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Draft Risk and Exposure Assessment Report for Review of the Secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Oxides of Nitrogen and Oxides of Sulfur

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Notice of draft report for public review and comment.

SUMMARY:

On or about August 27, 2008, the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS) of EPA is making available for public review and comment a draft document titled “Risk and Exposure Assessment to Support the Review of the Secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Oxides of Nitrogen and Oxides of Sulfur: First Draft.” The purpose of this draft document is to convey the approach EPA has taken to assess environmental exposures to ambient oxides of nitrogen and sulfur and to characterize associated public welfare risks, as well as to present the results of those assessments. We anticipate the release of an additional chapter(s) on or about the week of September 15, 2008.

DATES:

Comments on the above report must be received on or before October 15, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-1145, by one of the following methods:

  • http://www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • E-mail: Comments may be sent by electronic mail (e-mail) to a-and-r-docket@epa.gov, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-1145.
  • Fax: Fax your comments to 202-566-9744, Attention Docket ID. No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-1145.
  • Mail: Send your comments to: Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-1145.
  • Hand Delivery or Courier: Deliver your comments to: EPA Docket Center, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Room 3334, 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-2007-1145. The 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 Start Printed Page 50966to 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. For additional information about EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/​epahome/​dockets.htm.

Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov 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. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Air Docket in the EPA Docket Center, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. This Docket Facility is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The Docket telephone number is 202-566-1742; fax 202-566-9744.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Anne Rea, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (Mailcode C539-02), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711; e-mail: rea.anne@epa.gov; telephone: 919-541-0053; fax: 919-541-0840.

General Information

A. What Should I Consider as I Prepare My Comments for EPA?

1. Submitting CBI. Do not submit this information to EPA through http://www.regulations.gov or e-mail. Clearly mark the part or all of the information that you claim to be CBI. For CBI information in a disk or CD ROM that you mail to EPA, mark the outside of the disk or CD ROM as CBI and then identify electronically within the disk or CD ROM the specific information that is claimed as CBI. In addition to one complete version of the comment that includes information claimed as CBI, a copy of the comment that does not contain the information claimed as CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public docket. Information so marked will not be disclosed except in accordance with procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2.

2. Tips for Preparing Your Comments. When submitting comments, remember to:

  • Identify the rulemaking by docket number and other identifying information (subject heading, Federal Register date and page number).
  • Follow directions—The agency may ask you to respond to specific questions or organize comments by referencing a Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part or section number.
  • Explain why you agree or disagree; suggest alternatives and substitute language for your requested changes.
  • Describe any assumptions and provide any technical information and/or data that you used.
  • If you estimate potential costs or burdens, explain how you arrived at your estimate in sufficient detail to allow for it to be reproduced.
  • Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns, and suggest alternatives.
  • Explain your views as clearly as possible, avoiding the use of profanity or personal threats.
  • Make sure to submit your comments by the comment period deadline identified.
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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Under section 108(a) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Administrator identifies and lists certain pollutants which “cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” The EPA then issues air quality criteria for listed pollutants, which are commonly referred to as “criteria pollutants.” The air quality criteria are to “accurately reflect the latest scientific knowledge useful in indicating the kind and extent of all identifiable effects on public health or welfare which may be expected from the presence of [a] pollutant in the ambient air, in varying quantities.” Under section 109 of the CAA, EPA establishes NAAQS for each listed pollutant, with the NAAQS based on the air quality criteria. Section 109(d) of the CAA requires periodic review and, if appropriate, revision of existing air quality criteria. The revised air quality criteria reflect advances in scientific knowledge on the effects of the pollutant on public health or welfare. The EPA is also required to periodically review and revise the NAAQS, if appropriate, based on the revised criteria.

EPA is currently conducting a joint review of the existing secondary (welfare-based) national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Because NOX, SOX, and their associated transformation products are linked from an atmospheric chemistry perspective as well as from an environmental effects perspective, and because of the National Research Council's (NRC's) 2004 recommendations to consider multiple pollutants in forming the scientific basis for the NAAQS, EPA has decided to jointly assess the science, risks, and policies relevant to protecting the public welfare associated with oxides of nitrogen and oxides of sulfur. This is the first time since NAAQS were established in 1971 that a joint review of these two pollutants has been conducted. Since both the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and EPA have recognized these interactions historically, and the science related to these interactions has continued to evolve and grow to the present day, there is a strong basis for considering them together.

As part of its review of the secondary NAAQS for NOX and SOX, EPA is preparing an assessment of exposures and characterization of risks for adverse ecological effects associated with atmospheric NOX and SOX deposition. A draft plan describing the proposed approaches to assessing ecological exposures and effects is described in the draft document, Draft Scope and Methods Plan for Risk/Exposure Assessment: Secondary NAAQS Review for Oxides of Nitrogen and Oxides of Sulfur. This document was released for public review and comment in March, 2008 and was the subject of a consultation with the CASAC on April 2 and 3, 2008. Comments received from that consultation have been considered in developing the first draft risk and exposure assessment for the secondary NOX/SOX NAAQS review being released at this time.

The first draft risk and exposure assessment for the secondary NOX/SOX NAAQS review released at this time conveys our approach to assess ecological effects due to the deposition of ambient NOX and SOX, and present the results of these analyses. This draft document will be available online at: http://www.epa.gov/​ttn/​naaqs/​standards/​no2so2sec/​cr_​rea.html.

The EPA is soliciting advice and recommendations from the CASAC by means of a review on the draft document at an upcoming public meeting of the CASAC scheduled for October 1-2, 2008 in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Following the CASAC Start Printed Page 50967meeting, EPA will consider comments received from the CASAC and the public in preparing a second draft risk and exposure assessment report. The release of the second draft report will be followed by another CASAC meeting which will be announced in a future Federal Register notice and ultimately EPA will release a final risk and exposure assessment document taking into consideration comments from the CASAC and public.

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Dated: August 21, 2008.

Jennifer N. Edmonds,

Acting Director, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards.

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[FR Doc. E8-20136 Filed 8-28-08; 8:45 am]

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