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Air Plan Approval; Virginia; Emissions Statement Certification for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard

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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


Final rule.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving a state implementation plan (SIP) revision submitted by the Commonwealth of Virginia (Virginia). The revision provides Virginia's certification that its existing emissions statement program satisfies the emissions statement requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA) for the 2015 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). EPA is approving Virginia's emissions statement program certification for the 2015 ozone NAAQS as a SIP revision in accordance with the requirements of the CAA.


This final rule is effective on June 15, 2020.


EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID Number EPA-R03-OAR-2019-0694. All documents in the docket are listed on the website. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., confidential business information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted 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 through, or please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section for additional availability information.

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Erin Malone, Planning & Implementation Branch (3AD30), Air & Radiation Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103. The telephone number is (215) 814-2190. Ms. Malone can also be reached via electronic mail at

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I. Background

On February 10, 2020 (85 FR 7496), EPA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In the NPRM, EPA proposed approval of Virginia's certification that Virginia's emissions statement regulation meets the emissions statement requirement of section 182(a)(3)(B) of the CAA for the 2015 ozone NAAQS. The formal SIP revision was submitted by Virginia, through the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ), on July 30, 2019.

II. Summary of SIP Revision and EPA Analysis

In Virginia's July 30, 2019 SIP revision submittal, Virginia states that the emissions statement requirements of CAA section 182(a)(3)(B) are contained under 9VAC5-20-160 (Registration) of the Virginia Administrative Code and are SIP-approved under 40 CFR 52.2420(c). According to Virginia, these provisions mandate that facilities emitting more than 25 tons per year (tpy) of nitrogen oxides (NOX) or volatile organic compounds (VOC) must submit emissions statements to Virginia while those emitting less than 25 tpy must comply with inventory requirements.

EPA's review of the Commonwealth of Virginia's submittal finds that Virginia's existing, SIP-approved emissions statement program under 9VAC5-20-160 satisfies the emissions statement requirements of CAA section 182(a)(3)(B) for stationary sources located in nonattainment areas in Virginia, including such sources in the Virginia portion of the Washington, DC-MD-VA nonattainment area, for the 2015 ozone NAAQS. Pursuant to CAA section 182, Virginia is required to have an emissions statement program for sources located in nonattainment areas. EPA finds the provisions under 9VAC5-20-160 satisfy the requirements of CAA section 182(a)(3)(B) for the 2015 ozone NAAQS because they apply to the Northern Virginia Emissions Control Area, which includes the Virginia portion of the Washington, DC-MD-VA 2015 ozone NAAQS nonattainment area (i.e. Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Alexandria City, Fairfax City, Falls Church City, Manassas City, and Manassas Park City). EPA also finds Virginia's emissions thresholds for sources that are required to submit an emissions statement meet the requirements of CAA section 182(a)(3)(B)(ii). As stated previously, 9VAC5-20-160 requires the owner of any stationary source located in an emissions control area that emits 25 tpy or more of VOC or NOX to annually submit an emissions statement. This 25 tpy threshold is equivalent to the threshold required by CAA section 182(a)(3)(B)(ii). As previously mentioned, per CAA section 182(a)(3)(B)(ii), states may waive this requirement for sources that emit less than 25 tpy of NOX or VOC if the state provides an inventory of emissions from such class or category of sources as required by CAA sections 172 and 182. Virginia provides emissions inventories for nonattainment areas as required by CAA section 172(c)(3).[1] Therefore, EPA Start Printed Page 29326has determined that 9VAC5-20-160, which is currently in the Virginia SIP, is appropriate to address the emissions statement requirements in section 182(a)(3)(B) for the 2015 ozone NAAQS.

III. Final Action

EPA is approving, as a SIP revision, the Commonwealth of Virginia's July 30, 2019 emissions statement certification for the 2015 ozone NAAQS as approvable under CAA section 182(a)(3)(B). Virginia's emissions statement certification certifies that Virginia's existing SIP-approved emissions statement program under 9VAC5-20-160 satisfies the requirements of CAA section 182(a)(3)(B) for the 2015 ozone NAAQS.

IV. General Information Pertaining to SIP Submittals From the Commonwealth of Virginia

In 1995, Virginia adopted legislation that provides, subject to certain conditions, for an environmental assessment (audit) “privilege” for voluntary compliance evaluations performed by a regulated entity. The legislation further addresses the relative burden of proof for parties either asserting the privilege or seeking disclosure of documents for which the privilege is claimed. Virginia's legislation also provides, subject to certain conditions, for a penalty waiver for violations of environmental laws when a regulated entity discovers such violations pursuant to a voluntary compliance evaluation and voluntarily discloses such violations to the Commonwealth and takes prompt and appropriate measures to remedy the violations. Virginia's Voluntary Environmental Assessment Privilege Law, Va. Code Sec. 10.1-1198, provides a privilege that protects from disclosure documents and information about the content of those documents that are the product of a voluntary environmental assessment. The Privilege Law does not extend to documents or information that: (1) Are generated or developed before the commencement of a voluntary environmental assessment; (2) are prepared independently of the assessment process; (3) demonstrate a clear, imminent and substantial danger to the public health or environment; or (4) are required by law.

On January 12, 1998, the Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Attorney General provided a legal opinion that states that the Privilege law, Va. Code Sec. 10.1-1198, precludes granting a privilege to documents and information “required by law,” including documents and information “required by Federal law to maintain program delegation, authorization or approval,” since Virginia must “enforce Federally authorized environmental programs in a manner that is no less stringent than their Federal counterparts. . . .” The opinion concludes that “[r]egarding § 10.1-1198, therefore, documents or other information needed for civil or criminal enforcement under one of these programs could not be privileged because such documents and information are essential to pursuing enforcement in a manner required by Federal law to maintain program delegation, authorization or approval.”

Virginia's Immunity law, Va. Code Sec. 10.1-1199, provides that “[t]o the extent consistent with requirements imposed by Federal law,” any person making a voluntary disclosure of information to a state agency regarding a violation of an environmental statute, regulation, permit, or administrative order is granted immunity from administrative or civil penalty. The Attorney General's January 12, 1998 opinion states that the quoted language renders this statute inapplicable to enforcement of any federally authorized programs, since “no immunity could be afforded from administrative, civil, or criminal penalties because granting such immunity would not be consistent with Federal law, which is one of the criteria for immunity.”

Therefore, EPA has determined that Virginia's Privilege and Immunity statutes will not preclude the Commonwealth from enforcing its program consistent with the Federal requirements. In any event, because EPA has also determined that a state audit privilege and immunity law can affect only state enforcement and cannot have any impact on Federal enforcement authorities, EPA may at any time invoke its authority under the CAA, including, for example, sections 113, 167, 205, 211 or 213, to enforce the requirements or prohibitions of the state plan, independently of any state enforcement effort. In addition, citizen enforcement under section 304 of the CAA is likewise unaffected by this, or any, state audit privilege or immunity law.

V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

A. General Requirements

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, 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).

The SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land as defined in 18 U.S.C. 1151 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 Start Printed Page 29327specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000).

B. Submission to Congress and the Comptroller General

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. 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).

C. Petitions for Judicial Review

Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by July 14, 2020. 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. This action approving Virginia's emissions statement certification for the 2015 ozone NAAQS 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
  • Incorporation by reference
  • Intergovernmental relations
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Ozone
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Volatile organic compounds
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Dated: April 17, 2020.

Cosmo Servidio,

Regional Administrator, Region III.

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40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

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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 VV—Virginia

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2. In § 52.2420, the table in paragraph (e)(1) is amended by adding an entry for “Emissions Statement Certification for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard” at the end of the table to read as follows:

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Identification of plan.
* * * * *

(e) * * *

(1) * * *

Name of non-regulatory SIP revisionApplicable geographic areaState submittal dateEPA approval dateAdditional explanation
*         *         *         *         *         *         *
Emissions Statement Certification for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality StandardVirginia portion of the Washington, DC-MD-VA nonattainment area for the 2015 ozone NAAQS (i.e. Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Alexandria City, Fairfax City, Falls Church City, Manassas City, and Manassas Park City)7/30/195/15/20, [insert Federal Register citation]Certification that Virginia's previously SIP-approved regulations at 9VAC5-20-160 meet the emissions statement requirements of CAA section 182(a)(3)(B) for the 2015 ozone NAAQS.
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1.  See, e.g. “Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia; 2011 Base Year Emissions Inventories for the Washington DC-MD-VA Nonattainment Area for the 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard,” 80 FR 27255 (May 13, 2015).

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[FR Doc. 2020-08743 Filed 5-14-20; 8:45 am]