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Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Virginia; Removal of Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corporation Permit From State Implementation Plan

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ACTION:

Direct final rule.

SUMMARY:

EPA is taking direct final action to approve a revision to the Virginia State Implementation Plan (SIP). The revision pertains to a Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corporation (Transco) operating permit that EPA approved into the Virginia SIP to meet nitrogen oxides (NOX) reduction requirements for large stationary internal combustion engines under the NOX SIP Call. Transco Station 175 has permanently shut down, and this revision removes the permit from the Virginia SIP. EPA is approving this revision in accordance with the requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

DATES:

This rule is effective on June 25, 2012 without further notice, unless EPA receives adverse written comment by May 29, 2012. 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-2012-0024 by one of the following methods:

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

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

C. Mail: EPA-R03-OAR-2012-0024, 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.

Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2012-0024. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change, and may be made available online at 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 www.regulations.gov or email. The 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 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 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 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 Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, 629 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Marilyn Powers, (215) 814-2308, or by email at powers.marilyn@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

I. Background

EPA issued the NOX SIP Call (63 FR 57356, October 27, 1998) to require 22 eastern states and the District of Columbia to reduce specified amounts of one of the main precursors of ground-level ozone, NOX, in order to reduce interstate ozone transport. EPA found that the sources in these states emit NOX in amounts that contribute significantly to nonattainment of the 1-hour ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) in downwind states. In the NOX SIP Call, the amount of reductions required by states were calculated based on application of available, highly cost-effective controls on certain source categories of NOX. These source categories included large fossil fuel-fired electric generating units (EGUs) serving a generator with a capacity greater than 25 megawatts (MWe), fossil fuel-fired non-EGUs (such as large industrial boilers with a capacity greater than 250 million BTUs per hour (MMBtu/hr), large stationary internal combustion engines, and large cement kilns.

The NOX SIP Call was challenged by a number of state, industry, and labor groups. On March 3, 2000, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) issued its decision on the NOX SIP Call. Michigan v. EPA, 213 F.3rd 663 (D.C. Dir. 2000). While the D.C. Circuit ruled largely in favor of EPA in support of its requirements under the 1-hour ozone NAAQS, it also ruled, in part, against EPA on certain issues. The portions of the NOX SIP Call that were upheld by the Court were termed “Phase I” of the rule, and applies to EGUs and non-EGUs. EPA's response to the remanded portions of the NOX SIP Call (with several exceptions) was finalized in its April 21, 2004 (69 FR 21604) rulemaking action entitled, “Interstate Ozone Transport: Response to Court Decisions on the NOX SIP Call, NOX SIP Call Technical Amendments, and Section 126 Rules,” termed “Phase II” of the rule. Phase II applies to large stationary internal combustion engines and large cement kilns.

EPA approved Virginia's Phase I NOX SIP Call submission in a rulemaking dated July 8, 2003 (68 FR 40520). On October 30, 2008 (73 FR 64551), EPA approved Virginia's Phase II submission. A discussion of the relevant portions of the April 21, 2004 rulemaking that pertains to Virginia's requirements under Phase II may be found in the docket for EPA's October 30, 2008 rulemaking (See Docket # EPA-R03-OAR-2007-0382). In that rulemaking, EPA approved into the Virginia SIP the federally enforceable state operating permits for four Transco internal combustion engines to address the Commonwealth's emission reduction requirements for Phase II of the NOX SIP Call. Transco Station 175 located in Fluvanna County, Virginia was one of the sources included in that rulemaking. To meet the requirement for NOX emissions reductions of 82 percent from large internal combustion engines, the operating permit capped NOX emissions from Station 175 at 195.43 tons per ozone season. The operating permit requirements for the engines included NOX emission rate limits and limits on hours of operation during the ozone season to achieve the required emission reductions.

II. Summary of SIP Revision

On November 8, 2011, the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ) submitted a formal revision to its SIP. The SIP revision consists of a request by the Commonwealth to remove the permit for Transco Station 175 from the Virginia SIP. On July 26, 2011, Transco and VADEQ signed a mutual determination of permanent shutdown for the four large stationary natural gas-fired spark ignited, reciprocating internal combustion engines located at Transco Station 175. The submission includes a copy of the signed determination, which required that operation of the engines cease upon signature of the document, and that any future operation of the engines must be in accordance with Virginia's Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit program pursuant to 9VAC5 chapter 80. Should the engines resume operation in the future, VADEQ may be required at that time to revise its SIP as appropriate.

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 § 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 November 8, 2011 submittal from VADEQ that removes the operating permit for Transco Station 175 from the Virginia SIP. 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 June 25, 2012 without further notice unless EPA receives adverse comment by May 29, 2012. 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

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. Section 804, however, exempts from section 801 the following types of rules: Rules of particular applicability; rules relating to agency management or personnel; and rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice that do not substantially affect the rights or obligations of non-agency parties. 5 U.S.C. 804(3). Because this is a rule of particular applicability, EPA is not required to submit a rule report regarding this action under section 801.

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 June 25, 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. Parties with objections to this direct final rule are encouraged to file a comment in response to the parallel notice of proposed rulemaking for this action published in the proposed rules section of today's Federal Register, rather than file an immediate petition for judicial review of this direct final rule, so that EPA can withdraw this direct final rule and address the comment in the proposed rulemaking.

This action to remove the Transco Station 175 operating permit from the Virginia SIP 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: April 12, 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 (d) is amended by removing the entry for Transcontinental Pipeline Station 175.

[FR Doc. 2012-9973 Filed 4-25-12; 8:45 am]

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