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Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Virginia; Regional Haze Five-Year Progress Report State Implementation Plan

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted by the Commonwealth of Virginia through the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Virginia's SIP revision addresses requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and EPA's rules that require states to submit periodic reports describing progress towards reasonable progress goals (RPGs) established for regional haze and a determination of the adequacy of the state's existing implementation plan addressing regional haze (regional haze SIP). EPA is approving Virginia's SIP revision on the basis that it addresses the progress report and adequacy determination requirements for the first implementation period for regional haze.

DATES:

This final rule is effective on June 2, 2014.

ADDRESSES:

EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID Number EPA-R03-OAR-2014-0006. All documents in the docket are listed in the 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 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. Copies of Virginia's submittal are available at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, 629 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219.

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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:

I. Background

On February 25, 2014 (79 FR 10451), EPA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In the NPR, EPA proposed approval of Virginia's progress report SIP, a report on progress made in the first implementation period towards RPGs for Class I areas in the Commonwealth and Class I areas outside the Commonwealth that are affected by emissions from Virginia's sources. This progress report SIP and accompanying cover letter also included a determination that Virginia's existing regional haze SIP requires no substantive revision to achieve the established regional haze visibility improvement and emissions reduction goals for 2018.

States are required to submit a progress report in the form of a SIP revision every five years that evaluates progress towards the RPGs for each mandatory Class I Federal area within the state and in each mandatory Class I Federal area outside the state which may be affected by emissions from within the state. See 40 CFR 51.308(g). In addition, the provisions under 40 CFR 51.308(h) require states to submit, at the same time as the 40 CFR 51.308(g) progress report, a determination of the adequacy of the state's existing regional haze SIP. The first progress report SIP is due five years after submittal of the initial regional haze SIP. On October 4, 2010, Virginia DEQ submitted the Commonwealth's first regional haze SIP in accordance with the requirements of 40 CFR 51.308.[1] The progress report SIP revision was submitted by Virginia on November 8, 2013 and EPA finds that it satisfies the requirements of 40 CFR 51.308(g) and 308(h).

II. Summary of SIP Revision

On November 8, 2013, Virginia submitted a SIP revision to address progress made towards RPGs of Class I areas in the Commonwealth and Class I areas outside the Commonwealth that are affected by emissions from Virginia's sources. This progress report SIP also includes a determination of the adequacy of the Commonwealth's existing regional haze SIP.

Virginia has two Class I areas within its borders: James River Face Wilderness Area (James River) and Shenandoah National Park (Shenandoah). Virginia mentions in the progress report SIP that Virginia sources were also identified, through an area of influence modeling analysis based on back trajectories, as potentially impacting nine Class I areas in five neighboring states: Dolly Sods Wilderness Area in West Virginia; Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Joyce Kilmer—Slickrock Wilderness Area in North Carolina and Tennessee; Linville Gorge, Shining Rock and Swanquarter Wilderness Areas in North Carolina; Cohutta and Wolf Island Wilderness Areas in Georgia; and Cape Romaine Wilderness Area in South Carolina.

The provisions in 40 CFR 51.308(g) require a progress report SIP to address seven elements. EPA finds that Virginia's progress report SIP addressed each element under 40 CFR 51.308(g). The seven elements and EPA's conclusion are briefly summarized below; however, the detailed rationale for EPA's action is explained in the NPR and will not be restated here. No adverse public comments were received on the NPR.

The provisions in 40 CFR 51.308(g) require progress report SIPs to include a description of the status of measures in the approved regional haze SIP; a summary of emissions reductions achieved; an assessment of visibility conditions for each Class I area in the state; an analysis of changes in emissions from sources and activities within the state; an assessment of any significant changes in anthropogenic emissions within or outside the state that have limited or impeded progress in Class I areas impacted by the state's sources; an assessment of the sufficiency of the approved regional Start Printed Page 25020haze SIP; and a review of the state's visibility monitoring strategy. As explained in detail in the NPR, EPA finds that Virginia's progress report SIP addressed each element and has therefore satisfied the requirements under 40 CFR 51.308(g).

In addition, pursuant to 40 CFR 51.308(h), states are required to submit, at the same time as the progress report SIP, a determination of the adequacy of their existing regional haze SIP and to take one of four possible actions based on information in the progress report. One possible action is submission of a negative declaration to EPA that no further substantive revision to the state's existing regional haze SIP is needed. In its progress report SIP, Virginia submitted a negative declaration that it had determined that the existing regional haze SIP requires no further substantive revision to achieve the RPGs for Class I areas affected by Virginia's sources. As explained in detail in the NPR, EPA concludes Virginia has adequately addressed 40 CFR 51.308(h) because the visibility data trends at the Class I areas impacted by the Commonwealth's sources and the emissions trends of the Commonwealth's largest emitters of visibility-impairing pollutants both indicate that the Commonwealth's RPGs for 2018 will be met or exceeded. Therefore, EPA concludes Virginia's progress report SIP meets the requirements of 40 CFR 52.308(h).

III. Final Action

EPA is approving Virginia's Regional Haze five-year progress report SIP revision, submitted November 8, 2013, as meeting the applicable regional haze requirements as set forth in 40 CFR 51.308(g) and 51.308(h).

IV. 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 that: (1) Are generated or developed before the commencement of a voluntary environmental assessment; (2) are prepared independently of the assessment process; (3) demonstrate a clear, imminent and substantial danger to the public health or environment; or (4) 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 PSD, NSR, or Title V 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.

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; andStart Printed Page 25021
  • 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 July 1, 2014. 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 to approve Virginia's regional haze five-year progress report SIP revision may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. (See section 307(b)(2).)

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List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

  • Environmental protection
  • Air pollution control
  • Incorporation by reference
  • Intergovernmental relations
  • Nitrogen oxides
  • Particulate matter
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Volatile organic compounds
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Dated: April 21, 2014.

W. C. Early,

Acting Regional Administrator, Region III.

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40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

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PART 52—APPROVAL AND PROMULGATION OF IMPLEMENTATION PLANS

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1. The authority citation for part 52 continues to read as follows:

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

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Subpart VV—Virginia

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2. In § 52.2420, the table in paragraph (e) is amended by adding an entry for Regional Haze Five-Year Progress Report at the end of the table to read as follows:

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Identification of plan.
* * * * *

(e) * * *

Name of non-regulatory SIP revisionApplicable geographic areaState submittal dateEPA approval dateAdditional explanation
*         *         *         *         *         *         *
Regional Haze Five-Year Progress ReportStatewide11/8/135/2/14 [Insert page number where the document begins]
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Footnotes

1.  On June 13, 2012, EPA finalized a limited approval of Virginia's October 4, 2010 regional haze SIP to address the first implementation period for regional haze (77 FR 35287). In a separate action, published on June 7, 2012 (77 FR 33642), EPA finalized a limited disapproval of the Virginia regional haze SIP because of the Commonwealth's reliance on the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) to meet certain regional haze requirements, which EPA replaced in August 2011 with the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) (76 FR 48208, August 8, 2011). In the aforementioned June 7, 2012 action, EPA finalized a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) for Virginia to replace the Commonwealth's reliance on CAIR with reliance on CSAPR. Following these EPA actions, the DC Circuit issued a decision in EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, 696 F.3d 7 (D.C. Cir. 2012), cert. granted 133 U.S. 2857 (2013) vacating CSAPR and keeping CAIR in place pending the promulgation of a valid replacement rule. EPA believes that the EME Homer City decision impacts the reasoning that formed the basis for EPA's limited disapproval of Virginia's regional haze SIP based on Virginia's reliance upon CAIR and expects to propose an appropriate action regarding the limited approval and limited disapproval of the regional haze SIP upon final resolution of EME Homer City.

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[FR Doc. 2014-10110 Filed 5-1-14; 8:45 am]

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