Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
EPA worked closely with the State of Hawaii in the development of this plan and the State has agreed to incorporate the control requirements into the relevant permits. The State has indicated that it intends to take full responsibility for the development of future Regional Haze plans.
Throughout this document, wherever “we,” “us,” or “our,” is used, we mean the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
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On May 29, 2012, the EPA proposed a FIP to address regional haze in the State of Hawaii. We proposed to determine that this FIP would meet the requirements of the CAA and EPA's rules concerning reasonable progress towards the national goal of preventing any future and remedying any existing man-made impairment of visibility in mandatory Class I areas.
In our Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we proposed to find that there was only one source in Hawaii that was subject to Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) requirements, the Kanoelehua Hill Generating Station (Hill) on the Island of Hawaii (the Big Island). We also proposed to find that the current level of pollution control at Hill was consistent with BART and no additional controls would be required to meet the BART requirement. In addition, the EPA proposed to find that sufficient emissions reductions were expected on Maui to make reasonable progress during the first implementation period of 2001-2018. We also proposed to find that additional SO
EPA held two public hearings in Hawaii on May 31 and June 1, 2012 to accept oral testimony and written comments on the proposal. The first meeting was held at Maui College in Kahului on the Island of Maui. Twenty people provided oral comments and four provided written comments at this hearing. The second hearing was at the Waiakea High School in Hilo on the Big Island. Four people provided oral comments at this hearing and one provided written comments. Verbatim transcripts of the public hearings are available in the public docket for this rulemaking, Docket ID No. EPA-R09-OAR-2012-0345, which can be accessed through the
We also received an additional 18 written comments through email, postal mail and the rulemaking docket. These comments are also available in the public docket for this rulemaking, Docket ID No. EPA-R09-OAR-2012-0345, which can be accessed through the
EPA received 18 written comments on the proposal. Commenting organizations include: Friends of Haleakala National Park (FHNP), Alexander and Baldwin, the parent company of Hawaii Commercial and Sugar (HC&S), Maui Electric Company (MECO), Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO), National Park Service (NPS), Maui Tomorrow Foundation (Maui Tomorrow), Law office of Marc Chytilo on behalf of Preserve Pepe'ekeo Health and Environment and private citizens (Chytilo), Robert W. Parsons on behalf of the Office of the Mayor of Maui (Parsons) and Earthjustice on behalf of the National Parks Conservation Association, Sierra Club, and Blue Planet Foundation (Earthjustice). Seven private citizens also submitted comments on the proposal.
Two of these commenters (HELCO, MECO) stated that EPA's exclusion of volcanic emissions from the determination of natural visibility conditions is arbitrary and capricious. Another of the commenters (Earthjustice) stated that EPA's methods for incorporating volcanic emissions into its analysis are internally inconsistent and arbitrary. These commenters asserted that while emissions from the volcano vary from year to year, there is no reasonable basis for EPA to completely exclude them from the estimate of natural conditions.
According to two of the commenters (HELCO, MECO), EPA has expressed the opinion that Kilauea could stop erupting at any time and that natural visibility conditions in 2064 might not include emissions from the volcano. In the view of the commenters, this does not justify EPA's use of the default conditions developed by the Western Regional Air Partnership (WRAP) for western states in the continental United States to determine requirements for Hawaii; rather, it displays a fundamental misunderstanding of Kilauea's emissions profile. Based on a report attached to the comments, the commenters asserted that significant SO
These commenters (HELCO, MECO) stated that by including emissions from Kilauea in baseline visibility conditions but excluding them from natural visibility conditions, EPA has created an “apples to oranges comparison” that artificially inflates the amount of manmade emissions reductions necessary in Hawaii. As a result, the commenters asserted, the proposed FIP would establish reasonable progress goals that would be impossible to achieve through the reduction of
Another commenter (Earthjustice) stated that the goal of the haze program is to eliminate visibility impairment “from manmade air pollution” [citing 42 U.S.C. 7491(a)(1)]. According to the commenter, failing to include the volcano in natural conditions distorts the analysis of the impacts from human sources and the corresponding BART controls and reasonable progress goals to achieve natural visibility conditions. The commenter asserted that based on this “skewed analysis,” EPA summarily eliminated any controls for NO
The fourth commenter (HC&S) pointed out that under EPA's methodology, the URP incorporates reductions in visibility impairment that are sufficient to offset both the portion of baseline impairment that comes from anthropogenic emissions and the portion that is caused by the volcano. The commenter believes that to make a more accurate assessment of the reduction in emissions from anthropogenic sources necessary to achieve natural visibility conditions, emissions from Kilauea either need to be included in, or excluded from, both the estimate of baseline visibility conditions and the estimate of natural visibility conditions. The commenter recommended that EPA adopt the Hawaii DOH's proposed method to adjust the baseline visibility impairment to account for the impacts of volcano emissions as well as for the impacts of Asian dust. According to the commenter, under this approach, the URP target for 2018 would be 0.32 deciviews (dv), which is only slightly greater than what would be achieved through the proposed FIP.
In establishing RPGs, the states and EPA must “consider” both the URP and the emission reduction measures needed to achieve the URP.
1. Establish baseline and natural visibility conditions.
2. Determine the URP (i.e., a straight line between baseline visibility in 2000-2004 for the worst 20 percent days and projected natural conditions for the worst 20 percent days in 2064).
3. Identify and analyze the measures aimed at achieving the URP.
a. Identify the key pollutants and sources and/or source categories that are contributing to visibility impairment at each Class I area.
b. Identify the control measures and associated emission reductions that are expected to result from compliance with existing rules and other available measures for the sources and source categories that contribute significantly to visibility impairment.
c. Determine what additional control measures would be reasonable based on the statutory factors and other relevant factors for the sources and/or source categories identified.
d. Estimate through the use of air quality models the improvement in visibility that would result from implementation of the control measures found to be reasonable and compare this to the URP.
4. Establish an RPG.
In this case, the commenters' concerns relate primarily to how EPA performed step 1 of this analysis. Specifically, the commenters object to EPA's inclusion of volcanic emissions in the baseline and exclusion of volcanic emissions in our estimate of natural conditions. EPA acknowledges the commenters' concerns, but does not agree that our approach is arbitrary or unjustified in this case. Rather, we have followed the statutory and regulatory requirements for Reasonable Progress analyses, while also accounting for unique circumstances in Hawaii that severely limit the utility of the URP as an analytical tool for setting RPGs for the state's Class I areas.
Pursuant to 40 CFR 51.308(d)(2), baseline visibility conditions must be calculated using actual monitoring data from 2000-2004. Therefore, the baseline conditions for Class I areas in Hawaii necessarily include volcanic emissions. It is difficult to include volcanic emissions as part of natural background visibility in 2064 because of the extreme variability in volcanic emissions from year to year. In this case, a 2064 projection would be little better than a guess. Therefore, in estimating natural conditions for purposes of this first planning period, we have not attempted to forecast the future contribution of the volcano to natural background visibility. Even if we could quantitatively estimate “natural” volcanic emissions and air quality effects in 2064 with any accuracy, the URP would be of very limited value in setting RPGs for Hawaii.
As explained in EPA's Reasonable Progress Guidance, the URP is intended to serve as a gauge against which to measure the improvement in visibility conditions that is projected to result
However, given the dominance of volcanic emissions on the worst 20 percent days in Hawaii, it may be appropriate for future plans to focus on other days when the proportion of anthropogenic contribution to visibility impairment is larger. We expect that the State of Hawaii will develop future regional haze plans, consistent with the CAA and EPA's implementing regulations. We plan to work with the State of Hawaii on those future plans and we will consider different approaches to gauging reasonable progress, and different approaches to determining the URP.
We would consider a refined estimate of natural conditions at these Class I areas if the State of Hawaii were to propose such a change as part of the next Regional Haze plan for Hawaii. Any such estimate would need to be consistent with our guidance on this subject.
Two commenters similarly asserted that fugitive dust from the sugarcane fields affects the haze in Haleakala NP and is killing Maui's coral reefs. The commenter indicated that after harvest, the cane fields are left bare and the loose topsoil is picked up by the trade winds and carried across the island, coating everything in its path and eventually settling on and killing the coral reefs south of Maui.
EPA shares the commenters' concerns about the impact of dust emissions on public health, the loss of topsoil and possible impacts to water quality and marine life. However, in the context of this rulemaking, EPA does not consider it reasonable to require additional pollution control without clear evidence that the dust is causing or contributing to haze at the Class I area. Further analysis of the source of this coarse
Three commenters (HC&S, HELCO, and MECO) agreed with EPA's analysis to determine which sources should be subject to BART requirements. Their comments are summarized in the following paragraphs.
Two of the commenters (HELCO, MECO) noted that CAA section 169A(b)(2)(A) requires the relevant regulatory agency to review a state's BART eligible sources and determine whether they emit “any air pollutant which may reasonably be anticipated to cause or contribute to any impairment of visibility in [a Class I] area.” These commenters cited the BART Guidelines (70 FR 39109, July 6, 2005) to add that if a source does not meet this threshold, it may be exempt from further BART review. Based on these principles, the commenters believe that EPA's analysis of which sources in Hawaii should be subject to BART is sound and consistent with the BART Guidelines, and they urged EPA to retain it for the final FIP.
These two commenters stated that the BART Guidelines provide regulatory agencies with three options for making a “cause or contribute” finding and that EPA reasonably chose to use an “individual source attribution approach” and a threshold of 0.5 dv in this case. According to the commenters, the BART Guidelines explain that the appropriate contribution threshold depends on the number and proximity of sources affecting a Class I area, and a threshold lower than 0.5 dv is justified where there are a large number of BART-eligible sources within the state and in proximity to a Class I area. The commenters added that in Hawaii there are few BART-eligible sources and they are not concentrated near a single Class I area. On this basis, one of the commenters (MECO) explicitly expressed agreement that 0.5 dv is the appropriate threshold.
These two commenters went on to note that, consistent with the BART Guidelines, EPA applied the 0.5 dv contribution threshold to the results of computer modeling that was used to predict visibility impacts from each BART-eligible source in Hawaii, with the result that six of the eight BART-eligible sources fell below the 0.5 dv contribution threshold.
The third commenter (HC&S) also agreed with the proposed threshold (0.5 dv) used to assess whether the impact of a single source contributes to visibility impairment at the Hawaiian Class I areas. This commenter pointed out that of the six sources in Hawaii exempted from BART because their modeled impact is below 0.5 dv, none has a modeled impact of as much as half of this threshold level. The commenter also stated that the combined impact from all six sources is 0.715 dv at Haleakala NP, which is lower than the level (1.0 dv) at which the BART Guidelines consider a single source to “cause” visibility impairment. The commenter added that while this combined impact is somewhat higher than the proposed 0.5 dv contribution threshold, the BART Guidelines explicitly caution that visibility effects of multiple sources should not be aggregated and their collective effects compared against the contribution threshold, because this would inappropriately create a “contribution to contribution” test. The commenter concluded that it is therefore reasonable to conclude that these six sources do not cause or contribute to visibility impairment at Haleakala NP. The commenter also asserted that since the combined visibility impact of these six sources at the Hawaii Volcanoes NP totals 0.35 dv, it is reasonable to conclude that these sources do not cause or contribute to visibility impairment at Hawaii Volcanoes NP. The commenter noted that setting the contribution threshold at 0.5 dv for sources subject to BART will capture those BART-eligible sources responsible for more than half of the visibility impacts at Haleakala NP and nearly 90 percent of the visibility impacts at Hawaii Volcanoes NP while still excluding other sources with very small impacts. The commenter believes that given the relatively small number of BART-eligible sources potentially impacting Class I areas in Hawaii and the magnitude of both the individual sources' impacts and the combined impact from all sources proposed to be exempt from BART, the proposed 0.5 dv threshold for determining whether a single source contributes to visibility impairment is wholly consistent with the BART Guidelines and is therefore an appropriate threshold for use in the Hawaii FIP.
Two commenters (FHNP, Parsons) disagreed with some aspects of EPA's analysis to determine which sources should be subject to BART requirements.
One commenter (FHNP) suggested that the MECO Kahului and HECO Kahe facilities should not be exempted from BART analysis. The commenter noted that EPA used a modeled increase of 0.5 dv at the Haleakala IMPROVE monitoring site (HALE) to identify candidates for BART analysis, and that the measured concentrations of pollutants taken at the Haleakala Crater monitoring site (HACR) are approximately half of those measured at HALE. According to the commenter, it is expected that the point sources analyzed in this report would contribute similar densities of non-anthropologic elements at both the HALE and the HACR sites (with the exception of some smoke sources) and that, hence, a point source modeled to produce a 0.25 dv change at HALE would be expected to produce an approximate 0.5 dv change at HACR in the Class I area. The commenter pointed out that the MECO Kahului site and the HECO Kahe site were modeled to produce changes of 0.232 dv and 0.221 dv, respectively, at HALE. The commenter believes that extrapolating these contributions to the HACR site suggests that these sources are very close to contributing 0.5 dv in the Class I area. The commenter concluded that since actions recommended in the report are projected to produce less than the target rate of progress, the MECO Kahului and HECO Kahe sites should not be exempted from BART analysis.
The second commenter (Parsons) objected to EPA's omission of the Kahului facility from BART requirements. The commenter stated that air emissions from MECO's Maalaea
As an initial matter, we would like to clarify that the modeling upon which we have based our subject-to-BART determinations did not use either the Haleakala (HALE) IMPROVE monitoring site or the Haleakala Crater (HACR) site as a receptor.
To the extent that the commenter is arguing that the subject-to-BART modeling should have used background conditions for HACR rather than HALE, we also disagree. Consistent with the BART Guidelines, the subject-to-BART modeling for Hawaii was performed against natural visibility conditions.
With respect to measured
We also disagree with the commenter that the URP is relevant to whether Kahului and Kahe are subject to BART. Under the Regional Haze Rule (RHR), the determination of which sources are subject-to-BART is a separate analysis from the calculation of the URP and the setting of RPGs.
Regarding the comments from Parsons, EPA agrees that the electric power plants Maalaea and Kahului are relatively large sources of pollution. However, as noted above, the modeled 98th percentile visibility impact of the BART-eligible Kahului source is 0.23 dv, less than one-half of the 0.5 dv subject-to-BART threshold. Due to the age of its equipment, the Maalaea power plant does not have BART-eligible units and therefore is not subject-to-BART.
EPA disagrees that we represented at the hearing in Maui that the Kahului Power Plant would no longer be operating in 2018. That assertion is not supported by the transcript.
One commenter (HC&S) stated that the small contribution to visibility impairment from the Puunene Mill warrants a determination that the facility should not be subject to BART. While conceding that it was reasonable to use maximum actual 24-hour emissions to model worst-case visibility impacts, the commenter indicated that typical visibility impacts from the Puunene Mill are likely to be lower than the modeled results. The commenter noted that even so, modeling results for both coal and bagasse firing showed that the impact of the facility was well below the 0.5 dv contribution threshold at both Haleakala NP and Hawaii Volcanoes NP, at both the maximum 24-hour 98th percentile impact and the highest modeled impact. According to the commenter, the highest modeled impact for the facility (i.e., during coal firing) was less than half the contribution threshold at Haleakala NP and less than 20 percent of the threshold at Hawaii Volcanoes NP. The commenter added that modeling of the combined impacts of both BART-eligible (Boiler 3) and Reasonable Progress-eligible (Boilers 1
In contrast, one commenter (Parsons) believes that with regard to the Hawaii Regional Haze FIP and for public health concerns, air emissions at HC&S's Puunene Mill should be subjected to BART determinations, Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) Hammer standards and both continuous opacity monitoring systems (COMS) and continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS) guidelines. The commenter stated that the Puunene Mill is the second worst polluter in Hawaii with regard to air emissions. The commenter indicated that Boilers 1 and 2 at the facility predate the Act, and thus have been exempt from those standards for decades. The commenter also contended that EPA's “revised MACT Hammer provisions” have not been applied to these units because HC&S and sugar growers in Florida and Texas submitted a report replacing these emission limits with their own subcategory of bagasse-fired boilers. The commenter added that HC&S combusts 100,000 tons of coal annually without emission standards that apply to other coal-burning facilities. The commenter also stated that Boiler 3 at the facility has not been held to Federal standards required for COMS and CEMS or regulatory oversight by the Hawaii DOH.
Two other commenters also stated that EPA should include all of the HC&S smoke stacks in its review. In particular, the commenter asked that EPA review and closely monitor the electric power production emissions on the Puunene Mill.
The commenter indicates that he believes the Mill should be subject to Federal guidelines for CEMS and COMS. We are confident that the methods used to calculate worst-case emissions are appropriate and conservative. Therefore, the absence of continuous monitors does not weaken the analysis.
The commenter also indicates that he believes the Puunene Mill should be subject to MACT controls. The applicability of MACT is outside the scope of this rulemaking.
One commenter (Chytilo) objected to the exclusion of the Hu Honua Bioenergy Facility and the Tradewinds Veneer Mill and Cogeneration Facility's electric generating EGUs from the proposed FIP. The commenter argued that these facilities should be subjected to BART controls and emissions limits. The commenter stated that even though neither source was operating during the baseline period, the emissions from each source are significant and will interfere with progress towards national visibility objectives.
The commenter also asserted that EPA improperly exempted these sources from controls, reporting and reasonable further progress based on what the commenter believes is the irrelevant and incorrect belief that each source is entirely biofueled. The commenter stated that emissions controls will be less successful for these facilities because steady state operations are more difficult to achieve and the operators contemplate diurnal fuel source changes and other operational shifts daily. The commenter added that biofueled sources still cause visibility impairment, and alleged that the FIP rulemaking offers no explanation for why biofueled sources should be exempted from haze controls. The commenter indicated that the two facilities are permitted to burn wood waste which, according to the commenter, is a variable fuel that actually produces increased emissions and should be subject to enhanced controls. The commenter believes that haze objectives cannot be met if these sources are exempted.
The commenter made the following additional points related to the Hu Honua facility:
• The emissions calculations for the Hu Honua facility are questionable. The commenter expressed agreement with EPA's comments on the facility's Covered Source Permit (Hawaii's term for a title V permit), which the commenter characterized as saying that unrealistic emissions factors were used and actual plant emissions are likely to be considerably higher.
• The facility's permit allows the use of conventional diesel fuel during startup and off-peak periods, so any exemption for biofuels is not warranted.
• Sulfur oxides (SO
We note that the commenter's general concern about emissions from new large facilities possibly interfering with visibility goals is a common consideration in air quality planning and is not limited to these two facilities. Such emissions are regulated in large part under the CAA's Prevention of
One commenter (Earthjustice) stated that EPA's proposal to exempt the Hill facility from any BART controls neither meets the requirements of the BART program, nor promotes necessary visibility improvements at Hawaii's Class I areas. The commenter pointed out that even though EPA has stated that this facility is by far the largest source of anthropogenic SO
In contrast, another commenter (HELCO) agreed that EPA appropriately determined that BART controls are not justified for the Hill facility. The commenter noted that EPA's analysis of the five statutory factors that must be considered in establishing BART was based largely on an analysis performed by a consultant for HELCO (“the Trinity BART report”
One commenter (HELCO) agreed with EPA's determination that the Hill facility should not install NO
One commenter (Earthjustice) stated that EPA proposed no control as BART for NO
The commenter also stated that EPA summarily dismisses post-combustion controls such as selective catalytic combustion (SCR) because “they were not found to be cost effective” in the Trinity BART report (citing 77 FR 31706). However, according to the commenter, that report showed that the cost effectiveness of SCR for Hill falls within the range established in EPA and state BART determinations. The commenter quoted the Trinity BART report as including SCR costs of $2,600 and $2,200/ton for the units at the Hill facility, while EPA's proposal for BART at the Four Corners Power Plant considered cost estimates of $4,887 to $6,170/ton to be cost-effective (citing 75 FR 64227, October 19, 2010) and states have established thresholds for cost-effectiveness such as $7,300 (Oregon), $7,000 to $10,000 (Wisconsin), $5,946 to $7,398 (New Mexico), and $5,500 (New York).
The commenter believes that, in any event, EPA has no basis for eliminating BART controls without engaging in the statutorily mandated five-factor BART analysis. According to the commenter, EPA simply waived any analysis, and any pollution reduction benefit, based on speculation. The commenter alleged that proper inquiry would confirm, for example, that LNB would prove much more effective at controlling NO