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Determination of Attainment; Atlanta, Georgia; 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking final action to determine that the Atlanta, Georgia, 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) Moderate Nonattainment Area (“Atlanta Area” or the “Area”) has attained the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. This final determination is based upon complete, quality-assured, and certified ambient air monitoring data showing that the Area has monitored attainment of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS for the 2013-2015 monitoring period. The requirement for this Area to submit an attainment demonstration and associated reasonably available control measures (RACM), reasonable further progress (RFP) plans, contingency measures, and other planning state implementation plans (SIPs) related to attainment of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS is suspended until EPA redesignates the Area to attainment, approves a redesignation substitute, or determines that the Area has violated the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. This final attainment determination does not constitute a redesignation to attainment. The Atlanta Area will remain in nonattainment status for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS until such time as the State requests a redesignation to attainment and EPA determines that the Atlanta Area meets the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act) requirements for redesignation, including an approved maintenance plan.

DATES:

This rule will be effective August 15, 2016.

ADDRESSES:

EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket Identification No. EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0839. All documents in the docket are listed on the www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information may not be publicly available, i.e., Confidential Business Information 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 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:

Jane Spann, Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, Region 4, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Ms. Spann can be reached via phone at (404) 562-9029 or via electronic mail at spann.jane@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

On March 12, 2008, EPA revised both the primary and secondary NAAQS for ozone to a level of 0.075 parts per million (ppm) (annual fourth-highest daily maximum 8-hour average concentration, averaged over three years) to provide increased protection of public health and the environment. See 73 FR 16436 (March 27, 2008). The 2008 ozone NAAQS retains the same general form and averaging time as the 0.08 ppm NAAQS set in 1997, but is set at a more protective level.Start Printed Page 45420

Effective July 20, 2012, EPA designated any area that was violating the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS based on the three most recent years (2008-2010) of air monitoring data as a nonattainment area. See 77 FR 30088 (May 21, 2012). The Atlanta Area, consisting of Bartow, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Newton, Paulding, and Rockdale counties, was designated as a marginal ozone nonattainment area. See 40 CFR 81.311. Areas that were designated as marginal ozone nonattainment areas were required to attain the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS no later than July 20, 2015, based on 2012-2014 monitoring data. The Atlanta Area did not attain the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS by July 20, 2015, and therefore on April 11, 2016, the EPA Administrator signed a final rule reclassifying the Atlanta Area from a marginal nonattainment area to a moderate nonattainment area for the 2008 8-hour ozone standard. See 81 FR 26697 (May 4, 2016). Moderate areas are required to attain the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS by no later than July 20, 2018, six years after the effective date of the initial nonattainment designations. See 40 CFR 51.1103. Air quality monitoring data from the 2013-2015 monitoring period show that the Atlanta Area is now attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

Under the provisions of EPA's ozone implementation rule for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS (40 CFR part 51, subpart AA), if EPA issues a determination that an area is attaining the relevant standard, also known as a Clean Data Determination, the area's obligations to submit an attainment demonstration and associated RACM, RFP, contingency measures, and other planning SIPs related to attainment of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS are suspended until EPA: (i) Redesignates the area to attainment for the standard or approves a redesignation substitute, at which time those requirements no longer apply; or (ii) EPA determines that the area has violated the standard, at which time the area is again required to submit such plans. See 40 CFR 51.1118. While these requirements are suspended, EPA is not precluded from acting upon these elements at any time if submitted to EPA for review and approval.

An attainment determination is not equivalent to a redesignation under section 107(d)(3) of the CAA. The designation status of the Atlanta Area will remain nonattainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS until such time as EPA determines that the Area meets the CAA requirements for redesignation to attainment, including an approved maintenance plan, and redesignates the Area. Additionally, the determination of attainment is separate from, and does not influence or otherwise affect, any future designation determination or requirements for the Atlanta Area based on any new or revised ozone NAAQS, and the determination of attainment remains in effect regardless of whether EPA designates this Area as a nonattainment area for purposes of any new or revised ozone NAAQS.

In a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published on May 3, 2016, EPA proposed to determine that the Atlanta Area has attained the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. See 81 FR 26515 (May 3, 2016). No comments were received on the May 3, 2016, proposed rulemaking. The details of Georgia's submittal and the rationale for EPA's actions are further explained in the NPRM. See 81 FR 26515 (May 3, 2016).

II. Final Action

EPA is making the determination that the Atlanta Area has attained the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. This final determination is based upon complete, quality assured, and certified ambient air monitoring data showing that the Atlanta Area has monitored attainment of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS for the 2013-2015 monitoring period. The requirement for this Area to submit an attainment demonstration and associated RACM, a RFP plan, contingency measures, and other planning SIPs related to attainment of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS are suspended until EPA redesignates the Area to attainment, approves a redesignation substitute, or determines that the Area has violated the standard.

III. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

This action makes a determination of attainment based on air quality data 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 (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
  • will not have disproportionate human health or environmental effects 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) and will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law because it merely makes a determination based on air quality data.

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 September 12, 2016. 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 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
  • Ozone
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Volatile organic compounds
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Dated: June 27, 2016.

Heather McTeer Toney,

Regional Administrator, Region 4.

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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 L—Georgia

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2. Section 52.582 is amended by adding paragraph (e) to read as follows:

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Control strategy: Ozone.
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(e) Determination of attaining data. EPA has determined, as of July 14, 2016, that the Atlanta, Georgia nonattainment area has attaining data for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. This determination, in accordance with 40 CFR 51.1118, suspends the requirements for this area to submit attainment demonstrations and associated reasonably available control measures, reasonable further progress plans, contingency measures for failure to attain or make reasonable progress, and other planning SIPs related to attainment of the 2008 ozone NAAQS, or for any prior NAAQS for which the determination has been made, until such time as: The area is redesignated to attainment for that NAAQS or a redesignation substitute is approved as appropriate, at which time the requirements no longer apply; or EPA determines that the area has violated that NAAQS, at which time the area is again required to submit such plans.

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[FR Doc. 2016-16449 Filed 7-13-16; 8:45 am]

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