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Rule

Finding of Failure To Submit State Implementation Plan Revisions for Particulate Matter, PM-10, Maricopa County (Phoenix) PM-10 Nonattainment Area, AZ

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

EPA is taking final action to find that Arizona failed to make a state implementation plan (SIP) submittal required under the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act) for the Maricopa County (Phoenix) nonattainment area (Maricopa area) for particulate matter of 10 microns or less (PM-10). The Maricopa area is a serious PM-10 nonattainment area which, having failed to attain the PM-10 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) by its required statutory attainment deadline, is subject to section 189(d) of the CAA. For such areas, section 189(d) requires that states submit within 12 months after the applicable attainment date, plan revisions which provide for attainment of the PM-10 NAAQS, and from the date of such submission until attainment, for an annual reduction of PM-10 or PM-10 precursor emissions within the area of not less than 5 percent of the amount of such emissions as reported in the most recent inventory prepared for the area.

Arizona submitted a section 189(d) plan for the Maricopa area on December 21, 2007, and EPA proposed action on this plan on September 9, 2010. On January 25, 2011, prior to final action on the plan by EPA, Arizona withdrew the submitted plan from the Agency's consideration. As a result of the withdrawal, EPA is today finding that Arizona failed to make the submittal required for the Maricopa area under section 189(d) of the Act.

This action triggers the 18-month clock for mandatory application of sanctions and 2-year clock for a federal implementation plan (FIP) under the Act. This action is consistent with the CAA mechanism for assuring SIP submissions.

DATES:

Effective Date: This action was effective as of February 14, 2011.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Gregory Nudd, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9, Air Division (AIR-2), 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-3901, Telephone: (415) 947-4107; nudd.gregory@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

The NAAQS are standards for certain ambient air pollutants set by EPA to protect public health and welfare. PM-10 is among the ambient air pollutants for which EPA has established health-based standards. PM-10 causes adverse health effects by penetrating deep in the lungs, aggravating the cardiopulmonary system. Children, the elderly, and people with asthma and heart conditions are the most vulnerable.Start Printed Page 8301

On July 1, 1987 EPA revised the health-based NAAQS (52 FR 24672), replacing the standards for total suspended particulates with new standards applying only to particulate matter up to ten microns in diameter (PM-10). At that time, EPA established two PM-10 standards, annual standards and 24-hour standards. Effective December 18, 2006, EPA revoked the annual PM-10 standards but retained the 24-hour PM-10 standards. 71 FR 61144 (October 17, 2006). The 24-hour PM-10 standards of 150 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) are attained when the expected number of days per calendar year with a 24-hour average concentration above 150 µg/m3, as determined in accordance with appendix K to 40 CFR part 50, is equal to or less than one. 40 CFR 50.6 and 40 CFR part 50, appendix K.

On the date of enactment of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments (CAA or the Act), many areas, including the Maricopa area, meeting the qualifications of section 107(d)(4)(B) of the amended Act were designated nonattainment by operation of law. 56 FR 11101 (March 15, 1991). The Maricopa area is located in the eastern portion of Maricopa County and encompasses the cities of Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Glendale, as well as 17 other jurisdictions and unincorporated County lands. The nonattainment area also includes the town of Apache Junction in Pinal County. EPA codified the boundaries of the Maricopa area at 40 CFR 81.303.

Once an area is designated nonattainment for PM-10, section 188 of the CAA outlines the process for classifying the area as moderate or serious and establishes the area's attainment deadline. In accordance with section 188(a), at the time of designation, all PM-10 nonattainment areas, including the Maricopa area, were initially classified as moderate.

A moderate PM-10 nonattainment area must be reclassified to serious PM-10 nonattainment by operation of law if EPA determines after the applicable attainment date that, based on air quality, the area failed to attain by that date. CAA sections 179(c) and 188(b)(2). On May 10, 1996, EPA reclassified the Maricopa area as a serious PM-10 nonattainment area. 61 FR 21372.

As a serious PM-10 nonattainment area, the Maricopa area acquired a new attainment deadline of no later than December 31, 2001. CAA section 188(c)(2). However CAA section 188(e) allows states to apply for up to a 5-year extension of that deadline if certain conditions are met. Arizona requested an attainment date extension under CAA section 188(e) from December 31, 2001 to December 31, 2006. On July 25, 2002, EPA approved the serious area PM-10 plan for the Maricopa area and granted Arizona's request to extend the attainment date for the area to December 31, 2006. 67 FR 48718. This final action, as well as the two proposals preceding it, provide a more detailed discussion of the history of PM-10 planning in the Maricopa area. See 65 FR 19964 (April 13, 2000) and 66 FR 50252 (October 2, 2001).

On June 6, 2007, EPA found that the Maricopa area failed to attain the 24-hour PM-10 NAAQS by December 31, 2006 (72 FR 31183) and required the submittal of a new plan meeting the requirements of section 189(d) by December 31, 2007.

On December 19, 2007, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) adopted the “MAG 2007 Five Percent Plan for PM-10 for the Maricopa County Nonattainment Area” (189(d) plan). On December 21, 2007 the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) submitted the 189(d) plan. MAG adopted and ADEQ submitted this SIP revision in order to address the CAA requirements in section 189(d).

CAA section 110(k)(1) requires EPA to determine whether a SIP submission is complete within 60 days of receipt. This section also provides that any plan that has not been affirmatively determined to be complete or incomplete shall become complete within 6 months by operation of law. EPA's completeness criteria are found in 40 CFR part 51, appendix V. The 189(d) plan submittal became complete by operation of law on June 21, 2008.

EPA proposed to partially approve and partially disapprove the 189(d) plan on September 9, 2010 (75 FR 54806). On January 25, 2011, prior to any final EPA action, Arizona withdrew the 189(d) plan from the Agency's consideration.

II. Final Action

A. Finding of Failure To Submit Required SIP Revisions

If Arizona does not submit the required plan revisions within 18 months of the effective date of today's rulemaking, pursuant to CAA section 179(a) and 40 CFR 52.31, the offset sanction identified in CAA section 179(b) will be applied in the affected area. If the State has still not made a complete submittal 6 months after the offset sanction is imposed, then the highway funding sanction will apply in the affected area, in accordance with 40 CFR 52.31.[1] The 18-month clock will stop and the sanctions will not take effect if, within 18 months after the date of the finding, EPA finds that the State has made a complete submittal addressing the 189(d) PM-10 requirements for the Maricopa area. In addition, CAA section 110(c)(1) provides that EPA must promulgate a federal implementation plan (FIP) no later than 2 years after a finding under section 179(a) unless EPA takes final action to approve the submittal within 2 years of EPA's finding.

B. Effective Date Under the Administrative Procedures Act

This final action is effective on February 14, 2011.

Under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), an agency rulemaking may take effect before 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register if an agency has good cause to mandate an earlier effective date. Today's action concerns SIP revisions that are already overdue and the State has been aware of applicable provisions of the CAA relating to overdue SIPs. In addition, today's action simply starts a “clock” that will not result in sanctions for 18 months, and that the State may “turn off” by a complete SIP submittal addressing the 189(d) PM-10 requirements for the Maricopa area. These reasons support an effective date prior to 30 days after the date of publication.

C. Notice-and-Comment Under the Administrative Procedures Act

This final agency action is not subject to the notice-and-comment requirements of the APA, 5 U.S.C. 533(b). EPA believes that because of the limited time provided to make findings of failure to submit regarding SIP submissions, Congress did not intend such findings to be subject to notice-and-comment rulemaking. However, to the extent such findings are subject to notice-and-comment rulemaking, EPA invokes the good cause exception pursuant to the APA, 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). Notice and comment are unnecessary because no EPA judgment is involved in making a nonsubstantive finding of failure to submit SIPs required by the Start Printed Page 8302CAA. Furthermore, providing notice and comment would be impracticable because of the limited time provided under the statute for making such determinations. Finally, notice and comment would be contrary to the public interest because it would divert Agency resources from the critical substantive review of submitted SIPs. See 58 FR 51270, 51272, note 17 (October 1, 1993); 59 FR 39832, 39853 (August 4, 1994).

III. 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 action does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.3(b).

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.

This final rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities because findings of failure to submit required SIP revisions do not by themselves create any new requirements. Therefore, I certify that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

Under section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (“Unfunded Mandates Act”), 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 today's 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. The CAA provision discussed in this rule requires states to submit SIPs. This rule merely finds that Arizona has not met that requirement. Accordingly, no additional costs to State, local, or tribal governments, or to the private sector, result from this action.

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 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.

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

EPA interprets Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997) as applying only to those regulatory actions that concern health or safety risks, such that the analysis required under section 5-501 of the Executive Order has the potential to influence the regulation. This rule is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it merely finds that Arizona has failed to make a submission that is required under the Clean Air Act.

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 Start Printed Page 8303perform activities conducive to the use of VCS.

J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Population

Executive Order (EO) 12898 (59 FR 7629 (Feb. 16, 1994)) establishes federal executive policy on environmental justice. Its main provision directs federal agencies, to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, to make environmental justice part of their mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the United States.

EPA lacks the discretionary authority to address environmental justice in this rulemaking.

K. 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. section 804(2). This rule will be effective February 14, 2011.

L. 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 April 15, 2011. 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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Authority: 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

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Dated: January 3, 2011.

Jared Blumenfeld,

Regional Administrator, Region IX.

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Footnotes

1.  In a 1994 rulemaking, EPA established the Agency's selection of the sequence of these two sanctions: The offset sanction under section 179(b)(2) shall apply at 18 months, followed 6 months later by the highway sanction under section 179(b)(1) of the Act. EPA does not choose to deviate from this presumptive sequence in this instance. For more details on the timing and implementation of the sanctions, see 59 FR 39832 (August 4, 1994), promulgating 40 CFR 52.31, “Selection of sequence of mandatory sanctions for findings made pursuant to section 179 of the Clean Air Act.”

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[FR Doc. 2011-3027 Filed 2-11-11; 8:45 am]

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