[Federal Register Volume 61, Number 199 (Friday, October 11, 1996)]
[Notices]
[Pages 53371-53372]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 96-26192]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[FRL-5634-7]


California State Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Standards; 
Waiver of Federal Preemption; Decision

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION: Notice regarding waiver of Federal preemption.

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SUMMARY: EPA is granting California a waiver of Federal preemption 
pursuant to section 209(b) of the Clean Air Act to enforce amendments 
to its motor vehicle emission standards and test procedures to phase-in 
more stringent monitoring requirements and tampering deterence features 
for its on-board diagnostic (OBD) systems commencing in model year 1994 
and later model year passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and

[[Page 53372]]

medium-duty vehicles. California also amended its corresponding 
regulations.

ADDRESSES: A copy of the above standards and test procedures, the 
decision document containing an explanation of the Administrator's 
determination, and the record of those documents used in arriving at 
this decision, are available for public inspection during normal 
working hours of 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at: U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency, Air Docket (Docket #A-90-28), room 
M1500, Waterside Mall, 401 M Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20460. The 
telephone number is (202) 260-7548 and the facsimile number is (202) 
260-4400. A reasonable fee may be charged by EPA for copying docket 
material.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David J. Dickinson, Attorney/Advisor, 
Vehicle Programs and Compliance Division (6405J), U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, 401 M Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20460. Telephone: 
(202) 233-9256 or Internet e-mail at 
``dickinson.david@epamail.epa.gov.''

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I have decided to grant California a waiver 
of Federal preemption pursuant to section 209(b) of the Clean Air Act, 
as amended (Act), 42 U.S.C. 7543(b), for amendments to its exhaust 
emission standards and test procedures which establish new and/or more 
stringent monitoring requirements of OBD systems on 1994 and later 
model year passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles 
and also requires certain tampering protections on such OBD systems. A 
comprehensive description of California's OBD II program can be found 
in the decision document for this waiver and in materials submitted to 
the Docket by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
    Section 209(b) of the Act provides that, if certain criteria are 
met, the Administrator shall waiver Federal preemption for California 
to enforce new motor vehicle emission standards and accompanying 
enforcement procedures. As explained more fully in the decision 
document, EPA finds CARB's OBD II regulations to be a standard under 
section 202 and thus to require full waiver review. The criteria of 
such a waiver include consideration of whether California arbitrarily 
and capriciously determined that its standards are, in the aggregate, 
at least as protective of public health and welfare as the applicable 
Federal standards; whether California needs State standards to meet 
compelling and extraordinary conditions; and whether California's 
amendments are consistent with section 202(a) of the Act.
    CARB determined that these standards and accompanying enforcement 
procedures do not cause California's standards, in the aggregate, to be 
less protective to public health and welfare than the applicable 
Federal standards. Information presented to me by parties opposing 
California's waiver did not demonstrate that California arbitrarily or 
capriciously reached this protectiveness determination. Therefore, I 
cannot find California's determination to be arbitrary and capricious.
    CARB has continually demonstrated the existence of compelling and 
extraordinary conditions justifying the need for its own motor vehicle 
emission control program, which includes the subject standards and 
procedures. Information presented to me by parties opposing 
California's waiver request did not demonstrate that California no 
longer has a compelling and extraordinary need for its own program. 
Therefore, I agree that California continues to have compelling and 
extraordinary conditions which require its own program, and, thus, I 
cannot deny the waiver on the basis of the lack of compelling and 
extraordinary conditions.
    CARB has submitted information that its emission standards and test 
procedures are technologically feasible and present no inconsistency 
with Federal requirements and are, therefore, consistent with section 
202(a) of the Act. Additionally, EPA agrees with CARB's statement that 
any vehicle that satisfies California's requirements can be presumed to 
meet the Federal requirements (assuming the manufacturer monitors, at 
minimum, the catalytic converter, the oxygen sensor, and engine 
misfire, and complies with requirements for standardizing certain 
aspects of the OBD system such as diagnostic connectors and computer 
communication protocols) through the 1998 model year. Thereafter CARB's 
regulations state that CARB will accept EPA certification data. 
Information presented to me by parties opposing California's waiver 
request did not satisfy the burden of persuading EPA that the standards 
are not technologically feasible within the available lead time, 
considering costs. Accordingly, I hereby grant the waiver requested by 
California.
    My decision will affect not only persons in California but also the 
manufacturers outside the State who must comply with California's 
requirements in order to produce motor vehicles for sale in California. 
For this reason, I hereby determine and find that this a final action 
of national applicability.
    Under section 307(b)(1) of the Act, judicial review of this final 
action may be sought only in the United States Court of Appeals for the 
District of Columbia Circuit. Petitions for review must be filed by 
December 10, 1996. Under section 307(b)(2) of the Act, judicial review 
of this final action may not be obtained in subsequent enforcement 
proceedings.
    As with past waiver decisions, this action is not a rule as defined 
in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601(2). Therefore, EPA has 
not prepared a supporting regulatory flexibility analysis addressing 
the impact of this action on small business entities.

    Dated: October 2, 1996.
Mary D. Nichols,
Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation.
[FR Doc. 96-26192 Filed 10-10-96; 8:45 am]
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