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Rule

Air Plan Approval; Tennessee; Knoxville Area Limited Maintenance Plan for the 1997 8-Hour Ozone NAAQS

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking final action to approve a state implementation plan (SIP) revision submitted by the State of Tennessee, through the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Air Pollution Control Division, via a letter dated January 23, 2020. The SIP revision includes the 1997 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) Limited Maintenance Plan (LMP) for the Knoxville, Tennessee Area (hereinafter referred to as the “Knoxville Area” or “Area”). The Knoxville Area, as defined in this action, is comprised of Jefferson, Loudon, and Sevier Counties in their entireties, the portion of Cocke County that falls within the boundary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and a portion of Anderson County that excludes the area surrounding Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Bull Run Fossil Plant. EPA is approving the Knoxville Area LMP because it provides for the maintenance of the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS within the Knoxville Area through the end of the second 10-year portion of the maintenance period. The effect of this action is to make certain commitments related to maintenance of the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS in the Knoxville Area federally enforceable as part of the Tennessee SIP.

DATES:

This rule is effective August 23, 2021.

ADDRESSES:

EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2020-0221. All documents in the docket are listed on the www.regulations.gov website. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, i.e., Confidential Business Information 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 can either be retrieved electronically via www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Air Regulatory Start Printed Page 38932Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air and Radiation Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to schedule your inspection. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding Federal holidays.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sarah LaRocca, Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air and Radiation Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. The telephone number is (404) 562-8994. Ms. LaRocca can also be reached via electronic mail at larocca.sara@epa.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

In 1979, under section 109 of the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act), EPA established primary and secondary NAAQS for ozone at 0.12 parts per million (ppm), averaged over a 1-hour period. See 44 FR 8202 (February 8, 1979). On July 18, 1997, EPA revised the primary and secondary NAAQS for ozone to set the acceptable level of ozone in the ambient air at 0.08 ppm, averaged over an 8-hour period. See 62 FR 38856 (July 18, 1997).[1] EPA set the 8-hour ozone NAAQS based on scientific evidence demonstrating that ozone causes adverse health effects at lower concentrations and over longer periods of time than was understood when the pre-existing 1-hour ozone NAAQS was set. EPA determined that the 8-hour ozone NAAQS would be more protective of human health, especially children and adults who are active outdoors, and individuals with a pre-existing respiratory disease, such as asthma.

Following promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS, EPA is required by the CAA to designate areas throughout the nation as attaining or not attaining the NAAQS. On April 15, 2004, EPA designated the Knoxville 1997 NAAQS Area, which is comprised of Anderson, Blount, Knox, Jefferson, Loudon, and Sevier Counties in their entireties, and the portion of Cocke County that falls within the boundary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as nonattainment for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS, and the designation became effective on June 15, 2004. See 69 FR 23858 (April 30, 2004). Similarly, on May 21, 2012, EPA designated areas as unclassifiable/attainment or nonattainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. EPA designated Blount and Knox Counties and the portion of Anderson County surrounding the TVA Bull Run Fossil Plant as nonattainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS and classified as a marginal nonattainment area (hereinafter referred to as the “Knoxville 2008 NAAQS Area”). This designation became effective on July 20, 2012.[2] In addition, on November 16, 2017, areas were designated for the 2015 8-hour ozone NAAQS. The Knoxville 1997 NAAQS Area [3] was designated attainment/unclassifiable for the 2015 8-hour ozone NAAQS, with an effective date of January 16, 2018.[4]

A state may submit a request to redesignate a nonattainment area that is attaining a NAAQS to attainment, and, if the area has met other required criteria described in section 107(d)(3)(E) of the CAA, EPA may approve the redesignation request.[5] One of the criteria for redesignation is to have an approved maintenance plan under CAA section 175A. The maintenance plan must demonstrate that the area will continue to maintain the NAAQS for the period extending ten years after redesignation, and it must contain such additional measures as necessary to ensure maintenance and such contingency provisions as necessary to assure that violations of the NAAQS will be promptly corrected. Eight years after the effective date of redesignation, the state must also submit a second maintenance plan to ensure ongoing maintenance of the NAAQS for an additional ten years pursuant to CAA section 175A(b) (i.e., ensuring maintenance for 20 years after redesignation).

EPA has published long-standing guidance for states on developing maintenance plans.[6] The Calcagni memo provides that states may generally demonstrate maintenance by either performing air quality modeling to show that the future mix of sources and emission rates will not cause a violation of the NAAQS or by showing that projected future emissions of a pollutant and its precursors will not exceed the level of emissions during a year when the area was attaining the NAAQS (i.e., attainment year inventory). See Calcagni memo at page 9. EPA clarified in three subsequent guidance memos that certain areas could meet the CAA section 175A requirement to provide for maintenance by showing that the area was unlikely to violate the NAAQS in the future, using information such as the area's design value [7] being significantly below the standard and the area having a historically stable design value.[8] EPA refers to a maintenance plan containing this streamlined demonstration as an LMP.

EPA has interpreted CAA section 175A as permitting the LMP option because section 175A of the Act does not define how areas may demonstrate maintenance, and in EPA's experience implementing the various NAAQS, areas that qualify for an LMP and have approved LMPs have rarely, if ever, experienced subsequent violations of the NAAQS. As noted in the LMP guidance memoranda, states seeking an LMP must still submit the other maintenance plan elements outlined in the Calcagni memo, including: An attainment emissions inventory, provisions for the continued operation of the ambient air quality monitoring network, verification of continued attainment, and a contingency plan in the event of a future violation of the NAAQS. Moreover, a state seeking an LMP must still submit its section 175A maintenance plan as a revision to its SIP, with all attendant notice and comment procedures. While the LMP Start Printed Page 38933guidance memoranda were originally written with respect to certain NAAQS,[9] EPA has extended the LMP interpretation of section 175A to other NAAQS and pollutants not specifically covered by the previous guidance memos.[10]

In a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published on June 11, 2021 (86 FR 31218), EPA proposed to approve Tennessee's LMP because the State made a showing, consistent with EPA's prior LMP guidance, that the Area's ozone concentrations are well below the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS and have been historically stable and that it met the other maintenance plan requirements. The details of Tennessee's submission and the rationale for EPA's action are explained in the proposed rulemaking. Comments on the June 11, 2021, NPRM were due on or before July 12, 2021. EPA did not receive any comments on the June 11, 2021, NPRM.

II. Final Action

EPA is taking final action to approve the Knoxville Area LMP for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS, submitted by TDEC on January 23, 2021, as a revision to the Tennessee SIP. EPA is approving the Knoxville Area LMP because it includes a sufficient update of the various elements of the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS Maintenance Plan approved by EPA for the first 10-year portion of the maintenance period (including emissions inventory, assurance of adequate monitoring and verification of continued attainment, and contingency provisions) and retains the relevant provisions of the SIP under sections 110(k) and 175A of the CAA.

EPA also finds that the Knoxville Area qualifies for the LMP option and that the Knoxville Area LMP is sufficient to provide for maintenance of the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS in the Knoxville Area over the second 10-year maintenance period (i.e., through 2031).

III. 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, EPA's role is to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the CAA. 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 (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.

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).

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 September 21, 2021. 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 may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. See section 307(b)(2).

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

  • Environmental protection
  • Air pollution control
  • Incorporation by reference
  • Intergovernmental relations
  • Nitrogen oxides
  • Ozone
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Volatile organic compounds
End List of Subjects Start Signature

Dated: July 15, 2021.

John Blevins,

Acting Regional Administrator, Region 4.

End Signature

For the reasons stated in the preamble, EPA amends 40 CFR part 52 as follows:

Start Part

PART 52—APPROVAL AND PROMULGATION OF IMPLEMENTATION PLANS

End Part Start Amendment Part

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

End Amendment Part Start Authority

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

End Authority Start Amendment Part

2. In § 52.2220, amend the table in paragraph (e) by adding, at the end of the table, the entry “1997 8-Hour Ozone Second 10-Year Limited Maintenance Plan for the Knoxville, Tennessee Area” to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Identification of plan.
* * * * *

(e) * * *Start Printed Page 38934

EPA-Approved Tennessee Non-Regulatory Provisions

Name of non-regulatory SIP provisionApplicable geographic or nonattainment areaState effective dateEPA approval dateExplanation
*         *         *         *         *         *         *
1997 8-Hour Ozone Second 10-Year Limited Maintenance Plan for the Knoxville, Tennessee AreaJefferson, Loudon, and Sevier Counties in their entireties, the portion of Cocke County that falls within the boundary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and a portion of Anderson County that excludes the area surrounding Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Bull Run Fossil Plant1/8/20207/23/2021, [Insert citation of publication]
End Supplemental Information

Footnotes

1.  In March 2008, EPA completed another review of the primary and secondary ozone NAAQS and tightened them further by lowering the level for both to 0.075 ppm. See 73 FR 16436 (March 27, 2008). Additionally, in October 2015, EPA completed a review of the primary and secondary ozone NAAQS and tightened them by lowering the level for both to 0.070 ppm. See 80 FR 65292 (October 26, 2015).

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3.  The “Knoxville 1997 NAAQS Area” encompasses both the “Knoxville Area” and the “Knoxville 2008 NAAQS Area”.

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4.  See 82 FR 54232 (November 16, 2017).

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5.  Section 107(d)(3)(E) of the CAA sets out the requirements for redesignating a nonattainment area to attainment. They include attainment of the NAAQS, full approval of the applicable SIP pursuant to CAA section 110(k), determination that improvement in air quality is a result of permanent and enforceable reductions in emissions, demonstration that the state has met all applicable section 110 and part D requirements, and a fully approved maintenance plan under CAA section 175A.

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6.  John Calcagni, Director, Air Quality Management Division, EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS), “Procedures for Processing Requests to Redesignate Areas to Attainment,” September 4, 1992 (Calcagni memo).

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7.  The ozone design value for a monitoring site is the 3-year average of the annual fourth-highest daily maximum 8-hour average ozone concentrations. The design value for an ozone area is the highest design value of any monitoring site in the area.

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8.  See “Limited Maintenance Plan Option for Nonclassifiable Ozone Nonattainment Areas” from Sally L. Shaver, OAQPS, dated November 16, 1994; “Limited Maintenance Plan Option for Nonclassifiable CO Nonattainment Areas” from Joseph Paisie, OAQPS, dated October 6, 1995; and “Limited Maintenance Plan Option for Moderate PM10 Nonattainment Areas” from Lydia Wegman, OAQPS, dated August 9, 2001. Copies of these guidance memoranda can be found in the docket for this proposed rulemaking.

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9.  The prior memos addressed: Unclassifiable areas under the 1-hour ozone NAAQS, nonattainment areas for the PM10 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 10 microns) NAAQS, and nonattainment for the carbon monoxide (CO) NAAQS.

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10.  See, e.g., 79 FR 41900 (July 18, 2014) (approval of the second ten-year LMP for the Grant County 1971 SO2 maintenance area).

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[FR Doc. 2021-15535 Filed 7-22-21; 8:45 am]

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