[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 235 (Friday, December 10, 2021)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 70409-70412]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-26674]



40 CFR Part 52

[EPA-R01-OAR-2021-0580; FRL-8967-02-R1]

Air Plan Approval; Rhode Island; 2015 Ozone NAAQS Interstate 
Transport Requirements

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving a State 
Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted by the State of Rhode 
Island as meeting the Clean Air Act (CAA) requirement that each State's 
SIP contain adequate provisions to prohibit emissions that will 
significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance 
of the 2015 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) 
in any other state. This action is being taken in accordance with the 

DATES: This rule is effective on January 10, 2022.

ADDRESSES: EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket 
Identification No. EPA-R01-OAR-2021-0580. All documents in the docket 
are listed on the https://www.regulations.gov website. Although listed 
in the index, some information is not publicly available, i.e., 
confidential business information (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 at https://www.regulations.gov or at the U.S.

[[Page 70410]]

Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Region 1 Regional Office, Air and 
Radiation Division, 5 Post Office Square--Suite 100, Boston, MA. EPA 
requests that if at all possible, you contact the contact 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 legal holidays and facility 
closures due to COVID-19.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Alison C. Simcox, Air Quality Branch, 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Region 1, 5 Post Office 
Square--Suite 100, (Mail code 05-2), Boston, MA 02109-3912, tel. (617) 
918-1684, email [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Throughout this document whenever ``we,'' 
``us,'' or ``our'' is used, we mean EPA.

Table of Contents

I. Background and Purpose
II. Response to Comments
III. Final Action
IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

I. Background and Purpose

    On September 15, 2021, EPA published a notice of proposed 
rulemaking (NPRM) for the State of Rhode Island. See 86 FR 51310. The 
NPRM proposed approval of a Rhode Island SIP revision that addresses 
the CAA requirement to prohibit emissions from the state that 
significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance 
of the 2015 8-hour ozone NAAQS in other states. See CAA section 
110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) (the ``good neighbor provision''). The SIP revision 
was submitted to EPA by Rhode Island on September 23, 2020. The 
rationale for EPA's proposed action is given in the NPRM and will not 
be repeated here. EPA received two public comments on the NPRM, which 
are addressed below.

II. Response to Comments

    One anonymous comment supported the EPA's proposed action and 
suggested that EPA solicit information from residents of the State of 
Rhode Island as well as from residents of downwind states. We note 
that, before providing the submission to EPA, the Rhode Island 
Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) distributed it to the 
public via the RIDEM website and an electronic mailing list. RIDEM also 
gave state residents and other interested parties a 30-day period to 
request a public hearing and provide public comments. In addition, EPA 
provided the public with a 30-day period to comment in the Federal 
Register, the official journal of the U.S. Government that is available 
to all downwind states, on the proposed approval of Rhode Island's SIP 
revision following publication on September 15, 2021.
    The other commenter questioned why the analyses considered the 
effects of emissions from Rhode Island on Connecticut and New York, but 
seemingly not on Massachusetts--particularly Bristol County, 
Massachusetts, parts of which lie directly east of Rhode Island. The 
comment states that ``prevailing winds [in this region] travel 
eastward'' and that ``EPA data shows [sic] that Bristol County . . . 
experiences a disproportionately high `Percent of Total US 
Anthropogenic Ozone from Upwind States' compared to other Mass 
    EPA acknowledges that the prevailing winds described by the 
commenter do generally move from west to east in the New England area, 
and therefore, Massachusetts is downwind of Rhode Island. In fact, 
EPA's modeling analysis does consider the impact of emissions from 
Rhode Island on all downwind areas within the contiguous 48 states, 
including Bristol County, Massachusetts, and, indeed, the data indicate 
that the highest projected contribution in 2021 from Rhode Island 
sources to an out-of-state area is 2.50 ppb to Bristol County 
(monitoring site 250051004; line number 242 on the Design Values and 
Contributions spreadsheet).\1\

    \1\ The data are given in the ``Air Quality Modeling Technical 
Support Document for the Revised Cross-State Air Pollution Rule 
Update'' and ``Ozone Design Values and Contributions Revised CSAPR 
Update.xlsx,'' which are included in the docket for this action.

    As explained in the NPRM for this action, EPA uses a four-step 
interstate transport framework to address the requirements of the good 
neighbor provision for the 2015 ozone NAAQS. The first step is to 
identify downwind areas that may have problems attaining and 
maintaining the standard (i.e., receptors). The Bristol County 
monitor's projected average design value is 63.4 ppb and projected 
maximum design value is 65.5 ppb in 2021, which are both below the 2015 
ozone NAAQS of 70 ppb. Using EPA's definition of a projected 
nonattainment or maintenance receptor provided in the NPRM (a 
definition that Rhode Island adopted), EPA's analysis indicates that 
the monitor in Bristol County, Massachusetts, is not projected to be a 
nonattainment or maintenance receptor in 2021 or later years for the 
2015 ozone NAAQS.
    While Bristol County is considered downwind of, and impacted by, 
Rhode Island's emissions, EPA's analysis in this first step did not 
identify Bristol County as a receptor expected to have problems 
maintaining the 2015 ozone NAAQS. Thus, EPA concluded that emissions 
from Rhode Island sources, while having an impact on ozone levels in 
Bristol County, do not contribute to nonattainment or interfere with 
maintenance of the 2015 ozone NAAQS in Bristol County (or elsewhere in 
Massachusetts), which is the relevant inquiry under CAA section 
    By comparison, EPA's analysis at step one identified other 
receptors, including monitoring sites west of Rhode Island in 
Connecticut and in New York that are projected to have problems 
attaining and maintaining the 2015 ozone NAAQS. For these receptors, 
EPA proceeded to step 2 of the four-step interstate transport 
framework, which considers whether emissions from Rhode Island impact 
air-quality problems at those receptors sufficiently such that the 
state is considered ``linked'' to those receptors and therefore 
warrants further review and analysis.
    Based on the results of EPA's air-quality analysis described in the 
proposal of this action, EPA determined that Rhode Island contributes 
well below the screening threshold of one percent of the 2015 ozone 
NAAQS (0.70 ppb) to any of these Connecticut or New York receptors, and 
is, therefore, not linked to downwind nonattainment and/or maintenance 
receptors.2 3 EPA also analyzed emissions trends for ozone 
precursors, concluding that emissions from sources in Rhode Island will 
continue to decline, which lends further support to the findings from 
the air-quality analysis.

    \2\ See Section I of the NPRM for an explanation of EPA's use of 
a one percent screening threshold at step 2 of the four-step 
interstate transport framework.
    \3\ For instance, and as noted in the NPRM, the data indicate 
that the highest contribution in 2021 from Rhode Island to an area 
projected to have problems maintaining the NAAQS is 0.09 ppb to the 
maintenance receptor in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

    In sum, EPA's analysis considered the impact of emissions from 
Rhode Island sources on Massachusetts (including Bristol County) but 
found that Rhode Island does not contribute to nonattainment or 
interfere with maintenance of the 2015 ozone NAAQS in Massachusetts, 
because that state is not expected to have problems

[[Page 70411]]

maintaining ozone concentrations below the NAAQS. Furthermore, EPA's 
entire analysis concluded that Rhode Island does not significantly 
contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance in any other 
state for the 2015 ozone NAAQS.

III. Final Action

    EPA is approving a Rhode Island SIP revision, which was submitted 
on September 23, 2020. This submission is approved as meeting CAA 
section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) requirements that Rhode Island's SIP 
includes adequate provisions prohibiting any source or other type of 
emissions activity within the State from emitting any air pollutant in 
amounts that will contribute significantly to nonattainment or 
interfere with maintenance of the 2015 ozone NAAQS in any other state.

IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Under the Clean Air Act, the Administrator is required to approve a 
SIP submission 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 Clean Air Act. 
Accordingly, this action merely approves state law as meeting Federal 
requirements and does not impose additional requirements beyond those 
imposed by state law. For that reason, this 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, 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 Clean Air Act; 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 and will not impose 
substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law as 
specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000).
    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, which includes a copy of the rule, 
to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the 
United States. EPA will submit a report containing this action 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 action is not a ``major rule'' as defined by 5 U.S.C. 
    Under section 307(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act, petitions for 
judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court 
of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by February 8, 2022. Filing a 
petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule 
does not affect the finality of this action for the purposes of 
judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a 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, Carbon monoxide, 
Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Lead, Nitrogen 
dioxide, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Sulfur oxides, Volatile organic compounds.

    Dated: December 3, 2021.
Deborah Szaro,
Acting Regional Administrator, EPA Region 1.

    Part 52 of chapter I, title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations 
is amended as follows:


1. The authority citation for part 52 continues to read as follows:

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

Subpart OO--Rhode Island

2. In Sec.  52.2070(e), amend the table by adding an entry for 
``Transport SIP for the 2015 Ozone Standard'' to the end of the table 
to read as follows:

Sec.  52.2070  Identification of plan.

* * * * *
    (e) * * *

[[Page 70412]]

                                           Rhode Island Non Regulatory
   Name of non  regulatory SIP       geographic or      State submittal
            provision                nonattainment      date/effective     EPA approved date     Explanations
                                         area                date
                                                  * * * * * * *
Transport SIP for the 2015 Ozone  Statewide.........  Submitted 9/23/     12/10/2021,         State submitted a
 Standard.                                             2020.               [Insert Federal     transport SIP for
                                                                           Register            the 2015 ozone
                                                                           citation].          standard which
                                                                                               shows that it
                                                                                               does not
                                                                                               contribute to
                                                                                               nonattainment or
                                                                                               maintenance in
                                                                                               any other state.
                                                                                               EPA approved this
                                                                                               submittal as
                                                                                               meeting the
                                                                                               requirements of
                                                                                               Clean Air Act

[FR Doc. 2021-26674 Filed 12-9-21; 8:45 a.m.]