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Rule

Extension of Deadline for Action on the November 28, 2016 Section 126 Petition From Delaware

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

In this action, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is determining that 60 days is insufficient time to complete the technical and other analyses and public notice-and-comment process required for our review of a petition submitted by the state of Delaware pursuant to section 126 of the Clean Air Act (CAA). The petition requests that the EPA make a finding that Conemaugh Generating Station, located in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, emits air pollution that significantly contributes to nonattainment and interferes with maintenance of the 2008 and 2015 ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) in the state of Delaware. Under section 307(d)(10) of CAA, the EPA is authorized to grant a time extension for responding to a petition if the EPA determines that the extension is necessary to afford the public, and the agency, adequate opportunity to carry out the purposes of the section 307(d) notice-and-comment rulemaking requirements. By this action, the EPA is making that determination. The EPA is, therefore, extending the deadline for acting on the petition to no later than August 3, 2017.

DATES:

This final rule is effective on January 23, 2017.

ADDRESSES:

The EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2016-0764. All documents in the docket are listed on the http://www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., Confidential Business Information or other information whose disclosure is Start Printed Page 7696restricted 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 electronically through http://www.regulations.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Benjamin Gibson, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (C545-E), U.S. EPA, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, telephone number (919) 541-3277, email: gibson.benjamin@epa.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background and Legal Requirements for Interstate Air Pollution

This is a procedural action to extend the deadline for the EPA to respond to a petition from the state of Delaware filed pursuant to CAA section 126(b). The EPA received the petition on December 5, 2016. The petition requests that the EPA make a finding under section 126(b) of the CAA that the Conemaugh Generating Station, located in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, is operating in a manner that emits air pollutants in violation of the provisions of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) of the CAA with respect to the 2008 and 2015 ozone NAAQS.

Section 126(b) of the CAA authorizes states to petition the EPA to find that a major source or group of stationary sources in upwind states emits or would emit any air pollutant in violation of the prohibition of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) [1] by contributing significantly to nonattainment or maintenance problems in downwind states. Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) of the CAA prohibits emissions of any air pollutant in amounts which will contribute significantly to nonattainment in, or interfere with maintenance by, any other state with respect to any NAAQS. The petition asserts that emissions from Conemaugh Generating Station's two electric generating units emit air pollutants in violation of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) with respect to the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, set at 0.075 parts per million (ppm), and the revised 2015 8-hour ozone NAAQS, set at 0.070 ppm.[2]

Pursuant to CAA section 126(b), the EPA must make the finding requested in the petition, or must deny the petition within 60 days of its receipt. Under CAA section 126(c), any existing sources for which the EPA makes the requested finding must cease operations within 3 months of the finding, except that the source may continue to operate if it complies with emission limitations and compliance schedules (containing increments of progress) that the EPA may provide to bring about compliance with the applicable requirements as expeditiously as practical but no later than 3 years from the date of the finding.

CAA section 126(b) further provides that the EPA must hold a public hearing on the petition. The EPA's action under CAA section 126 is also subject to the procedural requirements of CAA section 307(d). See CAA section 307(d)(1)(N). One of these requirements is notice-and-comment rulemaking, under section 307(d)(3)-(6).

In addition, CAA section 307(d)(10) provides for a time extension, under certain circumstances, for a rulemaking subject to CAA section 307(d). Specifically, CAA section 307(d)(10) provides:

Each statutory deadline for promulgation of rules to which this subsection applies which requires promulgation less than six months after date of proposal may be extended to not more than six months after date of proposal by the Administrator upon a determination that such extension is necessary to afford the public, and the agency, adequate opportunity to carry out the purposes of the subsection.

CAA section 307(d)(10) may be applied to CAA section 126 rulemakings because the 60-day time limit under CAA section 126(b) necessarily limits the period for promulgation of a final rule after proposal to less than 6 months.

II. Final Rule

A. Rule

In accordance with CAA section 307(d)(10), the EPA is determining that the 60-day period afforded by CAA section 126(b) for responding to the petition from the state of Delaware is not adequate to allow the public and the agency the opportunity to carry out the purposes of CAA section 307(d). Specifically, the 60-day period is insufficient for the EPA to complete the necessary technical review, develop an adequate proposal, and allow time for notice and comment, including an opportunity for public hearing, on a proposed finding regarding whether the Conemaugh Generating Station identified in the CAA section 126 petition contributes significantly to nonattainment or interferes with maintenance of the 2008 ozone NAAQS or the 2015 ozone NAAQS in Delaware. Moreover, the 60-day period is insufficient for the EPA to review and develop response to any public comments on a proposed finding, or testimony supplied at a public hearing, and to develop and promulgate a final finding in response to the petition. The EPA is in the process of determining an appropriate schedule for action on the CAA section 126 petition. This schedule must afford the EPA adequate time to prepare a proposal that clearly elucidates the issues to facilitate public comment, and must provide adequate time for the public to comment and for the EPA to review and develop responses to those comments prior to issuing the final rule. As a result of this extension, the deadline for the EPA to act on the petition is August 3, 2017.

B. Notice and Comment Under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA)

This document is a final agency action, but may not be subject to the notice-and-comment requirements of the APA, 5 U.S.C. 553(b). The EPA believes that, because of the limited time provided to make a determination, the deadline for action on the CAA section 126 petition should be extended. Congress may not have intended such a determination to be subject to notice-and-comment rulemaking. However, to the extent that this determination otherwise would require notice and opportunity for public comment, there is good cause within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) not to apply those requirements here. Providing for notice and comment would be impracticable because of the limited time provided for making this determination, and would be contrary to the public interest because it would divert agency resources from the substantive review of the CAA section 126 petition.

C. Effective Date Under the APA

This action is effective on January 23, 2017. Under the APA, 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), agency rulemaking may take effect before 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register if the agency has good cause to mandate an earlier effective date. This action—a deadline extension—must take effect immediately because its purpose is to extend by 6 months the deadline for action on the petition. As discussed earlier, the EPA intends to use the 6-month extension period to develop a proposal on the petition and provide time for public comment before issuing Start Printed Page 7697the final rule. It would not be possible for the EPA to complete the required notice and comment and public hearing process within the original 60-day period noted in the statute. These reasons support an immediate effective date.

III. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

A. Executive Orders 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

This action is exempt from review by the Office of Management and Budget because it simply extends the date for the EPA to take action on a petition.

B. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

This action does not impose an information collection burden under the PRA. This good cause final action simply extends the date for the EPA to take action on a petition and does not impose any new obligations or enforceable duties on any state, local or tribal governments or the private sector. It does not contain any recordkeeping or reporting requirements.

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

This action is not subject to the RFA. The RFA applies only to rules subject to notice-and-comment rulemaking requirements under the APA, 5 U.S.C. 553, or any other statute. This rule is not subject to notice-and-comment requirements because the agency has invoked the APA good cause exemption under 5 U.S.C. 553(b).

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)

This action does not contain any unfunded mandate of $100 million or more as described in UMRA, 2 U.S.C. 1531-1538, and does not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. The action imposes no enforceable duty on any state, local or tribal governments or the private sector.

E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

This action does not have federalism implications. It will not have substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

F. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

This action does not have tribal implications, as specified in Executive Order 13175. This good cause final action simply extends the date for the EPA to take action on a petition. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this rule.

G. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental Health and Safety Risks

The EPA interprets Executive Order 13045 as applying only to those regulatory actions that concern environmental health or safety risks that the EPA has reason to believe may disproportionately affect children, per the definition of “covered regulatory action” in section 2-202 of the Executive Order. This action is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it does not concern an environmental health risk or safety risk.

H. Executive Order 13211: Actions That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution or Use

This action is not subject to Executive Order 13211 because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA)

This rulemaking does not involve technical standards.

J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations

The EPA believes that this action is not subject to Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994) because it does not establish an environmental health or safety standard. This good cause final action simply extends the date for the EPA to take action on a petition and does not have any impact on human health or the environment.

K. Congressional Review Act (CRA)

This action is subject to the CRA, and the EPA will submit a rule report to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. The CRA allows the issuing agency to make a rule effective sooner than otherwise provided by the CRA if the agency makes a good cause finding that notice-and-comment rulemaking procedures are impracticable, unnecessary or contrary to the public interest (5 U.S.C. 808(2)). The EPA has made a good cause finding for this rule as discussed in Section II.B of this document, including the basis for that finding.

IV. Statutory Authority

The statutory authority for this action is provided by sections 110, 126 and 307 of the CAA as amended (42 U.S.C. 7410, 7426 and 7607).

V. Judicial Review

Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, judicial review of this final rule is available only by the filing of a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by March 24, 2017. Under section 307(b)(2) of the CAA, the requirements that are the subject of this final rule may not be challenged later in civil or criminal proceedings brought by us to enforce these requirements.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

  • Environmental protection
  • Administrative practices and procedures
  • Air pollution control
  • Electric utilities
  • Incorporation by reference
  • Intergovernmental relations
  • Nitrogen oxides
  • Ozone
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Dated: January 9, 2017.

Gina McCarthy,

Administrator.

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Footnotes

1.  The text of CAA section 126 codified in the United States Code cross references CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) instead of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i). The courts have confirmed that this is a scrivener's error and the correct cross reference is to CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i). See Appalachian Power Co. v. EPA, 249 F.3d 1032, 1040-44 (D.C. Cir. 2001).

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2.  On October 1, 2015, the EPA strengthened the ground-level ozone NAAQS, based on extensive scientific evidence about ozone's effects on public health and welfare. See 80 FR 65291 (October 26, 2015).

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[FR Doc. 2017-00760 Filed 1-19-17; 8:45 am]

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