Air quality implementation plans; approval and promulgation; various States: Virginia,


[Federal Register: January 8, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 4)]

[Rules and Regulations]

[Page 653-656]

From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



40 CFR Part 52

[EPA-R03-OAR-2006-0648; FRL-8266-1]

Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Virginia; Identification of the Northern Virginia PM2.5 Nonattainment Area

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Direct final rule.

SUMMARY: EPA is taking direct final action to approve revisions to the Virginia State Implementation Plan (SIP). The revision consists of the addition of counties in Northern Virginia which were designated as nonattainment for the fine particulate (PM2.5) national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS). EPA is approving this revision in accordance with the requirements of the Clean Air Act.

DATES: This rule is effective on March 9, 2007 without further notice, unless EPA receives adverse written comment by February 7, 2007. If EPA receives such comments, it will publish a timely withdrawal of the direct final rule in the Federal Register and inform the public that the rule will not take effect.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID Number EPA- R03-OAR-2006-0648 by one of the following methods:

  1. Follow the on-line instructions for

    submitting comments.

  2. E-mail:

  3. Mail: EPA-R03-OAR-2006-0648, Linda Miller, Acting Chief, Air Quality Planning and Analysis Branch,

    [[Page 654]]

    Mailcode 3AP21, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103.

  4. Hand Delivery: At the previously-listed EPA Region III address. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No EPA-R03-OAR- 2006-0648. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change, and may be made available online at, including any personal information provided,

    unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through or e-mail.

    The Web site is an ``anonymous access'' system,

    which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an e- mail comment directly to EPA without going through,

    your e-mail address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

    Docket: All documents in the electronic docket are listed in the index. Although listed in the index, some

    information is not publicly available, i.e., 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 either electronically in or

    in hard copy during normal business hours at the Air Protection Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103. Copies of the State submittal are available at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, 629 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia, 23219.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Linda Miller, (215) 814-2068, or by e- mail at


    1. Background

      On May 8, 2006, the Commonwealth of Virginia submitted a formal revision to its State Implementation Plan (SIP). The SIP revision consists of the addition of counties in the Northern Virginia PM2.5 nonattainment area to the air quality regulations in the Virginia Code (9 VAC 5-20-204). This section of the Virginia regulations identifies areas included in nonattainment areas for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

      On July 18, 1997, EPA revised the NAAQS for particulate matter to add a new standard for fine particulates (PM2.5), airborne particles with a nominal aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less. The health-based standards for air quality are the PM2.5annual NAAQS, 15 micrograms per cubic meter, based on a 3-year average of annual mean PM2.5concentrations; and the 24-hour NAAQS. 65 micrograms per cubic meter based on a 3-year average of the 98th percentile of 24-hour concentrations. Nonattainment areas for the fine particle standard (PM2.5) were promulgated by EPA on January 5, 2005 as required by section 197(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA). Additional information on the designation process and requirements for nonattainment areas is found in the Federal Register document for the designations (70 FR 944 and 71 FR 19844). The designation of these counties and local jurisdictions in a PM2.5nonattainment area is not the subject of this rulemaking.

    2. Summary of SIP Revision

      The Commonwealth of Virginia is amending 9 VAC 5-20-204.A.3 to include the previously designated counties and local jurisdictions into the Northern Virginia portion of the Washington, DC PM2.5 nonattainment area. The counties and local areas included in the nonattainment area are Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudon County, Prince William, Alexandria City, Fairfax City, Falls Church City, Manassas City, and Manassas Park City. This SIP revision approves the addition of these counties and local jurisdictions to the planning areas listed in the Virginia Code (9 VAC 5-20-204.A.3).

    3. 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 (1) That are generated or developed before the commencement of a voluntary environmental assessment; (2) that are prepared independently of the assessment process; (3) that demonstrate a clear, imminent and substantial danger to the public health or environment; or (4) that 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 Sec. 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

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      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 Clean Air Act, 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 Clean Air Act is likewise unaffected by this, or any, state audit privilege or immunity law.

    4. Final Action

      EPA is approving the revision (VA D05) which identifies areas designated as part of the Northern Virginia portion of the Washington, DC PM2.5nonattainment area. EPA is publishing this rule without prior proposal because the Agency views this as a noncontroversial amendment and anticipates no adverse comment. The designation process included opportunity for public comment. In addition, there were no public comments in the State public participation process. However, in the ``Proposed Rules'' section of today's Federal Register, EPA is publishing a separate document that will serve as the proposal to approve the SIP revision if adverse comments are filed. This rule will be effective on March 9, 2007 without further notice unless EPA receives adverse comment by February 7, 2007. If EPA receives adverse comment, EPA will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the public that the rule will not take effect. EPA will address all public comments in a subsequent final rule based on the proposed rule. EPA will not institute a second comment period on this action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so at this time.

    5. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

  5. General Requirements

    Under Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993), this action is not a ``significant regulatory action'' and therefore is not subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget. For this reason, this action is also not subject to Executive Order 13211, ``Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use'' (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001). This action merely approves state law as meeting Federal requirements and imposes no additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law. Accordingly, the Administrator certifies that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). Because this rule approves pre-existing requirements under state law and does not impose any additional enforceable duty beyond that required by State law, it 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). This rule also does not have tribal implications because it will not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000). This action also does not have Federalism implications because it does 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, as specified in Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999). This action merely approves a state rule implementing a Federal requirement, and does not alter the relationship or the distribution of power and responsibilities established in the Clean Air Act. This rule also is not subject to Executive Order 13045 ``Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks'' (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997), because it is not economically significant.

    In reviewing SIP submissions, EPA's role is to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the Clean Air Act. In this context, in the absence of a prior existing requirement for the State to use voluntary consensus standards (VCS), EPA has no authority to disapprove a SIP submission for failure to use VCS. It would thus be inconsistent with applicable law for EPA, when it reviews a SIP submission, to use VCS in place of a SIP submission that otherwise satisfies the provisions of the Clean Air Act. Thus, the requirements of section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note) do not apply. This rule does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

  6. 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 rule 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. This rule is not a ``major rule'' as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

  7. Petitions for Judicial Review

    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 March 9, 2007.

    Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule to update the Virginia regulations to include counties and local jurisdictions in the Northern Virginia PM2.5 nonattainment area does not affect the finality of this rule 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).)

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Particulate matter,

    [[Page 656]]

    Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: December 22, 2006. Donald S. Welsh, Regional Administrator, Region III.

    0 40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

    PART 52--[AMENDED]

    0 1. The authority citation for 40 CFR part 52 continues to read as follows:

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

    Subpart VV--Virginia

    0 2. In Sec. 52.2420, the table in paragraph (c) is amended by revising the entry for Chapter 20, Part II, Section 5-20-204 to read as follows:

    Sec. 52.2420 Identification of plan.

    * * * * *

    (c) * * *

    EPA-Approved Virginia Regulations and Statutes

    State State citation (9


    effective EPA approval date Explanation [former VAC 5)


    SIP citation]

    * * * * * * * Chapter 20 General Provisions

    * * * * * * * Part II Air Quality Programs

    * * * * * * * 5-20-204.............. Nonattainment Areas 5/4/05 1/8/07 [Insert page Paragraph 5-20-204A.3 number where the

    is added. document begins]

    * * * * * * *

    * * * * * [FR Doc. E6-22552 Filed 1-5-07; 8:45 am]

    BILLING CODE 6560-50-P