[Federal Register Volume 62, Number 40 (Friday, February 28, 1997)]
[Notices]
[Pages 9185-9186]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 97-5034]



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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[FRL-5697-7]


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

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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

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SUMMARY: The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has notified EPA 
that it has approved amendments to its evaporative emission standards 
and testing procedures for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, medium-
duty vehicles, and heavy-duty vehicles and engines, for all fuels 
except diesel fuel and natural gas, for 1996 through 1998 model years. 
By letter dated October 16, 1996, California requested EPA to grant a 
waiver of Federal preemption for these amendments pursuant to section 
209(b) of the Clean Air Act (Act), 42 U.S.C. 7543(b). This notice 
announces that EPA has tentatively scheduled a public hearing for March 
26, 1997 to consider CARB's request and to hear comments from the 
general public concerning CARB's request. In addition, EPA is 
requesting that interested parties submit written comments. Any party 
desiring to present oral testimony for the record at the public 
hearing, instead of or in addition to submitting written comments, must 
notify EPA by March 20, 1997. If no party notifies EPA that it wishes 
to testify, then no hearing will be held and EPA will consider CARB's 
request based on written submissions to the record.
    It should be noted that these amendments are limited to 
California's evaporative emission test standards and testing procedures 
for the 1996 through 1998 model years. EPA anticipates a separate 
waiver request and proceeding regarding CARB's evaporative emission 
test procedures and standards for the 1999 model year and thereafter. 
Therefore, parties wishing to comment should confine the scope of their 
comments to issues pertaining to the 1996 through 1998 model years.

DATES: EPA has tentatively scheduled a public hearing for March 26, 
1997, beginning at 10:00 a..m., if any party notifies EPA by March 20, 
1997, that it wishes to present oral testimony regarding CARB's 
requests. By March 21, 1997, any person who plans to attend the hearing 
should call Mr. David Dickinson of EPA's Vehicle Programs and 
Compliance Division at (202) 233-9256 to determine if a hearing will be 
held. Any party may submit written comments regarding CARB's request by 
April 30, 1997.

ADDRESSES: If EPA receives a request for a public hearing, EPA will 
hold the public hearing announced in this notice in the first floor 
conference room at 501 3rd Street, NW., Washington, D.C. Parties 
wishing to present oral testimony at the public hearing should provide 
written notice to Mr. Dickinson, Vehicles Programs and Compliance 
Division, 401 M St., S.W. (6405J), Washington, DC 20460. In addition, 
written comments regarding the waiver request should be sent, in 
duplicate, to Mr. Dickinson at the address noted above. Copies of 
material relevant to the waiver request (Docket No. A-95-39) will be 
available for public inspection during the working hours of 8:00 a.m. 
to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, at the U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, 
Room M1500, First Floor Waterside Mall, 401 M St., S.W., Washington, DC 
20460, Telephone: (202) 260-7548.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. David Dickinson, Attorney/Advisor, 
Vehicles Programs and Compliance Division, U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, 401 M St., S.W. (6405J), Washington, DC 20460. 
Telephone: (202) 233-9256. E-Mail address: 
Dickinson.David@epamail.epa.gov.

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.''
    The State of California may be exempted from the prohibitions of 
section 209(a) of the Act. Section 209(b) of the Act provides in part 
that the Administrator shall, after notice and opportunity for public 
hearing, 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).''
    Once California has been granted a waiver of the application of the 
prohibitions of section 209(a) for its standards and accompanying 
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 the necessity of receiving 
further waiver of Federal preemption.
    By letter dated August 21, 1995, CARB submitted to EPA a request 
for waiver of Federal preemption for amendments to its evaporative 
emission standards and test procedures. By letter dated October 16, 
1996, CARB submitted a revised request for waiver of Federal preemption 
limiting the applicability of these amendments to the 1996 through 1998 
model years. These amendments which apply to all classes of passenger 
cars, light-duty trucks, medium-duty vehicles, and heavy-duty vehicles 
and engines, except petroleum-fueled diesel vehicles and vehicles 
fueled by natural gas:
    a. Incorporate a supplemental test procedure to help assure 
adequate evaporative canister purge.
    b. Further align CARB's enhanced test procedures with the federal 
test procedures by conforming most of the differences between the two 
test procedures.
    c. Make the enhanced test procedure applicable to the complete 
heavy medium-duty vehicle class (8,501-14,000 lbs., gross weight 
vehicle rating (GVWR)).
    d. Amend the evaporative emission standard for the hot soak plus 
the diurnal emissions test for medium-duty vehicles which have a GVWR 
of 6,001-8,500 lbs. and fuel tanks equal or greater than 30 gallons 
from 2.0 to 2.5 grams per test.
    EPA finalized its evaporative standards and test procedures on 
March 24, 1993 (see 58 FR 16002). EPA's new standards and test 
procedures are being phased-in with full compliance by 1999. In 
addition, on July 6, 1995, EPA issued a direct final rule designed to 
harmonize federal test procedures with CARB test procedures. EPA's 
present waiver consideration will only consider CARB's request for 
model years 1996-1998. Therefore, in the context of the waiver criteria 
set forth in section 209(b), CARB's amended standards and test 
procedures will be compared to

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EPA's standards and test procedures for model years 1996 through 1998.
    California states in its October 16, 1996 letter, referencing both 
its August 21, 1995 letter and recent developments, that it has 
determined that its amended standards are, in the aggregate, at least 
as protective of the public health and welfare as the applicable 
federal standards. Further, California, referencing its August 21, 1995 
waiver request letter, states that it continues to need separate 
standards to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions. Finally, 
California, referencing its August 21, 1995 letter and its 
Manufacturers Advisory Correspondence (MAC) 96-05, states that 
its amendments are consistent with section 202(a) of the Act. 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, EPA has held that section 202(a) prohibits the procedures 
from imposing inconsistent certification requirements such that 
manufacturers would be unable to demonstrate compliance with both the 
California and Federal requirements with the same test vehicle and 
using a single test sequence.
    California's request will be considered according to the procedures 
for a waiver determination, thus an opportunity for a public hearing is 
being provided. Any party wishing to present testimony at the hearing 
and/or to submit written comments should address the following issues:
    (1) Whether California's determination that its standards are at 
least as protective of public health and welfare as applicable Federal 
standards is arbitrary and capricious;
    (2) Whether California needs separate standards to meet compelling 
and extraordinary conditions; and,
    (3) Whether California's standards and accompanying enforcement 
procedures are consistent with section 202(a) of the Act.

II. Procedures for Public Participation

    Any party desiring to make an oral statement on the record should 
submit ten (10) copies, if feasible, of its proposed testimony and 
other relevant material to Mr. Dickinson of EPA's Vehicles Programs and 
Compliance Division at the address listed above not later than March 
24, 1997. In addition, the party should submit 25 copies, if feasible, 
of the planned statement to the presiding officer at the time of the 
hearing.
    In recognition that a public hearing is designed to give interested 
parties an opportunity to participate in this proceeding, there are no 
adverse parties as such. 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 participant.
    If a hearing is held, the Agency will make a verbatim record of the 
proceedings. Interested parties 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 April 30, 1997. Upon expiration of the comment 
period, the Administrator will render a decision on CARB's request 
based on the record of the public hearing, if any, relevant written 
submissions and other information which she deems pertinent.
    Persons with comments containing proprietary information must 
distinguish such information from other comments to the greatest 
possible extent and label it as ``Confidential Business Information'' 
(CBI).
    If a person making comments wants EPA to base its waiver decision 
in part on a submission labeled as CBI, then a nonconfidential version 
of the document which summarizes the key data or information should be 
submitted for the public docket. To ensure that proprietary information 
is not inadvertently placed in the docket, submissions containing such 
information should be sent directly to the contact person listed above 
and not to the public docket. Information covered by a claim of 
confidentiality will be disclosed by EPA only to the extent allowed and 
by the procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2. If no claim of 
confidentiality accompanies the submission when it is received by EPA, 
it may be made available to the public without further notice to the 
person making comments.

    Dated: February 24, 1997.
Mary D. Nichols,
Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation.
[FR Doc. 97-5034 Filed 2-27-97; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P