[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 100 (Friday, May 22, 2020)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 31112-31113]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-10684]

[[Page 31112]]



40 CFR Part 52

[EPA-R04-OAR-2020-0072; FRL-10009-55-Region 4]

Air Plan Approval; GA: Emission Reduction Credits

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to 
approve a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted by the 
State of Georgia through a letter dated October 18, 2019, updating 
Georgia's rule titled Emission Reduction Credits which establishes a 
program for sources in specified counties to apply for credits for 
voluntary emissions reductions. EPA has evaluated Georgia's submittal 
and preliminarily determined that it meets the applicable requirements 
of the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act) and EPA regulations.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before June 22, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R04-
OAR-2020-0072 at www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions 
for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or 
removed from Regulations.gov. EPA may publish any comment received to 
its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you 
consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other 
information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia 
submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written 
comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and 
should include discussion of all points you wish to make. EPA will 
generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of 
the primary submission (i.e., on the web, cloud, or other file sharing 
system). For additional submission methods, the full EPA public comment 
policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general 
guidance on making effective comments, please visit www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Pearlene Williams, Air Regulatory 
Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air and 
Radiation Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 
Forsyth Street SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Ms. Williams can be 
reached via telephone at (404) 562-9144 or via electronic mail at 
[email protected].


I. Background

    EPA is proposing to approve a revision to the Georgia SIP submitted 
through a letter dated October 18, 2019,\1\ modifying Rule 391-3-
1-.03(13), Emission Reduction Credits,\2\ in the State's air permitting 
rules. This submittal revises the counties in which sources may create 
emission reduction credits (ERCs). This change aligns Georgia's ERC 
program with the current status of counties designated nonattainment or 
contributing to a nonattainment area.

    \1\ EPA notes the Agency received the submittal on October 24, 
    \2\ EPA notes that the Agency received several submittals 
revising the Georgia SIP transmitted with the same October 18, 2019, 
cover letter. EPA will be considering action for these other SIP 
revisions in separate rulemakings.

    Georgia's SIP-approved ERC program is codified at Rule 391-3-
1-.03(13). The ERC program allows eligible sources that voluntarily 
reduce emissions in the affected counties to certify and ``bank'' these 
reductions as ERCs for future use. By its terms, the ERC program only 
applies in counties in a nonattainment area, or counties determined by 
the Director of Georgia's Environmental Protection Division (GA EPD) to 
contribute to ambient air quality in the nonattainment area. The banked 
ERCs hold their value for ten years, at which point they begin 
devaluing ten percent per year until they have reached 50 percent of 
their original value. The ERC program is intended to help the Atlanta 
area achieve compliance with federal standards for ground-level ozone. 
The program does not allow for any increase in emissions of oxides of 
nitrogen (NOX) or volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the 
area to which it is applicable.
    The current SIP-approved Rule 391-3-1-.03(13), at subparagraph 
(a)1., allows sources within 13 counties that have the potential to 
emit (PTE) 25 tons per year (tpy) of either NOX or VOCs to 
participate in the ERC program. These counties correspond to the prior 
nonattainment area for the 1979 1-hour ozone National Ambient Air 
Quality Standard (NAAQS). Georgia Rule 391-3-1-.03(13)(a)2. provides 
that sources within seven counties that have the potential to emit 100 
tpy of either NOX or VOCs may participate in the program. 
These seven counties were included in the nonattainment area for the 
1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS. Finally, Georgia Rule 391-3-1-.03(13)(a)3. 
provides that electrical generating units (EGU) within 25 counties that 
have the potential to emit 100 tons per year of either NOX 
or VOCs may participate in the ERC program. These counties were 
determined by the Director of GA EPD to contribute to ozone ambient air 
concentrations in nonattainment areas.
    EPA redesignated all nonattainment counties in Georgia to 
attainment for the 1979 1-hour ozone NAAQS on June 15, 2005,\3\ and has 
since revoked the 1-hour ozone NAAQS.\4\ EPA redesignated all 
nonattainment counties in Georgia to attainment for the 1997 8-hour 
ozone NAAQS on June 23, 2011. See 76 FR 36873. Additionally, EPA 
redesignated all nonattainment counties in Georgia to attainment for 
the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS on June 2, 2017. See 82 FR 25523. On June 
4, 2018, EPA designated seven counties surrounding Atlanta as 
nonattainment and classified them as a ``marginal'' nonattainment area 
for the 2015 8-hour ozone NAAQS (hereinafter referred to as the Atlanta 
2015 8-hour Ozone Area).\5\ See 83 FR 25776. This area is the only 
nonattainment area in the State.

    \3\ See 70 FR 34660 (June 15, 2005).
    \4\ The 1-hour Ozone NAAQS was revoked in the Atlanta Metro Area 
effective June 15, 2005. See 70 FR 44470 (August 3, 2005).
    \5\ The Atlanta 2015 8-hour Ozone Area consists of the following 
counties: Bartow, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, and 
Henry. The 2015 8-hour ozone NAAQS is set at 0.070 ppm based on an 
annual fourth-highest daily maximum 8-hour average concentration 
averaged over three years.

    Georgia's October 18, 2019 SIP submittal revises the counties 
listed in Rule 391-3-1-.03(13)(a) to ensure that only sources in 
counties currently designated nonattainment--and counties contributing 
to the ambient air quality in the nonattainment area--may participate 
in the ERC program. The details of the submittal and EPA's rationale 
for proposing to approve the changes are discussed below.

II. EPA's Analysis of State's Submittal

    The first revision to Georgia's ERC rule removes subparagraph 391-
3-1-.03(13)(a)1., which lists 13 counties containing stationary sources 
with the potential to emit more than 25 tpy of NOX or VOCs, 
and that are eligible to create and bank NOX and VOC ERCs. 
This list corresponds to the previous Atlanta 1-hour ozone 
nonattainment area, which has since been redesignated to attainment.\6\ 
Because these counties have since been redesignated to attainment for 
the 1979 1-hour ozone

[[Page 31113]]

NAAQS, Georgia seeks to remove subparagraph (13)(a)1. from the SIP.

    \6\ This area was formerly subject to the Nonattainment New 
Source Review (NNSR) requirements for ``severe'' ozone nonattainment 
areas, which apply to sources with a potential to emit (PTE) of 25 
tpy or greater for NOX and VOCs.

    Next, GA EPD revises the counties listed at subparagraph (a)2. to 
add the 13 counties removed from subparagraph (a)1. Sources in counties 
listed in this subparagraph that emit greater than 100 tpy of 
NOX or VOCs may participate in the ERC program. Of these 13 
added counties, six are part of the Atlanta 2015 8-hour Ozone Area. The 
remaining seven counties are part of the maintenance area for the 2008 
8-hour ozone NAAQS. Georgia's SIP-approved rules require these counties 
to comply with requirements applicable to nonattainment areas. See 
Georgia Rule 391-3-1-.03(8)(c)(14). Because these 13 counties either 
are in a nonattainment area or must otherwise comply with GA EPD's 
nonattainment area requirements, EPA believes they are appropriately 
included in the State's ERC program at subparagraph (a)2.
    Finally, subparagraph (13)(a)2. is further modified to remove the 
five counties that were previously part of the maintenance area for the 
1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS and are not part of the maintenance area for 
the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS (i.e., Barrow, Carroll, Hall, Spalding, and 
Rockdale counties). GA EPD adds these five counties to the list of 
counties determined to contribute to ambient levels of ozone within the 
nonattainment area at subparagraph (a)3. See Georgia Rules 391-3-
1-.03(8)(c)15. and 391-3-1-.03(8)(e)1. The effect of this change is 
that EGUs with a PTE greater than 100 tpy of NOX or VOCs in 
these counties are eligible to create and bank NOX and VOC 
    In sum, these revisions clarify eligibility for sources in certain 
counties to bank and create ERCs. These changes also make paragraph 
391-3-1-.03(13)(a) consistent with current provisions under the State's 
Nonattainment New Source Review (NNSR) permitting program.\7\ EPA also 
notes that the ERC program is a flexibility tool used by States and 
affected sources to comply with otherwise applicable requirements and 
is not expected to impact emissions in the State. Therefore, EPA is 
preliminarily concluding that these changes are consistent with the CAA 
and applicable EPA regulations.\8\

    \7\ See 85 FR 2646 (January 16, 2020)
    \8\ EPA has also preliminarily concluded that these changes are 
consistent with applicable guidance on emissions trading, including 
EPA's ``Emissions Trading Policy Statement; General Principles for 
Creation, Banking and Use of Emission Reduction Credits.'' 51 FR 
43814 (Dec. 4, 1986).

III. Incorporation by Reference

    In this document, EPA is proposing to include in a final EPA rule 
regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance 
with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, EPA is proposing to incorporate by 
reference Georgia Rule 391-3-1-.03(13), titled ``Emission Reduction 
Credits,'' effective September 26, 2019, to clarify which sources in 
which areas of the State are eligible to create and bank emission 
reduction credits. EPA has made, and will continue to make, the State 
Implementation Plan generally available through www.regulations.gov and 
at the EPA Region 4 Office (please contact the person identified in the 
``For Further Information Contact'' section of this preamble for more 

IV. Proposed Action

    EPA is proposing to approve the Georgia SIP revision with changes 
to Regulation 391-3-1-.03(13), Emission Reduction Credits, submitted 
October 18, 2019, to clarify which sources in which areas are eligible 
to create, bank, transfer, or use ERCs of NOX and VOCs, 
corresponding to the counties that are either currently in 
nonattainment or contributing to the current nonattainment area. EPA 
has preliminarily concluded that the SIP revision is consistent with 
the CAA and EPA's federal regulations.

V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Under the CAA, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP 
submission that complies with the provisions of the Act and applicable 
Federal regulations. See 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. This proposed action 
merely proposes to approve state law as meeting Federal requirements 
and does not 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);
     Is not an Executive Order 13771 (82 FR 9339, February 2, 
2017) regulatory action because SIP approvals are exempted under 
Executive Order 12866;
     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, August 10, 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).
    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, 
Volatile organic compounds.

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

    Dated: May 12, 2020.
Mary Walker,
Regional Administrator, Region 4.
[FR Doc. 2020-10684 Filed 5-21-20; 8:45 am]