[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 39 (Monday, March 1, 2010)]
[Pages 9204-9205]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-4146]



[EPA-R04-OAR-2009-0561-201006; FRL-9119-9]

Adequacy Status of the Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir, North Carolina 
1997 PM2.5 Attainment Demonstration Motor Vehicle Emissions Budget 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 budget (MVEB) in 
the Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir, North Carolina (hereafter referred to as 
the Hickory Area) attainment demonstration for the 1997 
PM2.5 standard, submitted on August 21, 2009, by the North 
Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR), is 
adequate for transportation conformity purposes. EPA is also making an 
insignificance finding for direct particulate matter (PM) 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 MVEB from the submitted 
Hickory, North Carolina 1997 PM2.5 attainment demonstration 
for future conformity determinations, and 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 MVEB and the 
insignificance finding for direct PM2.5 are effective March 
16, 2010.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amanetta Somerville, 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. Somerville can also be reached 
by telephone at (404) 562-9025, or via electronic mail at 
[email protected]. 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'').



    Today's notice is simply an announcement of findings that EPA has 
already made. EPA Region 4 sent a letter to NCDENR on January 20, 2010, 
stating that the 2009 NOX MVEB in the 1997 PM2.5 
attainment demonstration for Hickory, dated August 21, 2009, is 
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 
MVEB and insignificance demonstration on EPA's Web site on September 8, 
2009, as part of the adequacy process, for the purpose of soliciting 
comments. The comment period ran from September 8, 2009, through 
October 8, 2009. 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

[[Page 9205]]

Submissions''). The adequate NOX MVEB is provided in the 
following table:

                          Hickory Area NOX MVEB
                           [kilograms per day]
Catawba County.............................................    2,887,955

    Transportation conformity is required by section 176(c) of the 
Clean Air Act, as amended in 1990. EPA's conformity rule 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 Code 
of Federal Regulations (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(k). 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 Federal 
Register (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.
    EPA has described the process for determining the adequacy of 
submitted SIP budgets 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 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 
MVEB if the demonstration has not already been made, pursuant to 40 CFR 
93.104(e). (See 73 FR 4419 (January 24, 2008).)
    Additionally, the Transportation Conformity Rule at 40 CFR 
93.109(k) states that a regional emissions analysis is no longer 
necessary for direct PM2.5 if EPA finds, through the 
adequacy or approval process, that regional motor vehicle emissions are 
an insignificant contributor to the air quality problem for that 
pollutant/precursor as demonstrated in the SIP. The insignificance 
finding should be noted in all future conformity determinations, and 
does not relieve the area of meeting all other transportation 
conformity requirements.

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

    Dated: February 17, 2010.
Beverly H. Banister,
Acting Regional Administrator, Region 4.
[FR Doc. 2010-4146 Filed 2-26-10; 8:45 am]