[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 238 (Wednesday, December 15, 2021)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 71213-71214]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-27101]

[[Page 71213]]



40 CFR Part 52

[EPA-R03-OAR-2021-0482; FRL-9223-02-R3]

Air Plan Approval; Pennsylvania; Revision of the Maximum 
Allowable Sulfur Content Limit for Number 2 and Lighter Commercial Fuel 

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 
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This revision pertains to the reduction 
of the maximum allowable sulfur content limit for Number 2 (No. 2) and 
lighter commercial fuel oil, generally sold and used for residential 
and commercial furnaces and oil heat burners for home or space heating, 
water heating or both, from the current limit of 500 parts per million 
(ppm) to 15 ppm. This action is being taken under the Clean Air Act 

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before January 14, 2022.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R03-
OAR-2021-0482 at https://www.regulations.gov, or via email to 
[email protected]. For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow 
the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, 
comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. For either 
manner of submission, 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, please contact the person 
identified in the For Further Information Contact section. For the full 
EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia 
submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please 
visit https://www.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

Implementation Branch (3AD30), Air & Radiation Division, U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 Arch Street, 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103. The telephone number is 215-814-2030. 
Ms. Moser can also be reached via electronic mail at 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On September 4, 2020, the Pennsylvania 
Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) submitted a revision to 
its SIP to reduce the SIP-approved maximum allowable sulfur content 
limit for No. 2 and lighter commercial fuel oil, generally sold for and 
used in residential and commercial furnaces and oil heat burners for 
home or space heating, water heating, or both, in the Pennsylvania from 
a limit of 500 ppm of sulfur to 15 ppm. The proposed SIP revision 
continues to allow for the limited sale of higher sulfur fuel under 
certain specified circumstances, as provided for under the current SIP.

I. Background

    The revision consists of an amendment to the Pennsylvania SIP to 
incorporate a reduction in the SIP-approved maximum allowable sulfur 
content limit for No. 2 and lighter commercial fuel oil in the 
Commonwealth from a limit of 500 ppm of sulfur to 15 ppm.\1\

    \1\ On July 10, 2014, EPA approved a SIP revision incorporating 
the maximum allowable sulfur content of No. 2 and lighter fuel oil 
at 500 ppm (79 FR 39330).

    Combustion of sulfur-containing commercial fuel oil releases sulfur 
dioxide (SO2) emissions, which contribute to the formation 
of regional haze and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), both 
of which impact the environment and human health. Regional haze is 
pollution produced by sources and activities that emit fine particles 
and their precursors which impairs visibility through scattering and 
absorption of light. Fine particles may be emitted directly or formed 
from emissions of precursors, the most important of which includes 
SO2. PM2.5 particle pollution exposure has been 
linked to a variety of health problems. In addition to improving public 
health and the environment, decreased emissions of SO2, and 
therefore subsequently PM2.5, will contribute to the 
attainment or maintenance, or both, of their respective national 
ambient air quality standards (NAAQS).
    Pennsylvania is a member of the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Visibility 
Union (MANE-VU) Regional Planning Office (RPO), established in 2001, to 
assist the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states in planning and developing 
their regional haze SIP revisions. The other MANE-VU states are 
Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, 
New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. The District of 
Columbia, certain Native American tribes in the Region, the EPA, the 
United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Forest 
Service are also members of MANE-VU. PADEP revised 25 Pennsylvania. 
Code 123.22 and is submitting it to EPA as a SIP revision in response 
to a 2017 ``MANE-VU Ask'' to pursue adoption of a maximum allowable 
sulfur content limit of 15 ppm for No. 2 and lighter commercial fuel 
oil statewide for purposes of reducing regional haze and visibility 
impairment in Pennsylvania and affected Federal Class I areas.\2\

    \2\ Areas statutorily designated as mandatory Class I Federal 
areas consist of national parks exceeding 6,000 acres, wilderness 
areas and national memorial parks exceeding 5,000 acres, and all 
international parks that were in existence on August 7, 1977. 42 
U.S.C. 7472(a). There are 156 mandatory Class I areas. The list of 
areas to which the requirements of the visibility protection program 
apply is in 40 CFR part 81, subpart D.

II. Summary of SIP Revision and EPA Analysis

    Through the September 2020 SIP revision submittal, Pennsylvania 
seeks to revise its SIP by including amendments to 25 Pa. Code Chapter 
123 Sec.  22 which set the maximum allowable sulfur content limit for 
various fuel types. The amendments to 25 Pa. Code Chapter 123.22, 
reduce the SIP-approved maximum allowable sulfur content limit for No. 
2 and lighter commercial fuel oil, generally sold for and used in 
residential and commercial furnaces and oil heat burners for home or 
space heating, water heating, or both, from a limit of 500 ppm of 
sulfur to 15 ppm. These amendments to 25 Pa. 123.22, became effective 
on September 1, 2020.
    In addition to establishing a lower maximum allowable sulfur 
content limit for No. 2 fuel oil, the PADEP regulation provides for the 
continued use of fuel at the previous, higher level of 500 ppm sulfur 
under limited conditions. In order for fuel at the older, higher levels 
to be used it must be commercial fuel that was stored in Pennsylvania 
by the ultimate consumer prior to September 1, 2020, which met the 
applicable maximum allowable sulfur content through August 31, 2020 at 
the time it

[[Page 71214]]

was stored. Additionally, the amendments remove the phrase ``Beginning 
July 1, 2016'' from 25 Pa. Code 123.22(a)(2)(iii), which is the section 
that allows for the temporary suspension of the sulfur limit in fuel 
oil under specific circumstances. This regulation will therefore allow 
for the continued temporary sale of fuel with higher sulfur levels in 
accordance with the provisions approved by EPA in the current 
Pennsylvania SIP. Because the substance of the current approved SIP 
will not be changed with respect to these temporary suspension 
provisions, EPA is only taking comment on PADEP's revision that deletes 
the phrase ``Beginning July 1, 2016'' with respect to these provisions.
    This proposed SIP revision to implement low sulfur fuel oil 
provisions is expected to reduce regional haze and visibility 
impairment in Pennsylvania. Additionally, decreased emissions of 
SO2 will contribute to the attainment, maintenance, or both, 
of the SO2 and PM2.5 NAAQS in Pennsylvania and 
the MANE-VU region.

III. Proposed Action

    EPA has determined that Pennsylvania's proposed SIP revisions to 40 
CFR 52.2020(c)(1), which incorporate amendments made to 25 Pa. Code 
Chapter 123.22 will lower the maximum allowable sulfur content limit in 
No. 2 fuel oil and lighter combusted or sold in Pennsylvania and aid in 
reducing SO2 emissions. These emissions are a cause of 
regional haze and reducing them will help to attain the SO2 
and PM2.5 NAAQS. EPA is proposing to approve the September 
4, 2020 Pennsylvania SIP revision which amends commercial No. 2 fuel 
oil and lighter sulfur limits for combustion and sale in Pennsylvania. 
EPA is soliciting public comments on the issues discussed in this 
document. These comments will be considered before taking final action.

IV. 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 Pennsylvania's maximum allowable sulfur content limit for No. 
2 and lighter commercial fuel oil regulation described in 25 PA. Code 
Chapter 123. EPA has made, and will continue to make, these materials 
generally available through https://www.regulations.gov and at the EPA 
Region III Office (please contact the person identified in the For 
Further Information Contact section of this preamble for more 

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 CAA 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 
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 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, 
     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).
    In addition, this proposed rule regarding commercial fuel oil 
sulfur limits for combustion and sale in the Commonwealth of 
Pennsylvania, does not have tribal implications as specified by 
Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), because the SIP 
is not approved to apply in Indian country located in the State, and 
EPA notes that it will not 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, Particulate matter, Regional Haze, Sulfur oxides.

    Dated: December 8, 2021.
Diana Esher,
Acting Regional Administrator, Region III.
[FR Doc. 2021-27101 Filed 12-14-21; 8:45 am]