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Proposed Rule

Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; North Carolina Infrastructure Requirements for the 2008 8-Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve portions of the November 2, 2012, State Implementation Plan (SIP) submission, provided by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NC DENR), Division of Air Quality (NCDAQ) for inclusion into the North Carolina SIP. This proposal pertains to the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act) infrastructure requirements for the 2008 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). The CAA requires that each state adopt and submit a SIP for the implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of each NAAQS promulgated by EPA, which is commonly referred to as an “infrastructure” SIP. NCDAQ certified that the North Carolina SIP contains provisions that ensure the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS is implemented, enforced, and maintained in North Carolina (hereafter referred to as an “infrastructure SIP submission”). With the exception of provisions pertaining to prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) permitting, interstate transport, and state boards requirements, EPA is proposing to approve North Carolina's infrastructure SIP submission provided to EPA on November 2, 2012, as satisfying the required infrastructure elements for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

DATES:

Written comments must be received on or before April 3, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2014-0795, by one of the following methods:

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

2. Email: R4-ARMS@epa.gov.

3. Fax: (404) 562-9019.

4. Mail: “EPA-R04-OAR-2014-0795,” Air Regulatory Management Section, (formerly the Regulatory Development Section), Air Planning and Implementation Branch, (formerly the Air Planning Branch)Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960.

5. Hand Delivery or Courier: Lynorae Benjamin, Chief, Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Regional Office's normal hours of operation. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding Federal holidays.

Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2014-0795. 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 through www.regulations.gov or email, information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected. 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. For additional information about EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/​epahome/​dockets.htm.

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 at the Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to schedule your inspection. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding Federal holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Nacosta C. Ward, Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. The telephone number is (404) 562-9140. Ms. Ward can be reached via electronic mail at ward.nacosta@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Background

II. What elements are required under sections 110(a)(1) and (2)?

III. What is EPA's approach to the review of infrastructure SIP submissions?

IV. What is EPA's analysis of how North Carolina addressed the elements of sections 110(a)(1) and (2) “infrastructure” provisions?Start Printed Page 13313

V. Proposed Action

VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

I. Background

On March 27, 2008, EPA promulgated a revised NAAQS for ozone based on 8-hour average concentrations. EPA revised the level of the 8-hour ozone NAAQS to 0.075 parts per million. See 77 FR 16436. Pursuant to section 110(a)(1) of the CAA, states are required to submit SIPs meeting the applicable requirements of section 110(a)(2) within three years after promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS or within such shorter period as EPA may prescribe. Section 110(a)(2) requires states to address basic SIP elements such as requirements for monitoring, basic program requirements and legal authority that are designed to assure attainment and maintenance of the NAAQS. States were required to submit such SIPs for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS to EPA no later than March 2011.[1]

This action is proposing to approve North Carolina's infrastructure submission for the applicable requirements of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, with the exception of the PSD permitting requirements for major sources of section 110(a)(2)(C) and (J), the interstate transport requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) and (II) (prongs 1 through 4), and the state board requirements of 110(E)(ii). With respect to North Carolina's infrastructure SIP submission related to provisions pertaining to the PSD permitting requirements for major sources of sections 110(a)(2)(C) and (J), the interstate transport requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) and (II), and the state board requirements of 110(E)(ii), EPA is not proposing any action today regarding these requirements. EPA will act on these portions of North Carolina's submission in a separate action. For the aspects of North Carolina's submittal proposed for approval today, EPA notes that the Agency is not approving any specific rule, but rather proposing that North Carolina's already approved SIP meets certain CAA requirements.

II. What elements are required under sections 110(a)(1) and (2)?

Section 110(a) of the CAA requires states to submit SIPs to provide for the implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of a new or revised NAAQS within three years following the promulgation of such NAAQS, or within such shorter period as EPA may prescribe. Section 110(a) imposes the obligation upon states to make a SIP submission to EPA for a new or revised NAAQS, but the contents of that submission may vary depending upon the facts and circumstances. In particular, the data and analytical tools available at the time the state develops and submits the SIP for a new or revised NAAQS affects the content of the submission. The contents of such SIP submissions may also vary depending upon what provisions the state's existing SIP already contains. In the case of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, states typically have met the basic program elements required in section 110(a)(2) through earlier SIP submissions in connection with the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

More specifically, section 110(a)(1) provides the procedural and timing requirements for SIPs. Section 110(a)(2) lists specific elements that states must meet for “infrastructure” SIP requirements related to a newly established or revised NAAQS. As mentioned above, these requirements include basic SIP elements such as requirements for monitoring, basic program requirements and legal authority that are designed to assure attainment and maintenance of the NAAQS. The requirements of section 110(a)(2) are summarized below and in EPA's September 13, 2013, memorandum entitled “Guidance on Infrastructure State Implementation Plan (SIP) Elements under Clean Air Act Sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2).” [2]

  • 110(a)(2)(A): Emission Limits and Other Control Measures
  • 110(a)(2)(B): Ambient Air Quality Monitoring/Data System
  • 110(a)(2)(C): Programs for Enforcement of Control Measures and for Construction or Modification of Stationary Sources [3]
  • 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) and (II): Interstate Pollution Transport
  • 110(a)(2)(D)(ii): Interstate Pollution Abatement and International Air Pollution
  • 110(a)(2)(E): Adequate Resources and Authority, Conflict of Interest, and Oversight of Local Governments and Regional Agencies
  • 110(a)(2)(F): Stationary Source Monitoring and Reporting
  • 110(a)(2)(G): Emergency Powers
  • 110(a)(2)(H): SIP revisions
  • 110(a)(2)(I): Plan Revisions for Nonattainment Areas [4]
  • 110(a)(2)(J): Consultation with Government Officials, Public Notification, and PSD and Visibility Protection
  • 110(a)(2)(K): Air Quality Modeling and Submission of Modeling Data
  • 110(a)(2)(L): Permitting fees
  • 110(a)(2)(M): Consultation and Participation by Affected Local Entities

III. What is EPA's approach to the review of infrastructure SIP submissions?

EPA is acting upon the SIP submission from North Carolina that addresses the infrastructure requirements of CAA sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. The requirement for states to make a SIP submission of this type arises out of CAA section 110(a)(1). Pursuant to section 110(a)(1), states must make SIP submissions “within 3 years (or such shorter period as the Administrator may prescribe) after the promulgation of a national primary ambient air quality standard (or any revision thereof),” and these SIP submissions are to provide for the “implementation, maintenance, and enforcement” of such NAAQS. The statute directly imposes on states the duty to make these SIP submissions, and the requirement to make the submissions is not conditioned upon EPA's taking any action other than promulgating a new or revised NAAQS. Section 110(a)(2) includes a list of specific elements that “[e]ach such plan” submission must address.Start Printed Page 13314

EPA has historically referred to these SIP submissions made for the purpose of satisfying the requirements of CAA sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) as “infrastructure SIP” submissions. Although the term “infrastructure SIP” does not appear in the CAA, EPA uses the term to distinguish this particular type of SIP submission from submissions that are intended to satisfy other SIP requirements under the CAA, such as “nonattainment SIP” or “attainment plan SIP” submissions to address the nonattainment planning requirements of part D of title I of the CAA, “regional haze SIP” submissions required by EPA rule to address the visibility protection requirements of CAA section 169A, and nonattainment new source review permit program submissions to address the permit requirements of CAA, title I, part D.

Section 110(a)(1) addresses the timing and general requirements for infrastructure SIP submissions, and section 110(a)(2) provides more details concerning the required contents of these submissions. The list of required elements provided in section 110(a)(2) contains a wide variety of disparate provisions, some of which pertain to required legal authority, some of which pertain to required substantive program provisions, and some of which pertain to requirements for both authority and substantive program provisions.[5] EPA therefore believes that while the timing requirement in section 110(a)(1) is unambiguous, some of the other statutory provisions are ambiguous. In particular, EPA believes that the list of required elements for infrastructure SIP submissions provided in section 110(a)(2) contains ambiguities concerning what is required for inclusion in an infrastructure SIP submission.

The following examples of ambiguities illustrate the need for EPA to interpret some section 110(a)(1) and section 110(a)(2) requirements with respect to infrastructure SIP submissions for a given new or revised NAAQS. One example of ambiguity is that section 110(a)(2) requires that “each” SIP submission must meet the list of requirements therein, while EPA has long noted that this literal reading of the statute is internally inconsistent and would create a conflict with the nonattainment provisions in part D of title I of the Act, which specifically address nonattainment SIP requirements.[6] Section 110(a)(2)(I) pertains to nonattainment SIP requirements and part D addresses when attainment plan SIP submissions to address nonattainment area requirements are due. For example, section 172(b) requires EPA to establish a schedule for submission of such plans for certain pollutants when the Administrator promulgates the designation of an area as nonattainment, and section 107(d)(1)(B) allows up to two years, or in some cases three years, for such designations to be promulgated.[7] This ambiguity illustrates that rather than apply all the stated requirements of section 110(a)(2) in a strict literal sense, EPA must determine which provisions of section 110(a)(2) are applicable for a particular infrastructure SIP submission.

Another example of ambiguity within sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) with respect to infrastructure SIPs pertains to whether states must meet all of the infrastructure SIP requirements in a single SIP submission, and whether EPA must act upon such SIP submission in a single action. Although section 110(a)(1) directs states to submit “a plan” to meet these requirements, EPA interprets the CAA to allow states to make multiple SIP submissions separately addressing infrastructure SIP elements for the same NAAQS. If states elect to make such multiple SIP submissions to meet the infrastructure SIP requirements, EPA can elect to act on such submissions either individually or in a larger combined action.[8] Similarly, EPA interprets the CAA to allow it to take action on the individual parts of one larger, comprehensive infrastructure SIP submission for a given NAAQS without concurrent action on the entire submission. For example, EPA has sometimes elected to act at different times on various elements and sub-elements of the same infrastructure SIP submission.[9]

Ambiguities within sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) may also arise with respect to infrastructure SIP submission requirements for different NAAQS. Thus, EPA notes that not every element of section 110(a)(2) would be relevant, or as relevant, or relevant in the same way, for each new or revised NAAQS. The states' attendant infrastructure SIP submissions for each NAAQS therefore could be different. For example, the monitoring requirements that a state might need to meet in its infrastructure SIP submission for purposes of section 110(a)(2)(B) could be very different for different pollutants because the content and scope of a state's infrastructure SIP submission to meet this element might be very different for an entirely new NAAQS than for a minor revision to an existing NAAQS.[10]

EPA notes that interpretation of section 110(a)(2) is also necessary when EPA reviews other types of SIP submissions required under the CAA. Therefore, as with infrastructure SIP submissions, EPA also has to identify and interpret the relevant elements of section 110(a)(2) that logically apply to these other types of SIP submissions. For example, section 172(c)(7) requires that attainment plan SIP submissions required by part D have to meet the “applicable requirements” of section 110(a)(2). Thus, for example, attainment plan SIP submissions must meet the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(A) regarding enforceable emission limits and control measures and section 110(a)(2)(E)(i) regarding air agency resources and authority. By contrast, it Start Printed Page 13315is clear that attainment plan SIP submissions required by part D would not need to meet the portion of section 110(a)(2)(C) that pertains to the PSD program required in part C of title I of the CAA, because PSD does not apply to a pollutant for which an area is designated nonattainment and thus subject to part D planning requirements. As this example illustrates, each type of SIP submission may implicate some elements of section 110(a)(2) but not others.

Given the potential for ambiguity in some of the statutory language of section 110(a)(1) and section 110(a)(2), EPA believes that it is appropriate to interpret the ambiguous portions of section 110(a)(1) and section 110(a)(2) in the context of acting on a particular SIP submission. In other words, EPA assumes that Congress could not have intended that each and every SIP submission, regardless of the NAAQS in question or the history of SIP development for the relevant pollutant, would meet each of the requirements, or meet each of them in the same way. Therefore, EPA has adopted an approach under which it reviews infrastructure SIP submissions against the list of elements in section 110(a)(2), but only to the extent each element applies for that particular NAAQS.

Historically, EPA has elected to use guidance documents to make recommendations to states for infrastructure SIPs, in some cases conveying needed interpretations on newly arising issues and in some cases conveying interpretations that have already been developed and applied to individual SIP submissions for particular elements.[11] EPA most recently issued guidance for infrastructure SIPs on September 13, 2013 (2013 Guidance).[12] EPA developed this document to provide states with up-to-date guidance for infrastructure SIPs for any new or revised NAAQS. Within this guidance, EPA describes the duty of states to make infrastructure SIP submissions to meet basic structural SIP requirements within three years of promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS. EPA also made recommendations about many specific subsections of section 110(a)(2) that are relevant in the context of infrastructure SIP submissions.[13] The guidance also discusses the substantively important issues that are germane to certain subsections of section 110(a)(2). Significantly, EPA interprets sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) such that infrastructure SIP submissions need to address certain issues and need not address others. Accordingly, EPA reviews each infrastructure SIP submission for compliance with the applicable statutory provisions of section 110(a)(2), as appropriate.

As an example, section 110(a)(2)(E)(ii) is a required element of section 110(a)(2) for infrastructure SIP submissions. Under this element, a state must meet the substantive requirements of section 128, which pertain to state boards that approve permits or enforcement orders and heads of executive agencies with similar powers. Thus, EPA reviews infrastructure SIP submissions to ensure that the state's implementation plan appropriately addresses the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(E)(ii) and section 128. The 2013 Guidance explains EPA's interpretation that there may be a variety of ways by which states can appropriately address these substantive statutory requirements, depending on the structure of an individual state's permitting or enforcement program (e.g., whether permits and enforcement orders are approved by a multi-member board or by a head of an executive agency). However they are addressed by the state, the substantive requirements of section 128 are necessarily included in EPA's evaluation of infrastructure SIP submissions because section 110(a)(2)(E)(ii) explicitly requires that the state satisfy the provisions of section 128.

As another example, EPA's review of infrastructure SIP submissions with respect to the PSD program requirements in sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), and (J) focuses upon the structural PSD program requirements contained in part C and EPA's PSD regulations. Structural PSD program requirements include provisions necessary for the PSD program to address all regulated sources and NSR pollutants, including greenhouse gases. By contrast, structural PSD program requirements do not include provisions that are not required under EPA's regulations at 40 CFR 51.166 but are merely available as an option for the state, such as the option to provide grandfathering of complete permit applications with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. Accordingly, the latter optional provisions are types of provisions EPA considers irrelevant in the context of an infrastructure SIP action.

For other section 110(a)(2) elements, however, EPA's review of a state's infrastructure SIP submission focuses on assuring that the state's SIP meets basic structural requirements. For example, section 110(a)(2)(C) includes, among other things, the requirement that states have a program to regulate minor new sources. Thus, EPA evaluates whether the state has an EPA-approved minor new source review program and whether the program addresses the pollutants relevant to that NAAQS. In the context of acting on an infrastructure SIP submission, however, EPA does not think it is necessary to conduct a review of each and every provision of a state's existing minor source program (i.e., already in the existing SIP) for compliance with the requirements of the CAA and EPA's regulations that pertain to such programs.

With respect to certain other issues, EPA does not believe that an action on a state's infrastructure SIP submission is necessarily the appropriate type of action in which to address possible deficiencies in a state's existing SIP. These issues include: (i) Existing provisions related to excess emissions from sources during periods of startup, shutdown, or malfunction that may be contrary to the CAA and EPA's policies addressing such excess emissions (“SSM”); (ii) existing provisions related to “director's variance” or “director's discretion” that may be contrary to the CAA because they purport to allow revisions to SIP-approved emissions limits while limiting public process or not requiring further approval by EPA; and (iii) existing provisions for PSD programs that may be inconsistent with current requirements of EPA's “Final NSR Improvement Rule,” 67 FR 80186 (December 31, 2002), as amended by 72 FR 32526 (June 13, 2007) (“NSR Reform”). Thus, EPA believes it may approve an infrastructure SIP submission without scrutinizing the totality of the existing SIP for such Start Printed Page 13316potentially deficient provisions and may approve the submission even if it is aware of such existing provisions.[14] It is important to note that EPA's approval of a state's infrastructure SIP submission should not be construed as explicit or implicit re-approval of any existing potentially deficient provisions that relate to the three specific issues just described.

EPA's approach to review of infrastructure SIP submissions is to identify the CAA requirements that are logically applicable to that submission. EPA believes that this approach to the review of a particular infrastructure SIP submission is appropriate, because it would not be reasonable to read the general requirements of section 110(a)(1) and the list of elements in 110(a)(2) as requiring review of each and every provision of a state's existing SIP against all requirements in the CAA and EPA regulations merely for purposes of assuring that the state in question has the basic structural elements for a functioning SIP for a new or revised NAAQS. Because SIPs have grown by accretion over the decades as statutory and regulatory requirements under the CAA have evolved, they may include some outmoded provisions and historical artifacts. These provisions, while not fully up to date, nevertheless may not pose a significant problem for the purposes of “implementation, maintenance, and enforcement” of a new or revised NAAQS when EPA evaluates adequacy of the infrastructure SIP submission. EPA believes that a better approach is for states and EPA to focus attention on those elements of section 110(a)(2) of the CAA most likely to warrant a specific SIP revision due to the promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS or other factors.

For example, EPA's 2013 Guidance gives simpler recommendations with respect to carbon monoxide than other NAAQS pollutants to meet the visibility requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II), because carbon monoxide does not affect visibility. As a result, an infrastructure SIP submission for any future new or revised NAAQS for carbon monoxide need only state this fact in order to address the visibility prong of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II).

Finally, EPA believes that its approach with respect to infrastructure SIP requirements is based on a reasonable reading of sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) because the CAA provides other avenues and mechanisms to address specific substantive deficiencies in existing SIPs. These other statutory tools allow EPA to take appropriately tailored action, depending upon the nature and severity of the alleged SIP deficiency. Section 110(k)(5) authorizes EPA to issue a “SIP call” whenever the Agency determines that a state's SIP is substantially inadequate to attain or maintain the NAAQS, to mitigate interstate transport, or to otherwise comply with the CAA.[15] Section 110(k)(6) authorizes EPA to correct errors in past actions, such as past approvals of SIP submissions.[16] Significantly, EPA's determination that an action on a state's infrastructure SIP submission is not the appropriate time and place to address all potential existing SIP deficiencies does not preclude EPA's subsequent reliance on provisions in section 110(a)(2) as part of the basis for action to correct those deficiencies at a later time. For example, although it may not be appropriate to require a state to eliminate all existing inappropriate director's discretion provisions in the course of acting on an infrastructure SIP submission, EPA believes that section 110(a)(2)(A) may be among the statutory bases that EPA relies upon in the course of addressing such deficiency in a subsequent action.[17]

IV. What is EPA's Analysis of How North Carolina addressed the elements of sections 110(a)(1) and (2) “infrastructure” provisions?

The North Carolina infrastructure submission addresses the provisions of sections 110(a)(1) and (2) as described below.

1. 110(a)(2)(A) Emission limits and other control measures: There are several provisions within the North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS) and the North Carolina Administrative Code (NCAC) that provide NCDAQ with the necessary authority to adopt and enforce air quality controls, which include enforceable emission limitations and other control measures. NCGS 143-215.107(a)(5), “Air quality standards and classifications,” provides North Carolina with the authority to “develop and adopt emission control standards as in the judgment of the Commission may be necessary to prohibit, abate, or control air pollution commensurate with established air quality standards.” Rules 15A NCAC 2D .0600 “Monitoring: Recordkeeping: Reporting,” 15A NCAC 2D .1600 “General Conformity,” 15A NCAC 2D .2200 “Special Orders,” and, 15A NCAC 2D .2600 “Source Testing,” provide enforceable emission limits and other control measures, means, and techniques.[18] EPA has made the preliminary determination that the provisions contained in these statutes and regulations and North Carolina's practices are adequate to protect the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS in the State.

In this action, EPA is not proposing to approve or disapprove any existing State provisions with regard to excess emissions during SSM of operations at a facility. EPA believes that a number of states have SSM provisions which are contrary to the CAA and existing EPA guidance, “State Implementation Plans: Policy Regarding Excess Emissions During Malfunctions, Startup, and Shutdown” (September 20, 1999), and the Agency plans to address such state regulations in a separate action.[19] In the meantime, EPA encourages any state having a deficient SSM provision to take steps to correct it as soon as possible.

Additionally, in this action, EPA is not proposing to approve or disapprove Start Printed Page 13317any existing State rules with regard to director's discretion or variance provisions. EPA believes that a number of states have such provisions which are contrary to the CAA and existing EPA guidance (52 FR 45109 (November 24, 1987)), and the Agency plans to take action in the future to address such state regulations. In the meantime, EPA encourages any state having a director's discretion or variance provision which is contrary to the CAA and EPA guidance to take steps to correct the deficiency as soon as possible.

2. 110(a)(2)(B) Ambient air quality monitoring/data system: SIPs are required to provide for the establishment and operation of ambient air quality monitors; the compilation and analysis of ambient air quality data; and the submission of these data to EPA upon request. NCGS 143-215.107(a)(2), “Air quality standards and classifications,” along with the North Carolina Annual Monitoring Network Plan, provide for an ambient air quality monitoring system in the State, which includes the monitoring of ozone at appropriate locations throughout the state using the EPA approved Federal Reference Method or equivalent monitors. NCGS 143-215.107(a)(2) also provides North Carolina with the statutory authority to “determine by means of field sampling and other studies, including the examination of available data collected by any local, State or federal agency or any person, the degree of air contamination and air pollution in the State and the several areas of the State.” Annually, States develop and submit to EPA for approval statewide ambient monitoring network plans consistent with the requirements of 40 CFR parts 50, 53, and 58. The annual network plan involves an evaluation of any proposed changes to the monitoring network, includes the annual ambient monitoring network design plan and a certified evaluation of the agency's ambient monitors and auxiliary support equipment.[20] The latest monitoring network plan for North Carolina was submitted to EPA on July 2, 2013, and on November 25, 2013, EPA approved this plan. North Carolina's approved monitoring network plan can be accessed at www.regulations.gov using Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2014-0795. EPA has made the preliminary determination that North Carolina's SIP and practices are adequate for the ambient air quality monitoring and data system related to the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

3. 110(a)(2)(C) Program for enforcement of control measures including review of proposed new sources: This element consists of three sub-elements; enforcement, state-wide regulation of new and modified minor sources and minor modifications of major sources; and preconstruction permitting of major sources and major modifications in areas designated attainment or unclassifiable for the subject NAAQS as required by CAA title I part C (i.e., the major source PSD program). To meet these obligations, North Carolina cited regulations 15A NCAC 2D. 0500 “Emissions Control Standards;” 2D. 0530 “Prevention of Significant Deterioration;” and, 2D. 0531 “Sources in Nonattainment Area,” each of which pertain to the construction of any new major stationary source or any project at an existing major stationary source in an area designated as attainment or unclassifiable and 15A NCAC 2Q .0300 “Construction Operation Permits,” which pertains to the regulation of minor stationary sources. In this action, EPA is only proposing to approve North Carolina's infrastructure SIP submission for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS with respect to the general requirement in section 110(a)(2)(C) to include a program in the SIP that provides for the enforcement of emission limits and control measures such as oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and the regulation of minor sources and modifications to assist in the protection of air quality in nonattainment, attainment or unclassifiable areas.

Enforcement: NCDAQ's above-described, SIP-approved regulations provide for enforcement of ozone precursor (VOC and NOX) emission limits and control measures and construction permitting for new or modified stationary sources.

Preconstruction PSD Permitting for Major Sources: With respect to North Carolina's infrastructure SIP submission related to the preconstruction PSD permitting requirements for major sources of section 110(a)(2)(C), EPA is not proposing any action today regarding these requirements and instead will act on this portion of the submission in a separate action.

Regulation of minor sources and modifications: Section 110(a)(2)(C) also requires the SIP to include provisions that govern the minor source program that regulates emissions of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. Regulation 15A NCAC 2Q .0300 “Construction Operation Permits,” governs the preconstruction permitting of modifications and construction of minor stationary sources.

EPA has made the preliminary determination that North Carolina's SIP and practices are adequate for enforcement of control measures and regulation of minor sources and modifications related to the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

4. 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) and (II) Interstate Pollution Transport: Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) has two components; 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) and 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II). Each of these components have two subparts resulting in four distinct components, commonly referred to as “prongs,” that must be addressed in infrastructure SIP submissions. The first two prongs, which are codified in section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I), are provisions that prohibit any source or other type of emissions activity in one state from contributing significantly to nonattainment of the NAAQS in another state (“prong 1”), and interfering with maintenance of the NAAQS in another state (“prong 2”). The third and fourth prongs, which are codified in section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II), are provisions that prohibit emissions activity in one state interfering with measures required to prevent significant deterioration of air quality in another state (“prong 3”), or to protect visibility in another state (“prong 4”). With respect to North Carolina's infrastructure SIP submissions related to the interstate transport requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) and 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) (prongs 1 through 4), EPA is not proposing any action today regarding these requirements and instead will act on these portions of the submissions in a separate action.

5. 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) Interstate Pollution Abatement and International Air Pollution: Section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) requires SIPs to include provisions insuring compliance with sections 115 and 126 of the Act, relating to interstate and international pollution abatement. 15A NCAC 2D .0530 “Prevention of Significant Deterioration” and 15A NCAC 2D .0531 “Sources of Nonattainment Areas” provide how NCDAQ will notify neighboring states of potential impacts from new or modified sources consistent with the requirements of 40 CFR 51.166. This regulation requires NCDAQ to provide an opportunity for a public hearing to the public, which includes State or local air pollution control agencies, “whose lands may be affected by emissions from the source or modification” in North Carolina. In addition, North Carolina does not have any pending obligation under sections 115 and 126 of the CAA. Start Printed Page 13318Accordingly, EPA has made the preliminary determination that North Carolina's SIP and practices are adequate for insuring compliance with the applicable requirements relating to interstate and international pollution abatement for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

6. 110(a)(2)(E) Adequate Resources and Authority, Conflict of Interest, and Oversight of Local Governments and Regional Agencies: Section 110(a)(2)(E) requires that each implementation plan provide (i) necessary assurances that the State will have adequate personnel, funding, and authority under state law to carry out its implementation plan, (ii) that the State comply with the requirements respecting State Boards pursuant to section 128 of the Act, and (iii) necessary assurances that, where the State has relied on a local or regional government, agency, or instrumentality for the implementation of any plan provision, the State has responsibility for ensuring adequate implementation of such plan provisions. EPA is proposing to approve North Carolina's SIP as meeting the requirements of sub-elements 110(a)(2)(E)(i) and (iii). EPA will act on sub-element (ii) in a separate action. EPA's rationale for this proposal respecting sub-elements (i) and (iii) is described in turn below.

To satisfy the requirements of sections 110(a)(2)(E)(i) and (iii), North Carolina's infrastructure SIP submission cites several regulations. Rule 15A NCAC 2Q. 0200 “Permit Fees,” provides the mechanism by which stationary sources that emit air pollutants pay a fee based on the quantity of emissions emitted. State statutes NCGS 143-215.3 “General powers of Commission and Department: auxiliary powers,” and NCGS 143-215.107(a)(1) “Air quality standards and classifications” provide NCDAQ with the statutory authority “[t]o prepare and develop, after proper study, a comprehensive plan or plans for the prevention, abatement and control of air pollution in the State or in any designated area of the State.” As further evidence of the adequacy of NCDAQ's resources, EPA submitted a letter to North Carolina on February 28, 2014, outlining 105 grant commitments and the current status of these commitments for fiscal year 2013. The letter EPA submitted to North Carolina can be accessed at www.regulations.gov using Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2014-0795. Annually, states update these grant commitments based on current SIP requirements, air quality planning, and applicable requirements related to the NAAQS. North Carolina satisfactorily met all commitments agreed to in the Air Planning Agreement for fiscal year 2013, therefore North Carolina's grants were finalized and closed out. Collectively, these rules and commitments provide evidence that NCDAQ has adequate personnel, funding, and legal authority to carry out the state's implementation plan and related issues. EPA has made the preliminary determination that North Carolina has adequate resources and authority to satisfy sections 110(a)(2)(E)(i) and (iii) of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

With respect to North Carolina's infrastructure SIP submission related to the state board requirements of section 110(a)(2)(E)(ii), EPA is not proposing any action today regarding this requirement and will act on this portion of the submission in a separate action.

7. 110(a)(2)(F) Stationary Source Monitoring and Reporting: North Carolina's infrastructure SIP submission describes how the State establishes requirements for emissions compliance testing and utilizes emissions sampling and analysis. It further describes how the State ensures the quality of its data through observing emissions and monitoring operations. NCDAQ uses these data to track progress towards maintaining the NAAQS, develop control and maintenance strategies, identify sources and general emission levels, and determine compliance with emission regulations and additional EPA requirements. North Carolina meets these requirements through 15A NCAC 2D .0604 “Exceptions to Monitoring and Reporting Requirements,” 15A NCAC 2D .0605 “General Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements,” 15A NCAC 2D .0611 “Monitoring Emissions from Other Sources,” 15A NCAC 2D .0612 “Alternative Monitoring and Reporting Procedures,” 15A NCAC 2D .0613 “Quality Assurance Program,” and, 15A NCAC 2D .0614 “Compliance Assurance Monitoring.” In addition, Rule 15A NCAC 2D .0605(c) “General Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements,” allows for the use of credible evidence in the event that the NCDAQ Director has evidence that a source is violating an emission standard or permit condition, the Director may require that the owner or operator of any source submit to the Director any information necessary to determine the compliance status of the source. In addition, EPA is unaware of any provision preventing the use of credible evidence in the North Carolina SIP.

Stationary sources are required to submit periodic emissions reports to the State by Rule 15A NCAC 2Q .0207 “Annual Emissions Reporting.” North Carolina is also required to submit emissions data to EPA for purposes of the National Emissions Inventory (NEI). The NEI is EPA's central repository for air emissions data. EPA published the Air Emissions Reporting Rule (AERR) on December 5, 2008, which modified the requirements for collecting and reporting air emissions data. See 73 FR 76539. The AERR shortened the time states had to report emissions data from 17 to 12 months, giving states one calendar year to submit emissions data. All states are required to submit a comprehensive emissions inventory every three years and report emissions for certain larger sources annually through EPA's online Emissions Inventory System. States report emissions data for the six criteria pollutants and the precursors that form them—NOx, sulfur dioxide, ammonia, lead, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds. Many states also voluntarily report emissions of hazardous air pollutants. North Carolina made its latest update to the 2011 NEI on June 3, 2014. EPA compiles the emissions data, supplementing it where necessary, and releases it to the general public through the Web site http://www.epa.gov/​ttn/​chief/​eiinformation.html. EPA has made the preliminary determination that North Carolina's SIP and practices are adequate for the stationary source monitoring systems obligations for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

8. 110(a)(2)(G) Emergency powers: This section requires that states demonstrate authority comparable with section 303 of the CAA and adequate contingency plans to implement such authority. North Carolina's infrastructure SIP submission cites 15A NCAC 2D .0300 “Air Pollution Emergencies” as identifying air pollution emergency episodes and preplanned abatement strategies, and provides the means to implement emergency air pollution episode measures. If NC DENR finds that such a “condition of . . . air pollution exists and that it creates an emergency requiring immediate action to protect the public health and safety or to protect fish and wildlife, the Secretary of the Department [NC DENR] with the concurrence of the Governor, shall order persons causing or contributing to the . . . air pollution in question to reduce or discontinue immediately the emission of air contaminants or the discharge of wastes. In addition, NCGS 143-215.3(a)(12) provides NC DENR with the authority to declare an emergency when it finds that a generalized condition of water or air pollution which is causing imminent Start Printed Page 13319danger to the health or safety of the public. This statute also allows, in the absence of a generalized condition of air pollution, should the Secretary find “that the emissions from one or more air contaminant sources . . . is causing imminent danger to human health and safety or to fish and wildlife, he may with the concurrence of the Governor order the person or persons responsible for the operation or operations in question to immediately reduce or discontinue the emissions of air contaminants . . . or to take such other measures as are, in his judgment, necessary.” EPA also notes that NCDAQ maintains a Web site that provides the public with notice of the health hazards associated with ozone NAAQS exceedances, measures the public can take to help prevent such exceedances, and the ways in which the public can participate in the regulatory process. See http://www.ncair.org/​news/​. EPA has made the preliminary determination that North Carolina's SIP and practices are adequate to satisfy the emergency powers obligations of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

9. 110(a)(2)(H) SIP revisions: NCDAQ is responsible for adopting air quality rules and revising SIPs as needed to attain or maintain the NAAQS in North Carolina. Statutes NCGS 143-215.107(a)(1) and (a)(10) grants NCDAQ the authority to implement the CAA, and as such, provide NCDAQ the authority to prepare and develop, after proper study, a comprehensive plan for the prevention of air pollution. These provisions also provide NCDAQ the ability and authority to respond to calls for SIP revisions, and North Carolina has provided a number of SIP revisions over the years for implementation of the NAAQS. Accordingly, EPA has made the preliminary determination that North Carolina's SIP and practices adequately demonstrate a commitment to provide future SIP revisions related to the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, when necessary.

10. 110(a)(2)(J) Consultation with Government Officials, Public Notification, and PSD and Visibility Protection: EPA is proposing to approve North Carolina's infrastructure SIP for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS with respect to the general requirement in section 110(a)(2)(J) to include a program in the SIP that complies with the applicable consultation requirements of section 121, and the public notification requirements of section 127. With respect to North Carolina's infrastructure SIP submission related to the preconstruction PSD permitting, EPA is not proposing any action today regarding these requirements and instead will act on these portions of the submission in a separate action. EPA's rationale for its proposed action regarding applicable consultation requirements of section 121 and the public notification requirements of section 127 is described below.

Consultation with government officials (121 consultation): Section 110(a)(2)(J) of the CAA requires states to provide a process for consultation with local governments, designated organizations and federal land managers (FLMs) carrying out NAAQS implementation requirements pursuant to section 121 relative to consultation. 15A NCAC 2D.1600 “General Conformity,” 15A NCAC 2D .2000 “Transportation Conformity,” and 15A NCAC 2D .0531 “Sources in Nonattainment Areas,” along with the Regional Haze SIP Plan provide for consultation with government officials whose jurisdictions might be affected by SIP development activities. These consultation procedures were developed in coordination with the transportation partners in the State and are consistent with the approaches used for development of mobile inventories for SIPs. Implementation of transportation conformity as outlined in the consultation procedures requires NCDAQ to consult with federal, state and local transportation and air quality agency officials on the development of motor vehicle emissions budgets. The Regional Haze SIP provides for consultation between appropriate state, local, and tribal air pollution control agencies as well as the corresponding Federal Land Managers. EPA has made the preliminary determination that North Carolina's SIP and practices adequately demonstrate that the State meets applicable requirements related to consultation with government officials for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS when necessary.

Public notification (127 public notification): Rule 15A NCAC 2D .0300 “Air Pollution Emergencies” provides North Carolina with the authority to declare an emergency and notify the public accordingly when it finds that a generalized condition of water or air pollution which is causing imminent danger to the health or safety of the public. In addition, the North Carolina SIP process affords the public an opportunity to participate in regulatory and other efforts to improve air quality by holding public hearings for interested persons to appear and submit written or oral comments. Rule 15A NCAC 2D .0530 “Prevention of Significant Deterioration,” requires the owners and operators of major stationary sources and major modifications to apply for and receive, as appropriate, a permit as described in Rule 15A NCAC 02Q .0300. Rule 15A NCAC 02Q. 0306 provides for public notice for comments with an opportunity to request a public hearing on the draft permits required pursuant to Rule 15A NCAC 2D. 0530. EPA also notes that NCDAQ maintains a Web site that provides the public with notice of the health hazards associated with ozone NAAQS exceedances, measures the public can take to help prevent such exceedances, and the ways in which the public can participate in the regulatory process. See http://www.ncair.org/​ news/.

EPA has made the preliminary determination that North Carolina's SIP and practices adequately demonstrate the State's ability to provide public notification related to the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS when necessary.

Visibility protection: EPA's 2013 Guidance notes that it does not treat the visibility protection aspects of section 110(a)(2)(J) as applicable for purposes of the infrastructure SIP approval process. NC DENR referenced its regional haze program as germane to the visibility component of section 110(a)(2)(J). EPA recognizes that states are subject to visibility protection and regional haze program requirements under Part C of the Act (which includes sections 169A and 169B). However, there are no newly applicable visibility protection obligations after the promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS. Thus, EPA has determined that states do not need to address the visibility component of 110(a)(2)(J) in infrastructure SIP submittals so NC DENR does not need to rely on its regional haze program to fulfill its obligations under section 110(a)(2)(J). As such, EPA has made the preliminary determination that the visibility protection element of section 110(a)(2)(J) does not need to be addressed in North Carolina's infrastructure SIP related to the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

11. 110(a)(2)(K) Air Quality Modeling and Submission of Modeling Data: Section 110(a)(2)(K) of the CAA requires that SIPs provide for performing air quality modeling so that effects on air quality of emissions from NAAQS pollutants can be predicted and submission of such data to the USEPA can be made. 15A NCAC 2D .0530 “Prevention of Significant Deterioration” and 15A NCAC 2D .0531 “Sources in Nonattainment Areas,” require that air modeling be conducted in accordance with 40 CFR part 51, appendix W “Guideline on Air Quality Models.” These regulations demonstrate that North Carolina has the authority to Start Printed Page 13320perform air quality modeling and to provide relevant data for the purpose of predicting the effect on ambient air quality of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. Additionally, North Carolina supports a regional effort to coordinate the development of emissions inventories and conduct regional modeling for several NAAQS, including the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, for the Southeastern states. Taken as a whole, North Carolina's air quality regulations demonstrate that NCDAQ has the authority to provide relevant data for the purpose of predicting the effect on ambient air quality of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. EPA has made the preliminary determination that North Carolina's SIP and practices adequately demonstrate the State's ability to provide for air quality and modeling, along with analysis of the associated data, related to the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS when necessary.

12. 110(a)(2)(L) Permitting fees: This element necessitates that the SIP require the owner or operator of each major stationary source to pay to the permitting authority, as a condition of any permit required under the CAA, a fee sufficient to cover (i) the reasonable costs of reviewing and acting upon any application for such a permit, and (ii) if the owner or operator receives a permit for such source, the reasonable costs of implementing and enforcing the terms and conditions of any such permit (not including any court costs or other costs associated with any enforcement action), until such fee requirement is superseded with respect to such sources by the Administrator's approval of a fee program under title V.

To satisfy these requirements, North Carolina's infrastructure SIP submission cites NCGS 143-215.3 “General powers of Commission and Department; auxiliary Powers,” which directs NCDAQ to require a processing fee in an amount sufficient for the reasonable cost of reviewing and acting upon PSD and NNSR permits. Regulation 15A NCAC 2Q .0200 “Permit Fees,” implements this directive and requires the owner or operator of each major stationary source to pay to the permitting authority, as a condition of any permit required under the CAA, a sufficient fee to cover the costs of the permitting program. Additionally, North Carolina has a fully approved title V operating permit program that covers the cost of implementation and enforcement of PSD and NNSR permits after they have been issued. EPA has made the preliminary determination that North Carolina's practices adequately provide for permitting fees related to the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, when necessary.

13. 110(a)(2)(M) Consultation and Participation by Affected Local Entities: This element requires states to provide for consultation and participation in SIP development by local political subdivisions affected by the SIP. North Carolina 15A NCAC 2D .0530 “Prevention of Significant Deterioration,” and NCGS 150B-21.1 and -21.2 authorize and require NCDAQ to advise, consult, cooperate and enter into agreements with other agencies of the state, the Federal Government, other states, interstate agencies, groups, political subdivisions, and industries affected by the provisions of this act, rules, or policies of the Department. Furthermore, NCDAQ has demonstrated consultation with, and participation by, affected local entities through its work with local political subdivisions during the developing of its Transportation Conformity SIP, Regional Haze Implementation Plan, and the 8-Hour Ozone Attainment Demonstration for the North Carolina portion of the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill NC-SC nonattainment area. EPA has made the preliminary determination that North Carolina's SIP and practices adequately demonstrate consultation with affected local entities related to the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, when necessary.

V. Proposed Action

With the exception of the PSD permitting requirements for major sources of section 110(a)(2)(C) and (J), the interstate transport requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) and (II) (prongs 1 through 4), and the state board requirements of section 110(a)(E)(ii), EPA is proposing to approve that NCDAQ's infrastructure SIP submissions, submitted November 2, 2012, for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS have met the above described infrastructure SIP requirements. EPA is proposing to approve these portions of North Carolina's infrastructure SIP submission for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS because these aspects of the submission are consistent with section 110 of the CAA. EPA will address those portions of North Carolina's infrastructure SIP submission not acted upon through this notice in a separate action.

VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

Under the CAA, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP submission that complies with the provisions of the Act and applicable federal regulations. See 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 proposed 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 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 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).
Start Printed Page 13321

In addition, the North Carolina SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), nor will it impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

  • Environmental protection
  • Air pollution control
  • Incorporation by reference
  • Intergovernmental relations
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Ozone
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Volatile organic compounds
End List of Subjects Start Authority

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

End Authority Start Signature

Dated: February 20, 2015.

Heather McTeer Toney,

Regional Administrator, Region 4.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

Footnotes

1.  In these infrastructure SIP submissions states generally certify evidence of compliance with sections 110(a)(1) and (2) of the CAA through a combination of state regulations and statutes, some of which have been incorporated into the federally-approved SIP. In addition, certain federally-approved, non-SIP regulations may also be appropriate for demonstrating compliance with sections 110(a)(1) and (2). Unless otherwise indicated, the Title 15A regulations (also referred to as rules) of the North Carolina Administrative Code (“15A NCAC”) cited throughout this rulemaking have been approved into North Carolina's federally-approved SIP. The North Carolina General Statutes (“NCGS”) cited throughout this rulemaking, however, are not approved into the North Carolina SIP unless otherwise indicated.

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2.  Two elements identified in section 110(a)(2) are not governed by the three year submission deadline of section 110(a)(1) because SIPs incorporating necessary local nonattainment area controls are not due within three years after promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS, but rather due at the time the nonattainment area plan requirements are due pursuant to section 172. These requirements are: (1) Submissions required by section 110(a)(2)(C) to the extent that subsection refers to a permit program as required in part D Title I of the CAA; and (2) submissions required by section 110(a)(2)(I) which pertain to the nonattainment planning requirements of part D, Title I of the CAA. This proposed rulemaking does not address infrastructure elements related to section 110(a)(2)(I) or the nonattainment planning requirements of 110(a)(2)(C).

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3.  This rulemaking only addresses requirements for this element as they relate to attainment areas.

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4.  As mentioned above, this element is not relevant to this proposed rulemaking.

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5.  For example: Section 110(a)(2)(E)(i) provides that states must provide assurances that they have adequate legal authority under state and local law to carry out the SIP; section 110(a)(2)(C) provides that states must have a SIP-approved program to address certain sources as required by part C of title I of the CAA; and section 110(a)(2)(G) provides that states must have legal authority to address emergencies as well as contingency plans that are triggered in the event of such emergencies.

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6.  See, e.g., “Rule To Reduce Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter and Ozone (Clean Air Interstate Rule); Revisions to Acid Rain Program; Revisions to the NOx SIP Call; Final Rule,” 70 FR 25162, at 25163-65 (May 12, 2005) (explaining relationship between timing requirement of section 110(a)(2)(D) versus section 110(a)(2)(I)).

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7.  EPA notes that this ambiguity within section 110(a)(2) is heightened by the fact that various subparts of part D set specific dates for submission of certain types of SIP submissions in designated nonattainment areas for various pollutants. Note, e.g., that section 182(a)(1) provides specific dates for submission of emissions inventories for the ozone NAAQS. Some of these specific dates are necessarily later than three years after promulgation of the new or revised NAAQS.

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8.  See, e.g., “Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; New Mexico; Revisions to the New Source Review (NSR) State Implementation Plan (SIP); Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Nonattainment New Source Review (NNSR) Permitting,” 78 FR 4339 (January 22, 2013) (EPA's final action approving the structural PSD elements of the New Mexico SIP submitted by the State separately to meet the requirements of EPA's 2008 PM2.5 NSR rule), and “Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; New Mexico; Infrastructure and Interstate Transport Requirements for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS,” (78 FR 4337) (January 22, 2013) (EPA's final action on the infrastructure SIP for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS).

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9.  On December 14, 2007, the State of Tennessee, through the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, made a SIP revision to EPA demonstrating that the State meets the requirements of sections 110(a)(1) and (2). EPA proposed action for infrastructure SIP elements (C) and (J) on January 23, 2012 (77 FR 3213) and took final action on March 14, 2012 (77 FR 14976). On April 16, 2012 (77 FR 22533) and July 23, 2012 (77 FR 42997), EPA took separate proposed and final actions on all other section 110(a)(2) infrastructure SIP elements of Tennessee's December 14, 2007 submittal.

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10.  For example, implementation of the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS required the deployment of a system of new monitors to measure ambient levels of that new indicator species for the new NAAQS.

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11.  EPA notes, however, that nothing in the CAA requires EPA to provide guidance or to promulgate regulations for infrastructure SIP submissions. The CAA directly applies to states and requires the submission of infrastructure SIP submissions, regardless of whether or not EPA provides guidance or regulations pertaining to such submissions. EPA elects to issue such guidance in order to assist states, as appropriate.

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12.  “Guidance on Infrastructure State Implementation Plan (SIP) Elements under Clean Air Act Sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2),” Memorandum from Stephen D. Page, September 13, 2013.

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13.  EPA's September 13, 2013, guidance did not make recommendations with respect to infrastructure SIP submissions to address section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I). EPA issued the guidance shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the DC Circuit decision in EME Homer City, 696 F.3d7 (D.C. Cir. 2012) which had interpreted the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I). In light of the uncertainty created by ongoing litigation, EPA elected not to provide additional guidance on the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) at that time. As the guidance is neither binding nor required by statute, whether EPA elects to provide guidance on a particular section has no impact on a state's CAA obligations.

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14.  By contrast, EPA notes that if a state were to include a new provision in an infrastructure SIP submission that contained a legal deficiency, such as a new exemption for excess emissions during SSM events, then EPA would need to evaluate that provision for compliance against the rubric of applicable CAA requirements in the context of the action on the infrastructure SIP.

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15.  For example, EPA issued a SIP call to Utah to address specific existing SIP deficiencies related to the treatment of excess emissions during SSM events. See “Finding of Substantial Inadequacy of Implementation Plan; Call for Utah State Implementation Plan Revisions,” 74 FR 21639 (April 18, 2011).

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16.  EPA has used this authority to correct errors in past actions on SIP submissions related to PSD programs. See “Limitation of Approval of Prevention of Significant Deterioration Provisions Concerning Greenhouse Gas Emitting-Sources in State Implementation Plans; Final Rule,” 75 FR 82536 (December 30, 2010). EPA has previously used its authority under CAA section 110(k)(6) to remove numerous other SIP provisions that the Agency determined it had approved in error. See, e.g., 61 FR 38664 (July 25, 1996) and 62 FR 34641 (June 27, 1997) (corrections to American Samoa, Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada SIPs); 69 FR 67062 (November 16, 2004) (corrections to California SIP); and 74 FR 57051 (November 3, 2009) (corrections to Arizona and Nevada SIPs).

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17.  See, e.g., EPA's disapproval of a SIP submission from Colorado on the grounds that it would have included a director's discretion provision inconsistent with CAA requirements, including section 110(a)(2)(A). See, e.g., 75 FR 42342 at 42344 (July 21, 2010) (proposed disapproval of director's discretion provisions); 76 FR 4540 (Jan. 26, 2011) (final disapproval of such provisions).

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18.  State rules 15A NCAC 2D .1600 “General Conformity,” and 15A NCAC 2D .2200 “Special Orders,” are state-approved rules and not incorporated into the federally approved SIP.

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19.  On February 22, 2013, EPA published a proposed action in the Federal Register entitled, “State Implementation Plans: Response to Petition for Rulemaking; Findings of Substantial Inadequacy; and SIP Calls to Amend Provisions Applying to Excess Emissions During Periods of Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction; Proposed Rule.” See 78 FR 12459.

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20.  On occasion, proposed changes to the monitoring network are evaluated outside of the network plan approval process in accordance with 40 CFR part 58.

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[FR Doc. 2015-05647 Filed 3-12-15; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-P