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Proposed Rule

Air Plan Disapproval; AL; Prong 4 Visibility for the 2008 8-Hour Ozone Standard

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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


Proposed rule.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to disapprove the visibility transport (prong 4) portion of a revision to the Alabama State Implementation Plan (SIP), submitted by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), addressing the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act) infrastructure SIP 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, commonly referred to as an “infrastructure SIP.” Specifically, EPA is proposing to disapprove the prong 4 portion of Alabama's August 20, 2012, 2008 8-hour ozone infrastructure SIP submission. All other applicable infrastructure requirements for this SIP submission have been addressed in separate rulemakings.


Comments must be received on or before December 27, 2016.


Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No EPA-R04-OAR-2012-0689 at Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Start Printed Page 87504Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from 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​dockets/​commenting-epa-dockets.

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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

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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 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), 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), prohibit any source or other type of emissions activity in one state from interfering with measures required to prevent significant deterioration of air quality in another state (prong 3) or from interfering with measures to protect visibility in another state (prong 4). Section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) requires SIPs to include provisions insuring compliance with sections 115 and 126 of the Act, relating to international and interstate pollution abatement, respectively.

On March 12, 2008, EPA revised the 8-hour ozone NAAQS to 0.075 parts per million. See 73 FR 16436 (March 27, 2008). States were required to submit infrastructure SIP submissions for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS to EPA no later than March 12, 2011. For the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, this proposed action only addresses the prong 4 element of Alabama's infrastructure SIP submission that EPA received on August 20, 2012. Through this action, EPA is proposing to disapprove the prong 4 portion of Alabama's infrastructure SIP submission for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. All other applicable infrastructure SIP requirements for this SIP submission have been addressed in separate rulemakings.

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” 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 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.

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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 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 portion 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 Start Printed Page 87506Guidance).[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 SIP 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 NSR pollutants, including Greenhouse Gases (GHGs). 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 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 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 Start Printed Page 87507include 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 prong 4 requirements?

Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) requires a state's SIP to contain provisions prohibiting sources in that state from emitting pollutants in amounts that interfere with any other state's efforts to protect visibility under part C of the CAA (which includes sections 169A and 169B). The 2013 Guidance states that these prong 4 requirements can be satisfied by approved SIP provisions that EPA has found to adequately address any contribution of that state's sources that impacts the visibility program requirements in other states. The 2013 Guidance also states that EPA interprets this prong to be pollutant-specific, such that the infrastructure SIP submission need only address the potential for interference with protection of visibility caused by the pollutant (including precursors) to which the new or revised NAAQS applies.

The 2013 Guidance lays out two ways in which a state's infrastructure SIP may satisfy prong 4. The first way is through an air agency's confirmation in its infrastructure SIP submission that it has an EPA-approved regional haze SIP that fully meets the requirements of 40 CFR 51.308 or 51.309. 40 CFR 51.308 and 51.309 specifically require that a state participating in a regional planning process include all measures needed to achieve its apportionment of emission reduction obligations agreed upon through that process. A fully approved regional haze SIP will ensure that emissions from sources under an air agency's jurisdiction are not interfering with visibility protection in other air agencies' jurisdiction.

Alternatively, in the absence of a fully approved regional haze SIP, a state may meet the requirements of prong 4 through a demonstration in its infrastructure SIP submission that emissions within its jurisdiction do not interfere with other air agencies' plans to protect visibility. Such an infrastructure SIP submission would need to include measures to limit visibility-impairing pollutants and ensure that the reductions conform with any mutually agreed regional haze reasonable progress goals for mandatory Class I areas in other states.

IV. What is EPA's analysis of how Alabama addressed prong 4?

Alabama's August 20, 2012, 2008 8-hour ozone infrastructure submission cites to the State's regional haze SIP alone to satisfy prong 4 requirements.[15] Alabama's regional haze SIP relies on the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) [16] as an alternative to the best available retrofit technology (BART) requirements for its CAIR-subject electricity generating units (EGUs).[17] Although this reliance on CAIR was consistent with the CAA at the time the State submitted its regional haze SIP, CAIR has since been replaced by the Cross-State Air Start Printed Page 87508Pollution Rule (CSAPR) [18] and can no longer be relied upon as an alternative to BART or as part of a long-term strategy (LTS) for addressing regional haze. Therefore, EPA finalized a limited disapproval of Alabama's 2008 regional haze SIP submission to the extent that it relied on CAIR to satisfy the BART and LTS requirements.[19] See 77 FR 33642 (June 7, 2012).

In that limited disapproval action, EPA also amended the Regional Haze Rule to provide that CSAPR can serve as an alternative to BART, i.e., that participation by a state's EGUs in a CSAPR trading program for a given pollutant achieves greater reasonable progress toward the national goal of achieving natural visibility conditions in Class I areas than source-specific BART for those EGUs for that pollutant.[20] See 40 CFR 51.308(e)(4); 77 FR 33642. A state can participate in the trading program through either a federal implementation plan (FIP) implementing CSAPR or an integrated CSAPR state trading program implemented through an approved SIP revision. In promulgating this amendment to the Regional Haze Rule, EPA relied on an analytic demonstration of visibility improvement from CSAPR implementation relative to BART based on an air quality modeling study.

At the time of the rule amendment, questions regarding the legality of CSAPR were pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) and the court had stayed implementation of the rule. The D.C. Circuit subsequently vacated and remanded CSAPR in August 2012, leaving CAIR in place temporarily.[21] However, in April 2014, the Supreme Court reversed the vacatur and remanded to the D.C. Circuit for resolution of the remaining claims.[22] The D.C. Circuit then granted EPA's motion to lift the stay and to toll the rule's deadlines by three years.[23] Consequently, implementation of CSAPR Phase 1 began in January 2015 and implementation of Phase 2 is scheduled to begin in January 2017.

Following the Supreme Court remand, the D.C. Circuit conducted further proceedings to address the remaining claims. In July 2015, the court issued a decision denying most of the claims but remanding the Phase 2 sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions budgets for Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas and the Phase 2 ozone-season nitrogen oxides (NOX) budgets for eleven states to EPA for reconsideration.[24] Since receipt of the D.C. Circuit's 2015 decision, EPA has engaged the affected states to determine appropriate next steps to address the decision with regard to each state.[25] In a November 10, 2016 proposed rulemaking, EPA stated that it expects that potentially material changes to the scope of CSAPR coverage resulting from the remand will be limited to withdrawal of the CSAPR FIP requiring Texas to participate in the Phase 2 trading programs for annual emissions of SO2 and NOX and withdrawal of Florida's CSAPR FIP requirements for ozone-season NOX, which EPA recently finalized in another action.[26]

Due to these expected changes to CSAPR's scope, EPA conducted a sensitivity analysis to the 2012 analytic CSAPR “alternative to BART” demonstration showing that the analysis would have supported the same conclusion if the actions that EPA has proposed to take or has already taken in response to the D.C. Circuit's remand of various CSAPR Phase 2 budgets—specifically, the proposed withdrawal of PM2.5-related CSAPR Phase 2 FIP requirements for Texas EGUs and the recently finalized withdrawal of ozone-related CSAPR Phase 2 FIP requirements for Florida EGUs—were reflected in that analysis. EPA's November 10, 2016 notice of proposed rulemaking seeks comment on this analysis. See 81 FR 78954.

Alabama sought to convert the 2012 limited approval/limited disapproval of the State's regional haze SIP to a full approval through a SIP revision submitted on October 26, 2015. This SIP revision intended to adopt the CSAPR trading program into the SIP, including the Phase 2 annual NOx and annual SO2 CSAPR budgets for the State, and to use this adoption to replace reliance on CAIR with reliance on CSAPR to satisfy the BART and LTS requirements. Although EPA has approved the CSAPR trading program into the Alabama SIP,[27] EPA is currently seeking comment on its proposal that CSAPR continue to be available as an alternative to BART. EPA thus cannot approve the portion of Alabama's 2015 SIP submission seeking to replace reliance on CAIR with reliance on CSAPR to satisfy the BART and LTS requirements at this time. Because Alabama's prong 4 SIP submission relies solely on the State having a fully approved regional haze SIP, EPA is not currently in a position to approve the prong 4 element of Alabama's August 20, 2012, 2008 8-hour ozone infrastructure SIP revision.

EPA is therefore proposing to disapprove the prong 4 element of Alabama's August 20, 2012, 2008 8-hour ozone infrastructure SIP submission. Alabama did not submit this infrastructure SIP to meet requirements for Part D or a SIP call; therefore, if EPA takes final action to disapprove the prong 4 portion of this submission, no sanctions will be triggered. However, if EPA finalizes this proposed disapproval, that final action will trigger the requirement under section 110(c) that EPA promulgate a federal implementation plan (FIP) no later than two years from the date of the disapproval unless EPA approves a SIP revision satisfying prong 4 requirements before EPA promulgates such a FIP.

V. Proposed Action

As described above, EPA is proposing to disapprove the prong 4 portion of Alabama's August 20, 2012, 2008 8-hour ozone infrastructure SIP submission. All other applicable infrastructure requirements for this SIP submission have been addressed in separate rulemakings.

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, Start Printed Page 87509EPA's role is to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the CAA. EPA is proposing to determine that the prong 4 portion of the aforementioned SIP submission does not meet Federal requirements. Therefore, this proposed action does not impose additional requirements on the state 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 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
  • 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).

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 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
  • Particulate matter
  • 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: November 23, 2016.

Heather McTeer Toney,

Regional Administrator, Region 4.

End Signature End Supplemental Information


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 submission.

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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 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.  As mentioned above, a state may meet the requirements of prong 4 without a fully approved regional haze SIP by showing that its SIP contains adequate provisions to prevent emissions from within the state from interfering with other states' measures to protect visibility. Alabama did not, however, provide a demonstration in the infrastructure SIP submission subject to this proposed action that emissions within its jurisdiction do not interfere with other states' plans to protect visibility.

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16.  CAIR created regional cap-and-trade programs to reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) emissions in 28 eastern states, including Alabama, that contributed to downwind nonattainment and maintenance of the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS and the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS.

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17.  Section 169A of the CAA and EPA's implementing regulations require states to establish long-term strategies for making reasonable progress towards the national goal of achieving natural visibility conditions in certain Class I areas. The 156 mandatory Class I federal areas in which visibility has been determined to be an important value are listed at subpart D of 40 CFR part 81. For brevity, these areas are referred to here simply as “Class I areas.”

Implementation plans must give specific attention to certain stationary sources. Specifically, section 169A(b)(2)(A) of the CAA requires states to revise their SIPs to contain such measures as may be necessary to make reasonable progress towards the natural visibility goal, including a requirement that certain categories of existing major stationary sources built between 1962 and 1977 procure, install, and operate BART as determined by the state. Under the Regional Haze Rule, states are directed to conduct BART determinations for such “BART-eligible” sources that may be anticipated to cause or contribute to any visibility impairment in a Class I area.

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18.  CSAPR addresses the interstate transport of emissions contributing to nonattainment and interfering with maintenance of the two air quality standards covered by CAIR as well as the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS. CSAPR requires substantial reductions of SO2 and NOX emissions from electric generating units (EGUs) in 28 states in the eastern United States.

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19.  EPA finalized a limited approval of Alabama's regional haze SIP on March 30, 2012. See 77 FR 19098.

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20.  Legal challenges from state, industry, and other petitioners to EPA's determination that CSAPR can be an alternative to BART are pending. Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, No. 12-1342 (D.C. Cir. filed August 6, 2012).

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21.  EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, 696 F.3d 7 (D.C. Cir. 2012).

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22.  EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P., 134 S. Ct. 1584 (2014), reversing 696 F.3d 7 (D.C. Cir. 2012).

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23.  Order, EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, No. 11-1302 (D.C. Cir. issued October 23, 2014).

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24.  EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, 795 F.3d 118, 138 (D.C. Cir. 2015). The D.C. Circuit did not remand the CSAPR ozone season NOX budgets for Alabama.

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25.  As discussed below, Alabama submitted a SIP revision to EPA on October 26, 2015, to incorporate the Phase 2 annual NOX and annual SO2 CSAPR budgets for the State into the SIP. EPA approved this SIP revision in a final action published on August 31, 2016. See 81 FR 59869.

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26.  See 81 FR 78954 (November 10, 2016) for further discussion regarding EPA's expectations and the proposed withdrawal of the CSAPR FIP for Texas.

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27.  See 81 FR 59869 (August 31, 2016).

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[FR Doc. 2016-28871 Filed 12-2-16; 8:45 am]