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Approval of California Air Plan Revisions, Butte County Air Quality Management District

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Direct final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking direct final action to approve a revision to the Butte County Air Quality Management District (BCAQMD) portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). This revision concerns the necessary procedures to create emission reduction credits (ERCs) from the reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), oxides of nitrogen, oxides of sulfur, particulate matter and carbon monoxide emissions due to the permanent curtailment of burning rice straw. We are approving a local rule that provides administrative procedures for creating ERCs consistent with Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act) requirements.

DATES:

This rule is effective on June 12, 2017 without further notice, unless the EPA receives adverse comments by May 11, 2017. If we receive such comments, we will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register to notify the public that this direct final rule will not take effect.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R09-OAR-2016-0466 at http://www.regulations.gov, or via email to Andrew Steckel, Rulemaking Office Chief at Steckel.Andrew@epa.gov. For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be removed or edited from Regulations.gov. For either manner of submission, the 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. The 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 Start Printed Page 17381additional submission methods, please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. For 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.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Nancy Levin, EPA Region IX, (415) 972-3848, levin.nancy@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Throughout this document, “we,” “us” and “our” refer to the EPA.

Table of Contents

I. The State's Submittal

A. What rule did the State submit?

B. Are there other versions of this rule?

C. What is the purpose of the submitted rule?

II. The EPA's Evaluation and Action

A. How is the EPA evaluating the rule?

B. Does the rule meet the evaluation criteria?

C. EPA Recommendations To Further Improve the Rule

D. Public Comment and Proposed Action

III. Incorporation by Reference

IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

I. The State's Submittal

A. What rule did the State submit?

Table 1 lists the rule addressed by this action with the dates that it was adopted by the local air agency and submitted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

Table 1—Submitted Rule

Local agencyRule No.Rule titleAmendedSubmitted
BCAQMD433Rice Straw Emission Reduction CreditsApril 24, 2014November 6, 2014.

On December 18, 2014, the EPA determined that the submittal for BCAQMD Rule 433 met the completeness criteria in 40 CFR part 51 Appendix V, which must be met before formal EPA review.

B. Are there other versions of this rule?

There are no previous versions of Rule 433 in the SIP, although the BCAQMD adopted an earlier version of this rule on August 26, 2010, and CARB submitted it to us on February 6, 2013. While we can act on only the most recently submitted version, we have reviewed materials provided with previous submittals.

C. What is the purpose of the submitted rule?

Historically, the practice of rice growing included burning the field stubble or straw following harvest to kill weeds and insects, and to prepare the field for the next year's plantings. The purpose of Rule 433 is to provide procedures to quantify, certify and issue ERCs that have resulted from the permanent curtailment of rice straw burning in the BCAQMD. Approval of Rule 433 into the SIP would allow these ERCs to be used as offsets under BCAQMD's New Source Review (NSR) rule. The EPA's technical support document (TSD) has more information about this rule.

II. The EPA's Evaluation and Action

A. How is the EPA evaluating the rule?

SIP rules must be enforceable (see CAA section 110(a)(2)), must not interfere with applicable requirements concerning attainment and reasonable further progress or other CAA requirements (see CAA section 110(l)), and must not modify certain SIP control requirements in nonattainment areas without ensuring equivalent or greater emission reductions (see CAA section 193). In addition, a rule that generates ERCs for use as offsets in the NSR program must meet the NSR requirement for valid offsets (see section 173(c)) and should meet the criteria set forth in EPA's guidance concerning economic incentive programs.

Guidance and policy documents that we use to evaluate enforceability, SIP relaxation, NSR and rule stringency requirements for the applicable criteria include the following:

1. “Issues Relating to VOC Regulation Cutpoints, Deficiencies, and Deviations,” EPA, May 25, 1988 (the Bluebook, revised January 11, 1990)

2. “Guidance Document for Correcting Common VOC & Other Rule Deficiencies,” EPA Region 9, August 21, 2001 (the Little Bluebook).

3. New Source Review—Section 173(c) of the CAA and 40 CFR part 51, appendix S, “Emission Offset Interpretative Ruling” require certain sources to obtain emission reductions to offset increased emissions from new projects.

4. “Improving Air Quality with Economic Incentive Programs,” EPA-452/R-01-001, January 2001.

B. Does the rule meet the evaluation criteria?

We believe this rule is consistent with the relevant policy and guidance regarding enforceability and economic incentive programs. This rule includes detailed emissions quantification protocols and enforceable procedures that provide the necessary assurance that the ERCs issued will meet the criteria for valid NSR offsets. The TSD has more information on our evaluation.

C. EPA Recommendations To Further Improve the Rule

The TSD describes additional rule revisions that we recommend for the next time the local agency modifies the rule.

D. Public Comment and Proposed Action

As authorized in section 110(k)(3) of the Act, the EPA is fully approving the submitted rule because we believe it fulfills all relevant requirements. We do not think anyone will object to this approval, so we are finalizing it without proposing it in advance. However, in the Proposed Rules section of this Federal Register, we are simultaneously proposing approval of the same submitted rule. If we receive adverse comments by May 11, 2017, we will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register to notify the public that the direct final approval will not take effect and we will address the comments in a subsequent final action based on the proposal. If we do not receive timely adverse comments, the direct final approval will be effective without further notice on June 12, 2017. This will incorporate the rule into the federally enforceable SIP.

Please note that if the EPA receives an adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph or section of this rule, and if that provision may be severed from the remainder of the rule, the EPA may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment.

III. Incorporation by Reference

In this rule, the EPA is finalizing regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is finalizing the incorporation by reference of the Start Printed Page 17382BCAQMD rule described in the amendments to 40 CFR part 52 set forth below. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents available through www.regulations.gov and at the EPA Region IX Office (please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this preamble for more information).

IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

Under the Clean Air Act, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP submission that complies with the provisions of the Act and applicable federal regulations. 42 U.S.C. 7410(k); 40 CFR 52.02(a). Thus, in reviewing SIP submissions, the EPA's role is to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the Clean Air Act. Accordingly, this action merely approves state law as meeting federal requirements and does not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law. For that reason, this action:

  • Is not a significant regulatory action subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Orders 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) and 13563 (76 FR 3821, January 21, 2011);
  • does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.);
  • is certified as not having a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.);
  • does not contain any unfunded mandate or significantly or uniquely affect small governments, as described in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-4);
  • does not have Federalism implications as specified in Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999);
  • is not an economically significant regulatory action based on health or safety risks subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997);
  • is not a significant regulatory action subject to Executive Order 13211 (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001);
  • is not subject to requirements of Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note) because application of those requirements would be inconsistent with the Clean Air Act; and
  • does not provide the EPA with the discretionary authority to address, as appropriate, disproportionate human health or environmental effects, using practicable and legally permissible methods, under Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994).

In addition, the SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where the EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications and will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000).

The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. The EPA will submit a report containing this action and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. A major rule cannot take effect until 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

Under section 307(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by June 12, 2017. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. Parties with objections to this direct final rule are encouraged to file a comment in response to the parallel notice of proposed rulemaking for this action published in the Proposed Rules section of today's Federal Register, rather than file an immediate petition for judicial review of this direct final rule, so that the EPA can withdraw this direct final rule and address the comment in the proposed rulemaking. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements (see section 307(b)(2)).

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List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

  • Environmental protection
  • Air pollution control
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Incorporation by reference
  • Intergovernmental relations
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Ozone
  • Particulate matter
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Sulfur oxides
  • Volatile organic compounds
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Authority: 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

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Dated: December 9, 2016.

Alexis Strauss,

Acting Regional Administrator, Region IX.

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Editorial note:

This document was received at the Office of the Federal Register on April 5, 2017.

Part 52, Chapter I, Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

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PART 52—APPROVAL AND PROMULGATION OF IMPLEMENTATION PLANS

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1. The authority citation for Part 52 continues to read as follows:

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

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Subpart F—California

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2. Section 52.220 is amended by adding paragraph (c)(457)(i)(C)( 5) to read as follows:

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I dentification of plan-in part.
* * * * *

(c) * * *

(457) * * *

(i) * * *

(C) * * *

(5) Rule 433, “Rice Straw Emission Reduction Credits,” amended on April 24, 2014.

* * * * *
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[FR Doc. 2017-07151 Filed 4-10-17; 8:45 am]

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