[Federal Register Volume 62, Number 105 (Monday, June 2, 1997)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 29668-29669]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 97-14304]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 52

[SIPTRAX DC032-2005; FRL-5832-9]


Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; 
District of Columbia; Interim Final Determination for Approval of the 
District of Columbia New Source Review Submittal

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Interim final rule.

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SUMMARY: Elsewhere in today's Federal Register, EPA has published a 
proposed rule to approve the District of Columbia submittal of its New 
Source Review program requirements into the State Implementation Plan 
(SIP). Based on the proposed approval, EPA is making an interim final 
determination by this action that the District has corrected the 
deficiencies for which a sanctions clock began on March 24, 1995. This 
action will stay the application of the offset sanction which was 
imposed October 24, 1996 and defer the application of the highway 
sanction to be imposed effective May 24, 1997. Although this action is 
effective upon publication, EPA will take comment on this interim final 
determination as well as EPA's proposed approval of the State's 
submittal. After consideration of comments received on EPA's proposed 
approval and this interim final action EPA will publish a final 
rulemaking notice.

DATES: Effective Date: June 2, 1997.
    Comment Date: Comments must be received by July 2, 1997.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be sent to Kathleen Henry, Chief, Permits 
Program Section, Mailcode 3AT23, Air, Radiation and Toxics Division, 
U.S. EPA Region III, 841 Chestnut Building, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
19107. The District's submittal and EPA's analysis for that submittal, 
which are the basis for this action, are available for public review at 
the above address and at the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory 
Affairs, Environmental Regulation Administration, 2100 Martin Luther 
King, Jr. Avenue, S.E., Suite 203, Washington, D.C. 20020.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Linda Miller, (215) 566-2068, at the 
EPA Region III address above or via e-mail at 
[email protected]. While information may be requested via e-
mail, comments must be submitted in writing to the EPA Region III 
address above.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    On October 22, 1993, the District submitted a New Source Review 
regulation as a revision to the State Implementation Plan (SIP). The 
submittal did not meet the applicable statutory and regulatory 
requirements of the Clean Air Act, including sections 171, 172, 173, 
182, 187, and 189. On March 24, 1995, EPA published a disapproval of 
the submittal in the Federal Register. Pursuant to section 179 of the 
Clean Air Act, this disapproval requires the imposition of sanctions in 
two phases unless and until deficiencies are corrected. Phase I 
sanctions require the imposition of 2:1 emission offsets for 
construction of new sources or major modification to existing sources, 
commencing 18 months after the effective date of disapproval. The 
emission offset sanctions were imposed on October 24, 1996. Phase II 
sanctions require the withholding of federal highway funds for all new 
highway projects in the District, commencing 24 months after the 
effective date of the disapproval. The required date for imposition of 
Phase II sanctions is May 24, 1997.
    On May 2, 1997, the District submitted a complete SIP submittal 
which corrects the deficiencies of the New Source Review program. In 
the Proposed Rules section of today's Federal Register, EPA has 
proposed full approval of the District of Columbia's submittal of its 
New Source Review program.

[[Page 29669]]

II. EPA Action

    Based on the proposed full approval set forth in today's Federal 
Register, EPA believes that the District has corrected the original 
disapproval deficiencies that started the sanction clock and, 
therefore, EPA is taking this interim final action finding that the 
District has corrected the disapproval deficiencies, effective on 
publication. This action does not stop the sanction clock that started 
under section 179 for this area on March 24, 1995. However, this action 
will stay the application of the offset sanction and will defer the 
application of the highway sanction. See 40 CFR 52.31. Publication of 
final approval by EPA will stop the sanction clock and will permanently 
lift any applied, stayed or deferred sanctions.
    Today EPA is also providing the public with an opportunity to 
comment on this interim final action. If, based on any comments on this 
action and any comments on EPA's proposed full approval of the State's 
submittal, EPA determines that the State's submittal is not fully 
approvable and this final action was inappropriate, EPA will take 
further action to disapprove the State's submittal and to find that the 
State has not corrected the original disapproval deficiency. As 
appropriate, EPA will also issue an interim final determination or a 
final determination that the deficiency has not been corrected. In 
addition, the sanctions consequences described in the sanctions rule 
will also apply. See 40 CFR 52.31.

III. Administrative Requirements

    Because EPA has preliminarily determined that the District has an 
approvable plan, relief from sanctions should be provided as quickly as 
possible. Therefore, EPA is invoking the good cause exception under the 
Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in not providing an opportunity for 
comment before this action takes effect.1 5 U.S.C. 
553(b)(B). The EPA believes that notice-and-comment rulemaking before 
the effective date of this action is impracticable and contrary to the 
public interest. The EPA has reviewed the District's submittal and, 
through its proposed action, is indicating that the District has 
corrected the deficiency that started the sanctions clock. Therefore, 
it is not in the public interest to initially apply sanctions or to 
keep applied sanctions in place when the State has most likely done all 
that it can to correct the deficiency that triggered the sanctions 
clock. Moreover, it would be impracticable to go through notice-and-
comment rulemaking on a finding that the State has corrected the 
deficiency prior to the rulemaking approving the State's submittal. 
Therefore, EPA believes that it is necessary to use the interim final 
rulemaking process to temporarily stay or defer sanctions while EPA 
completes its rulemaking process on the approvability of the District's 
submittal. In addition, EPA is invoking the good cause exception to the 
30-day notice requirement of the APA because the purpose of this notice 
is to relieve a restriction. See 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(1).
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    \1\ As previously noted, however, by this action EPA is 
providing the public with a chance to comment on EPA's determination 
after the effective date and EPA will consider any comments received 
in determining whether to reverse such action.
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    The Office of Management and Budget has exempted this action from 
review under Executive Order 12866.
    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. Sec. 600 et. seq., 
EPA must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis assessing the impact 
of any proposed or final rule on small entities. 5 U.S.C. Secs. 603 and 
604. Alternatively, EPA may certify that the rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
Small entities include small businesses, small not-for-profit 
enterprises, and government entities with jurisdiction over populations 
of less than 50,000.
    This action, pertaining to the interim final approval of 
corrections to the District of Columbia's New Source Review regulation, 
temporarily relieves sources of an additional burden potentially placed 
on them by the sanction provisions of the Act. Therefore, I certify 
that it does not have an impact on any small entities.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by 
reference, Intergovernmental regulations, Reporting and recordkeeping, 
Ozone, Volatile organic compounds, and nitrogen oxides.

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. Secs. 7401-7671q.

    Dated: May 21, 1997.
William T. Wisniewski,
Acting Regional Administrator.
[FR Doc. 97-14304 Filed 5-30-97; 8:45 am]
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