephone at (404) 562-9140 or electronic mail at email@example.com.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
Table of Contents
I. What Is the Background for the Actions?
II. What Actions Is EPA Taking?
III. Why Is EPA Taking These Actions?
IV. What Are the Effects of These Actions?
V. Final Action
VI. When Is This Action Effective?
VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews
I. What Is the Background for the Actions?
On June 7, 2007, North Carolina, through NCDENR, submitted a request to redesignate the Triangle Area to attainment for the 8-hour ozone standard, and for EPA approval of the North Carolina SIP revision containing a maintenance plan for the Triangle Area. In an action published on October 3, 2007 (72 FR 56312), EPA proposed to approve the redesignation of the Triangle Area to attainment. EPA also proposed approval of North Carolina's SIP revision including a plan for maintaining the 8-hour NAAQS as a SIP revision, and proposed to approve the new subarea  2008 and 2017 NOX MVEBs, and the VOC insignificance determination for the Triangle Area that were contained in the maintenance plan. In the October 3, 2007, proposed action, EPA also provided information on the status of its transportation conformity adequacy determination for the Triangle Area subarea NOX MVEBs and VOC insignificance determination. EPA received no comments on the Start Printed Page 72949October 3, 2007, proposal. This rule is EPA's final action following the October 3, 2007, proposal.
In this action, EPA is also announcing its finding that the new subarea NOX MVEBs for the Triangle Area and the VOC insignificance determination are adequate for transportation conformity purposes. The new subarea NOX MVEBs included in the maintenance plan are as follows:
EPA's adequacy public comment period on the subarea NOX MVEBs and the VOC insignificance determination began on March 21, 2007, and closed on April 20, 2007. No comments were received during EPA's adequacy public comment period. Through this Federal Register document, EPA is finding the new subarea 2008 and 2017 NOX MVEBs, as contained in North Carolina's submittal, adequate. These subarea NOX MVEBs meet the adequacy criteria contained in the transportation conformity rule. The new subarea NOX MVEBs must be used for future transportation conformity determinations. EPA is also finding adequate North Carolina's demonstration that the VOC emissions from motor vehicles are insignificant, and therefore no MVEBs are necessary for VOC. As a result of this finding (and approval which is discussed later in this rulemaking), the transportation partners are not required to complete a regional emissions analysis for VOC as a precursor for the 8-hour ozone standard for transportation conformity, but all of the other transportation conformity requirements must be met.
As was discussed in greater detail in the October 3, 2007, proposal, this redesignation is for the Triangle Area's 8-hour ozone designation finalized in 2004 (69 FR 23857, April 30, 2007). Various aspects of EPA's Phase 1 8-hour ozone implementation rule were challenged in court and on December 22, 2006, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit Court) vacated EPA's Phase 1 Implementation Rule for the 8-hour Ozone Standard. (69 FR 23951, April 30, 2004). South Coast Air Quality Management Dist. (SCAQMD) v. EPA, 472 F.3d 882 (DC.Cir. 2006). On June 8, 2007, in response to several petitions for rehearing, the DC Circuit Court clarified that the Phase 1 Rule was vacated only with regard to those parts of the rule that had been successfully challenged. Therefore, the Phase 1 Rule provisions related to classifications for areas currently classified under subpart 2 of title I, part D of the CAA as 8-hour nonattainment areas, the 8-hour attainment dates and the timing for emissions reductions needed for attainment of the 8-hour ozone NAAQS remain effective. The June 8th decision left intact the Court's rejection of EPA's reasons for implementing the 8-hour standard in certain nonattainment areas under subpart 1 in lieu of subpart 2. By limiting the vacatur, the Court let stand EPA's revocation of the 1-hour standard and those anti-backsliding provisions of the Phase 1 Rule that had not been successfully challenged. The June 8th decision affirmed the December 22, 2006, decision that EPA had improperly failed to retain measures required for 1-hour nonattainment areas under the anti-backsliding provisions of the regulations: (1) Nonattainment area New Source Review (NSR) requirements based on an area's 1-hour nonattainment classification; (2) Section 185 penalty fees for 1-hour severe or extreme nonattainment areas; and (3) measures to be implemented pursuant to section 172(c)(9) or 182(c)(9) of the CAA, on the contingency of an area not making reasonable further progress toward attainment of the 1-hour NAAQS, or for failure to attain that NAAQS. The June 8th decision clarified that the Court's reference to conformity requirements for anti-backsliding purposes was limited to requiring the continued use of 1-hour MVEBs until 8-hour budgets were available for 8-hour conformity determinations, which is already required under EPA's conformity regulations. The Court thus clarified that 1-hour conformity determinations are not required for anti-backsliding purposes.
With respect to the requirement for transportation conformity under the 1-hour standard, the Court in its June 8th decision clarified that for those areas with 1-hour MVEBs in their 1-hour maintenance plans, anti-backsliding requires only that those 1-hour budgets must be used for 8-hour conformity determinations until replaced by 8-hour budgets. To meet this requirement, conformity determinations in such areas must continue to comply with the applicable requirements of EPA's conformity regulations at 40 CFR Part 93. A portion of the Triangle Area was previously designated nonattainment for the 1-hour ozone standard and thus has 1-hour MVEBs which are currently being used in that area to demonstrate transportation conformity.
For the above reasons, and those set forth in the October 3, 2007, proposal for the redesignation of the Triangle Area, EPA does not believe that the Court's rulings alter any requirements relevant to this redesignation action so as to preclude redesignation, and do not prevent EPA from finalizing this redesignation. EPA believes that the Court's December 22, 2006, and June 8, 2007, decisions impose no impediment to moving forward with redesignation of the Triangle Area to attainment. Even in light of the Court's decisions, redesignation is appropriate under the relevant redesignation provisions of the CAA and longstanding policies regarding redesignation requests.
II. What Actions is EPA Taking?
EPA is taking final action to approve North Carolina's redesignation request and to change the legal designation of the Triangle Area from nonattainment to attainment for the 8-hour ozone NAAQS. EPA is also approving North Carolina's 8-hour ozone maintenance plan for the Triangle Area (such approval being one of the CAA criteria for redesignation to attainment status). The maintenance plan is designed to help keep the Triangle Area in attainment for the 8-hour ozone NAAQS through 2017. These approval actions are based on EPA's determination that North Carolina has demonstrated that the Triangle Area has met the criteria for redesignation to attainment specified in the CAA, including a demonstration that the Triangle Area has attained the 8-hour ozone standard. EPA's analyses of North Carolina's 8-hour ozone redesignation request and maintenance plan are described in detail in the proposed rule published October 3, 2007 (72 FR 56312).
Consistent with the CAA, the maintenance plan that EPA is approving also includes new subarea 2008 and 2017 MVEBs for NOX; and a VOC insignificance determination for the Triangle Area. In this action, EPA is approving these new subarea 2008 and 2017 NOX MVEBs, and the VOC insignificance determination for the Triangle Area. For regional emission analysis years that involve years prior to 2017, the applicable budgets (for the purpose of conducting transportation conformity analyses) are the new subarea 2008 NOX MVEBs. For regional emission analysis years that involve the year 2017 and beyond, the applicable Start Printed Page 72950budgets, for the purpose of conducting transportation conformity analyses, are the new subarea 2017 NOX MVEBs. In this action, EPA is also finding adequate and approving the Triangle Area's new subarea MVEBs for NOX. Further, EPA is finding adequate and approving the VOC insignificance determination for motor vehicles' contribution to the 8-hour ozone pollution for the Triangle Area.
EPA is also making corrections to inadvertent errors made to Table 1. “TRIANGLE SUBAREA NOX MVEBS,” Table 6. “TRIANGLE SUBAREA NOX MVEBs,” and Table 7. “NOX SAFETY MARGIN ALLOCATION” in the proposed rulemaking published on October 3, 2007 (72 FR 56312). The error was the misspelling of Granville County as “Graham County.” See the corrected tables below:
|* Includes an allocation from the available NOX safety margins (see Table 7).|
III. Why Is EPA Taking These Actions?
EPA has determined that the Triangle Area has attained the 8-hour ozone standard and has also determined that North Carolina has demonstrated that all other criteria for the redesignation of the Triangle Area from nonattainment to attainment of the 8-hour ozone NAAQS have been met. See, section 107(d)(3)(E) of the CAA. EPA is also taking final action to approve the maintenance plan for the Triangle Area as meeting the requirements of sections 175A and 107(d) of the CAA. Furthermore, EPA is finding adequate and approving the new subarea 2008 and 2017 NOX MVEBs, and the VOC insignificance determination contained in North Carolina's maintenance plan because these MVEBs and the insignificance determination are consistent with maintenance for the Triangle Area. In the October 3, 2007, proposal to redesignate the Triangle Area, EPA described the applicable criteria for redesignation to attainment and its analysis of how those criteria have been met. The rationale for EPA's findings and actions is set forth in the proposed rulemaking and summarized in this rulemaking.
IV. What Are the Effects of These Actions?
Approval of the redesignation request changes the legal designation of the Triangle Area for the 8-hour ozone NAAQS, found at 40 CFR Part 81. The approval also incorporates into the North Carolina SIP a plan for maintaining the 8-hour ozone NAAQS in the Triangle Area through 2017. The maintenance plan includes contingency measures to remedy future violations of the 8-hour ozone NAAQS, and a VOC insignificance determination under 40 CFR 93.109(k) for regional motor vehicle emissions contribution to the 8-hour ozone pollution in the Triangle Area. Additionally, the maintenance plan establishes new subarea NOX MVEBs for the years 2008 and 2017 for each county in the Triangle Area. These subarea budgets are established for each metropolitan planning organization (MPO), and in some instances, counties that are “donut areas.” The conformity rule defines a donut area as the portion of a metropolitan nonattainment or maintenance area that is located outside an MPO's planning boundary (40 CFR 93.101). Donut areas are not considered isolated rural nonattainment and maintenance areas under the transportation conformity rule.
Sections 93.124(c) and (d) of the transportation conformity rule provide the regulatory mechanism for establishing and implementing subarea SIP budgets. In July 2004, EPA released a guidance document that provided additional details for implementing conformity in multi-jurisdictional areas, including establishing subarea SIP budgets in areas with multiple MPOs, entitled “Companion Guidance for the July 1, 2004 Final Transportation Conformity Rule Conformity Implementation in Multi-Jurisdictional Nonattainment and Maintenance Areas for Existing and New Air Quality Standards,” EPA 420-B-04-012. While that guidance did not address the case where subarea budgets are established for a donut area, such budgets can be established in a manner consistent with the requirements of the CAA that ensures that conformity determinations in the Triangle Area will continue to meet federal conformity requirements.
EPA believes that statutory and regulatory requirements can be met for the entire nonattainment or maintenance area if conformity is determined for every subarea SIP budget at least every four years. Only by meeting all subarea SIP budgets can the SIP's overall purpose be met. As described on page 21 of the 2004 guidance, CAA section 176(c) states that the federal government and MPOs cannot approve transportation activities unless they conform to the SIP and its budgets. In a nonattainment or maintenance area with more than one MPO, all MPOs must conform even if the SIP has established subarea budgets. EPA believes that this same legal standard applies in the case where the SIP establishes a subarea budget for a donut area.
In the case of the Triangle Area 8-hour ozone SIP, subarea budgets have been established for the Area's MPOs and donut areas. Conformity determinations must be completed for all subarea budgets according to the statutory requirement to determine conformity at least every four years in areas with MPOs, transportation plans, and Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs). MPOs must determine conformity to their respective transportation plans and TIPs every four years, and the interagency consultation process for the Triangle Area should ensure that conformity is demonstrated to any subarea budget for a donut area at least every four years as well. In the Start Printed Page 72951event that an MPO or donut area cannot demonstrate conformity on a four-year cycle, the other subareas cannot complete a conformity determination until all subareas conform. See, EPA's 2004 guidance (pages 20-21) for further information regarding the conformity implications of not meeting subarea budgets.
V. Final Action
After evaluating North Carolina's redesignation request, EPA is taking final action to approve the redesignation and change the legal designation of the Triangle Area from nonattainment to attainment for the 8-hour ozone NAAQS. Through this action, EPA is also approving into the North Carolina SIP the 8-hour ozone maintenance plan for the Triangle Area, which includes the subarea 2008 and 2017 MVEBs for NOX, and VOC insignificance determination for the entire Triangle Area. Within 24 months from the publication date for this final rule, the North Carolina transportation partners will need to demonstrate conformity to these new subarea NOX MVEBs pursuant 172(c)(2)(E) of the CAA as added by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), which was signed into law on August 10, 2005. Additionally, the Triangle Area transportation partners should note EPA's finding of adequacy and approval for the VOC insignificance determination in future transportation conformity determinations.
VI. When Is This Action Effective?
EPA finds that there is good cause for these determinations (approval of redesignation and 10-year maintenance plan, including the 2017 MVEBs) to become effective on December 26, 2007, because a delayed effective date is unnecessary due to the nature of these determinations, which relieves the Triangle Area from certain CAA requirements that otherwise would apply to it. The expedited effective date for this action is authorized under both 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(1), which provides that rule actions may become effective less than 30 days after publication if the rule “grants or recognizes an exemption or relieves a restriction” and section 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), which allows an effective date less than 30 days after publication “as otherwise provided by the agency for good cause found and published with the rule.”
A redesignation to attainment relieves the Triangle Area from certain CAA requirements that otherwise would apply to it. North Carolina's relief from these obligations is sufficient reason to allow an expedited effective date of this rule under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(1) and provides good cause to make this rule effective December 26, 2007, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). The purpose of the 30-day waiting period prescribed in 5 U.S.C. 553(d) is to give affected parties a reasonable time to adjust their behavior and prepare before the final rule takes effect. Whereas here, the final rule relieves obligations associated with nonattainment designations rather than imposing these obligations on affected parties, such as the State of North Carolina. Therefore, there is no need for time to adjust and prepare before the rule takes effect.
VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews
Under Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993), this action is not a “significant regulatory action” and therefore is not subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget. For this reason, this action is also not subject to Executive Order 13211, “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use” (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001). This action merely approves state law as meeting Federal requirements and imposes no additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law. Accordingly, the Administrator certifies that this rule 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 rule approves 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).
This rule also 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 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000). This action also does not have Federalism implications because it does 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). This action merely affects the status of a geographical area, does not impose any new requirements on sources or allow a state to avoid adopting or implementing other requirements, and does not alter the relationship or the distribution of power and responsibilities established in the CAA. This rule also is not subject to Executive Order 13045, “Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks” (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997), because it is not economically significant and because the Agency does not have reason to believe that the rule concerns an environmental health risk or safety risk that may disproportionately affect children.
In reviewing SIP submissions, EPA's role is to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the CAA. In this context, in the absence of a prior existing requirement for the State to use voluntary consensus standards (VCS), EPA has no authority to disapprove a SIP submission for failure to use VCS. It would thus be inconsistent with applicable law for EPA, when it reviews a SIP submission, to use VCS in place of a SIP submission that otherwise satisfies the provisions of the CAA. 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. 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 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).
Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by February 25, 2008. 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 Start Printed Page 72952for 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 CAA).Start List of Subjects
List of Subjects
- Environmental protection
- Air pollution control
- Intergovernmental relations
- Incorporation by reference
- Nitrogen dioxide
- Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
- Volatile organic compounds
End List of Subjects Start Signature
Dated: December 13, 2007.
J.I. Palmer, Jr.,
Regional Administrator, Region 4.
and 81 is amended as follows:End Amendment Part Start Part
PART 52—[AMENDED]End Part Start Amendment Part
1. The authority citation for part 52 continues to read as follows:End Amendment Part
Subpart II—North CarolinaStart Amendment Part
2. Section 52.1770(e), is amended by adding a new entry at the end of the table for “8-Hour Ozone Maintenance plan for the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina area” to read as follows:End Amendment Part
(e) * * *
|Provision||State effective date||EPA approval date||Federal Register citation|
|* * * * * * *|
|8-Hour Ozone Maintenance plan for the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina area (Durham, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Orange, Person and Wake Counties in their entireties, and Baldwin, Center, New Hope and Williams Townships in Chatham County)||June 7, 2007||December 26, 2007||[Insert first page of publication]|
PART 81—[AMENDED]End Part Start Amendment Part
3. The authority citation for part 81 continues to read as follows:End Amendment Part Start Amendment Part
4. In § 81.334, the table entitled “North Carolina-Ozone (8-Hour Standard)” is amended under “Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC” by revising the entries for “Chatham County (part) Baldwin Township, Center Township, New Hope Township, Williams Township,” “Durham County,” “Franklin County,” “Granville County,” “Johnston County,” “Orange County,” “Person County,” and “Wake County” to read as follows:End Amendment Part
|Designated area||Designation a||Category/classification|
|Date 1||Type||Date 1||Type|
|* * * * * * *|
|Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC:|
|Chatham County (part) Baldwin Township, Center Township, New Hope Township, Williams Township||This action is effective December 26, 2007||Attainment|
|Durham County||This action is effective December 26, 2007||Attainment|
|Franklin County||This action is effective December 26, 2007||Attainment|
|Granville County||This action is effective December 26, 2007||Attainment|
|Johnston County||This action is effective December 26, 2007||Attainment|
|Orange County||This action is effective December 26, 2007||Attainment|
|Person County||This action is effective December 26, 2007||Attainment|
|Wake County||This action is effective December 26, 2007||Attainment|
|* * * * * * *|
|a Includes Indian Country located in each county or area, except as otherwise specified.|
|1 This date is June 15, 2004, unless otherwise noted.|
|2 Early Action Compact Area, effective date deferred until April 15, 2008.|
|3 November 22, 2004.|
1. The term “subarea” refers to the portion of the area, in a nonattainment or maintenance area, for which the motor vehicle emissions budgets (MVEBs) apply. In this case, the “subareas” are established at the county level so this indicates that the MVEBs cover individual counties and also indicates to transportation conformity implementers in this area that there are separate county-level MVEBs for each county in this area. EPA's Companion Guidance for the July 1, 2004, Final Transportation Conformity Rule: Conformity Implementation in Multi-Jurisdictional Nonattainment and Maintenance Areas for Existing and New Air Quality Standards explains more about the possible geographical extent of a MVEB, how these geographical areas are defined, and how transportation conformity is implemented in these different geographical areas.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. E7-24959 Filed 12-21-07; 8:45 am]
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