[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 100 (Friday, May 23, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 29680-29682]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-11509]



40 CFR Part 52

[EPA-R09-OAR-2013-0823; FRL-9911-06-Region 9]

Interim Final Determination To Defer Sanctions, State of 
California, Los Angeles-South Coast Air Basin

AGENCY: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Interim Final Rule.


SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making an interim 
final determination to defer the imposition of sanctions based on a 
proposed approval published elsewhere in this Federal Register of a 
state implementation plan revision submitted by the State of

[[Page 29681]]

California to meet the vehicle miles traveled emissions offset 
requirement under the Clean Air Act for the 1-hour ozone and 1997 8-
hour ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) in the Los 
Angeles-South Coast Air Basin (South Coast).

DATES: This interim final determination is effective on May 23, 2014. 
However, comments will be accepted until June 23, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments, identified by docket number EPA-R09-OAR-
2013-0823, by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow 
the on-line instructions.
     Email: [email protected].
     Mail or deliver: John Ungvarsky, Air Planning Office (AIR-
2), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region IX, 75 Hawthorne 
Street, San Francisco, CA 94105.
    Instructions: All comments will be included in the public docket 
without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, 
including any personal information provided, unless the comment 
includes Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information 
whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Information that you 
consider CBI or otherwise protected should be clearly identified as 
such and should not be submitted through www.regulations.gov or email. 
www.regulations.gov is an ``anonymous access'' system, and EPA will not 
know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the 
body of your comment. If you send email directly to EPA, your email 
address will be automatically captured and included as part of the 
public comment. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical 
difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be 
able to consider your comment.
    Docket: Generally, documents in the docket for this action are 
available electronically at www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at EPA 
Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, California 94105-3901. 
While all documents in the docket are listed at www.regulations.gov, 
some information may be publicly available only at the hard copy 
location (e.g., copyrighted material, large maps), and some may not be 
publicly available in either location (e.g., CBI). To inspect the hard 
copy materials, please schedule an appointment during normal business 
hours with the contact listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Ungvarsky, Air Planning Office 
(AIR-2), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX, (415) 972-
3963, [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Throughout this document, ``we,'' ``us'' and 
``our'' refer to the EPA.

I. Background

    On March 28, 2013 (78 FR 18849), we published a final action to 
disapprove revisions to the state implementation plan (SIP) submitted 
by the State of California to demonstrate compliance with the vehicle 
miles traveled (VMT) emissions offset requirement under Clean Air Act 
(CAA) section 182(d)(1)(A) with respect to the 1-hour ozone and 8-hour 
ozone NAAQS in the South Coast nonattainment area. Under section 110(k) 
of the CAA, we disapproved these plan elements because they reflect an 
approach to showing compliance with section 182(d)(1)(A) that was 
rejected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Association of 
Irritated Residents v. EPA. This disapproval action became effective on 
April 29, 2013 and started a sanctions clock for imposition of offset 
sanctions 18 months after April 29, 2013 and highway sanctions 6 months 
later, pursuant to CAA section 179 and our regulations at 40 CFR 52.31. 
As such, offset sanctions will be applied on October 29, 2014, and 
highway sanctions will be applied on April 29, 2015, unless EPA 
determines the disapproval has been corrected.
    On February 13, 2013, the State of California submitted, as a 
revision to the California SIP, the Final 2012 Air Quality Management 
Plan (2012 South Coast AQMP) for the South Coast Air Basin (2012 South 
Coast AQMP). The 2012 South Coast AQMP submittal includes Appendix 
VIII, Vehicle Miles Traveled Emissions Offset Demonstration (``Appendix 
VIII''). On April 3, 2014, the State of California submitted a 
technical supplement to the VMT offset demonstrations in Appendix VIII 
of the 2012 South Coast AQMP.
    In the Proposed Rules section of today's Federal Register, we are 
proposing to approve Appendix VIII and the related technical supplement 
as a SIP revision because we believe that it corrects the deficiency 
identified in our March 28, 2013 disapproval action. Based on today's 
proposed approval, we are taking this interim final rulemaking action, 
effective on publication, to defer the imposition of the offset 
sanctions and highway sanctions triggered by our March 28, 2013 
    EPA is providing the public with an opportunity to comment on this 
deferral of sanctions. If comments are submitted that change our 
assessment described in this interim final determination and the 
proposed full approval of the South Coast VMT Emissions Offset 
Demonstrations in Appendix VIII, we intend to take subsequent final 
action to reimpose sanctions pursuant to 40 CFR 52.31(d). If no 
comments are submitted that change our assessment, then all sanctions 
and sanction clocks will be permanently terminated on the effective 
date of a final rule approval.

II. EPA Action

    We are making an interim final determination to defer the 
imposition of sanctions associated with our disapproval of revisions to 
the California SIP based on our concurrent proposal to approve the 
State's revision to the Los Angeles-South Coast portion of the 
California SIP as correcting the deficiency that initiated sanctions.
    Because EPA has preliminarily determined that the State has 
corrected the deficiencies identified in EPA's disapproval action, 
relief from sanctions should be provided as quickly as possible. 
Therefore, EPA is invoking the good cause exception under the 
Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in not providing an opportunity for 
comment before this action takes effect (5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)). However, 
by this action EPA is providing the public with a chance to comment on 
EPA's determination after the effective date, and EPA will consider any 
comments received in determining whether to reverse such action.
    EPA believes that notice-and-comment rulemaking before the 
effective date of this action is impracticable and contrary to the 
public interest. EPA has reviewed the State's submittal and, through 
its proposed action, is indicating that it is more likely than not that 
the State has corrected the deficiencies that started the sanctions 
clocks. Therefore, it is not in the public interest to initially impose 
sanctions or to keep applied sanctions in place when the State has most 
likely done all it can to correct the deficiencies that triggered the 
sanctions clocks. Moreover, it would be impracticable to go through 
notice-and-comment rulemaking on a finding that the State has corrected 
the deficiencies prior to the rulemaking approving the State's 
submittal. Therefore, EPA believes that it is necessary to use the 
interim final rulemaking process to defer sanctions while EPA completes 
its rulemaking process on the approvability of the State's submittal. 
Moreover, with respect to the effective date of this action, EPA is 
invoking the good cause exception to the 30-day notice requirement of 
the APA because the

[[Page 29682]]

purpose of this notice is to relieve a restriction (5 U.S.C. 

III. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    This action defers federal sanctions and imposes no additional 
    Under Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993), this 
action is not a ``significant regulatory action'' and therefore is not 
subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget.
    This action is not subject to Executive Order 13211, ``Actions 
Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use'' (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001) because it is not a 
significant regulatory action.
    The administrator certifies that this action 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.).
    This rule does not contain any unfunded mandate or significantly or 
uniquely affect small governments, as described in the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-4).
    This rule does not have tribal implications because it will 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 
government and Indian tribes, as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 
FR 67249, November 9, 2000).
    This action does not have Federalism implications because it does 
not 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).
    This rule is not subject to Executive Order 13045, ``Protection of 
Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks'' (62 FR 
19885, April 23, 1997), because it is not economically significant.
    The requirements of section 12(d) of the National Technology 
Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272) do not apply to 
this rule because it imposes no standards.
    This 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.).
    The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added by the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally 
provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating 
the rule must submit a rule report to Congress and the Comptroller 
General. However, section 808 provides that any rule for which the 
issuing agency for good cause finds that notice and public procedure 
thereon are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public 
interest, shall take effect at such time as the agency promulgating the 
rule determines. 5 U.S.C. 808(2). EPA has made such a good cause 
finding, including the reasons therefore, and established an effective 
date of May 23, 2014. EPA will submit a report containing this rule and 
other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of 
Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior 
to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. A major rule cannot 
take effect until 60 days after it is published in the Federal 
Register. This rule is not a ``major rule'' as defined by 5 U.S.C. 
    Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, petitions for judicial review 
of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for 
the appropriate circuit by July 22, 2014. Filing a petition for 
reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect 
the finality of this rule for the purpose of judicial review nor does 
it extend the time within which petition for judicial review may be 
filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. 
This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its 
requirements (see section 307(b)(2)).

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by 
reference, Intergovernmental regulations, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volatile organic compounds.

    Dated: May 5, 2014.
Jared Blumenfeld,
Regional Administrator, Region IX.
[FR Doc. 2014-11509 Filed 5-22-14; 8:45 am]