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Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Ohio; Removal of General Conformity Regulations

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Direct final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving the removal of general conformity regulations from the Ohio state implementation plan (SIP) under the Clean Air Act (CAA). These regulations are no longer necessary since the establishment of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users transportation act (transportation act) removed the requirement for states to maintain general conformity regulations.

DATES:

This direct final rule will be effective July 27, 2015, unless EPA receives adverse comments by June 25, 2015. If adverse comments are received, EPA will publish a timely withdrawal of the direct final rule in the Federal Register informing the public that the rule will not take effect.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R05-OAR-2014-0659, by one of the following methods:

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

2. Email: blakley.pamela@epa.gov.

3. Fax: (312) 692-2450.

4. Mail: Pamela Blakley, Chief, Control Strategies Section, Air Programs Branch (AR-18J), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604.

5. Hand Delivery: Pamela Blakley, Chief, Control Strategies Section, Air Programs Branch (AR-18J), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Regional Office normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. The Regional Office 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-R05-OAR-2014-0659. 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 docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, will be publicly available only in hard copy. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, Air and Radiation Division, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604. This facility is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays. We recommend that you telephone Anthony Maietta, Environmental Protection Specialist, at (312) 353-8777 before visiting the Region 5 office.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Anthony Maietta, Environmental Protection Specialist, Control Strategies Section, Air Programs Branch (AR-18J), Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604, (312) 353-8777, maietta.anthony@epa.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Throughout this document whenever “we,” “us,” or “our” is used, we mean EPA. This supplementary information section is arranged as follows:

I. What is the background for this action?

II. What is EPA's analysis of the state's submittal?

III. What action is EPA taking?

IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

I. What is the background for this action?

On March 11, 1996, EPA approved the general conformity rules in chapter 3745-102 of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) into the Ohio SIP (61 FR 9646). General conformity is a requirement of section 176(c) of the CAA to ensure that no Federally supported actions outside of highway and transit projects interfere with the purpose of the approved SIP, i.e. the SIP's protection of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. General conformity requirements currently apply to the following criteria pollutants: Ozone, particulate matter, Start Printed Page 29969carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide. The general conformity regulation is found in 40 CFR part 93, subpart B and provisions related to general conformity SIPs are found in 40 CFR 51.851.

On August 10, 2005, the transportation act was signed into law, and among other things, it amended the CAA to eliminate the requirement for states to adopt and submit general conformity SIPs. On April 5, 2010 (75 FR 17254), EPA updated the general conformity SIP regulations to be consistent with the transportation act by eliminating the Federal regulatory requirement for states to adopt and submit general conformity SIPs. See 40 CFR 51.851. On July 21, 2014, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency submitted a request to remove the general conformity regulations from the Ohio SIP.

II. What is EPA's analysis of the state's submittal?

We have reviewed Ohio's submittal to ensure consistency with the current CAA, as amended by the transportation act, and EPA regulations governing state procedures for general conformity (40 CFR 51.851). Specifically, 40 CFR 51.851(a) was changed to indicate that states “may”, not “must” submit to EPA a general conformity SIP because, as 40 CFR 51.851(b) indicates, Federal agencies shall use the provisions of 40 CFR part 93, subpart B in addition to any existing applicable state or tribal requirements to review the conformity of Federal actions in nonattainment or maintenance areas. Ohio's removal of general conformity rules from its SIP meets the requirements set forth in section 110(l) of the CAA with respect to adoption and submission of SIP revisions. 40 CFR part 93, subpart B continues to subject certain Federal actions to general conformity requirements without the need for identical state rules and SIPs. Therefore, repealing the state rule will not impact continuity of the general conformity program in Ohio, and consequently meets the requirements of section 110(l). Ohio's request to remove the general conformity regulations from the Ohio SIP is approvable.

III. What action is EPA taking?

EPA is approving the removal of the general conformity regulations in OAC chapter 3745-102 from the Ohio SIP. We are publishing this action without prior proposal because we view this as a noncontroversial amendment and anticipate no adverse comments. However, in the proposed rules section of this Federal Register publication, we are publishing a separate document that will serve as the proposal to approve the state plan if relevant adverse written comments are filed. This rule will be effective July 27, 2015 without further notice unless we receive relevant adverse written comments by June 25, 2015. If we receive such comments, we will withdraw this action before the effective date by publishing a subsequent document that will withdraw the final action. All public comments received will then be addressed in a subsequent final rule based on the proposed action. EPA will not institute a second comment period. Any parties interested in commenting on this action should do so at this time. Please note that if EPA receives adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph, or section of this rule and if that provision may be severed from the remainder of the rule, EPA may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment. If we do not receive any comments, this action will be effective July 27, 2015.

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 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 Orders 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) and 13563 (76 FR 3821, January 21, 2011);
  • 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 (Public Law 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, the 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 and will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000).

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).

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 27, 2015. 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, Start Printed Page 29970rather 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 may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. (See section 307(b)(2).)

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

Dated: May 13, 2015.

Susan Hedman,

Regional Administrator, Region 5.

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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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[Amended]
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2. Section 52.1870 is amended by removing and reserving paragraph (c)(107).

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[FR Doc. 2015-12363 Filed 5-22-15; 8:45 am]

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