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Adequacy Status of the Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir, North Carolina 1997 Annual PM2.5 Maintenance Plan Motor Vehicle Emissions Budgets for Transportation Conformity Purposes

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American Government

Adequacy Status of the Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir, North Carolina 1997 Annual PM2.5 Maintenance Plan Motor Vehicle Emissions Budgets for Transportation Conformity Purposes

A. Stanley Meiburg (Federal Register)
May 2, 2011

[Federal Register: May 2, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 84)]
[Page 24475-24476]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



[EPA-R04-OAR-2009-1010; FRL-9301-2]

Adequacy Status of the Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir, North Carolina 
1997 Annual PM2.5 Maintenance Plan Motor Vehicle Emissions 
Budgets for Transportation Conformity Purposes

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice of Adequacy.


SUMMARY: In this notice, EPA is notifying the public of its finding 
that the nitrogen oxides (NOX) motor vehicle emissions 
budgets (MVEBs) in the Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir, North Carolina area 
(hereafter referred to as the ``Hickory Area'') maintenance plan for 
the 1997 annual PM2.5 standard, submitted on December 18, 
2009, and supplemented on December 22, 2010, by the North Carolina 
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) are adequate 
for transportation conformity purposes. EPA is also making an 
insignificance finding for direct fine particulate (PM2.5) 
through the transportation conformity adequacy process for the Hickory 
Area. The Hickory Area is comprised of the entire county of Catawba in 
North Carolina. On March 2, 1999, the District of Columbia Circuit 
Court ruled that submitted state implementation plans (SIPs) cannot be 
used for transportation conformity determinations until EPA has 
affirmatively found them adequate. As a result of EPA's finding, the 
Hickory Area must use the NOX MVEBs from the submitted 
maintenance plan and supplement for the Hickory Area for future 
conformity determinations. Additionally, as a result of this finding, 
the Hickory Area is not required to perform a regional emissions 
analysis for direct PM2.5 in future PM2.5 
transportation conformity determinations for the 1997 annual 
PM2.5 standard.

DATES: The adequacy finding for the NOX MVEBs and the 
insignificance finding for direct PM2.5 are effective May 
17, 2011.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dianna B. Smith, Environmental 
Scientist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, Air Planning 
Branch, Air Quality Modeling and Transportation Section, 61 Forsyth 
Street, SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303. Ms. Smith can also be reached by 
telephone at (404) 562-9207, or via electronic mail at 
smith.dianna@epa.gov. The finding is available at EPA's conformity Web 
site: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/transp.htm (once there, click on the 
``Transportation Conformity'' text icon, then look for ``Adequacy 
Review of SIP Submissions'').

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Today's notice is simply an announcement of 
findings that EPA has already made. EPA Region 4 sent a letter to 
NCDENR on February 3, 2011, stating that the 2011 and 2021 
NOX MVEBs in the 1997 PM2.5 maintenance plan for 
Hickory, dated December 18, 2009, and supplemented on December 22, 
2010, are adequate. The letter also states that direct PM2.5 
is insignificant for the Hickory Area, therefore no regional emissions 
analysis is required. EPA posted the availability of the Hickory Area 
NOX MVEBs and insignificance demonstration on EPA's Web site 
on November 23, 2010, as part of the adequacy process, for the purpose 
of soliciting comments. The comment period ran from November 23, 
through December 23, 2010. EPA's findings have also been announced on 
EPA's conformity Web site: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/
index.htm, (once there, click ``Transportation Conformity'' text icon, 
then look for ``Adequacy Review of SIP Submissions''). The adequate 
NOX MVEBs are provided in the following table:

                          Hickory Area NOX MVEB
                                                     2011        2021
Catawba County..................................  3,996,601   2,236,028

    Transportation conformity is required by section 176(c) of the 
Clean Air Act, as amended in 1990. EPA's conformity rule, 40 Code of 
Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 93, requires that transportation plans, 
programs and projects conform to state air quality implementation plans 
and establishes the criteria and procedures for determining whether or 
not they do. Conformity to a SIP means that transportation activities 
will not produce new air quality violations, worsen existing 
violations, or delay timely attainment of the national ambient air 
quality standards (NAAQS).
    The criteria by which EPA determines whether a SIP's MVEB is 
adequate for transportation conformity purposes are outlined in 40 CFR 
93.118(e)(4). Additionally, the criteria by which EPA determines 
whether a particular pollutant/precursor is an insignificant 
contributor to the air quality problem in an area can be found at 40 
CFR 93.109(m). Insignificance findings are based on a number of 
factors, including the percentage of motor vehicle emissions in context 
of the total SIP inventory, the current state of air quality as 
determined by monitoring data for that NAAQS, the absence of SIP motor 
vehicle control measures, and historical trends and future projections 
of the growth of motor vehicle emissions. EPA's rationale for the 
allowance of insignificance findings can be found in the July 1, 2004, 
revision to the transportation conformity rule at 69 FR 40004. 
Specifically, the rationale is explained on page 40061 under the 
subsection entitled ``B. Areas With Insignificant Motor Vehicle 
Emissions.'' Please note that an adequacy review is separate from EPA's 
completeness review, and it also should not be used to prejudge EPA's 
ultimate approval of the SIP. Even if EPA finds the MVEB adequate or 
makes an insignificance finding through the adequacy process, the 
Agency may later disapprove the SIP.
    Transportation partners should note this insignificance finding in 
future transportation conformity determinations. While this 
insignificance finding waives the requirements for regional emissions 
analyses for direct PM2.5 for the Hickory Area for the 1997 
PM2.5 NAAQS, as mentioned above, it does not waive other 
conformity requirements for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS for the 
Hickory Area, nor does it waive transportation conformity requirements 
for other pollutants/precursors for which the Area may be designated 
nonattainment or redesignated to attainment with a maintenance plan.
    EPA has described the process for determining the adequacy of 
submitted SIP MVEBs in a May 14, 1999, memorandum entitled ``Conformity 
Guidance on Implementation of March 2, 1999 Conformity Court 
Decision.'' EPA has followed this guidance in making this adequacy 
determination. This guidance is incorporated into EPA's July 1, 2004, 
final rulemaking entitled ``Transportation Conformity Rule Amendments 
for the New 8-hour

[[Page 24476]]

Ozone and PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards and 
Miscellaneous Revisions for Existing Areas; Transportation Conformity 
Rule Amendments: Response to Court Decision and Additional Rule 
Changes'' (69 FR 40004).
    Within 24 months from the effective date of this notice, the 
transportation partners will need to demonstrate conformity to the new 
NOX MVEBs if the demonstration has not already been made, 
pursuant to 40 CFR 93.104(e). See 73 FR 4419 (January 24, 2008).

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

    Dated: April 18, 2011.
A. Stanley Meiburg,
Acting Regional Administrator, Region 4.
[FR Doc. 2011-10570 Filed 4-29-11; 8:45 am]

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