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Proposed Rule

Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia; Determinations of Attainment of the 1997 Fine Particle Standard for the Metropolitan Washington and Martinsburg-Hagerstown Nonattainment Areas

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

EPA is proposing to make a determination that the Metropolitan Washington, District of Columbia-Maryland-Virginia (DC-MD-VA) and Martinsburg-Hagerstown, West Virginia-Maryland (WV-MD) fine particle (PM2.5) nonattainment areas (hereafter referred to as “Areas”) have attained the 1997 annual PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) by the applicable attainment date of April 5, 2010. These determinations are based upon complete, quality-assured, and certified ambient air monitoring data for the 2007-2009 monitoring period. EPA is finding these Areas to be in attainment, in accordance with the requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

DATES:

Written comments must be received on or before December 5, 2011.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID Number EPA-R03-OAR-2011-0801 by one of the following methods:

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

B. Email: fernandez.cristina@epa.gov.

C. Mail: EPA-R03-OAR-2011-0801, Cristina Fernandez, Associate Director, Office of Air Quality Planning, Mailcode 3AP30, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103.

D. Hand Delivery: At the previously-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.Start Printed Page 68379

Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2011-0801. 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 email. 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 email comment directly to EPA without going through http://www.regulations.gov, your email 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 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 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.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Irene Shandruk, (215) 814-2166, or by email at shandruk.irene@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

This supplementary information section is arranged as follows:

I. What is EPA proposing?

II. What is the background of these actions?

III. What is EPA's analysis of the relevant air quality data?

IV. What are the effects of these actions?

V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

I. What is EPA proposing?

In accordance with section 179(c)(1) of the CAA, EPA is proposing to determine that the Metropolitan Washington, DC-MD-VA PM2.5 nonattainment area and the Martinsburg-Hagerstown, WV-MD PM2.5 nonattainment area have attained the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS by the applicable attainment date of April 5, 2010. The proposal is based upon complete, quality-assured, and certified ambient air monitoring data for the 2007-2009 monitoring period.

II. What is the background for these actions?

On July 18, 1997 (62 FR 36852), EPA established a health-based PM2.5 NAAQS at 15.0 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) based on a 3-year average of annual mean PM2.5 concentrations (hereafter referred to as “the annual PM2.5 NAAQS” or “the annual standard”). At that time, EPA also established a 24-hour standard of 65 μg/m3 (the “1997 24-hour standard”). See 40 CFR 50.7. On January 5, 2005 (70 FR 944), EPA published its air quality designations and classifications for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS based upon air quality monitoring data from those monitors for calendar years 2001-2003. These designations became effective on April 5, 2005. The Metropolitan Washington, DC-MD-VA and the Martinsburg-Hagerstown, WV-MD nonattainment areas were designated nonattainment for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS during this designations process. See 40 CFR part 81.309 (the District), 40 CFR 81.321 (Maryland), 40 CFR 81.347 (Virginia), and 40 CFR 81.349 (West Virginia).

The Metropolitan Washington 1997 annual PM2.5 nonattainment area consists of the District of Columbia (the District), a Northern Virginia portion (Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William Counties and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas, and Manassas Park), and Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George's Counties in Maryland. The Martinsburg-Hagerstown 1997 annual PM2.5 nonattainment area consists of Washington County in Maryland and Berkley County in West Virginia.

On October 17, 2006 (71 FR 61144), EPA retained the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS at 15 μg/m3 based on a 3-year average of annual mean PM2.5 concentrations, and promulgated a 24-hour standard of 35 μg/m3 based on a 3-year average of the 98th percentile of 24-hour concentrations (the “2006 24-hour standard”). On November 13, 2009, EPA designated the Martinsburg-Hagerstown, WV-MD and Metropolitan Washington, DC-MD-VA areas as attainment for the 2006 24-hour standard (74 FR 58688). In that action, EPA also clarified the designations for the NAAQS promulgated in 1997, stating that these geographical Areas were designated as nonattainment for the annual standard, but attainment for the 1997 24-hour standard (40 CFR part 81.309 for the District, 40 CFR part 81.321 for Maryland, 40 CFR part 81.347 for Virginia, and 40 CFR part 81.349 for West Virginia). Today's action, however, does not address attainment designations of either the 1997 or the 2006 24-hour standard.

In response to legal challenges of the annual standard promulgated in 2006, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (DC Circuit) remanded this standard to EPA for further consideration. See American Farm Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers Council, et al. v. EPA, 559 F.3d 512 (DC Cir. 2009). However, given that the 1997 and 2006 annual standards are essentially identical, attainment of the 1997 annual standard would also indicate attainment of the remanded 2006 annual standard.

EPA previously made clean data determinations related to the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS for each of these Areas pursuant to 40 CFR 51.1004(c). Determinations were made for the Metropolitan Washington Area on January 12, 2009 (74 FR 1146) and for the Martinsburg-Hagerstown Area on November 20, 2009 (74 FR 60199). These clean data determinations remain in effect.

Under CAA section 179(c), EPA is required to make a determination that a nonattainment area has attained by its attainment date, and publish that determination in the Federal Register. The determination of attainment is not equivalent to a redesignation, and the states must still meet the statutory requirements for redesignation in order for the Areas to be redesignated to attainment.

Complete, quality-assured, and certified PM2.5 air quality monitoring data recorded in the EPA Air Quality System (AQS) database for 2007 through 2009, show that the Metropolitan Washington, DC-MD-VA and the Start Printed Page 68380Martinsburg-Hagerstown, WV-MD nonattainment areas attained the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS by their applicable attainment date of April 5, 2010.

III. What is EPA's analysis of the relevant air quality data?

EPA has reviewed the ambient air monitoring data for PM2.5, consistent with the requirements contained in 40 CFR part 50 and recorded in the data in the EPA AQS database for the Metropolitan Washington, DC-MD-VA and the Martinsburg-Hagerstown, WV-MD nonattainment areas for the monitoring period from 2007 through 2009. On the basis of that review, EPA has concluded that the Areas attained the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS based on data for the 2007-2009 monitoring period.

Under EPA regulations at 40 CFR 50.7, the annual primary and secondary PM2.5 standards are met when the annual arithmetic mean concentrations, as determined in accordance with 40 CFR part 50, appendix N, is less than or equal to 15.0 μg/m3, at all relevant monitoring sites. The values calculated in accordance with 40 CFR part 50, appendix N, are referred to as design values, and these values are used to determine if an area is attaining the PM2.5 NAAQS. According to the PM2.5 implementation rule, the attainment date for these Areas is April 5, 2010 and the monitoring data from 2007 through 2009 is used to determine if the Areas attained by April 5, 2010.

Table 1 shows the annual PM2.5 design values for each monitor in the Metropolitan Washington, DC-MD-VA and the Martinsburg-Hagerstown, WV-MD areas for the years 2007-2009. All 2007-2009 design values are below 15.0 μg/m3. Based on these data, the Metropolitan Washington, DC-MD-VA and the Martinsburg-Hagerstown, WV-MD areas have attained the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS by the attainment date. A detailed summary of EPA's rationale for proposing these determinations may be found in the Technical Support Document (TSD) for this action which is available on line at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket number EPA-R03-OAR-2011-0801.

Table 1—1997 Annual PM2.5 Design Values for the Metropolitan Washington, DC-MD-VA and Martinsburg-Hagerstown, WV-MD Areas *

StateCountyMonitor ID2007 Annual mean2008 Annual mean2009 Annual meanCertified design value 2007-2009 (μg/m3)
Metropolitan Washington, DC-VA-MD
DCDistrict of Columbia11001004113.612.010.512.0
District of Columbia11001004213.712.310.112.1
District of Columbia11001004313.011.610.211.6
VAAlexandriaNo monitor
Arlington51013002013.812.010.111.9
Fairfax51059003012.511.19.811.1
Farifax County51059100513.311.29.511.3
Fairfax51059500113.511.89.711.7
Falls ChurchNo monitor
Loudoun51107100512.811.59.211.2
ManassasNo monitor
Manassas ParkNo monitor
MDCharlesNo monitor
FrederickNo monitor
Montgomery24031300111.710.89.410.7
Prince George's24033002514.112.410.712.4
Prince George's24033003011.810.98.710.5
Prince George's24033800312.411.28.810.8
Martinsburg-Hagerstown, WV-MD
WVBerkley24043000912.911.89.711.5
MDWashington54003000315.614.212.114.0
* The data presented in Table 1 are available at http://www.epa.gov/​air/​airtrends/​values.html.

IV. What are the effects of these actions?

If EPA's proposed determination that the Metropolitan Washington, DC-MD-VA and the Martinsburg-Hagerstown, WV-MD nonattainment areas have attained the 1997 annual PM2.5 standard by the applicable attainment date (April 5, 2010) is finalized, EPA will have met its requirement pursuant to section 179(c) of the CAA to make a determination based on the Areas' air quality data as of the attainment date that the Areas attained the standard by that date. The action described above is a proposed determination regarding the Metropolitan Washington, DC-MD-VA and the Martinsburg-Hagerstown, WV-MD Areas' attainment of the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS.

Finalizing this proposed action would not constitute a redesignation of the Areas to attainment of the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS under section 107(d)(3) of the CAA. Further, finalizing this proposed action does not involve approving maintenance plans for the Areas as required under section 175A of the CAA, nor would it find that the Areas have met all other requirements for redesignation. Even if EPA finalizes the proposed action, the designation status of the Metropolitan Washington, DC-MD-VA and the Martinsburg-Hagerstown, WV-MD areas would remain nonattainment for the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS until such time as EPA determines that the Areas meet the CAA requirements for redesignation to attainment and take action to redesignate the Metropolitan Washington, DC-MD-VA and the Martinsburg-Hagerstown, WV-MD areas.Start Printed Page 68381

EPA is soliciting comment on the action discussed in this document. These comments will be considered before EPA takes final action. Please note that if EPA receives adverse comment on either of the proposed determinations described above and if that determination may be severed from the remainder of the final agency action, EPA may adopt as final these provisions of the final agency action that are not the subject of an adverse comment.

V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

This action proposes to make attainment determinations based on air quality data and would not, if finalized, result in the suspension of certain Federal requirements and would not impose any additional requirements. For that reason, this proposed 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, these proposed PM2.5 NAAQS attainment determinations for the Metropolitan Washington and Martinsburg-Hagerstown Areas, do 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.

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List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Intergovernmental relations, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Start Authority

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

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Dated: October 25, 2011.

W.C. Early,

Acting, Regional Administrator, Region III.

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[FR Doc. 2011-28648 Filed 11-3-11; 8:45 am]

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