[Federal Register Volume 60, Number 155 (Friday, August 11, 1995)]
[Notices]
[Pages 41066-41068]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 95-19902]



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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[FRL-5275-3]


California State Motor Vehicles Pollution Control Standards; 
Opportunity for Public Hearing

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

ACTION: Notice of opportunity for public hearing and public comment 
period.

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SUMMARY: The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has notified EPA 
that it has adopted regulations regarding on-board diagnostic system 
requirements for 1994 and later model year passenger cars, light-duty 
trucks, and medium-duty vehicles (OBD II). On-board diagnostics consist 
of a computer-based system incorporated into the vehicle electronics 
for the purpose of detecting operational malfunctions within the 
emission control system. When malfunctions are detected, a malfunction 
light is illuminated on the instrument panel and a trouble code is 
stored in the computer memory identifying the system in which the fault 
has occurred. CARB initially requested that EPA find its OBD II 
regulations within the scope of existing waivers of Federal preemption 
pursuant to section 209 of the Clean Air Act (Act), 42 U.S.C. 7543(b), 
as amended. Subsequently, CARB twice amended the subject regulations. 
On June 14, 1995, California requested that, pursuant to section 209(b) 
of the Clean Air Act, EPA waive Federal preemption for its onboard 
diagnostics amendments including the December 1994 revisions. This 
notice announces that EPA has tentatively scheduled a public hearing 
for October 17, 1995, to hear comments from the general public 
concerning CARB's request.

DATES: EPA has tentatively scheduled a public hearing for October 17, 
1995, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Any person who wishes to testify on the 
record at the hearing must notify EPA by September 29, 1995, that it 
wishes to present oral testimony regarding CARB's request. Any party 
may submit written comments regarding CARB's request by November 17, 
1995. If EPA receives one or more requests to testify on the pending 
request, a hearing will be held. Please note that if no one notifies 
EPA that they wish to testify, no hearing will be held. Therefore, any 
person who plans to attend the hearing should call Leila Holmes Cook of 
EPA's Manufacturers Operation Division at (202) 233-9252, on or after 
October 2, 1995, to determine if a request for a hearing has been 
received by the Agency and thus whether a hearing will be held. 
Regardless of whether or not a hearing is held, written comments 
regarding CARB's request will be accepted through November 17, 1995.

ADDRESSES: If a request is received, a public hearing will be held at: 
Sheraton Inn, 3200 Boardwalk, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108. Parties 
wishing to testify at the hearing should provide written notice to: 
Charles N. Freed, Director, Manufacturers Operations Division (6405J), 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 401 M Street, S.W., Washington, 
D.C. 20460. In addition, written comments, in duplicate, should be sent 
to Mr. Freed at the same address. Copies of material relevant to the 
waiver request (Docket No. A-90-28) will be available for public 
inspection during the working hours of 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:30 PM 
to 3:30 PM, Monday through Friday, at: U.S. Environmental Protection 
Agency, Air Docket (LE-131), Room M1500, First Floor Waterside Mall, 
401 M Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20460 [Telephone (202) 260-7548].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Leila Holmes Cook, Attorney/Advisor, 
Manufacturers Operations Division (6405J), U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, Washington, DC. 20460, Telephone: (202) 233-9252.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background and Discussion

    Section 209(a) of the Act as amended, 42 U.S.C. 7543(a), provides 
in part: ``No State or any political subdivision thereof shall adopt or 
attempt to enforce any standard relating to the control of emissions 
from new motor vehicles or new motor vehicle engines subject to this 
part * * * [or] require certification, inspection, or any other 
approval relating to the control of emissions * * * as condition 
precedent to the initial retail sale, titling (if any), or registration 
of such motor vehicle, motor vehicle engine, or equipment.''
    Section 209(b) of the Act requires the Administrator, after notice 
and an opportunity for public hearing, to waive application of the 
prohibitions of section 209(a) for California ``* * * if the State 
determines that the State standards will be, in the aggregate, at least 
as protective of public health and welfare as applicable Federal 
standards. No such waiver shall be granted if the Administrator finds 
that--(A) the determination of the State is arbitrary and capricious, 
(B) [California] does not need such * * * standards to meet compelling 
and extraordinary conditions, or (C) [its] standards and accompanying 
enforcement procedures are not consistent with section 202(a) of [the 
Act].''
    As previous decisions granting waivers of federal preemption have 
explained, State standards are inconsistent with section 202(a) if 
there is inadequate lead time to permit the development of the 
necessary technology given the cost of compliance within that time 
period or if the Federal and state test procedures impose inconsistent 
certification requirements.
    With regard to enforcement procedures accompanying standards, I 
must grant the requested waiver unless I find that these procedures may 
cause the California standards, in the aggregate, to be less protective 
of public health and welfare than the applicable Federal standards 
promulgated pursuant to section 202(a), or unless the California and 
Federal certification test procedures are inconsistent.
    Once California has been granted waiver for a set of standards and 
enforcement procedures for a class of vehicles, it may adopt other 
conditions precedent to initial retail sale, titling or registration of 
the subject class of vehicles without having to receive a further 
waiver of Federal preemption.
    CARB initially requested that EPA find its OBD II regulations 
within the scope of existing waivers of federal preemption pursuant to 
section 209 of the Clean Air Act (Act), 42 U.S.C. 7543(b), as amended. 
Subsequently, CARB twice amended the subject regulations. EPA finalized 
its On-Board Diagnostics Rule on January 29, 1993 [58 FR 9468 (February 
19, 1993)]. By letter dated June 14, 1995, California requested that, 
pursuant to section 209(b) of the Clean Air Act, EPA waive Federal 
preemption for its onboard diagnostics amendments including the 
December 1994 revisions. These 

[[Page 41067]]
amendments, which apply to 1994 and later model year passenger cars, 
light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles require the monitoring of 
essentially all emission control systems, and emission related 
components. In addition, it addresses deficiencies in the OBD I 
requirements that have become apparent since their adoption, and 
establishes new testing protocol and standardization procedures.
    OBD II provides for new monitoring requirements covering: catalyst 
system condition, engine misfire detection, evaporative control system 
operation, supplementary air system function, the exhaust gas 
recirculation (EGR) system flow rate, chloroflourocarbon loss (air 
conditioning refrigerant), and monitoring of other components and 
systems controlled by the on-board engine control computer. In general 
the California OBD II regulations require that a deteriorated component 
or system be detected as malfunctioning by the time its lack of 
performance causes vehicle emissions to exceed 1.5 times any of the 
standards to which the vehicle is certified or when a component is 
completely non-functioning. Therefore, permissible emission increases 
are a function of the standards to which the vehicle is certified.
    A number of changes to requirements initially established under OBD 
I were made to increase the effectiveness of the monitoring systems in 
detecting emission-related malfunctions. These requirements include 
tampering deterrence features, as well as, improvements to the 
malfunction detection effectiveness of the fuel system, oxygen sensor, 
EGR system, other emission-related electronic components.
    Manufacturers are required to perform emission tests on a 
durability demonstration vehicle equipped with deteriorated emission-
critical parts and show that the on-board diagnostic system will 
identify when an emission standard is exceeded by 1.5 times the 
applicable standard.
    In order to facilitate vehicle repairs and assist Inspection and 
Maintenance Programs in utilizing the OBD system, CARB has required 
standardized vehicle communication systems that interface with a 
relatively low-cost, hand-held, universal diagnostic tool. The tool 
will be able to read specific diagnostic information such as fault 
codes which lead service personnel to the likely area of any 
malfunctions, and will provide continuously updated engine parameter 
data that will further help to isolate fault codes and ensure proper 
repairs.
    In response to a Petition from Ford Motor Company, dated March 29, 
1993, CARB modified its OBD II regulations to give the Executive 
Officer, upon request from a manufacturer, the authority to waive one 
or more of the OBD II requirements for vehicle models or engine 
families introduced prior to April 1, 1994. In making this 
determination the Executive Officer would consider, among other things, 
the overall extent to which the OBD II requirements will be met, and 
whether the manufacturer made good-faith efforts to comply with the 
regulation. For 1995 model year vehicles for which production begins 
after March 31, 1994, per vehicle penalties in increments of $25 or $50 
per vehicle for the third and subsequently identified deficiency not to 
exceed $500 per vehicle are possible.
    On December 8, 1994, CARB approved amendments which addressed 
manufacturer concerns with developing fully compliant monitoring 
systems by the 1996 model year. Specifically, these amendments give 
additional compliance flexibility for manufacturers having difficulty 
creating enhanced diagnostic systems which monitor catalysts used in 
low-emission vehicles (LEV) and adequate misfire detection. In 
addition, the amendments also address monitoring requirements for 
evaporative system leaks and for the monitoring of diesel and alternate 
fuel vehicles.
    In its request letter dated, June 14, 1995, California has stated 
that regardless of whether the EPA views the subject regulation as 
accompanying enforcement procedures or new standards, the requisite 
findings to support a grant of a waiver of federal preemption have been 
made. That is, as accompanying enforcement procedures, the regulations 
do not endanger the protectiveness finding that the ARE has made for 
previously granted waiver determinations and the regulations are 
consistent with the intent of section 202(a) of the federal CAA. In the 
alternative, if the OBD II regulations are viewed as new emission 
standards, a waiver should be granted because the regulations (as 
amended) are, in the aggregate, at least as stringent as the comparable 
federal OBD regulations, California needs its own motor vehicle program 
to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions in the state, and the 
regulations are consistent with section 202(a) of the CAA. Section 
202(a) requires that the procedures provide sufficient lead time to 
permit the development and application of requisite technology, giving 
appropriate consideration to the cost of compliance within such period. 
In addition, the Agency has held that to avoid inconsistency with 
section 202(a), California's procedures may not impose inconsistent 
certification requirements such that manufacturers would be unable to 
meet both the California and Federal requirements with the same test 
vehicle.
    Once California has been granted waiver of Federal preemption for a 
set of standards and enforcement procedures for a class of vehicles, it 
may adopt other conditions precedent to the initial retail sale, 
titling or registration of the subject class of vehicles without having 
to receive a further waiver of Federal preemption.
    California's request will be considered according to the procedures 
for a waiver decision, which includes providing the opportunity for a 
public hearing. Any party wishing to present testimony at the hearing 
should address the following issues:
    (1) Whether California's OBD II regulations are appropriately 
considered accompanying enforcement procedures or new emission 
standards;
    (2) If CARB's regulations are accompanying enforcement procedures, 
address (A) whether these procedures may cause the California 
standards, in the aggregate, to be less protective of public health and 
welfare than the applicable Federal standards promulgated pursuant to 
section 202(a), and (B) whether the California and Federal 
certification test procedures are inconsistent.
    (3) If CARB's regulations are standards, address (A) whether 
California's determination that the amended standards are at least as 
protective of public health and welfare as applicable Federal standards 
is arbitrary and capricious; (B) whether California needs separate 
standards to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions; and, (C) 
whether California's standards and accompanying enforcement procedures 
are consistent with section 202(a) of the Act.

II. Procedures for Public Participation

    Any person desiring to make an oral statement on the record should 
file ten (10) copies of their proposed testimony and other relevant 
material with the Director of EPA's Manufacturers Operations Division 
at the Director's address listed above not later than October 13, 1995. 
In addition, that person should submit 25 copies, if feasible, of the 
planned statement to the presiding officer at the time of the hearing.
    Because a public hearing is designed to give interested parties an 
opportunity to participate in this proceeding, there are no adverse 
parties as such. 

[[Page 41068]]
Statements by participants will not be subject to cross-examination by 
other participants without special approval by the presiding officer. 
The presiding officer is authorized to strike from the record 
statements which he or she deems irrelevant or repetitious and to 
impose reasonable limits on the duration of the statement of any 
witness.
    If a hearing is held, the Agency will make a verbatim record of the 
proceedings. Interested persons may arrange with the reporter at the 
hearing to obtain a copy of the transcript at their own expense.
    Regardless of whether a public hearing is held, EPA will keep the 
record open until November 17, 1995. The Administrator will then render 
her decision on CARB's request based on the record of the public 
hearing, if one is held, relevant written submissions, and other 
information which is deemed pertinent. All information will be 
available for public inspection at the EPA Air Docket.

    Dated: August 3, 1995.
Ann E. Goode,
Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation.
[FR Doc. 95-19902 Filed 8-10-95; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P