[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 30 (Friday, February 13, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 8018-8023]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-02942]



[[Page 8018]]

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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 52

[EPA-R04-OAR-2014-0867; FRL-9922-95-Region 4]


Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Alabama: Non-
interference Demonstration for Federal Low-Reid Vapor Pressure 
Requirement for the Birmingham Area

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to 
approve the State of Alabama's November 14, 2014, State Implementation 
Plan (SIP) revision, submitted through the Alabama Department of 
Environmental Management (ADEM), in support of the State's request that 
EPA change the Federal Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) requirements for 
Jefferson and Shelby Counties (hereinafter referred to as the 
``Birmingham Area'' or ``Area''). Alabama's November 14, 2014, SIP 
revision evaluates whether changing the Federal RVP requirements in 
this Area would interfere with the Area's ability to meet the 
requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act). Specifically, Alabama's 
SIP revision concludes that relaxing the Federal RVP requirement from 
7.8 pounds per square inch (psi) to 9.0 psi for gasoline sold between 
June 1 and September 15 of each year in the Area would not interfere 
with attainment or maintenance of the national ambient air quality 
standards (NAAQS) or with any other CAA requirement. EPA has 
preliminarily determined that Alabama's November 14, 2014, SIP revision 
is consistent with the applicable provisions of the CAA.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before March 6, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID Number EPA-
R04-OAR-2014-0867 by one of the following methods:
    1. www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for 
submitting comments.
    2. Email: [email protected].
    3. Fax: (404) 562-9019.
    4. Mail: EPA-R04-OAR-2014-0867, Air Regulatory Managment Section 
(formerly the Regulatory Development Section), Air Planning and 
Implementation Branch (formerly the Air Planning Branch), Air, 
Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 
30303-8960.
    5. Hand Delivery or Courier: Ms. Lynorae Benjamin, Chief, Air 
Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, 
Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 
30303-8960. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Regional 
Office's normal hours of operation. The Regional Office's official 
hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 
excluding Federal holidays.
    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-
2014-0867. EPA's policy is that all comments received 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 information claimed to be Confidential 
Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is 
restricted by statute. Do not submit through www.regulations.gov or 
email, information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected. 
The www.regulations.gov Web site is an ``anonymous access'' system, 
which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information 
unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email 
comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your 
email address will be automatically captured and included as part of 
the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on 
the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that 
you include your name and other contact information in the body of your 
comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. 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. Electronic 
files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of 
encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional 
information about EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center 
homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.
    Docket: All documents in the electronic docket are listed in the 
www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some 
information is not publicly available, i.e., CBI or other information 
whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such 
as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be 
publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket 
materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or 
in hard copy at the Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and 
Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., 
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. EPA requests that if at all possible, you 
contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
section to schedule your inspection. The Regional Office's official 
hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 
excluding Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Richard Wong of the Air Regulatory 
Management Section, in the Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, 
Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 
30303-8960. Mr. Wong may be reached by phone at (404) 562-8726 or via 
electronic mail at [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. What is being proposed?
II. What is the background of the Birmingham area?
III. What is the history of the gasoline volatility requirement?
IV. What are the Section 110(l) requirements?
V. What is EPA's analysis of Alabama's submittal?
VI. Proposed Action
VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

I. What is being proposed?

    This rulemaking proposes to approve Alabama's noninterference 
demonstration, submitted on November 14, 2014, in support of the 
State's request that EPA relax the Federal RVP requirement from 7.8 psi 
to 9.0 psi for gasoline sold between June 1 and September 15 of each 
year (i.e., during high ozone season) in the Area. Specifically, EPA is 
proposing to approve Alabama's November 14, 2014, SIP revision which 
includes a technical demonstration that changing the federal RVP 
requirements in this Area from 7.8 psi to 9.0 psi will not interfere 
with attainment or maintenance of any NAAQS or with any other 
applicable requirement of the CAA.\1\ It should be

[[Page 8019]]

noted that when Alabama requested that EPA redesignate the Birmingham 
Area to attainment for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS, the 1997 annual 
fine particulate matter (PM2.5) NAAQS, and the 2006 24-hour 
PM2.5 NAAQS, the State took a conservative approach for the 
associated maintenance demonstrations and modeled the 9.0 psi RVP 
requirement for this Area rather than the 7.8 psi RVP requirement 
currently in place. While the State had already accounted for the use 
of fuel with an RVP of 9.0 psi in the maintenance plans to support 
those redesignation requests, the State did not, at that time, request 
the removal of the 7.8 psi RVP requirement for the Birmingham Area. 
Alabama is now requesting the removal of the 7.8 psi RVP requirement 
for this Area and, as part of that request, has reevaluated whether 
removal of this requirement would interfere with air quality in the 
Area. To make this demonstration, Alabama completed a technical 
analysis to estimate the change in emissions that would result from a 
switch to 9.0 psi RVP fuel based on current conditions. EPA has 
reviewed this technical analysis and is proposing to find that 
Alabama's technical demonstration supports the conclusion that the use 
of gasoline with an RVP of 9.0 psi throughout the Birmingham Area will 
not interfere with attainment or maintenance of any NAAQS or with any 
other applicable requirement of the CAA.
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    \1\ A separate rulemaking is required for relaxation of the 
current requirement to use gasoline with an RVP of 7.8 psi in the 
Area. Today's action proposes EPA's evaluation of the approvability 
of Alabama's noninterference demonstration pursuant to section 
110(l). The decision regarding removal of Federal RVP requirements 
pursuant to section 211(h) in the Area includes other considerations 
evaluated at the discretion of the Administrator. As such, the 
determination regarding whether to remove the Area from those areas 
subject to the section 211(h) requirements is made through a 
separate rulemaking action.
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    This preamble is hereinafter organized into five parts. Section II 
provides the background of the Birmingham Area designation status with 
respect to the various ozone NAAQS. Section III describes the 
applicable history of federal gasoline regulation. Section IV provides 
the Agency's policy regarding relaxation of the volatility standards. 
Section V provides EPA's analysis of the information submitted by 
Alabama to support a change for the conventional gasoline volatility 
standard in the Birmingham Area.

II. What is the background of the Birmingham Area?

    The Birmingham Area was originally designated as a 1-hour ozone 
nonattainment area by EPA on March 3, 1978 (43 FR 8962). The Birmingham 
nonattainment area at that time was geographically defined as Jefferson 
County, Alabama. On November 6, 1991, by operation of law under section 
181(a) of the CAA, EPA classified the Birmingham nonattainment area as 
a marginal nonattainment area for ozone and added Shelby County to the 
nonattainment area. See 56 FR 56693. Among the requirements applicable 
to nonattainment areas for the 1-hour ozone NAAQS was the requirement 
to meet certain volatility standards (known as Reid Vapor Pressure or 
RVP) for gasoline sold commercially. See 55 FR 23658 (June 11, 1990). 
As discussed in section III, below, a 7.8 psi Federal RVP requirement 
first applied to the Area during the high ozone season given its status 
as a marginal nonattainment area for the 1-hour ozone standard. 
Subsequently, in order to comply with the 1-hour ozone NAAQS, Alabama 
opted to implement a state RVP requirement of 7.0 psi for gasoline sold 
in the Birmingham Area during the high ozone season. EPA incorporated 
the state RVP requirement of 7.0 psi for gasoline sold in the 
Birmingham Area into the Alabama SIP on November 7, 2001. See 66 FR 
56218.
    ADEM originally requested a redesignation of the Birmingham Area to 
attainment for the 1-hour ozone NAAQS in 1997. EPA disapproved this 
request on September 19, 1997, due to a violation of the ozone NAAQS. 
See 62 FR 49154. Subsequently, the Area attained the 1-hour ozone NAAQS 
and was redesignated to attainment for the 1-hour ozone on March 12, 
2004, based on 2001-2003 ambient air quality monitoring data. See 69 FR 
11798. Alabama's 1-hour ozone redesignation request did not include a 
request to remove the 7.0 psi state RVP requirement for the Birmingham 
Area from the SIP nor a request to relax the 7.8 psi Federal RVP 
standard.
    On April 30, 2004, EPA designated and classified areas for the 8-
hour ozone NAAQS that was promulgated on July 18, 1997, as 
unclassifiable/attainment or nonattainment for the new 8-hour ozone 
NAAQS. See 69 FR 23857. The Birmingham Area was designated as 
nonattainment for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS with a design value of 
0.087 parts per million (ppm). Subsequently, the Area attained the 1997 
8-hour ozone NAAQS with a design value of 0.084 ppm using three years 
of quality assured data for the years of 2003-2005. The Area was 
redesignated to attainment for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS in a final 
rulemaking on May 12, 2006. See 71 FR 27631. Alabama's 1997 8-hour 
ozone redesignation request did not include a request for the removal 
of the 7.8 psi Federal RVP standard, nor did it include a request to 
change the 7.0 psi state RVP requirement for the Birmingham Area. 
However, to support its request for redesignation to attainment for the 
1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS, Alabama took a conservative approach and 
estimated emissions using a 9.0 psi RVP in its modeling supporting the 
State's maintenance demonstration.
    On March 2, 2012, Alabama submitted a SIP revision requesting that 
EPA remove the State's 7.0 psi RVP requirement for the Area from the 
SIP. EPA approved Alabama's March 2, 2012, SIP revision on April 20, 
2012. See 77 FR 23619. In EPA's final rulemaking to remove the State 
RVP requirement, EPA noted that the action did not remove the 7.8 psi 
Federal RVP requirement for the Birmingham Area.
    Effective July 20, 2012, EPA designated the Birmingham Area as 
unclassifiable/attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. See 77 FR 
30088 (April 30, 2012). Although the Birmingham Area is designated as 
attainment, the federal 7.8 psi RVP requirement remains in place.
    Alabama is now requesting that EPA remove the federal 7.8 psi RVP 
requirement for the Birmingham Area, and it submitted a SIP revision on 
November 14, 2014, containing a noninterference demonstration to 
support its request.

 III. What is the history of the gasoline volatility requirement?

    On August 19, 1987 (52 FR 31274), EPA determined that gasoline 
nationwide had become increasingly volatile, causing an increase in 
evaporative emissions from gasoline-powered vehicles and equipment. 
Evaporative emissions from gasoline, referred to as volatile organic 
compounds (VOCs), are precursors to the formation of tropospheric ozone 
and contribute to the nation's ground-level ozone problem. Exposure to 
ground-level ozone can reduce lung function (thereby aggravating asthma 
or other respiratory conditions), increase susceptibility to 
respiratory infection, and may contribute to premature death in people 
with heart and lung disease.
    The most common measure of fuel volatility that is useful in 
evaluating gasoline evaporative emissions is RVP. Under section 211(c) 
of CAA, EPA promulgated regulations on March 22, 1989 (54 FR 11868), 
that set maximum limits for the RVP of gasoline sold during the high 
ozone season. These regulations constituted Phase I of a two-phase 
nationwide program, which was designed to reduce the volatility of 
commercial gasoline during the summer ozone control season. On June 11, 
1990 (55 FR 23658), EPA promulgated more stringent volatility controls 
as Phase II

[[Page 8020]]

of the volatility control program. These requirements established 
maximum RVP standards of 9.0 psi or 7.8 psi (depending on the State, 
the month, and the area's initial ozone attainment designation with 
respect to the 1-hour ozone NAAQS during the high ozone season).
    The 1990 CAA Amendments established a new section, 211(h), to 
address fuel volatility. Section 211(h) requires EPA to promulgate 
regulations making it unlawful to sell, offer for sale, dispense, 
supply, offer for supply, transport, or introduce into commerce 
gasoline with an RVP level in excess of 9.0 psi during the high ozone 
season. Section 211(h) prohibits EPA from establishing a volatility 
standard more stringent than 9.0 psi in an attainment area, except that 
EPA may impose a lower (more stringent) standard in any former ozone 
nonattainment area redesignated to attainment.
    On December 12, 1991 (56 FR 64704), EPA modified the Phase II 
volatility regulations to be consistent with section 211(h) of the CAA. 
The modified regulations prohibited the sale of gasoline with an RVP 
above 9.0 psi in all areas designated attainment for ozone, beginning 
in 1992. For areas designated as nonattainment, the regulations 
retained the original Phase II standards published on June 11, 1990 (55 
FR 23658). A current listing of the RVP requirements for states can be 
found on EPA's Web site at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/gasolinefuels/volatility/standards.htm.
    As explained in the December 12, 1991 (56 FR 64704), Phase II 
rulemaking, EPA believes that relaxation of an applicable RVP standard 
is best accomplished in conjunction with the redesignation process. In 
order for an ozone nonattainment area to be redesignated as an 
attainment area, section 107(d)(3) of the Act requires the state to 
make a showing, pursuant to section 175A of the Act, that the area is 
capable of maintaining attainment for the ozone NAAQS for ten years 
after redesignation. Depending on the area's circumstances, this 
maintenance plan will either demonstrate that the area is capable of 
maintaining attainment for ten years without the more stringent 
volatility standard or that the more stringent volatility standard may 
be necessary for the area to maintain its attainment with the ozone 
NAAQS. Therefore, in the context of a request for redesignation, EPA 
will not relax the volatility standard unless the state requests a 
relaxation and the maintenance plan demonstrates, to the satisfaction 
of EPA, that the area will maintain attainment for ten years without 
the need for the more stringent volatility standard.
    As noted above, Alabama did not request relaxation of the 
applicable 7.8 psi federal RVP standard when the Birmingham Area was 
redesignated to attainment for the either the 1-hour or the 1997 8-hour 
ozone NAAQS but did take a conservative approach in estimating 
emissions for the maintenance plan associated with its redesignation 
request for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS by using a level of 9.0 psi.

IV. What are the Section 110(l) requirements?

    To support Alabama's request to relax the federal RVP requirement 
in the Birmingham Area, the State must demonstrate that the requested 
change will satisfy section 110(l) of the CAA. Section 110(l) requires 
that a revision to the SIP not interfere with any applicable 
requirement concerning attainment and reasonable further progress (as 
defined in section 171), or any other applicable requirement of the 
Act. EPA's criterion for determining the approvability of Alabama's 
November 14, 2014, SIP revision is whether the noninterference 
demonstration associated with the relaxation request satisfies section 
110(l). Although the modeling associated with Alabama's maintenance 
plans for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS and the 1997 Annual 
PM2.5 and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS are premised 
upon the 9.0 psi RVP requirements, no requests for a change in the 
federal RVP requirement were made at the time that EPA approved these 
plans. EPA's approval of the maintenance plans was based on an 
evaluation of the air quality monitoring data at the time of the EPA 
actions, the information provided in the individual maintenance plans, 
and the maintenance plan requirements in the CAA.
    EPA evaluates each section 110(l) noninterference demonstration on 
a case-by-case basis considering the circumstances of each SIP 
revision. EPA interprets 110(l) as applying to all NAAQS that are in 
effect, including those that have been promulgated but for which the 
EPA has not yet made designations. The degree of analysis focused on 
any particular NAAQS in a noninterference demonstration varies 
depending on the nature of the emissions associated with the proposed 
SIP revision. EPA's analysis of Alabama's November 14, 2014, SIP 
revision pursuant to section 110(l) is provided below.
    EPA notes that in today's action, it is only proposing to approve 
the State's technical demonstration that the Area can continue to 
attain and maintain the NAAQS and meet other CAA requirements after 
switching to the sale of gasoline with an RVP of 9.0 psi in the 
Birmingham Area during the high ozone season and to amend the SIP to 
include this demonstration. Consistent with CAA section 211(h) and the 
Phase II volatility regulations, EPA will initiate a separate 
rulemaking to relax the current federal requirement to use gasoline 
with an RVP of 7.8 psi in the Birmingham Area.

V. What is EPA's analysis of Alabama's submittal?

a. Overall Preliminary Conclusions Regarding Alabama's Noninterference 
Analyses

    On November 14, 2014, ADEM submitted a noninterference 
demonstration to support the State's request to modify the RVP 
summertime gasoline requirement from 7.8 psi to 9.0 psi for the 
Birmingham Area. This demonstration includes an evaluation of the 
impact that the removal of the 7.8 psi RVP requirement would have on 
maintenance of the 1997 and 2008 ozone standards and on the maintenance 
of the other NAAQS.\2\ Alabama focused its analysis on the impact of 
the change in RVP to attainment and maintenance of the ozone, PM,\3\ 
and NO2 NAAQS because RVP requirements do not affect lead, 
sulfur dioxide (SO2), or carbon monoxide (CO) emissions; 
because VOC and NOX emissions are precursors for ozone \4\ 
and PM; and because NO2 is a component of NOX.
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    \2\ The six NAAQS for which EPA establishes health and welfare 
based standards are CO, lead, NO2, ozone, PM, and 
SO2.
    \3\ PM is composed of PM2.5 and PM10.
    \4\ EPA notes that the Birmingham Area is located within a 
NOX-limited region. A NOX-limited region is 
one in which the concentration of ozone is limited by the amount of 
NOX emissions. NOX and VOC are precursors to 
the formation of ozone in the atmosphere. In a NOX-
limited area, high prevailing concentrations of VOC from naturally-
occurring sources are present in the atmosphere to contribute to 
ozone formation. Consequently, reduction of manmade, or 
anthropogenic, sources of VOC emissions generally do not generally 
result in reduced ozone formation. Instead, reductions of 
NOX emissions provide a more effective ozone reduction 
strategy because reduced emissions of manmade NOX 
emissions limit the amount of NOX available in the 
atmosphere for ozone formation. See, e.g., The State of the Southern 
Oxidants Study (SOS) Policy Relevant Findings in Ozone and 
PM2.5 Pollution Research 1995-2003 (June 30, 2004), 
http://www.ncsu.edu/sos/pubs/sos3/State_of_SOS_3.pdf.
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    ADEM's noninterference analysis utilized EPA's 2010b Motor Vehicle 
Emissions Simulator (MOVES) emission modeling system to estimate 
emissions

[[Page 8021]]

for mobile sources.\5\ These mobile source emissions are used as part 
of the evaluation of the potential impacts to the NAAQS that might 
result exclusively from changing the high ozone season RVP requirement 
from 7.8 psi to 9.0 psi. As summarized in Table 1, below, the MOVES 
model predicted minor increases in mobile source NOX and VOC 
emissions from the switch to 9.0 psi RVP fuel and much larger decreases 
in emissions resulting from fleet turnover.\6\ When considered 
together, these changes are projected to decrease mobile source 
NOX and VOC emissions. The modeling results summarized in 
Table 1 also demonstrate that the projected increase in mobile source 
NOX and VOC emissions due to relaxation of the RVP 
requirement is negligible when compared with total NOX and 
VOC emissions in the Area projected for 2015 (approximately 0.1% and 
0.7%, respectively).
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    \5\ The 2010b MOVES model was the latest EPA mobile source model 
available to the State at the time that it developed its SIP 
revision. ADEM's modeling using 2010b MOVES conforms with EPA's 
modeling guidance.
    \6\ Fleet turnover refers to the phenomenon where older vehicles 
built to less stringent emission standards are replaced in the fleet 
by newer vehicles built in compliance with more stringent standards. 
ADEM estimated mobile source emissions using the fleet turnover 
assumptions included in EPA's 2010b MOVES model.

    Table 1--Effects on NOX and VOC Emissions From RVP Relaxation and Fleet Turnover for Jefferson and Shelby
                                                    Counties
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                                      Mobile
                                     emissions        Mobile                                          Percent
                                     increase        emissions      Net mobile    2015 Emissions  emissions from
                                    (2015) with    decrease from     emissions       from all       RVP change
                                   RVP change of   2014 to 2015      (tons) *         sources      compared from
                                    7.8 to 9.0    fleet turnover                      (tons)       all emissions
                                     (tons) *         (tons) *                                        sources
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NOX.............................              24            -489            -465          16,857            0.14
VOC.............................              80            -156             -76          11,791            0.68
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* Emissions increases with RVP change are estimated for the period June 1 through September 15, 2015.

    Tables 2 and 3, below, show that overall 24-hour and annual mobile 
emissions of NOX and VOC are projected to continue to 
decrease in the Birmingham Area using a 9.0 psi RVP for years 2015 
through 2024 and the fleet turnover assumptions contained in EPA's 
2010b MOVES model.

                                                      Table 2--24-Hour NOX and VOC Mobile Emissions
                                                                  [tons per year (tpy)]
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                         County                                2009            2012            2015            2018            2021            2024
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Jefferson:
    NOX.................................................           59.26           46.31           35.62           28.05           23.46           20.75
    VOC.................................................           25.94           20.82           16.92           13.97           12.25           10.76
Shelby:
    NOX.................................................           12.72           10.14            7.60            5.98            5.01            4.40
    VOC.................................................            4.85            3.97            3.15            2.60            2.28            1.99
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                                                      Table 3--Annual Mobile NOX and VOC Emissions
                                                                         [(tpy)]
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                         County                                2009            2012            2015            2018            2021            2024
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Jefferson:
    NOX.................................................        20364.40        15957.15        12237.62         9631.63         8053.95         7140.21
    VOC.................................................         8974.65         7243.40         5882.42         4869.55         4232.64         3771.41
Shelby:
    NOX.................................................         4428.17         3518.57         2641.41         2079.50         1741.02         1532.55
    VOC.................................................         1687.59         1382.34         1100.43          909.52          789.92          701.11
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b. Noninterference Analysis for the Ozone NAAQS

    As discussed above, the Birmingham Area is currently designated as 
attainment for both the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS and the 2008 8-hour 
ozone NAAQS.\7\ Although the Area was previously designated as 
nonattainment for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS, the Birmingham Area was 
redesignated to attainment for that NAAQS on May 12, 2006. See 71 FR 
27631. Because the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS is more stringent than the 
1997 8-hour standard, Alabama's November 14, 2014, noninterference 
demonstration for the ozone NAAQS is focused on the 2008 8-hour 
standard. The 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS is met when the annual fourth-
highest daily maximum 8-hour average concentration, averaged over 3 
years is 0.075 ppm or less. As shown in Table 4, all ozone monitors in 
the Birmingham Area are currently well below the 2008 8-hour ozone 
standard.
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    \7\ EPA redesignated the Area to attainment for the 1-hour ozone 
standard on March 12, 2004 (69 FR 11798), and revoked the 1-hour 
ozone standard on April 30, 2004 (69 FR 23858).
    \8\ The Pinson and Providence monitors shut down after the 2012 
monitoring season. There was not enough data at these locations to 
calculate a 3-year average design value.

[[Page 8022]]



                                                      Table 4--Birmingham Area Ozone Design Values
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                         Monitor                           2007-2009 DV    2008-2010 DV    2009-2011 DV    2010-2012 DV    2011-2013 DV    2012-2014 DV
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Corner..................................................           0.076           0.070           0.070           0.073           0.070           0.065
Fairfield...............................................           0.074           0.069           0.070           0.075           0.071           0.068
Helena..................................................           0.081           0.074           0.072           0.075           0.073           0.068
Hoover..................................................           0.080           0.075           0.075           0.077           0.073           0.067
Leeds...................................................           0.072           0.069           0.071           0.076           0.074           0.069
McAdory.................................................           0.078           0.073           0.075           0.077           0.074           0.068
North Birmingham........................................           0.079           0.072           0.071           0.075           0.071           0.067
Pinson..................................................           0.074           0.072           0.070           0.074            8 --              --
Providence..............................................           0.074           0.070           0.070           0.074              --              --
Tarrant.................................................           0.079           0.073           0.074           0.080           0.076           0.070
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-- indicates no data available.

    Table 4 also shows that there is an overall downward trend in ozone 
concentrations in the Birmingham Area. This decline can be attributed 
to federal and State programs that have led to significant emissions 
reductions in ozone precursors. Given this downward trend, the current 
ozone concentrations in the Area, and the results of Alabama's mobile 
source modeling, EPA has preliminarily determined that a change to 9.0 
psi RVP fuel in the Birmingham Area would not interfere with 
maintenance of the 1997 or 2008 ozone NAAQS in the Area.

c. Noninterference Analysis for the PM NAAQS

    Over the course of several years, EPA has reviewed and revised the 
PM2.5 NAAQS a number of times. On July 16, 1997, EPA 
established an annual PM2.5 NAAQS of 15.0 micrograms per 
cubic meter ([mu]g/m\3\), based on a 3-year average of annual mean 
PM2.5 concentrations, and a 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS 
of 65 [mu]g/m\3\, based on a 3-year average of the 98th percentile of 
24-hour concentrations. See 62 FR 36852 (July 18, 1997). On September 
21, 2006, EPA retained the 1997 Annual PM2.5 NAAQS of 15.0 
[mu]g/m\3\ but revised the 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS to 35 [mu]g/
m\3\, based again on a 3-year average of the 98th percentile of 24-hour 
concentrations. See 71 FR 61144 (October 17, 2006). On December 14, 
2012, EPA retained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS of 35 [mu]g/
m\3\ but revised the annual primary PM2.5 NAAQS to 12.0 
[mu]g/m\3\, based again on a 3-year average of annual mean 
PM2.5 concentrations. See 78 FR 3086 (January 15, 2013).
    EPA promulgated designations for the 1997 Annual PM2.5 
NAAQS on January 5, 2005 (70 FR 944), and April 14, 2005 (70 FR 19844). 
Jefferson and Shelby Counties in their entireties, and a portion of 
Walker County (hereinafter referred to as the ``1997 Annual 
PM2.5 Birmingham Area'') were designated nonattainment for 
the 1997 Annual PM2.5 standards, and all other counties (or 
portions thereof) in Alabama were designated unclassifiable/
attainment.\9\ On November 13, 2009 (74 FR 58688), EPA designated the 
same counties (or portions thereof) in the State that were 
nonattainment for the 1997 Annual PM2.5 standards as 
nonattainment for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 standards 
(hereinafter referred to as the ``2006 24-hour PM2.5 
Birmingham Area''). On January 22, 2013, EPA redesignated the 1997 
Annual PM2.5 Birmingham Area to attainment for the 1997 
Annual PM2.5 NAAQS.\10\ See 78 FR 4341. Additionally, on 
January 25, 2013, EPA redesignated the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 
Birmingham Area to attainment for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 
NAAQS. See 78 FR 5306.
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    \9\ Walker County is not subject to the Federal RVP requirement 
because it is not part of the ozone Area.
    \10\ In anticipation of a future request to change the Federal 
RVP requirement, Alabama used an RVP of 9.0 psi in its modeling to 
support the maintenance plans for the 1997 Annual PM2.5 
NAAQS and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS.
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    As mentioned above, EPA revised the Annual PM2.5 NAAQS 
in December 2012. EPA completed designations for the 2012 Annual 
PM2.5 NAAQS for most areas on December 14, 2015, and 
designated the Birmingham Area as unclassifiable/attainment. See 80 FR 
2206 (January 15, 2015).
    The main precursor pollutants for PM2.5 are 
NOX, SO2, VOC, and ammonia. As mentioned earlier 
in this rulemaking, the Federal RVP requirements only result in 
emissions benefits for VOC and NOX. Therefore, Alabama 
focused on these two PM2.5 precursors in its analysis of the 
potential impact of changing the RVP requirements for the Birmingham 
Area on the PM2.5 NAAQS.
    The PM2.5 monitoring data summarized in Table 5 shows 
that the PM2.5 annual and 24-hour design values are well 
below the NAAQS and have been decreasing overall since 2008.

                                          Table 5--PM2.5 Design Values
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Year                           2008-2010       2009-2011       2010-2012       2011-2013
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                              Annual Design Values
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jersey..........................................            12.7            12.0            12.0            11.1
Leeds...........................................            11.9            11.6            11.6            11.0
McAdory.........................................            11.5            11.3            11.2            10.5
North Birmingham................................            13.7            12.9            13.0            11.9
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                              24-Hour Design Values
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jersey..........................................              28              26              25              23
Leeds...........................................              22              23              23              22
McAdory.........................................              23              23              23              22

[[Page 8023]]

 
North Birmingham................................              29              27              26              24
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1997 Annual PM2.5 NAAQS: 15 [mu]g/m3.
2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS: 35 [mu]g/m3.

    Given the current PM2.5 concentrations and downward 
trend of these concentrations in the Area and the results of Alabama's 
mobile source modeling, EPA has preliminarily determined that a change 
to 9.0 psi RVP fuel in the Birmingham Area would not interfere with 
maintenance of the 1997 Annual PM2.5 NAAQS or the 2006 24-
hour PM2.5 NAAQS in the Area.\11\
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    \11\ EPA has also preliminarily determined that a change to 9.0 
psi RVP fuel in the Birmingham Area would not interfere with 
maintenance of the Annual PM10 NAAQS of 150 [mu]g/m\3\ 
given the results of Alabama's mobile source modeling and the fact 
that the Area is currently attaining the PM10 standard. 
Because PM2.5 is a component of PM10, this 
preliminary determination is further supported by the downward trend 
in PM2.5 identified above.
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d. Noninterference Analysis for the 2010 NO2 NAAQS

    On February 17, 2012, EPA designated all counties in Alabama as 
unclassifiable/attainment for the 2010 NO2 NAAQS. See 77 FR 
9532. Based on the technical analysis in Alabama's November 14, 2014, 
SIP revision, the potential increase in NOX emissions 
associated with the change to 9.0 psi RVP fuel in the Birmingham Area 
is approximately 24 tons during high ozone season. As discussed in 
section V.a, above, the slight projected increase in mobile source 
NOX emissions due to the fuel switch will be negated by a 
decrease in tailpipe emissions due to fleet turnover. Given the current 
unclassifiable/attainment designation and the results of Alabama's 
mobile source modeling, EPA has preliminarily determined that a change 
to 9.0 psi RVP fuel in the Birmingham Area would not interfere with 
maintenance of the 2010 NO2 NAAQS in the Area.

VI. Proposed Action

    EPA is proposing to approve the State of Alabama's noninterference 
demonstration, submitted on November 14, 2014, in support of the 
State's request that EPA change the Federal RVP requirements for the 
Birmingham Area from 7.8 psi to 9.0 psi. Specifically, EPA is proposing 
to find that this change in the RVP requirements for the Birmingham 
Area will not interfere with attainment or maintenance of any NAAQS or 
with any other applicable requirement of the CAA.
    EPA has preliminarily determined that Alabama's November 14, 2014, 
SIP revision, containing the noninterference demonstration associated 
with the State's request for the change of the Federal RVP requirements 
is consistent with the applicable provisions of the CAA. EPA is not 
proposing action today to remove the Birmingham Area from the Federal 
7.8 psi RVP requirement. Any such proposal will occur in a separate and 
subsequent rulemaking.

VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Under the CAA, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP 
submittal that complies with the provisions of the Act and applicable 
federal regulations. 42 U.S.C. 7410(k); 40 CFR 52.02(a). Thus, in 
reviewing SIP submissions, EPA's role is to approve state choices, 
provided that they meet the criteria of the CAA. Accordingly, this 
proposed action merely proposes to approve state law as meeting Federal 
requirements and does not propose to impose additional requirements 
beyond those imposed by state law. For that reason, this proposed 
action:
     Is not a significant regulatory action subject to review 
by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Orders 12866 (58 
FR 51735, October 4, 1993) and 13563 (76 FR 3821, January 21, 2011);
     does not impose an information collection burden under the 
provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.);
     is certified as not having a significant economic impact 
on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.);
     does not contain any unfunded mandate or significantly or 
uniquely affect small governments, as described in the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4);
     does not have Federalism implications as specified in 
Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, October 7, 1999);
     is not an economically significant regulatory action based 
on health or safety risks subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 
19885, April 23, 1997);
     is not a significant regulatory action subject to 
Executive Order 13211 (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001);
     is not subject to requirements of Section 12(d) of the 
National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 
note) because application of those requirements would be inconsistent 
with the CAA; and
     does not provide EPA with the discretionary authority to 
address, as appropriate, disproportionate human health or environmental 
effects, using practicable and legally permissible methods, under 
Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994).
    In addition, the SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian 
reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has 
demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian 
country, the rule does not have tribal implications as specified by 
Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000) nor will it 
impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal 
law.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

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

    Dated: February 4, 2015.
V. Anne Heard,
Acting Regional Administrator, Region 4.
[FR Doc. 2015-02942 Filed 2-12-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P