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Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Virginia; Amendments to Virginia's Regulation Regarding the Sulfur Dioxide National Ambient Air Quality Standard

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

EPA is approving a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted by the Commonwealth of Virginia (Virginia). This revision pertains to amendments of Virginia's regulations regarding the 2010 1-hour primary national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for sulfur dioxide (SO2). This action is being taken under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

DATES:

Effective Date: This final rule is effective on March 5, 2012.

ADDRESSES:

EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID Number EPA-R03-OAR-2011-0731. All documents in the docket are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the electronic docket, some information is not publicly available, i.e., confidential business information (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 through http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy for public inspection during normal business hours at the Air Protection Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Asrah Khadr, (215) 814-2071, or by email at khadr.asrah@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

Throughout this document, whenever “we,” “us,” or “our” is used, we mean EPA. On October 14, 2011 (76 FR 63859), EPA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) for Virginia. The NPR proposed approval of amendments to Virginia's regulation regarding the SO2 NAAQS. The formal SIP revision was submitted by Virginia on July 12, 2011. Additional background information behind this SIP revision is discussed in detail in the NPR. EPA received no comments on this NPR.

II. Summary of SIP Revision

In June 2010, EPA revised the primary SO2 NAAQS, establishing a 1-hour standard at the level of 75 parts per billion (ppb). The amendments to Virginia's regulations include the adoption of the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS and the nullification of the existing annual and 24-hour primary SO2 NAAQS one year after area designations for the 2010 1-hour primary SO2 NAAQS. These amendments can be found under Regulation 9VAC5-30-30. There were also administrative changes regarding these amendments. These changes include updates to documents incorporated by reference under 40 CFR Part 50, as well as administrative changes regarding those updates. These changes can be found under Regulation 9VAC5-20-21.E.1.

III. General Information Pertaining to SIP Submittals From the Commonwealth of Virginia

In 1995, Virginia adopted legislation that provides, subject to certain conditions, for an environmental assessment (audit) “privilege” for voluntary compliance evaluations performed by a regulated entity. The legislation further addresses the relative burden of proof for parties either asserting the privilege or seeking disclosure of documents for which the privilege is claimed. Virginia's legislation also provides, subject to certain conditions, for a penalty waiver for violations of environmental laws when a regulated entity discovers such violations pursuant to a voluntary compliance evaluation and voluntarily discloses such violations to the Commonwealth and takes prompt and appropriate measures to remedy the violations. Virginia's Voluntary Environmental Assessment Privilege Law, Va. Code Sec. 10.1-1198, provides a privilege that protects from disclosure documents and information about the content of those documents that are the product of a voluntary environmental assessment. The Privilege Law does not extend to documents or information (1) that are generated or developed before the commencement of a voluntary environmental assessment; (2) that are prepared independently of the assessment process; (3) that demonstrate a clear, imminent and substantial danger to the public health or environment; or (4) that are required by law.

On January 12, 1998, the Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Attorney General provided a legal opinion that states that the Privilege Law, Va. Code Sec. 10.1-1198, precludes granting a privilege to documents and information “required by law,” including documents and information “required by Federal law to maintain program delegation, authorization or approval,” since Virginia must “enforce Federally authorized environmental programs in a manner that is no less stringent than their Federal counterparts. * * *” The opinion concludes that “[r]egarding § 10.1-1198, therefore, documents or other information needed for civil or criminal enforcement under one of these programs could not be privileged because such documents and information are essential to pursuing enforcement in a manner required by Federal law to maintain program delegation, authorization or approval.”

Virginia's Immunity Law, Va. Code Sec. 10.1-1199, provides that “[t]o the extent consistent with requirements imposed by Federal law,” any person making a voluntary disclosure of information to a state agency regarding a violation of an environmental statute, regulation, permit, or administrative order is granted immunity from administrative or civil penalty. The Attorney General's January 12, 1998 opinion states that the quoted language renders this statute inapplicable to enforcement of any Federally authorized programs, since “no immunity could be afforded from administrative, civil, or criminal penalties because granting such immunity would not be consistent with Federal law, which is one of the criteria for immunity.”

Therefore, EPA has determined that Virginia's Privilege and Immunity statutes will not preclude the Commonwealth from enforcing its program consistent with the Federal requirements. In any event, because EPA has also determined that a state audit privilege and immunity law can affect only state enforcement and cannot have any impact on Federal enforcement authorities, EPA may at any time invoke its authority under the CAA, including, for example, sections 113, 167, 205, 211 or 213, to enforce the requirements or prohibitions of the state plan, independently of any state enforcement effort. In addition, citizen enforcement under section 304 of the CAA is likewise unaffected by this, or any, state audit privilege or immunity law.

IV. Final Action

EPA is approving the Virginia SIP revision that adopts the 2010 1-hour primary SO2 NAAQS under Regulation 9VAC5-30-30 and updates documents incorporated by reference found under 40 CFR Part 50 under Regulation 9VAC5-20-21.E.1.

V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

A. General Requirements

Under the CAA, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP submission that complies with the provisions of the CAA 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 CAA. Accordingly, this action merely approves state law 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 CAA; 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 April 3, 2012. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action 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 pertaining to amendments of Virginia's regulations regarding the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. (See section 307(b)(2).)

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

Dated: January 17, 2012.

W.C. Early,

Acting Regional Administrator, Region III.

40 CFR Part 52 is amended as follows:

PART 52—[AMENDED]

1. The authority citation for

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

Subpart VV—Virginia

2. In § 52.2420, the table in paragraph (c) is amended by revising the entry for Section 5-30-30. The table in paragraph (e) is amended by adding an entry for Documents Incorporated by Reference after the thirteenth existing entry for Documents Incorporated by Reference. The amendments read as follows:

Identification of plan.
* * * * *

(c) * * *

EPA-Approved Virginia Regulations and Statutes

State citationTitle/subjectState effective dateEPA approval dateExplanation [former SIP citation]
*         *         *         *         *         *         *
9 VAC 5 Chapter 30—Ambient Air Quality Standards [Part III]
*         *         *         *         *         *         *
5-30-30Sulfur Oxides (Sulfur Dioxide)5/25/112/3/12 [Insert page number where the document begins]Addition of paragraphs A.2 through A.4; revisions to paragraphs A.1, C. and D.
*         *         *         *         *         *         *
* * * * *

(e) * * *

Name of non-regulatory SIP revisionApplicable geographic areaState submittal dateEPA approval dateAdditional explanation
*         *         *         *         *         *         *
Documents Incorporated by Reference (9 VAC 5-20-21, Section E.1.a.(1))Statewide5/25/112/3/12 [Insert page number where the document begins]Addition of paragraphs (1)(a) and (1)(u). The citations of all other paragraphs are revised.
*         *         *         *         *         *         *

[FR Doc. 2012-2334 Filed 2-2-12; 8:45 am]

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