81 FR 33166 - Clean Air Act Redesignation Substitute for the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria 1997 8-hour Ozone Nonattainment Area; Texas

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

Federal Register Volume 81, Issue 101 (May 25, 2016)

Page Range33166-33169
FR Document2016-12230

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a redesignation substitute and make a finding of attainment for the 1997 8-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria ozone nonattainment area (HGB area). The redesignation substitute demonstration indicates that the area has attained the revoked 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS due to permanent and enforceable emission reductions and that it will maintain that NAAQS for ten years from the date of the EPA's approval of this demonstration. Final approval of the redesignation substitute will result in the area no longer being subject to any remaining applicable anti-backsliding requirements and the nonattainment new source review (NNSR) requirements associated with the revoked NAAQS. In general, final approval of the redesignation substitute would allow Texas to seek to revise the Texas SIP for the area to remove anti-backsliding measures from the active portion of its SIP if it can demonstrate, pursuant to Clean Air Act (CAA) section 110(1), that such revision would not interfere with attainment or maintenance of any applicable NAAQS, or any other requirement of the CAA. However, the EPA believes that in this instance, Texas does not need to revise its SIP to alter certain provisions for NNSR effective in the HGB area.

Federal Register, Volume 81 Issue 101 (Wednesday, May 25, 2016)
[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 101 (Wednesday, May 25, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 33166-33169]
From the Federal Register Online  [www.thefederalregister.org]
[FR Doc No: 2016-12230]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Parts 52 and 81

[EPA-R06-OAR-2015-0609; FRL-9946-84-Region 6]


Clean Air Act Redesignation Substitute for the Houston-Galveston-
Brazoria 1997 8-hour Ozone Nonattainment Area; Texas

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to 
approve a redesignation substitute and make a finding of attainment for 
the 1997 8-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) 
for the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria ozone nonattainment area (HGB area). 
The redesignation substitute demonstration indicates that the area has 
attained the revoked 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS due to permanent and 
enforceable emission reductions and that it will maintain that NAAQS 
for ten years from the date of the EPA's approval of this 
demonstration. Final approval of the redesignation substitute will 
result in the area no longer being subject to any remaining applicable 
anti-backsliding requirements and the nonattainment new source review 
(NNSR) requirements associated with the revoked NAAQS. In general, 
final approval of the redesignation substitute would allow Texas to 
seek to revise the Texas SIP for the area to remove anti-backsliding 
measures from the active portion of its SIP if it can demonstrate, 
pursuant to Clean Air Act (CAA) section 110(1), that such revision 
would not interfere with attainment or maintenance of any applicable 
NAAQS, or any other requirement of the CAA. However, the EPA believes 
that in this instance, Texas does not need to revise its SIP to alter 
certain provisions for NNSR effective in the HGB area.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before June 24, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket No. EPA-R06-OAR-
2015-0609, at http://www.regulations.gov or via email to 
[email protected]. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from 
Regulations.gov. The EPA may publish any comment received to its public 
docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be 
Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose 
disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, 
video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written 
comment is considered the official comment and should include 
discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not 
consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary 
submission (i.e. on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For 
additional submission methods, please contact Ms. Tracie Donaldson, 
(214) 665-6633, [email protected]. For the full EPA public 
comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and 
general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.
    Docket: The index to the docket for this action is available 
electronically at www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at EPA Region 6, 
1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 700, Dallas, Texas. While all documents in the 
docket are listed in the index, some information may be publicly 
available only at the hard copy location (e.g., copyrighted material), 
and some may not be publicly available at either location (e.g., CBI).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tracie Donaldson, (214) 665-6633, 
[email protected]. To inspect the hard copy materials, please 
contact Tracie Donaldson.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Throughout this document wherever ``we,'' 
``us,'' or ``our'' is used, we mean the EPA.

I. Background

    In 1979, under section 109 of the CAA, EPA established primary and 
secondary NAAQS for ozone at 0.12 parts per million (ppm) averaged over 
a 1-hour period (44 FR 8202, February 8, 1979). Primary standards are 
set to protect human health while secondary standards are set to 
protect public welfare. In 1997 we revised the primary and secondary 
NAAQS for ozone to set the acceptable level of ozone in the ambient air 
at 0.08 ppm, averaged over an 8-hour period (62 FR 38856, July 18, 
1997). In 2008, we revised the primary and secondary ozone NAAQS to 
0.075 ppm, averaged over an 8-hour period (73 FR 16436, March 27, 
2008). Ozone nonattainment areas are classified at the time of 
designation based on the area's design value (77 FR 30088, 30091, May 
21, 2012 and CAA section 181(a)(1)). The design value is calculated 
from air quality data from the area for the 3 years preceding 
designation. The possible classifications are Marginal, Moderate, 
Serious, Severe, and Extreme. Nonattainment areas with a ``lower'' 
classification have design values that are closer to the NAAQS than 
areas with a ``higher'' classification.
    The EPA revoked the 1997 ozone NAAQS for all purposes effective 
April 6, 2015 (80 FR 12264, 12296, March 6, 2015). In that rule, the 
EPA established a regulatory list of ``applicable requirements'' that 
would apply as anti-backsliding requirements for the transition from 
the 1997 ozone NAAQS to the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Id. at 12298-99. The rule 
provides that an area initially subject to the anti-backsliding 
obligations for a revoked NAAQS will remain so until we approve (1) a 
redesignation to attainment for the area for the 2008 ozone NAAQS or 
(2) a ``redesignation substitute'', which serves as a successor to 
redesignation to attainment, for which the area would have been 
eligible were it not for revocation. Id. at 12304. As explained more 
fully in the preambles to the proposed and final rules, the 
redesignation substitute demonstration must show that the area (1) has 
attained the revoked NAAQS due to permanent and enforceable emission 
reductions and (2) will maintain that revoked NAAQS for 10 years from 
the date of EPA's approval of the showing. See id. at 12303-306; 78 FR 
34178, 34222-223.

[[Page 33167]]

The rule also provides that if, after notice and comment rulemaking, we 
approve a redesignation substitute for a revoked NAAQS, the state may 
request to revise its SIP to revise or remove provisions for NNSR for 
that revoked NAAQS and that other anti-backsliding obligations for that 
revoked NAAQS be shifted to contingency measures, provided that such 
action is consistent with CAA sections 110(l) and 193 (40 CFR 
51.1105(b)(2)).
    The HGB area consists of Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, 
Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller counties in Texas. On April 30, 
2004, the EPA designated and classified the 8-county HGB as a Moderate 
nonattainment area under the 1997 ozone standard with an attainment 
date of no later than June 15, 2010 (see 69 FR 23858 and 69 FR 23951). 
On June 15, 2007, we received a request from the Governor of Texas 
seeking voluntary reclassification of the HGB area from a Moderate 
nonattainment area to a Severe nonattainment area under the 1997 ozone 
standard, which we approved on October 1, 2008 (73 FR 56983).\1\ 
Subsequently, the State submitted the Reasonable Further Progress (RFP) 
and Attainment Demonstration (AD) SIPs for the HGB Severe area under 
the 1997 ozone standard. These RFP and AD SIPs were approved on January 
2, 2014 (see 79 FR 51 and 79 FR 57, respectively).
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    \1\ The attainment date for the HGB Severe nonattainment area 
was as expeditiously as practicable, but not later than June 15, 
2019.
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    Texas provided the ``Redesignation Substitute Report for the 
Houston-Galveston-Brazoria 1997 Eight-Hour Standard Nonattainment 
Area'' (redesignation substitute report) to EPA on August 18, 2015. The 
submission also requested that EPA concur that the NNSR provisions 
relevant to the revoked 1997 ozone NAAQS would no longer apply. The 
report is available through www.regulations.gov (e-docket EPA-R06-OAR-
2015-0609).

II. EPA's Evaluation of the Houston Redesignation Substitute Report

    To determine whether we should approve the 1997 8-hour ozone 
redesignation substitute for the HGB area, we evaluated the 
redesignation substitute report provided by Texas and the ambient ozone 
data for the area in the EPA Air Quality System (AQS) database. To 
evaluate the report we used the applicable portions of our September 4, 
1992 memo, ``Procedures for Processing Requests to Redesignate Areas to 
Attainment'' (www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/t5/memoranda/redesignmem090492.pdf). A detailed discussion of our evaluation can be 
found in the Technical Support Document (TSD) for this action. The TSD 
can be accessed through www.regulations.gov (e-docket EPA-R06-OAR-2015-
0609).

A. Has the area attained the revoked 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS due to 
permanent and enforceable emission reductions?

    In a previous action we found that the HGB area had attained the 
1997 8-hour ozone standard (80 FR 81466). Ambient air quality found in 
the AQS database shows that the HGB area attained the 1997 8-hour ozone 
standard at the end of 2014, and preliminary data from 2015 indicate 
that the area has continued to maintain the standard (Table 1).

             Table 1--8-Hour Design Values for the HGB Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   Years                      8-hour ozone design value
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2012-2014.................................  80 ppb.
Preliminary 2013-2015.....................  80 ppb.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In 2014, all monitors in the HGB area reported 8-hour ozone values 
of 80 ppb or less. A more detailed table of 8-hour ozone values for the 
HGB monitors can be found in the TSD.
    The HGB area redesignation substitute report provides information 
on emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX) and volatile organic 
compounds (VOCs) and regulations that reduced these emissions. 
NOX and VOCs are ozone precursors. Texas identified control 
measures implemented as part of its 1-hour ozone attainment 
demonstration SIP and its 1997 ozone attainment demonstration SIP that 
led to permanent and enforceable emission reductions. The 1-hour ozone 
attainment demonstration SIP was approved on September 6, 2006 (71 FR 
52670). The 1997 ozone attainment demonstration SIP was approved on 
January 2, 2014 (79 FR 57). Additionally, we have approved SIPs for the 
HGB area that document continuous emissions reductions due to permanent 
and enforceable measures for the 1-hour and 1997 8-hour ozone standards 
(70 FR 7407, February 14, 2005; 74 FR 18298, April 22, 2009; 79 FR 51, 
January 2, 2014). The TCEQ has implemented stringent and innovative 
regulations that address emissions of NOX and VOCs. These 
include, but are not limited to:
     Highly Reactive VOC Emissions Cap and Trade (HECT) 
implemented in 2007. This program affects cooling towers, process vents 
and flares and establishes an emission limit with a cap and trade in 
Harris County. The seven perimeter counties are subject to permit 
allowable limits and monitoring requirements.
     More stringent leak detection and repair (LDAR) 
requirements implemented in 2004.
     NOX Mass Emissions Cap and Trade (MECT) Program 
phased in through April 2007 results in an overall 80% reduction from 
existing industrial sources and utility power plants.
     Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance implemented in Harris 
County in 2002 and then expanded to Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston and 
Montgomery Counties.
     Federal Area and Non-road emissions limits are being 
phased in through 2018.
     Federal On-road emissions limits are being phased in 
through 2025.
    Given our previous actions approving Texas SIPs pertaining to 
permanent and enforceable measures, we agree with Texas' conclusion 
that the area has attained the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS due to permanent 
and enforceable emission reductions. Many others are listed and a more 
detailed review can be found in the TSD.

B. Will the area maintain the revoked 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS for 10 
years from the date of our approval?

    To demonstrate that the HGB area will maintain the revoked 1997 8-
hour ozone NAAQS for 10 years from the date of our approval of the 
redesignation substitute, the Texas report provided information on 
projected emissions of ozone precursors (Tables 2 and 3). The emission 
projections show that (1) NOX emissions will continue to 
decrease through 2028 and (2) VOC emissions will remain relatively 
steady through 2028 with an overall increase of 8.4 tpd or 1.4%. We 
reviewed this information and agree with the conclusion that the area 
will maintain the revoked 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS for 10 years from the 
date of our approval. Based on photochemical modeling analyses showing 
that the formation of ozone in the HGB area is more sensitive to 
NOX than to VOC emissions, the small increase in VOC 
emissions during the 10-year maintenance period is expected to be more 
than offset by the 39% decrease in NOX emissions during this

[[Page 33168]]

same period. More detail on our review can be found in the TSD.

                                                    Table 2--NOX Emission Projections (Tons per Day)
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                Category                       2012            2014            2017            2020            2023            2026            2028
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Point Sources...........................            98.5          119.67          127.39          127.71          128.03          128.35          128.56
Area Sources............................           21.91           22.52           23.23           23.61           23.47           23.50           23.59
On-Road Mobile Sources..................          159.08          124.64           82.96           61.06           48.94           40.24           37.04
Non-Road Mobile Sources.................          132.24          100.90           87.32           76.34           69.91           64.78           61.62
                                         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...............................          411.73          367.73          320.90          288.72          270.35          256.87          250.81
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                                                    Table 3--VOC Emission Projections (Tons per Day)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Category                       2012            2014            2017            2020            2023            2026            2028
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Point Sources...........................           84.06          110.72          115.02          115.65          116.26          116.94          117.41
Area Sources............................          310.07          317.75          328.20          335.07          337.81          341.16          344.75
On-Road Mobile Sources..................           74.51           61.48           47.36           40.38           36.12           31.71           28.99
Non-Road Mobile Sources.................           44.01           38.81           33.51           30.89           30.05           29.84           29.93
                                         -----------------
    Total...............................          512.65          528.76          524.09          521.99          520.24          519.65          521.08
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III. Proposed Action

    Based on the CAA's criteria for redesignation to attainment (CAA 
section 107(d)(3)(E)) and the regulation providing for a redesignation 
substitute (40 CFR 51.1105(b)), EPA is proposing to approve the 
redesignation substitute for the HGB area for the revoked 1997 8-hour 
ozone NAAQS and make a finding of attainment based on our determination 
that the demonstration provided by the State of Texas shows that the 
HGB area has attained the revoked 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS due to 
permanent and enforceable emission reductions, and that it will 
maintain that NAAQS for ten years from the date of the EPA's approval 
of this demonstration. If EPA finalizes approval of the redesignation 
substitute, the HGB area would no longer be subject to any remaining 
applicable anti-backsliding requirements and the NNSR requirements 
associated with the revoked NAAQS. It would also allow the state to 
request a SIP revision to shift anti-backsliding obligations for the 
revoked ozone NAAQS to contingency measures provided that such action 
is consistent with CAA sections 110(1) and 193 (if applicable).
    Texas's redesignation substitute report also requested that EPA 
concur that the NNSR provisions relevant to the revoked 1997 ozone 
NAAQS would no longer apply. As explained previously, if we approve a 
redesignation substitute, the state may request to revise its SIP to 
revise or remove provisions for NNSR for the revoked standard, provided 
that such action is consistent with CAA sections 110(l) and 193 (40 CFR 
51.1105(b)(2)). However, the EPA believes that in this instance, Texas 
does not need to revise its SIP to alter some of the provisions for 
NNSR effective in the HGB area. The EPA reads Texas's NNSR SIP 
designations and classifications (and thus the related major source 
thresholds and offset ratios) to adjust as 40 CFR part 81 is updated 
and does not require further action by Texas if EPA were to finalize 
the redesignation substitute proposed here. This is explained in detail 
in Section D of the TSD. Because the HGB area is classified as Marginal 
nonattainment for the 2008 ozone NAAQS (as of the date of this 
Proposal), if the EPA finalizes this redesignation substitute, we 
believe that Texas's NNSR program would automatically change to 
requirements applicable for marginal areas in accordance with the HGB 
area classification for the 2008 ozone NAAQS for newly permitted 
sources. We note that finalization of this redesignation substitute 
does not relieve sources in the area of their obligations under 
previously established permit conditions.\2\
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    \2\ See Final Implementation Rule for 2008 Ozone Standard, 80 FR 
12264, at 12299, footnote 83 and at 12304, footnote 91.
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IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Under Executive Orders 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) and 
13563 (76 FR 3821, January 21, 2011), 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 
proposes to approve a demonstration provided by the State of Texas and 
find that the HGB area is no longer subject to the anti-backsliding 
obligations for additional measures for the revoked 1997 8-hour ozone 
NAAQS; and imposes no additional requirements. Accordingly, I certify 
that this proposed 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 proposed rule does not impose 
any additional enforceable duties, 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 proposed rule also does 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

[[Page 33169]]

Government and Indian Tribes, as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 
FR 67249, November 9, 2000), nor will it 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), because it 
merely proposes to approve a demonstration provided by the State of 
Texas and find that the HGB area is no longer subject to the anti-
backsliding obligations for additional measures for the revoked 1997 8-
hour ozone NAAQS; and does not alter the relationship or the 
distribution of power and responsibilities established in the CAA. This 
proposed rule also is not subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 
19885, April 23, 1997), because it is not economically significant.
    The proposed 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.). Additionally, this proposed rule does not involve 
establishment of technical standards, and 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.
    Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994) establishes 
Federal executive policy on environmental justice. Its main provision 
directs Federal agencies, to the greatest extent practicable and 
permitted by law, to make environmental justice part of their mission 
by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high 
and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs, 
policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income 
populations in the United States. EPA has determined that this proposed 
rule will not have disproportionately high and adverse human health or 
environmental effects on minority or low-income populations because it 
does not affect the level of protection provided to human health or the 
environment. Additionally, the proposed rule is not an economically 
significant regulatory action based on health or safety risks subject 
to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997).

List of Subjects

40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by 
reference, Intergovernmental relations, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, 
Volatile organic compounds.

40 CFR Part 81

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control.

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

    Dated: May 13, 2016.
Ron Curry,
Regional Administrator, Region 6.
[FR Doc. 2016-12230 Filed 5-24-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6560-50-P


Current View
CategoryRegulatory Information
CollectionFederal Register
sudoc ClassAE 2.7:
GS 4.107:
AE 2.106:
PublisherOffice of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration
SectionProposed Rules
ActionProposed rule.
DatesWritten comments must be received on or before June 24, 2016.
ContactTracie Donaldson, (214) 665-6633, [email protected] To inspect the hard copy materials, please contact Tracie Donaldson.
FR Citation81 FR 33166 
CFR Citation40 CFR 52
40 CFR 81
CFR AssociatedEnvironmental Protection; Air Pollution Control; Incorporation by Reference; Intergovernmental Relations; Nitrogen Dioxide; Ozone and Volatile Organic Compounds

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