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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 52

[EPA-R01-OAR-2014-0275; A-1-FRL-9924-17-Region 1]

Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Rhode Island; Transportation Conformity

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency.
ACTION: Direct final rule.
SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted by the State of Rhode Island on February 21, 2014. This revision includes a regulation adopted by Rhode Island that establishes procedures to follow for transportation conformitydeterminations. Conformity to the purpose of the SIP means that transportation activities will not cause new air quality violations, worsen existing violations, or delay timely attainment of the national ambient air quality standards. The intended effect of this action is to approve Rhode Island's transportation conformity regulation into the Rhode Island SIP. This action is being taken in accordance with the Clean Air Act.
DATES: This direct final rule will be effective May 11, 2015, unless EPA receives adverse comments by April 9, 2015. If adverse comments are received, EPA will publish a timely withdrawal of the direct final rule in theFederal Registerinforming the public that the rule will not take effect.
ADDRESSES: 1.www.regulations.gov:Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.

2.Email: arnold.anne@epa.gov

3.Fax:(617) 918-0047.

4.Mail:"Docket Identification Number EPA-R01-OAR-2014-0275, Anne Arnold, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA New England Regional Office, Office of Ecosystem Protection, Air Quality Planning Unit, 5 Post Office Square--Suite 100, (Mail code OEP05-2), Boston, MA 02109-3912.

5.Hand Delivery or Courier:Deliver your comments to: Anne Arnold, Manager, Air Quality Planning Unit, Office of Ecosystem Protection, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA New England Regional Office, 5 Post Office Square--Suite 100, (Mail code OEP05-2), Boston, MA 02109-3912. 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 legal holidays.

Instructions:Direct your comments to Docket ID No EPA-R01-OAR-2014-0275. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online atwww.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 throughwww.regulations.gov,or email, information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected. Thewww.regulations.govWeb 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 throughwww.regulations.govyour 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.

Docket:All documents in the electronic docket are listed in thewww.regulations.govindex. 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 inwww.regulations.govor in hard copy at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA New England Regional Office, Office of Ecosystem Protection, 5 Post Office Square--Suite 100, Boston, MA. EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the contact listed in theFOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACTsection 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.

In addition, copies of the state submittal are also available for public inspection during normal business hours, by appointment at the State Air Agency; Office of Air Resources, Department of Environmental Management, 235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908-5767.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anne Arnold, Air Quality Unit, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA New England Regional Office, 5 Post Office Square--Suite 100, (Mail code OEP05-2), Boston, MA 02109-3912, telephone number (617) 918-1047, fax number (617) 918-1047, emailarnold.anne@epa.gov.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Throughout this document whenever “we,” “us,” or “our” is used, we mean EPA.

Organization of this document. The following outline is provided to aid in locating information in this preamble.

I. Background A. What is transportation conformity? B. What are the transportation conformity provisions of SAFETEA-LU (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users)? II. Rhode Island's SIP Revision III. EPA's Evaluation of Rhode Island's SIP Revision IV. Final Action V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background A. What is transportation conformity?

Transportation conformity is required under Section 176(c) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) to ensure that Federally supported highway, transit projects, and other activities are consistent with (“conform to”) the purpose of the SIP. Conformity currently applies to areas that are designated nonattainment, and those redesignated to attainment after 1990 (maintenance areas) with plans developed under section 175A of the Clean Air Act, for the following transportation related criteria pollutants: Ozone, particulate matter (PM2.5and PM10), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Conformity to the purpose of the SIP means that transportation activities will not cause new air quality violations, worsen existing violations, or delay timely attainment of the relevant national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). The transportation conformity regulation is found in 40 CFR part 93, subpart A and provisions related to conformity SIPs are found in 40 CFR 51.390.

In the CAA, Congress recognized that actions taken by Federal agencies could affect State, Tribal, and local agencies' ability to attain and maintain the NAAQS. Congress added section 176(c) (42 U.S.C. 7506) to the CAA to ensure Federal agencies' proposed actions conform to the applicable SIP, Tribal Implementation Plan (TIP) or Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) for attaining and maintaining the NAAQS. That section requires Federal entities to find that the emissions from the Federal action will conform with the purposes of the SIP, TIP, or FIP, or not otherwise interfere with the State's or Tribe's ability to attain and maintain the NAAQS.

The CAA Amendments of 1990 clarified and strengthened theprovisions in section 176(c). Because certain provisions of section 176(c) apply only to highway and mass transit funding and approval actions, EPA published two set of regulations to implement section 176(c). The Transportation Conformity Regulations (40 CFR 51, Subpart T, and 40 CFR 93, Subpart A), first published on November 24, 1993 (58 FR 62188), address Federal actions related to highway and mass transit funding and approval actions. The General Conformity Regulations (40 CFR 51, Subpart W, and 40 CFR 93, Subpart B), published on November 30, 1993 (58 FR 63214), cover all other Federal actions. These two conformity regulations have been revised numerous times. Today's action focuses only on transportation conformity.

When promulgated in 1993, the Federal transportation conformity rule at 40 CFR 51.395 mandated that the transportation conformity SIP revision incorporate several provisions1 of the rule in verbatim form, except in so far as needed to give effect to a stated intent to establish criteria and procedures more stringent than the requirements stated in these sections.

1Specifically, those sections are: 51.392, 51.394, 51.398, 51.400, 51.404, 51.410, 51.412, 51.414, 51.416, 51.418, 51.420, 51.422, 51.424, 51.426, 51.428, 51.430, 51.432, 51.434, 51.436, 51.438, 51.440, 51.442, 51.444, 51.446, 51,448, 51.450, 51.460, and 51.462.

B. What are the transportation conformity provisions of SAFETEA-LU?

On August 10, 2005, SAFETEA-LU was signed into law streamlining the requirements for conformity SIPs. Prior to SAFETEA-LU being signed into law, states were required to address all of the Federal conformity rule's provisions in their conformity SIPs.

Under SAFETEA-LU, states are required to address and tailor only three sections of the conformity rule in their conformity SIPs. These three sections of the Federal rule which must meet a state's individual circumstances are: 40 CFR 93.105, which addresses consultation procedures; 40 CFR 93.122(a)(4)(ii), which requires that written commitments be obtained for control measures that are not included in a Metropolitan Planning Organization's transportation plan and transportation improvement program prior to a conformity determination, and that such commitments be fulfilled; and, 40 CFR 93.125(c) which requires that written commitments be obtained for mitigation measures prior to a project level conformity determination, and that project sponsors must comply with such commitments. In general, states are no longer required to submit conformity SIP revisions that address the other sections of the conformity rule. This provision took effect on August 10, 2005, when SAFETEA-LU was signed into law.

II. Rhode Island's SIP Revision

On February 21, 2014, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM) submitted a SIP revision to EPA. This SIP revision includes Rhode Island's Air Pollution Control Regulation No. 49, “Transportation Conformity.” The stated purpose of this regulation is to fulfill the requirement to establish a SIP revision that addresses the three sections of the Federal transportation conformity rule discussed above.

III. EPA's Evaluation of Rhode Island's SIP Revision

We have reviewed Rhode Island's SIP submittal to ensure consistency with the Clean Air Act, as amended by SAFETEA-LU, and EPA regulations governing state procedures for transportation conformity and interagency consultation (40 CFR part 93, subpart A and 40 CFR 51.390) and have concluded that the SIP submittal is approvable. Specifically, Rhode Island's Regulation No. 49, “Transportation Conformity,” adequately addresses the three sections of the Federal transportation conformity rule discussed above (consultation procedures, written commitments for control measures and mitigation measures, and project sponsors' compliance with such commitments).

In addition, Rhode Island's February 21, 2014 SIP revision meets the requirements set forth in section 110 of the CAA with respect to adoption and submission of SIP revisions. The approval of Rhode Island's transportation conformity SIP revision will strengthen the Rhode Island SIP and will assist the state in complying with the Federal NAAQS. Therefore, EPA is approving Rhode Island's transportation conformity SIP revision to comply with the most recent Federal transportation conformity requirements.

IV. Final Action

EPA is approving, and incorporating into the Rhode Island SIP, Rhode Island's Air Pollution Control Regulation No. 49, “Transportation Conformity.”

The EPA is publishing this action without prior proposal because the Agency views this as a noncontroversial amendment and anticipates no adverse comments. However, in the proposed rules section of thisFederal Registerpublication, EPA is publishing a separate document that will serve as the proposal to approve the SIP revision should relevant adverse comments be filed. This rule will be effective May 11, 2015 without further notice unless the Agency receives relevant adverse comments by April 9, 2015.

If the EPA receives such comments, then EPA will publish a notice withdrawing the final rule and informing the public that the rule will not take effect. All public comments received will then be addressed in a subsequent final rule based on the proposed rule. The EPA will not institute a second comment period on the proposed rule. All parties interested in commenting on the proposed rule should do so at this time. If no such comments are received, the public is advised that this rule will be effective on May 11, 2015 and no further action will be taken on the proposed rule. Please note that if EPA receives adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph, or section of this rule and if that provision may be severed from the remainder of the rule, EPA may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment.

V. 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. 3501et 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. 601et seq.);

• Does not contain any unfunded mandate or significantly or uniquely affect small governments, as describedin 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. 801et 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 theFederal Register. A major rule cannot take effect until 60 days after it is published in theFederal Register. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

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 May 11, 2015. 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. Parties with objections to this direct final rule are encouraged to file a comment in response to the parallel notice of proposed rulemaking for this action published in the proposed rules section of today'sFederal Register, rather than file an immediate petition for judicial review of this direct final rule, so that EPA can withdraw this direct final rule and address the comment in the proposed rulemaking. 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: February 4, 2015. H. Curtis Spalding, Regional Administrator, EPA New England.

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

PART 52—APPROVAL AND PROMULGATION OF IMPLEMENTATION PLANS 1. The authority citation for part 52 continues to read as follows: Authority:

42 U.S.C. 7401et seq.

Subpart OO—Rhode Island 2. In § 52.2070 the table in paragraph (c) is amended by adding a new entry entitled “Air Pollution Control Regulation 49” after the entry for “Air Pollution Control Regulation 45” to read as follows:
§ 52.2070 Identification of plan.

(c)EPA Approved regulations.

EPA-Approved Rhode Island Regulations State citation Title/subject State effective date EPA approval date Explanations ******* Air Pollution Control Regulation 49. Transportation Conformity 10/20/2011 3/10/2015 [InsertFederal Registercitation] *******