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Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; West Virginia: Transportation Conformity Requirement

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Direct final rule.

SUMMARY:

EPA is taking direct final action to approve revisions to the West Virginia State Implementation Plan (SIP). The revisions establish State transportation conformity requirements. EPA is approving these revisions in accordance with the requirements of the Clean Air Act.

DATES:

This rule is effective on July 1, 2008 without further notice, unless EPA receives adverse written comment by June 2, 2008. If EPA receives such comments, it will publish a timely withdrawal of the direct final rule in the Federal Register and inform the public that the rule will not take effect.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID Number EPA-R03-OAR-2007-1146 by one of the following methods:

A. http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.

B. E-mail: febbo.carol@epa.gov.

C. Mail: EPA-R03-OAR-2007-1146, Carol Febbo, Chief, Energy, Radiation and Indoor Environment Branch, Mailcode 3AP23, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103.

D. Hand Delivery: At the listed EPA Region III address. 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-R03-OAR-2007-Start Printed Page 241761146. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change, and may be made available online at http://www.regulations.gov, 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 http://www.regulations.gov or e-mail. The http://www.regulations.gov 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 http://www.regulations.gov, 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 electronic docket are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, (i.e., CBI or other information), disclosure of which 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 in http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy during normal business hours at the Air Protection Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103. Copies of the State submittal are available at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Air Quality, 601 57th Street, SE., Charleston, WV 25304.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Martin Kotsch, (215) 814-3335, or by e-mail at kotsch.martin@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Throughout this document whenever “we”, “us”, or “our” is used, we mean EPA.

I. What Is Transportation Conformity?

II. What Is the Background for This Action?

III. What Did the State Submit and How Did We Evaluate It?

IV. What Action Is EPA Taking Today?

V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

I. What Is Transportation Conformity?

Transportation conformity is required under section 176(c) of the Clean Air Act to ensure that Federally supported highway, transit projects, and other activities are consistent with (conform to) the purpose of the approved SIP. Conformity currently applies to areas that are designated nonattainment, and those areas redesignated to attainment after 1990 (maintenance areas), with plans developed under section 175A of the Clean Air Act for the following transportation related criteria pollutants: Ozone, particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Conformity with the purpose of the SIP means that transportation activities will not cause new air quality violations, worsen existing violations, or delay timely attainment of the relevant National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The Federal transportation conformity regulations (Federal Rule) are found in 40 CFR part 93 and provisions related to conformity SIPs are found in 40 CFR 51.390.

II. What Is the Background for This Action?

On August 10, 2005, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) was signed into law. SAFETEA-LU revised certain provisions of section 176(c) of the Clean Air Act, related to transportation conformity. Prior to SAFETEA-LU, states were required to address all of the Federal Rule's provisions in their conformity SIPs. After SAFETEA-LU, state's SIPs were required to contain all or portions of only the following three sections of the Federal Rule, modified as appropriate to each state's circumstances: 40 CFR 93.105 (consultation procedures); 40 CFR 93.122(a)(4)(ii) (written commitments to implement certain kind of control measures); and 40 CFR 93.125(c) (written commitments to implement certain kinds of mitigation measures). Pursuant to SAFETEA-LU, States are no longer required to submit conformity SIP revisions that address the other sections of the Federal conformity rule.

III. What Did the State Submit and How Did We Evaluate It?

On April 12, 2007, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection submitted a revision to its State Implementation Plan (SIP) for Transportation Conformity purposes. The SIP revision consists of six executed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) which will constitute the State of West Virginia SIP for transportation conformity purposes. The six MOUs were executed among the State of West Virginia and the various Metropolitan Planning Organizations within the State of West Virginia which have responsibility for undertaking transportation conformity in conjunction with transportation planning activities along with the three Federal Agencies (EPA, Federal Highway Administration, and Federal Transit Administration) who are participating members in the conformity consultation process. These MOUs which make up the SIP revision address the three provisions of the EPA Conformity Rule required under SAFETEA-LU: 40 CFR 93.105 (consultation procedures); 40 CFR 93.122(a)(4)(ii) (certain control measures), and 40 CFR 93.125(c) (mitigation measures).

We reviewed the submittal to assure consistency with the February 14, 2006, “Interim Guidance for Implementing the Transportation Conformity provisions in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)”. The guidance document can be found at http://epa.gov/​otaq/​stateresources/​transconf/​policy.htm. The guidance document states that each state is only required to address and tailor the afore-mentioned three sections of the Federal Conformity Rule in their state conformity SIPs.

EPA's review of West Virginia's Transportation Conformity SIP revision indicates that it is consistent with EPA's guidance in that it included the three elements specified by SAFETEA-LU and EPA's guidance. Consistent with the EPA Conformity Rule at 40 CFR 93.105 (consultation procedures), paragraph (a)(2) of each of the executed MOUs establishes the requirements for the appropriate agencies, procedures and allocation of responsibilities as required under 40 CFR 93.105 for consultation procedures. In addition, the executed MOUs provide for appropriate public consultation/public involvement consistent with 40 CFR 93.105. With respect to 40 CFR 93.122(a)(4)(ii) and 40 CFR 93.125(c), paragraphs (a)(3) and (a)(4) of the executed MOUs specifies Start Printed Page 24177that written commitments for control measures and mitigation measures for meeting these requirements will be provided as needed.

IV. Final Action

EPA is hereby approving the West Virginia SIP revision for Transportation Conformity, which was submitted on April 12, 2007. EPA is publishing this rule without prior proposal because the Agency views this as a noncontroversial amendment and anticipates no adverse comment. However, in the “Proposed Rules” section of today's Federal Register, EPA is publishing a separate document that will serve as the proposal to approve the SIP revision if adverse comments are filed. This rule will be effective on July 1, 2008, without further notice unless EPA receives adverse comment by June 2, 2008. If EPA receives adverse comment, EPA will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the public that the rule will not take effect. EPA will address all public comments in a subsequent final rule based on the proposed rule. EPA will not institute a second comment period on this action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so at this time.

V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

Under the Clean Air Act, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP submission that complies with the provisions of the Act and applicable Federal regulations 42 U.S.C. 7410(k); 40 CFR 52.02(a). Thus, in reviewing SIP submissions, EPA's role is to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the Clean Air Act. Accordingly, this action merely approves state rule as meeting Federal requirements and does not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law. For that reason, this action:

  • Is not a “significant regulatory action” subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993);
  • Does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.);
  • Is certified as not having a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.);
  • 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);
  • Does not have Federalism implications as specified in Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999);
  • Is not an economically significant regulatory action based on health or safety risks subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997);
  • Is not a significant regulatory action subject to Executive Order 13211 (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001);
  • Is not subject to requirements of section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note) because application of those requirements would be inconsistent with the Clean Air Act; and
  • Does not provide EPA with the discretionary authority to address, as appropriate, disproportionate human health or environmental effects, using practicable and legally permissible methods, under Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994).

In addition, this rule does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), because the SIP is not approved to apply in Indian country located in the state, and EPA notes that it will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

B. 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 action 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).

C. Petitions for Judicial Review

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 July 1, 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 for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action.

This action to approve the West Virginia Transportation Conformity SIP 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: April 15, 2008.

William T. Wisniewski,

Acting Regional Administrator, Region III.

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is amended as follows:

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PART 52—[AMENDED]

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1. The authority citation for

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

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Subpart XX—West Virginia

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2. In § 52.2520, the table in paragraph (e) is amended by adding an entry for State of West Virginia Transportation Conformity Requirements at the end of the table to read as follows:

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Identification of plan.
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Name of non- regulatory SIP revisionApplicable geographic areaState submittal dateEPA approval dateAdditional explanation
*         *         *         *         *         *         *
State of West Virginia Transportation Conformity RequirementsEntire State04/12/200705/02/2008 [Insert page number where the document begins]Memoranda of Understanding between EPA, FHWA, FTA, State of West Virginia, and six Metropolitan Planning Organizations.
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[FR Doc. E8-9608 Filed 5-1-08; 8:45 am]

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