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




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American Government

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

Richard D. Wilson
February 24, 1998

[Federal Register: February 24, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 36)]
[Notices]               
[Page 9227-9229]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr24fe98-74]

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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[FRL-5970-3]

 
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.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has notified EPA 
that it has promulgated regulations related to onboard refueling vapor 
recovery (ORVR) standards and testing procedures, and amendments to the 
California evaporative emission test procedures. By letter dated, July 
22, 1997, California requested EPA to grant a waiver of Federal 
preemption for the ORVR regulations and to confirm that the evaporative 
emission test procedure amendments fall within the scope of a currently 
pending section 209(b) waiver request, 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 18, 1998, to 
consider CARB's request and to hear comments from the general public 
concerning CARB's request.

DATES: EPA has tentatively scheduled a public hearing for March 18, 
1998 beginning at 1:00 p.m. Any person who wishes to testify on the 
record at the hearing must notify EPA by March 9, 1998 that it wishes 
to present oral testimony regarding CARB's requests. If EPA receives 
one or more requests to testify on the pending request, a hearing will 
be held. If no one notifies EPA that they wish to testify, no hearing 
will be held. By March 11, 1998 any person who plans to attend the 
hearing should call Mr. David Dickinson of EPA's Vehicle Programs and 
Compliance Division at (202) 564-9256 to determine if a hearing will be 
held. Regardless of whether or not a hearing is held, any party may 
submit written comments regarding CARB's request and will be accepted 
through April 16, 1998.

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, Group Manager, Vehicles Programs and 
Compliance Division, 401 M St., S.W. (6405J), Washington, DC 20460. In 
addition, written comments regarding

[[Page 9228]]

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-97-38) 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, Group Manager, 
Vehicles Programs and Compliance Division, U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, 401 M St., S.W. (6405J), Washington, DC 20460. 
Telephone: (202) 564-9256. 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).''
    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 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 July 22, 1997, CARB submitted to EPA a request for 
waiver of Federal preemption for its regulations that set forth onboard 
refueling vapor recovery (ORVR) standards and test procedures. In 
addition, CARB requested EPA to confirm that amendments to CARB's 
evaporative emission test procedures fall within the scope of a pending 
waiver request before EPA.
    The ORVR requirements adopted by CARB are nearly identical to the 
Federal ORVR standards and test procedures. EPA published its final 
ORVR rule on April 6, 1994 (59 FR 16296), and both the CARB and EPA 
emission standard is the same--0.20 grams hydrocarbon (Organic Material 
Hydrocarbon Equivalent, or OMHCE, for alcohol fuels) per gallon of fuel 
dispensed. Both CARB and EPA ORVR regulations apply to all gasoline-, 
diesel-, and alcohol-fueled vehicles in the California vehicle classes 
of passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles with a 
gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,500 lbs. or less. CARB's 
regulation incorporates the federal preconditioning and sequencing 
provisions for integrated and non-integrated ORVR systems. The state 
regulation also incorporates the federal refueling steps that are 
common to both integrated and non-integrated systems: (a) Disconnect 
the vapor line from the fuel tank to the canister, (b) drain the fuel 
tank, (c) refuel with test fuel to 10 percent of the nominal tank 
capacity, (d) soak the vehicle for six to 24 hours at 80 deg.F 
(3 deg.F), (e) reconnect the vapor line, and (f) refuel the 
vehicle with test fuel at a rate of 9.8 (0.3) gallons per 
minute at 67 deg.F (1.5 deg.F) in a sealed enclosure while 
measuring emissions (fueling is terminated at automatic shut-off after 
at least 85 percent of the nominal tank capacity has been dispensed). 
In addition CARB's ORVR regulations incorporate by reference the 
federal test procedures for ORVR, with some variances associated with 
fuel specifications for methanol, ethanol, liquefied petroleum, gas 
(LPG) and natural gas, and that a provision on preconditioning hybrid 
electric vehicles has been added. CARB's ORVR regulations also require 
manufacturers to meet the same ORVR phase-in schedule as that adopted 
by EPA. As noted above EPA published its final ORVR rule on April 6, 
1994, which includes standards and test procedures for determining 
compliance with the standards. (59 FR 16296.) The federal and CARB ORVR 
compliance schedule requires that 40 percent of a manufacturer's 1998 
model-year passenger cars be certified to the ORVR standard, followed 
by 80 percent in the 1999 model year and 100 percent in the 2000 model 
year. The same three-year implementation schedule applies to light-duty 
trucks starting with the 2001 model year, and applies to medium-duty 
vehicles of 6,001-8,500 lbs. GVWR starting with the 2004 model year. 
Passenger cars produced by small volume manufacturers are not subject 
to the ORVR requirements until the 2000 model year, when 100 percent 
compliance is required.
    CARB's adopted amendments to the enhanced evaporative emission test 
procedures fall into two categories. First, in order to facilitate the 
testing of vehicles with ORVR systems, CARB's amendments allow for the 
preconditioning of integrated and non-integrated evaporative/refueling 
canisters. Second, the amendments further align California test 
procedures with the federal test procedures.
    California states in its July 22, 1997 letter, that it has 
determined that its ORVR standards and test procedures are, in the 
aggregate, at least as protective of the public health and welfare as 
the applicable federal standards. Further, California states that it 
continues to need separate standards to meet compelling and 
extraordinary conditions. Finally, California states that its 
amendments are consistent with section 202(a) of the Act. With regard 
to amendments to its evaporative emission test procedures to which CARB 
seeks a within the scope determination, California states nothing 
within its amendments undermines prior protectiveness determinations 
and that its requirements continues to be consistent with section 
202(a) of the

[[Page 9229]]

Act. Finally, CARB states that it is not aware of any new issues raised 
by the amendments which would affect the pending evaporative emission 
waiver request pending before EPA.
    California's request, with regard to the ORVR standards and test 
procedures, 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.
    California's request, with regard to the amendments to the 
evaporative emission test procedures, will be considered by EPA as a 
within the scope request. Thus, EPA plans to review whether CARB's 
amendments have undermined its protectiveness determination or whether 
CARB's amendments have caused its evaporative emission standards and 
test procedures to be inconsistent with section 202(a) or has raised 
any new issues with regard the previous waiver granted by EPA for such 
standards or test procedures. EPA is currently reviewing a request for 
waiver of federal preemption for California's evaporative emission 
standards and test procedures for the 1996-1998 model years. EPA plans 
to issue its waiver decision with regard to CARB's pending waiver 
request (see EPA Air Docket A-95-39, 60 FR 9185 (February 28, 1997)) 
and shall either include its review of CARB's recently adopted 
amendments within such decision or EPA shall include such review with 
the waiver decision associated with the present ORVR waiver request. 
Any party wishing to present testimony at the hearing and/or to submit 
written comments on CARB's amendments to evaporative emission test 
procedures should address the same criteria as that for the ORVR waiver 
request noted above and may also comment on the appropriate location 
(within the waiver decision that EPA will issue for the ORVR waiver 
request or the waiver decision associated with CARB's pending 
evaporative emission standards and test procedure waiver request) for 
EPA's review of CARB's amendments.

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 
11, 1998. 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 16, 1998. 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 18, 1998.
Richard D. Wilson,
Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation.
[FR Doc. 98-4655 Filed 2-23-98; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P



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