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Proposed Rule

Air Plan Approval; Alaska; Interstate Transport Requirements for the 2012 PM2.5

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Start Preamble


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


Proposed rule.


The Clean Air Act (CAA) requires each State Implementation Plan (SIP) to contain adequate provisions prohibiting emissions that will have certain adverse air quality effects in other states. On March 10, 2016, the State of Alaska made a submission to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address these requirements. The EPA is proposing to approve the submission as meeting the requirement that each SIP contain adequate provisions to prohibit emissions that will contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 annual fine particulate matter (PM2.5) National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS).


Comments must be received on or before June 1, 2018.


Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R10-OAR-2017-0745 at Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from 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 the disclosure of which 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 19192additional 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.

Start Further Info


Jeff Hunt, Air Planning Unit, Office of Air and Waste (OAW-150), Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10, 1200 Sixth Ave, Suite 900, Seattle, WA 98101; telephone number: (206) 553-0256; email address:

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information


Throughout this document whenever “we,” “us,” or “our” is used, we mean the EPA. This supplementary information section is arranged as follows:

Table of Contents

I. What is the background of this SIP submission?

II. What guidance is the EPA using to evaluate this SIP submission?

III. EPA's review

IV. What action is EPA taking?

V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

I. What is the background of this SIP submission?

This rulemaking addresses a submission from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC), describing its infrastructure SIP for the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS, submitted March 10, 2016. Specifically, this rulemaking addresses the portion of the submission dealing with interstate pollution transport under CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I), otherwise known as the “good neighbor” provision. The requirement for states to make a SIP submission of this type arises from section 110(a)(1) of the CAA. Pursuant to section 110(a)(1), states must submit “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),” a plan that provides 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 the EPA taking any action other than promulgating a new or revised NAAQS. Section 110(a)(2) includes a list of specific elements that “[e]ach such plan” submission must address. The EPA commonly refers to such state plans as “infrastructure SIPs.”

II. What guidance is the EPA using to evaluate this SIP submission?

The EPA highlighted the statutory requirement to submit infrastructure SIPs within 3 years of promulgation of a new NAAQS in an October 2, 2007, guidance document entitled “Guidance on SIP Elements Required Under Sections 110(a)(1) and (2) for the 1997 8-hour Ozone and PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards” (2007 guidance). The most recent relevant document was a memorandum published on March 17, 2016, titled “Information on the Interstate Transport “Good Neighbor” Provision for the 2012 Fine Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standards under Clean Air Act Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I)” (memorandum). The memorandum describes the EPA's past approach to addressing interstate transport, and provides the EPA's general review of relevant modeling data and air quality projections as they relate to the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS. The memorandum provides information relevant to the EPA Regional office review of the CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) “good neighbor” provision in infrastructure SIPs with respect to the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS. This rulemaking considers information provided in that memorandum.

The memorandum also provides states and the EPA Regional offices with future year annual PM2.5 design values for monitors in the United States based on quality assured and certified ambient monitoring data and air quality modeling. The memorandum further describes how these projected potential design values can be used to help determine which monitors should be further evaluated to potentially address whether emissions from other states significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS at those sites. The memorandum explains that the pertinent year for evaluating air quality for purposes of addressing interstate transport for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS is 2021, the attainment deadline for 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS nonattainment areas classified as Moderate.

Based on this approach, the potential receptors are outlined in the memorandum. Most of the potential receptors are in California, located in the San Joaquin Valley or South Coast nonattainment areas. However, there is also one potential receptor in Shoshone County, Idaho, and one potential receptor in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The memorandum also indicates that for certain states with incomplete ambient monitoring data, additional information including the latest available data, should be analyzed to determine whether there are potential downwind air quality problems that may be impacted by transported emissions.

This rulemaking considers analysis in Alaska's submission, as well as additional analysis conducted by the EPA during review of its submission. For more information on how we conducted our analysis, please see the technical support document (TSD) included in the docket for this action.

III. EPA's Review

This rulemaking proposes action on the portion of Alaska's March 10, 2016, SIP submission addressing the good neighbor provision requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I). State plans must address specific requirements of the good neighbor provisions (commonly referred to as “prongs”), including:

—Prohibiting any source or other type of emissions activity in one state from contributing significantly to nonattainment of the NAAQS in another state (prong one); and

—Prohibiting any source or other type of emissions activity in one state from interfering with maintenance of the NAAQS in another state (prong two).

The EPA has developed a consistent framework for addressing the prong one and two interstate transport requirements with respect to the PM2.5 NAAQS in several previous federal rulemakings. The four basic steps of that framework include: (1) Identifying downwind receptors that are expected to have problems attaining or maintaining the relevant NAAQS; (2) identifying which upwind states contribute to these identified problems in amounts sufficient to warrant further review and analysis; (3) for states identified as contributing to downwind air quality problems, identifying upwind emissions reductions necessary to prevent an upwind state from significantly contributing to nonattainment or interfering with maintenance of the relevant NAAQS downwind; and (4) for states that are found to have emissions that significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the relevant NAAQS downwind, reducing the identified upwind emissions through adoption of permanent and enforceable measures. This framework was most recently applied with respect to PM2.5 in the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), Start Printed Page 19193designed to address both the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 standards, as well as the 1997 ozone standard.[1]

ADEC's submission focused mainly on emissions inventories, geographic factors, and prevailing meteorological conditions to demonstrate that sources in Alaska are unlikely to significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the NAAQS in other states. ADEC evaluated emissions inventories by source category for direct PM2.5, as well as the precursors nitrogen oxides (NOX) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). ADEC noted that emissions of NOX in Alaska are small in comparison to national levels. Data from the 2011 National Emissions Inventory (NEI) presented in the submission show that total NOX emissions in Alaska are approximately 0.9 percent of national emissions. Similarly, data from the 2011 NEI show that total SO2 emissions in Alaska are approximately 0.4 percent of national emissions. With respect to direct PM2.5, ADEC noted that anthropogenic sources account for only 9 percent of Alaskan emissions, with the majority of PM2.5 emissions occurring due to natural wildfires. ADEC also highlighted the fact that approximately 600 miles of mountainous terrain in Canada's Province of British Columbia separate the southeastern border of Alaska from the nearest state, Washington. The highest emissions of regulated air pollutants occur even further away from the contiguous 48 states in the Municipality of Anchorage (1,435 miles from Seattle, WA) and the Fairbanks North Star Borough (2,244 miles from Seattle, WA). Lastly, ADEC stated that weather patterns make long range transport of air pollutants from Alaska to the 48 contiguous states, and Hawaii, unlikely. Wind patterns emanate from the western Gulf of Alaska and travel inland towards the east into Northern Canada. For these reasons, ADEC concluded that Alaska does not contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state.

Alaska developed and submitted its technical analysis before March 17, 2016, when, as discussed earlier, the EPA released a memorandum with updated modeling projections for 2017 and 2025 annual PM2.5 design values meant to assist states in development of 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS interstate transport SIPs. As discussed in the TSD for this action, we used the information in the 2016 memorandum and supplemental information, as discussed below, and came to the same conclusion as the state. It is reasonable to conclude that emissions from Alaska do not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state.

In our evaluation, potential downwind nonattainment and maintenance receptors were identified in other states. EPA evaluated these potential receptors to determine first if, based on review of relevant data and other information, there would be downwind nonattainment or maintenance problems, and if so, whether Alaska is likely to contribute to such problems in these areas. After reviewing air quality reports, modeling results, designation letters, designation technical support documents, attainment plans and other information for these areas, we are proposing to approve the Alaska SIP as meeting CAA section 110(a)(2)(i)(I) interstate transport requirements for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

IV. What action is EPA taking?

The EPA is proposing to approve a portion of Alaska's March 10, 2016, submission certifying that the current Alaska SIP is sufficient to meet the interstate transport requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I), specifically prongs one and two, as set forth above. The EPA is requesting comments on the proposed approval.

V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

Under the CAA, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP submission that complies with the provisions of the CAA 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 CAA. 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);
  • Is not an Executive Order 13771 (82 FR 9339, February 2, 2017) regulatory action because SIP approvals are exempted under Executive Order 12866;
  • 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).

In addition, 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 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).

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

  • Environmental protection
  • Air pollution control
  • Incorporation by reference
  • Intergovernmental relations
  • Particulate matter
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
End List of Subjects Start Signature

Dated: April 23, 2018.

Chris Hladick,

Regional Administrator, Region 10.

End Signature End Supplemental Information


1.  Alaska was not part of the CSAPR rulemaking. The EPA approved the Alaska SIP as meeting the CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) requirements for the 1997 ozone and 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS on October 15, 2008 (73 FR 60955) and the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS on August 4, 2014 (79 FR 45103).

Back to Citation

[FR Doc. 2018-09319 Filed 5-1-18; 8:45 am]