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Proposed Rule

Air Plan Approval; Alabama and North Carolina; Interstate Transport-2010 NO2

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a revision to the North Carolina SIP, submitted by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) on March 24, 2016, and the portions of a revision to the Alabama State Implementation Plan (SIP), Start Printed Page 50410submitted by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) on December 9, 2015, addressing the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act) interstate transport (prongs 1 and 2) infrastructure SIP requirements for the 2010 1-hour Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). The CAA requires that each state adopt and submit a SIP for the implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of each NAAQS promulgated by EPA, commonly referred to as an “infrastructure SIP.” Specifically, EPA is proposing to approve North Carolina's March 24, 2016, SIP submission and the portions of Alabama's December 9, 2015, SIP submission addressing interstate transport requirements for the 2010 NO2 NAAQS.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before August 31, 2016.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No EPA-R04-OAR-2016-0209 at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e. on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/​dockets/​commenting-epa-dockets.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sean Lakeman of 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. Mr. Lakeman can be reached by telephone at (404) 562-9043 or via electronic mail at lakeman.sean@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

By statute, SIPs meeting the requirements of sections 110(a)(1) and (2) of the CAA are to be submitted by states within three years after promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS to provide for the implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of the new or revised NAAQS. EPA has historically referred to these SIP submissions made for the purpose of satisfying the requirements of sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) as “infrastructure SIP” submissions. Sections 110(a)(1) and (2) require 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 newly established or revised NAAQS. More specifically, section 110(a)(1) provides the procedural and timing requirements for infrastructure SIPs. Section 110(a)(2) lists specific elements that states must meet for the infrastructure SIP requirements related to a newly established or revised NAAQS. The contents of an infrastructure SIP submission may vary depending upon the data and analytical tools available to the state, as well as the provisions already contained in the state's implementation plan at the time in which the state develops and submits the submission for a new or revised NAAQS.

Section 110(a)(2)(D) has two components: 110(a)(2)(D)(i) and 110(a)(2)(D)(ii). Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) includes 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 from 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 from interfering with measures required to prevent significant deterioration of air quality in another state (prong 3) and from interfering with measures to protect visibility in another state (prong 4). Section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) requires SIPs to include provisions ensuring compliance with sections 115 and 126 of the Act, relating to interstate and international pollution abatement.

Through these proposed actions, EPA is proposing to approve North Carolina's March 24, 2016, SIP submission and the portions of Alabama's December 9, 2015, SIP submission addressing interstate transport requirements for the 2010 NO2 NAAQS. All other applicable infrastructure SIP requirements for Alabama and North Carolina for the 2010 1-hour NO2 NAAQS will be addressed in separate rulemakings. A brief background regarding the 2010 1-hour NO2 NAAQS is provided below.

On January 22, 2010, EPA established a new 1-hour primary NAAQS for NO2 at a level of 100 parts per billion, based on a 3-year average of the 98th percentile of the yearly distribution of 1-hour daily maximum concentrations. See 75 FR 6474 (February 9, 2010). This NAAQS is designed to protect against exposure to the entire group of nitrogen oxides (NOX). NO2 is the component of greatest concern and is used as the indicator for the larger group of NOX. Emissions that lead to the formation of NO2 generally also lead to the formation of other NOX. Therefore, control measures that reduce NO2 can generally be expected to reduce population exposures to all gaseous NOX which may have the co-benefit of reducing the formation of ozone and fine particles both of which pose significant public health threats.

States were required to submit infrastructure SIP submissions for the 2010 1-hour NO2 NAAQS to EPA no later than January 22, 2013. For comprehensive information on 2010 1-hour NO2 NAAQS, please refer to the Federal Register notice cited above.

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

The requirement for states to make a SIP submission of this type arises out of 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 “each such plan” submission must address.

EPA has historically referred to these SIP submissions made for the purpose of satisfying the requirements of section 110(a)(1) and (2) as “infrastructure SIP” Start Printed Page 50411submissions. 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 section 169A of the CAA, 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.[1] 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 CAA, which specifically address nonattainment SIP requirements.[2] 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.[3] 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 section 110(a)(1) and (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.[4] 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.[5]

Ambiguities within section 110(a)(1) and (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.[6]

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 attainment plan SIP submissions required by part D to meet the “applicable requirements” of section 110(a)(2); thus, 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 is 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 Start Printed Page 50412Prevention of Significant Deterioration (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.[7] EPA most recently issued guidance for infrastructure SIPs on September 13, 2013 (2013 Guidance).[8] 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.[9] The guidance also discusses the substantively important issues that are germane to certain subsections of section 110(a)(2). EPA interprets section 110(a)(1) and (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 section 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 new source review (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 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, inter alia, 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 (SSM) that may be contrary to the CAA and EPA's policies addressing such excess emissions; [10] (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 Start Printed Page 50413further 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 that it may approve an infrastructure SIP submission without scrutinizing the totality of the existing SIP for such potentially deficient provisions and may approve the submission even if it is aware of such existing provisions.[11] 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 section 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 section 110(a)(1) and (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.[12] Section 110(k)(6) authorizes EPA to correct errors in past actions, such as past approvals of SIP submissions.[13] 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.[14]

III. What are the prongs 1 and 2 requirements?

For each new NAAQS, section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) of the CAA requires each state to submit a SIP revision that contains adequate provisions prohibiting emissions activity in the state from contributing significantly to nonattainment, or interfering with maintenance, of the NAAQS in any downwind state. EPA sometimes refers to these requirements as prong 1 (significant contribution to nonattainment) and prong 2 (interference with maintenance), or conjointly as the “good neighbor” provision of the CAA. Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) requires the elimination of upwind state emissions that significantly contribute to nonattainment or interference with maintenance of the NAAQS in another state.

IV. What is EPA's analysis of how Alabama and North Carolina addressed prongs 1 and 2?

A. Prong 1 (Significant Contribution to Nonattainment) for Alabama

Alabama has concluded that it does not contribute significantly to nonattainment of the 2010 1-hour NO2 NAAQS in any other state for the following reasons: (1) There are no areas in Alabama or in the surrounding states that are designated as nonattainment for the 2010 NO2 NAAQS; (2) monitored ambient NO2 concentrations in the State and surrounding states are well below the 1-hour 2010 NO2 NAAQS; (3) there are federal and SIP-approved state regulations in place to control NOX emissions in the State. EPA agrees with the State's conclusion based on the rationale discussed below.

First, there are no designated nonattainment areas for the 1-hr NO2 NAAQS. On February 17, 2012, EPA designated the entire country as “unclassifiable/attainment” for the 2010 1-hour NO2 NAAQS, stating that “available information does not indicate that the air quality in these areas exceeds the 2010 1-hour NO2 NAAQS” (77 FR 9532).

Second, as part of its December 9, 2015 submittal, Alabama examined NO2 monitoring data from 2012-2014 in the Start Printed Page 50414State and surrounding states. According to this data, the design values during this period are well below the 100 ppb standard with Georgia and Tennessee having the highest design values (49 ppb).

Third, in its submittal, Alabama identifies SIP-approved regulations at Alabama Administrative Code 335-3-8 that require controls and emission limits for certain NOX emitting sources in the State. These regulations include the SIP-approved portion of the NOX SIP call that requires certain NOX emitting sources to comply with a capped NOX emission budget.[15] Alabama also notes that it has implemented several federal programs that, while not relied upon to address its “good neighbor” obligations for the NO2 NAAQS, have reduced NOX emissions within the State.[16] Alabama also controls NOX emissions at certain sources through source-specific measures pursuant to its SIP-approved permitting regulations at Alabama Administrative Code 335-3-14. These permitting requirements help ensure that no new or modified NOX sources in the State subject to these permitting regulations will significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2010 NO2 NAAQS.

For all the reasons discussed above, EPA has preliminarily determined that Alabama does not contribute significantly to nonattainment of the 2010 1-hour NO2 NAAQS in any other state and that Alabama's SIP includes adequate provisions to prevent emissions sources within the State from significantly contributing to nonattainment of this standard in any other state.

B. Prong 2 (Interference With Maintenance) for Alabama

Alabama has concluded that it does not interfere with maintenance of the 2010 1-hour NO2 NAAQS in any other state. As noted above, NO2 design values in the State and in surrounding states are well below the standard, Alabama's SIP contains provisions to control NOX emissions, and Alabama has implemented a number of federal programs that have reduced NOX emissions within the State. For these reasons, EPA has preliminarily determined that Alabama is not interfering with maintenance of the 2010 1-hour NO2 NAAQS in any other state and that Alabama's SIP includes adequate provisions to prevent emissions sources within the state from interfering with maintenance of this standard in any other state.

C. Prong 1 (Significant Contribution to Nonattainment) for North Carolina

North Carolina has concluded that it does not contribute significantly to nonattainment of the 2010 1-hour NO2 NAAQS in any other state for several reasons, including the following: (1) There are no areas in the country designated as nonattainment for the 2010 NO2 NAAQS; (2) monitored ambient NO2 concentrations in the State and in the surrounding states are well below the 1-hour 2010 NO2 NAAQS; (3) NOX emissions have declined significantly and are expected to continue to decline through 2017 and beyond; and 4) there are federal and SIP-approved state regulations in place to control NOX emissions. EPA agrees with the State's conclusion based on the rationale discussed below.

First, as noted above, there are no designated nonattainment areas for the 1-hr NO2 NAAQS.

Second, North Carolina examined 1-hour NO2 design values based on monitoring data collected between 2012-2014 from NO2 monitors within North Carolina and surrounding states.[17] The design values during this period are well below the 100 ppb standard with Georgia and Tennessee having the highest design values (49 ppb).

Third, North Carolina reviewed 1996-2011 annual NOX emissions data for the State from EPA's National Emissions Inventory and determined that the State's NOX emissions have declined by approximately 50 percent during this time. North Carolina projects that NOX emissions from 2011-2017 in the State will decline by an additional 39 percent. The State also notes that NOX emissions from EGUs in North Carolina have declined between 2002-2011 primarily due to the State's 2002 Clean Smokestack Act (CSA).[18] The CSA establishes entity-wide caps on total annual NOX emissions from investor-owned coal-fired electric generating units (EGUs) in the State.[19]

Fourth, in addition to the CSA, North Carolina cites to a number of State regulations that address additional control measures, means, and techniques to reduce NOX emissions in North Carolina. Several of these regulations are SIP-approved, such as 15A NCAC 2D .0519 (controlling NO2 and NOX emissions from sulfuric acid manufacturing plants) and 15A NCAC 2D .1409 (addressing NOX emissions from certain stationary internal combustion engines).[20] North Carolina also identifies a number of federal programs such as CSAPR that, while not relied upon to address its “good neighbor” obligations for the NO2 NAAQS, reduce NOX emissions.[21]

For all of the reasons discussed above, EPA has preliminarily determined that North Carolina does not contribute significantly to nonattainment of the 2010 1-hour NO2 NAAQS in any other state and that North Carolina's SIP includes adequate provisions to prevent emissions sources within the State from significantly contributing to nonattainment of this standard in any other state.

D. Prong 2 (Interference With Maintenance) for North Carolina

North Carolina has concluded that it does not interfere with maintenance of the 2010 1-hour NO2 NAAQS in any other state. As stated above, NO2 design values in the State and in surrounding states are well below the standard; NOX emissions have decreased in the State and are projected to decrease further through 2017 and beyond; and NOX emissions are controlled through federal and SIP-approved state regulations. For these reasons, EPA has preliminarily determined that North Carolina is not interfering with maintenance of the Start Printed Page 504152010 1-hour NO2 NAAQS in any other state and that North Carolina's SIP includes adequate provisions to prevent emissions sources within the state from interfering with maintenance of this standard in any other state.

V. Proposed Actions

As described above, EPA is proposing to approve North Carolina's March 24, 2016, SIP revision and the portions of Alabama's December 9, 2015, SIP revision addressing prongs 1 and 2 of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) for the 2010 1-hour NO2 NAAQS.

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, these proposed actions merely propose to approve state law as meeting federal requirements and do not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law. For that reason, these proposed actions:

  • Are not “significant regulatory actions” 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);
  • Do not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.);
  • Are 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.);
  • Do 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);
  • Do not have Federalism implications as specified in Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999);
  • Are not economically significant regulatory actions based on health or safety risks subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997);
  • Are not significant regulatory actions subject to Executive Order 13211 (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001);
  • Are 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
  • Do 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).

The SIPs are 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 rules do not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), nor will they 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
End List of Subjects Start Authority

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

End Authority Start Signature

Dated: July 20, 2016.

Heather McTeer Toney,

Regional Administrator, Region 4.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

Footnotes

1.  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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2.  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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3.  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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4.  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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5.  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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6.  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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7.  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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8.  “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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9.  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 D.C. Circuit decision in EME Homer City, 696 F.3d 7 (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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10.  Subsequent to issuing the 2013 Guidance, EPA's interpretation of the CAA with respect to the approvability of affirmative defense provisions in SIPs has changed. See “State Implementation Plans: Response to Petition for Rulemaking; Restatement and Update of EPA's SSM Policy Applicable to SIPs; Findings of Substantial Inadequacy; and SIP Calls To Amend Provisions Applying to Excess Emissions During Periods of Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction,” 80 FR 33839 (June 12, 2015). As a result, EPA's 2013 Guidance (p. 21 & n.30) no longer represents the EPA's view concerning the validity of affirmative defense provisions, in light of the requirements of section 113 and section 304.

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11.  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 or affirmative defense 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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12.  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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13.  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 section 110(k)(6) of the CAA 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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14.  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 (January 26, 2011) (final disapproval of such provisions).

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15.  On October 27, 1998 (63 FR 57356), EPA issued the NOX SIP Call requiring the District of Columbia and 22 states to reduce emissions of NOX and providing a mechanism (the NOX Budget Trading Program) that states could use to achieve those reductions. Affected states were required to comply with Phase I of the SIP Call beginning in 2004 and Phase II beginning in 2007.

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16.  The federal programs identified by the State include New Source Performance Standards (40 CFR part 60), National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (40 CFR parts 61 and 63), and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR).

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17.  North Carolina notes that two new near-road NO2 monitors deployed in the State in 2014 show measured concentrations well below the 1-hour standard. The State believes that this data indicates that NOX emissions from mobile sources in North Carolina are unlikely to contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the NO2 NAAQS in a downwind state. These monitors were required as part of a modified NO2 monitoring network to site monitors in locations where maximum NO2 concentrations are expected to occur, including within 50 meters of major roadways.

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18.  EPA approved the CSA emissions caps into North Carolina's SIP on September 26, 2011. See 76 FR 59250.

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19.  The CSA limits NOX emissions from Duke Energy Progress, LLC EGUs and Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC EGUs to 35,000 tons and 25,000 tons, respectively, beginning on January 1, 2007, and tightens the emissions cap on Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC EGUs to 31,000 tons as of January 1, 2009.

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20.  North Carolina identifies a number of SIP-approved state regulations that control NOX emissions within the state as well as some state regulations that are not part of the federally-approved SIP.

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21.  CSAPR currently caps EGUs in the State at specific NOX and SO2 emission budgets through a federal implementation plan (FIP). According to North Carolina, the State is on track to comply with the Phase I emission budgets established under the CSAPR FIP.

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[FR Doc. 2016-18151 Filed 7-29-16; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-P