[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 58 (Friday, March 26, 1999)]
[Notices]
[Pages 14715-14717]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-7429]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[FRL-6316-3]


California State Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Standards; 
Within the Scope Request; 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 the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) 
requirements of the low-emission vehicle (LEV) program, including the 
repeal of the ZEV requirements for model years 1998 through 2002. By 
letter dated February 26, 1997, California requested that EPA confirm 
CARB's finding that its amendments are within-the-scope of section 
209(b) of the Clean Air Act (Act), 42 U.S.C. 7543(b), of a waiver of 
federal preemption for the California LEV program regulations, which 
EPA approved on January 13, 1993.
    EPA has tentatively scheduled a public hearing for April 23, 1999, 
to hear comments concerning CARB's request. Before this notice, EPA 
received submissions to the docket on this matter from the state of 
Massachusetts, CARB, and aftermarket associations. EPA requests 
comments from interested parties as to the relevance and merit of these 
previous submissions to the within-the-scope waiver request. If EPA 
does not receive a request for a public hearing, then EPA will not hold 
a hearing, and instead consider CARB's request based on written 
submissions to the docket.

DATES: EPA has tentatively scheduled a public hearing for April 23, 
1999, beginning at 10:00 a.m. EPA will hold a hearing only if a party 
notifies EPA by April 5, 1999, expressing its interest in presenting 
oral testimony regarding CARB's requests or other issues noted in this 
notice. By April 7, 1999, any person who plans to attend the hearing 
should call David Dickinson of EPA's Vehicle Programs and Compliance 
Division at (202) 564-9256 to learn if we will hold a hearing. Any 
party may submit written comments by May 10, 1999.

ADDRESSES: EPA will make available for public inspection at the Air and 
Radiation Docket and Information Center written comments received from 
interested parties, in addition to any testimony given at the public 
hearing. The Air Docket is open during working hours from 8:00 a.m. to 
4:00 p.m. at EPA, Air Docket (6102), Room M-1500, Waterside Mall, 401 M 
Street, SW., Washington, D.C. 20460. The reference number for this 
docket is A-97-20. Parties wishing to present oral testimony at the 
public hearing should provide written notice to David Dickinson at the 
address noted below. In addition, parties should send their written 
comments (in duplicate) regarding the within-the-scope waiver request 
to David Dickinson at the same address. If EPA receives a request for a 
public hearing, EPA will hold the public hearing in the first floor 
conference room at 501 3rd Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Dickinson, Group Manager, 
Vehicle Programs and Compliance Division (6405J), U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, 401 M Street SW., Washington, D.C. 20460. Telephone:

[[Page 14716]]

(202) 564-9256, Fax:(202) 565-2057, E-Mail: 
[email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Obtaining Electronic Copies of Documents

    EPA makes available an electronic copy of this Notice on the Office 
of Mobile Sources' (OMS) homepage (http://www.epa.gov/OMSWWW/). Users 
can find this document by accessing the OMS homepage and looking at the 
path entitled ``Regulations.'' This service is free of charge, except 
any cost you already incur for Internet connectivity. Users can also 
get the official Federal Register version of the Notice on the day of 
publication on the primary website: (http://www.epa.gov/docs/fedrgstr/
EPA-AIR/).
    Please note that due to differences between the software used to 
develop the documents and the software into which the documents may be 
downloaded, changes in format, page length, etc., may occur.

II. Background

A. Procedural History

    On January 13, 1993, EPA published a Notice Regarding Waiver of 
Federal Preemption granting California a waiver of federal preemption 
for the California LEV program. (58 FR 4166). The California LEV waiver 
included California's original ZEV requirements.
    In March 1996, CARB amended the LEV program by eliminating the ZEV 
sales requirement for model years 1998 through 2002.
    On February 26, 1997, CARB submitted to the Administrator a request 
that EPA confirm CARB Board's determination that the amendments to its 
regulations noted below (primarily repealing the ZEV requirements for 
model years 1998 through 2002) are within-the-scope of the existing 
California LEV waiver. CARB also entered into, on March 29, 1996, what 
it terms memorandum of agreements (MOAs) with the seven largest vehicle 
manufacturers. These MOAs provide for the introduction of a certain 
number of ZEVs into the California market for calendar years 1998-2000 
and require CARB to perform certain tasks.

B. Background and Discussion

    Section 209(a) of the Clean Air Act, as amended (``Act''), 42 
U.S.C. 7543(a), provides:

    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. No state shall require certification, inspection or any other 
approval relating to the control of emission from any new motor 
vehicle or new motor vehicle engine as condition precedent to the 
initial retail sale, titling (if any), or registration of such motor 
vehicle, motor vehicle engine, or equipment.

    Section 209(b)(1) of the Act requires the Administrator, after 
notice and opportunity for public hearing, to waive application of the 
prohibitions of section 209(a) for any state that has adopted standards 
(other than crankcase emission standards) for the control of emissions 
from new motor vehicles or new motor vehicle engines prior to March 30, 
1966, 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. The Administrator must grant a waiver 
unless she finds that (A) the determination of the state is arbitrary 
and capricious, (B) the state does not need the state standards to meet 
compelling and extraordinary conditions, or (C) the state standards and 
accompanying enforcement procedures are not consistent with section 
202(a) of the Act.
    CARB submitted a letter to the Administrator notifying EPA that it 
had adopted amendments to its LEV program. These amendments provide for 
(1) the elimination of the requirement upon manufacturers to certify, 
produce, and offer for sale in California ZEVs in amounts equal to two 
percent of their total California sales of passenger cars and light-
duty trucks weighing less than 3,750 pounds beginning with the 1998 
model year, increasing to five percent in the 2001 model year and ten 
percent in the 2003 model year (the ten percent ZEV requirement for the 
2003 model year has been retained by California); (2) the creation of 
multiple ZEV credits for vehicles produced prior to the 2003 model 
year; and (3) the creation of test procedures for determining All-
Electric Vehicle Range.
    CARB asserts, and requests that the Administrator determine, that 
each of these three amendments to its LEV regulations fall within-the-
scope of EPA's previously granted waiver, thereby obviating the 
independent need to meet the requirements of section 209(b) of the Act 
set forth above. EPA has decided in the past where California's 
amendments do not undermine California's previous determination that 
its standards, in the aggregate, are at least as protective of public 
health and welfare as comparable Federal standards; do not affect the 
consistency of California's requirements with section 202(a) of the 
Act; and raise no new issues affecting EPA's previous waiver 
determinations that a within-the-scope waiver determination is 
acceptable.
    When EPA receives new waiver requests from CARB, EPA publishes a 
notice of opportunity for public hearing and comment and then publishes 
a decision in the Federal Register following the public comment period. 
In contrast, when EPA receives within-the-scope waiver requests from 
CARB, EPA traditionally publishes a decision in the Federal Register 
and concurrently invites public comment if an interested party is 
opposed to EPA's decision.
    Because EPA has already received written comment on this within-
the-scope request, EPA invites comment on the following issues before 
determining CARB's within-the-scope request: (1) Should EPA consider 
CARB's request as a within-the-scope of a previous waiver request or 
should it be considered and examined as a new waiver request?; (2) If 
EPA should consider CARB's request as a within-the-scope request then 
do California's amendments (a) undermine California's previous 
determination that its standards, in the aggregate, are at least as 
protective of public health and welfare as comparable Federal 
standards, (b) affect the consistency of California's requirements with 
section 202(a) of the Act, and (c) raise new issues affecting EPA's 
previous waiver determinations?; (3) Should EPA consider CARB's request 
as a new waiver request then provide comment on (a) 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, (b) Whether California needs separate 
standards to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions, and (c) 
Whether California's standards and accompanying enforcement procedures 
are consistent with section 202(a) of the Act?; and (4) the 
significance of the MOAs and issues that may arise out of the MOAs and 
their relevance to the within-the-scope waiver request CARB has 
submitted to EPA, addressing how the MOAs and related issues affect 
EPA's consideration either under the within-the-scope or waiver 
criteria.

III. Procedures for Public Participation

    Any party desiring to make an oral statement on the record should 
file ten (10) copies of its proposed testimony and other relevant 
material with David Dickinson at the address listed above no later than 
April 21, 1999. In addition, the party should submit 25 copies, if 
feasible, of the planned statement to the

[[Page 14717]]

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 with special approval by the 
presiding officer. The presiding officer is authorized to strike from 
the record statements that he or she deems irrelevant or repetitious 
and to impose reasonable time 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 May 24, 1999. 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 that she deems pertinent. All information will be 
available for inspection at EPA Air Docket. (Docket No. A-97-20).
    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 decision in 
part on a submission labeled CBI, then a nonconfidential version of the 
document that 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 EPA receives it, EPA 
will make it available to the public without further notice to the 
person making comments.

    Dated: March 17, 1999.
Robert D. Brenner,
Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation.
[FR Doc. 99-7429 Filed 3-25-99; 8:45 am]
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