Clean Data Determination for 1997 PM2.5, 48350-48356 [2016-17410]

Download as PDF 48350 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. The CRA allows the issuing agency to make a rule effective sooner than otherwise provided by the CRA if the agency makes a good cause finding that notice-and-comment rulemaking procedures are impracticable, unnecessary or contrary to the public interest (5 U.S.C. 808(2)). The EPA has made a good cause finding for this rule as discussed in Section II.B of this document, including the basis for that finding. IV. Statutory Authority The statutory authority for this action is provided by sections 110, 126 and 307 of the CAA as amended (42 U.S.C. 7410, 7426 and 7607). V. Judicial Review Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, judicial review of this final rule is available only by the filing of a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the for the appropriate circuit by September 23, 2016. Under section 307(b)(2) of the CAA, the requirements that are the subject of this final rule may not be challenged later in civil or criminal proceedings brought by us to enforce these requirements. List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52 Environmental protection, Administrative practices and procedures, Air pollution control, Electric utilities, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Sulfur dioxide. Dated: July 14, 2016. Gina McCarthy, Administrator. [FR Doc. 2016–17412 Filed 7–22–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY Table of Contents 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA–R09–OAR–2014–0708; FRL–9949–47Region 9] asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES Clean Data Determination for 1997 PM2.5 Standards; California—South Coast; Applicability of Clean Air Act Requirements Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Final rule. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking final action to determine that the South Coast air quality planning area in California has attained the 1997 annual and 24-hour VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 I. Summary of Proposed Action II. Evaluation of 2014 and 2015 Data III. Public Comments and the EPA’s Responses IV. Final Action V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Summary of Proposed Action AGENCY: SUMMARY: fine particle (PM2.5) National Ambient Air Quality Standards. This determination is based upon complete (or otherwise validated), quality-assured and certified ambient air monitoring data showing that the area has monitored attainment of the 1997 annual and 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS based on the 2011–2013 monitoring period, and that all complete data available since that time period indicate that the area continues to attain. Based on the above determination, the requirements for this area to submit certain state implementation plan (SIP) revisions related to attainment shall be suspended for so long as the area continues to attain the 1997 annual and 24-hour PM2.5 standards. DATES: This rule is effective on August 24, 2016. ADDRESSES: The EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA–R09–OAR–2014–0708. All documents in the docket are listed on the http://www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., confidential business information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted materials, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available through http:// www.regulations.gov, or please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section for additional availability information. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wienke Tax, (415) 947–4192, or by email at tax.wienke@epa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Throughout this document, wherever ‘‘we’’, ‘‘us’’ or ‘‘our’’ are used, we mean the EPA. On December 9, 2014 (79 FR 72999), the EPA proposed to determine that the Los Angeles-South Coast Air Basin (‘‘South Coast’’) nonattainment area had attained the 1997 annual and 24-hour national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS or ‘‘standards’’) for fine particles (generally referring to particles less than or equal to 2.5 micrometers in diameter, PM2.5)(‘‘1997 PM2.5 PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 NAAQS’’).1 Herein, we refer to our December 9, 2014 proposed rule as the ‘‘proposed rule.’’ In our proposed rule, we explained that in making an attainment determination, the EPA generally relies on complete, quality-assured and certified data gathered at State and Local Air Monitoring Stations (SLAMS) and entered into the EPA’s Air Quality System (AQS) database.2 Under 40 CFR 50.7 (‘‘National primary and secondary ambient air quality standards for PM2.5’’) and appendix N to 40 CFR part 50 (‘‘Interpretation of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for PM2.5’’), the 1997 annual and 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS is met when each monitoring site in the area has a design value at or below the standard.3 4 The EPA proposed the determination of attainment for the South Coast area based upon a review of the monitoring network operated by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and the data collected at the monitoring sites operating during the most recent three-year period from which data was available at the time of the proposed rule (i.e., 2011 to 2013). Based on this review, the EPA found that complete (or otherwise validated), quality-assured and certified data for the South Coast showed that the annual and 24-hour design values for the 2011–2013 period were equal to or less than 15 micrograms per cubic meter (m/m3) and 65 m/m3, respectively, at all monitoring sites and that, therefore, the South Coast had attained the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS. See the data summary tables on pages 73003 and 73004 of our proposed rule. In conjunction with and based upon our proposed determination that the South Coast had attained the standard, 1 The South Coast includes Orange County, the southwestern two-thirds of Los Angeles County, southwestern San Bernardino County, and western Riverside County (see 40 CFR 81.305). 2 AQS is EPA’s repository for ambient air quality data. Data completeness requirements for a given year are met when at least 75 percent of the scheduled sampling days for each quarter have valid data. 3 The annual PM 2.5 standard design value is the 3-year average of annual mean concentration, and the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS is met when the annual standard design value at each eligible monitoring site is less than or equal to 15.0 mg/m3. In 2012, we established a more stringent annual PM2.5 NAAQS of 12.0 mg/m3, 78 FR 3086 (January 15, 2013) (‘‘2012 PM2.5 NAAQS’’), but the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS remains in effect. 4 The 24-hour PM 2.5 standard design value is the 3-year average of annual 98th percentile 24-hour average values recorded at each eligible monitoring site, and the 1997 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS is met when the 24-hour standard design value at each monitoring site is less than or equal to 65 mg/m3. In 2006, we established a more stringent 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS of 35 mg/m3, 71 FR 61144 (October 17, 2006) (‘‘2006 PM2.5 NAAQS’’), but the 1997 24hour PM2.5 NAAQS remains in effect. E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES the EPA also proposed to determine that the obligation under the Clean Air Act (CAA or ‘‘Act’’) to submit any remaining attainment-related SIP revisions arising from classification of the South Coast as a Moderate nonattainment area under subpart 4 of part D (of title I of the Act) for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS was not applicable for so long as the area continues to attain the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS. These attainment-related requirements include, but are not limited to, the part D, subpart 4 obligations to provide an attainment demonstration pursuant to section 189(a)(1)(B), the reasonably available control measures (RACM) provisions of section 189(a)(1)(C) and the reasonable further progress (RFP) provisions of section 189(c). In so doing, we proposed to apply the EPA’s Clean Data Policy to the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS to suspend the attainment-related SIP submittal obligations under subpart 4 of part D (of title I of the CAA), since the South Coast nonattainment area is considered a ‘‘Moderate’’ nonattainment area under subpart 4. See page 73005 of our proposed rule. In proposing to apply the Clean Data Policy to the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS, we explained that we are applying the same statutory interpretation with respect to the implications of clean data determinations that the Agency has long applied in regulations for the 1997 8hour ozone and PM2.5 NAAQS and in individual rulemakings for the 1-hour ozone, coarse particle (PM10) and lead NAAQS. Please see the proposed rule for more detailed information concerning the PM2.5 NAAQS, designations of PM2.5 nonattainment areas, the regulatory basis for determining attainment of the NAAQS, the SCAQMD’s PM2.5 monitoring network, the EPA’s review and evaluation of the data and the rationale and implications for application of the Clean Data Policy to the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS. II. Evaluation of 2014 and 2015 Data We noted in our proposed rule that, at that time, AQS included no PM2.5 data for year 2014 for the South Coast, but that several quarters of preliminary data were expected to be uploaded to AQS prior to the EPA’s final action. See page 73003 of the proposed rule. We also indicated that we would review the preliminary 2014 data prior to taking final action to ensure that 2014 data are consistent with the determination of attainment. In the paragraphs that follow, before we discuss the data for 2014 and 2015, we discuss changes to the SCAQMD PM2.5 ambient monitoring network and the EPA’s determination VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 regarding eligibility of data from certain collocated monitors for comparison to the NAAQS. At the time of our proposed rule, the PM2.5 monitoring network in the South Coast consisted of 18 SLAMS. Monitoring networks frequently change over time in response to changing circumstances, requirements and needs. Since our proposed rule, the SCAQMD has discontinued monitoring at three sites (Burbank, Riverside (Magnolia) and Ontario (Fire Station)) and has established near-road PM2.5 monitoring sites along Route 710 in Long Beach and along Route 60 in Ontario.5 During at least portions of 2014 and 2015, SCAQMD operated collocated filterbased Federal Reference Method (FRM) and Federal Equivalent Method (FEM) Beta Attenuation Method (BAM) samplers at seven sites: Anaheim, Burbank, Central Los Angeles, North Long Beach, South Long Beach, Rubidoux and Mira Loma. With respect to the discontinued sites, SCAQMD has requested approval from the EPA to suspend monitoring at the Burbank and Riverside (Magnolia) sites until suitable replacement sites can be located.6 SCAQMD is not planning to replace the Ontario (Fire Station) site but rather to consolidate measurements from that site with nearby sites and thus has requested approval from the EPA to discontinue, rather than suspend, monitoring at the Ontario (Fire Station) site. The EPA has not taken action on the requests due to insufficient information, but is working with the SCAQMD to provide the basis to resolve the requests by including sufficient information in SCAQMD’s upcoming 2016 Annual Air Quality Monitoring Network Plan (due for submittal to the EPA in July 2016). None of the three discontinued sites (Burbank, Riverside (Magnolia) and Ontario (Fire Station)) was ever the design value site in the South Coast for PM2.5, and given that the determination of attainment is based on the concentrations measured at the design value site, the fact that the EPA has not yet approved the relocation or closure of the three monitoring sites does not preclude taking final action on the attainment determination. With respect to the two newlyestablished near-road PM2.5 monitoring sites, the EPA has approved the sites and has determined that, with the 5 See SCAQMD, Annual Air Quality Monitoring Network Plan, July 2015, pages 16 and 17. SCAQMD submitted the 2015 network plan to the EPA on July 1, 2015. See letter from Rene M. Bermudez, Principal Air Quality Instrument Specialist, SCAQMD, to Meredith Kurpius, Ph.D., EPA Region IX, July 1, 2015. 6 Id., at appendix D, pages 1 and 2. PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 48351 addition of the near-road sites, the SCAQMD network of PM2.5 monitoring sites continues to meet the minimum requirements of our monitoring regulations even in the absence of the three discontinued sites.7 With respect to the eligibility of data from collocated monitors for comparison with the NAAQS, our regulations provide that monitoring agencies must assess data from PM2.5 FEM monitors using certain performance criteria where the data are identified as not of sufficient comparability to a collocated FRM, and the monitoring agency requests that the FEM data should not be used for comparison to the NAAQS.8 As described on page 73003 of the proposed rule, the SCAQMD requested that the 2011–2013 data from the collocated PM2.5 FEM monitors at seven monitoring sites in the PM2.5 monitoring network be considered not eligible for comparison to the NAAQS as part of its 2014 Annual Air Quality Monitoring Network Plan. The EPA approved the request by letter dated September 9, 2014. Similarly, as part of the 2015 Annual Air Quality Monitoring Network Plan, the SCAQMD submitted an ineligibility determination request for data from collocated FEM monitors over the 2012–2014 period, and on May 2, 2016, the EPA approved that request.9 Both determinations were made based on assessments of the data showing that bias in the FEM data (relative to collocated FRM data) exceeded EPA’s performance criteria for acceptable slope and intercept as defined in 40 CFR 58.11(e). In the South Coast, SCAQMD has designated the PM2.5 FRM samplers as the primary monitors where FRM and FEM monitors are collocated at a given site. Under our regulations, comparisons with the PM2.5 NAAQS are made on a site-level, not a monitor-level basis, and the default dataset for a site is based on the designated primary monitor’s recorded concentrations.10 Collocated monitors may be used to augment the default dataset to fill in data gaps; however, collocated monitor data are ineligible for this purpose if the EPA has approved a request from a district to approve a determination that such data 7 See letter and enclosures from Gretchen Busterud, Acting Deputy Director, Air Division, EPA Region IX, to Matt Miyasato, Deputy Executive Officer, Science and Technology Advancement, SCAQMD, dated October 29, 2015. 8 40 CFR 58.11(e). 9 See letter from Meredith Kurpius, Manager, Air Quality Analysis Office, Air Division, EPA Region IX, to Jason Low, Ph.D., South Coast Air Quality Management District, dated May 2, 2016. 10 40 CFR part 50, appendix N, section 3.0(d). E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1 48352 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations are ineligible for NAAQS comparison purposes. In this instance, the EPA has approved such ineligibility requests for collocated PM2.5 FEM monitoring data for both the 2011–2013 and 2012–2014 periods. With respect to the data, all four quarters for 2014 and 2015 have now been uploaded, and the SCAQMD has certified that 2014 and 2015 data are quality-assured.11 As part of the 2014 and 2015 data review process, we reviewed raw data reports for SCAQMD monitoring sites. With respect to 2014 data, we noted that significant portions of the 2014 data had been flagged with a number of Quality Assurance (QA) qualifier flags. Specifically, portions of the 2014 data in quarters one, two, three and four were flagged with ‘‘QX’’ (does not meet QC criteria) and portions of data in quarter four were flagged with ‘‘1’’ (deviation from a CFR/critical criteria requirement).12 An in-depth review of the data revealed that the ‘‘1’’ and ‘‘QX’’ flags were associated with deviations from the criteria in 40 CFR part 50 appendix L, sections 8.3.6 and 8.3.5, respectively. Some of the QA issues during 2014 stem from arrangements made by SCAQMD in anticipation of the agency’s temporary closure of its weighing room to allow for an upgrade to that facility and in response to construction delays associated with that project. The SCAQMD’s weighing room reopened on December 4, 2014, and the QA issues affecting 2014 data did not affect data collected in 2015. The requirements in 40 CFR part 50, appendix L, section 8.3.6 state that postsample conditioning and weighing shall not exceed 30 days. This refers to the amount of time between when the sample is collected and when the sample is post-weighed. This is commonly referred to as the ‘‘postsample hold time requirement’’ and, per EPA guidance (‘‘QA Handbook’’), is considered a ‘‘critical criteria’’.13 Adherence to this requirement is important because loss of mass is possible with excessive post-sample hold times, which would likely bias data low. As described in section 17.3.3 and appendix D of the QA Handbook, for PM2.5, critical criteria are the specific requirements in 40 CFR 50 appendix L and 40 CFR 58 appendix A that have been deemed critical to maintaining the integrity of a sample or group of samples. The QA handbook further explains that observations that do not meet each and every criterion on the Critical Criteria Table should be invalidated unless there are compelling reasons and justification for not doing so. Since a portion of the 2014 data in quarter four has not met a critical criterion, as defined by the QA Handbook, SCAQMD has invalidated these data. Therefore these data will not be considered as valid data for the purposes of this action.14 Given the extent of invalidated data, the dataset for quarter four of 2014 is incomplete from all of the monitoring sites, resulting in an incomplete year for 2014. Unlike the data for 2014, however, the data collected during 2015 are complete (or nearly complete) for all four quarters from all monitors.15 For 2015, the basinwide high-site annual average and (98th percentile) 24-hour-average PM2.5 concentrations are 14.5 mg/m3 and 43 mg/m3, respectively, based on complete or nearly complete datasets for 2015. During 2015, the high site for the annual average was the near-road Ontario (Route 60) site, and the high site for the 98th percentile 24-hour concentration was the Mira Loma site. Because the concentrations fall below the relevant NAAQS (15.0 mg/m3, annual average and 65 mg/m3, 24-hour average), they are consistent with the 2011–2013 data upon which the determination of attainment is based. Lastly, we find further support for the conclusion that the South Coast has attained the 1997 PM2.5 standard in a review of the long-term trends in PM2.5 concentrations in the South Coast as summarized below in Table 1. TABLE 1—SOUTH COAST BASIN-WIDE HIGH ANNUAL AND 24-HOUR PM2.5 CONCENTRATIONS, 2001–2015 Annual average (μg/m3) a Year asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 ......................................................................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................................................... 11 For the letter of certification of 2014 data, see the letter from Matt M. Miyasato, Ph.D., Deputy Executive Officer, Science and Technology Advancement, SCAQMD, to Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator, EPA Region IX, dated May 1, 2015. For the letter of certification of 2015 data, see the letter from Laki Tisopulos, Ph.D., P.E., Assistant Deputy Executive Officer, Science and Technology Advancement, SCAQMD, to Deborah Jordan, Air Division Director, EPA Region IX, April 29, 2016. 12 See 2014 Raw Data Report (AMP 350, April 14, 2016, SouthCoast_PM2.5_RawDataReport_2014.pdf). VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 13 See EPA’s Quality Assurance Handbook for Air Pollution Measurement Systems, Volume II, May, 2013 (EPA–454/B–13–003). 14 On May 5, 2016, SCAQMD replaced the data code ‘‘1’’ with the null data code ‘‘AR’’ (lab error) for post-sample hold time requirement noncompliant data and therefore removed the data from the regulatory data record. See 2014 Raw Data Report (AMP 350), May 5, 2016. SouthCoast_PM2.5_ RawDataReport_PostSample_Removed.pdf. 15 The data from all quarters of 2015 from all of the monitoring sites are complete (i.e., 75 percent PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 98th Percentile 24-hour average (μg/m3) b 31.0 27.5 24.8 22.1 20.9 20.8 20.9 18.3 17.2 15.2 15.3 15.1 14.1 ........................ 74 66 77 72 58 54 71 47 43 36 37 36 38 ........................ or greater sampling days with valid data) except for: (1) Quarter one at the Long Beach—Route 710 nearroad monitor (AQS ID #06–037–4008) during which 74 percent of sampling days have valid data; and (2) quarter four at the Anaheim monitor (AQS ID # 06–059–0007) during which 43 percent of sampling days have valid data. The Long Beach— Route 710 near-road monitor began operating in 2015. The Anaheim monitor has been operating for many years but has never been the design value site within the South Coast. E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations 48353 TABLE 1—SOUTH COAST BASIN-WIDE HIGH ANNUAL AND 24-HOUR PM2.5 CONCENTRATIONS, 2001–2015—Continued Annual average (μg/m3) a Year 2015 ......................................................................................................................................................................... 14.5 98th Percentile 24-hour average (μg/m3) b 43 a Basin-wide high annual-average concentration is from the Rubidoux site for 2001–2005, the Mira Loma site from 2006–2013, and the Ontario (Route 60) site for 2015. Bold values represent exceedances of the applicable 1997 standard. b Basin-wide high 98th percentile 24-hour average concentration is from the Rubidoux site for 2001–2003, 2005, and 2006; the San Bernardino site for 2004 and 2007; the Mira Loma site for 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2015; the Azusa site for 2009; and the Fontana site for 2012. Bold values represent exceedances of the applicable 1997 standard. Source: AQS Design Value Reports, dated October 6, 2014, October 7, 2014, and May 5, 2016. As shown in Table 1, basin-wide high-site PM2.5 concentrations in the South Coast declined rapidly from 2001 to 2009. In more recent years, the decline has been more gradual and has even started to level out; however, the level reached in recent years are below the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS of (less than or equal to) 15.0 mg/m3 (annual average) and 65 mg/m3 (98th percentile 24-hour average). We have concluded that South Coast attained the 1997 PM2.5 standard by the end of 2013, and this conclusion is supported by the data collected during 2015 and the long-term trend data of PM2.5 concentrations in the South Coast that show signs of leveling out at a level consistent with attainment of that standard. III. Public Comments and the EPA’s Responses The EPA’s proposed rule provided a 30-day public comment period. Upon request, we extended the comment period 14 days, from January 8th to January 22nd, 2015.16 We received one set of comments on our proposed rule, a letter from Earthjustice on behalf of a group that Earthjustice refers to collectively as ‘‘Health Advocates’’.17 We summarize the comments from Health Advocates and respond to them below. Comment #1: Health Advocates assert that 2014 monitoring data demonstrate 16 See 80 FR 449 (January 6, 2015). letter, Elizabeth Forsyth, Earthjustice, and Maya Golden-Krasner, Communities for a Better Environment, to Wienke Tax, EPA Region IX, dated January 22, 2015. Earthjustice submitted the comments on our proposed rule on behalf of Communities for a Better Environment, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, Medical Advocates for Healthy Air, and Physicians for Social Responsibility—Los Angeles. Earthjustice’s letter included four attachments: (1) EPA’s technical support document and response to comments document for action on the 2007 South Coast Air Quality Management Plan; (2) comments on the 2011 Air Monitoring Network Plan for the South Coast Air Quality Management District; (3) a draft report prepared by Greg Gould, ‘‘Near Roadway Emissions: Measures, Exposure, and Monitoring;’’ and a report prepared by E.H. Pechan & Associations, Inc., ‘‘Estimating Contributions of On-Road Emissions to Near Highway PM2.5 Concentrations.’’ asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES 17 See VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 South Coast is not currently attaining the 1997 PM2.5 standards. We disagree. First, CARB’s AQMIS combines preliminary (real-time) data with official (historical) data. By their nature, preliminary data are subject to change and may be subject to adjustment, substitution or exclusion under applicable monitoring regulations. In this instance, the annual average PM2.5 concentrations cited by Health Advocates at four of the monitoring sites (Central Los Angeles, Rubidoux, Mira Loma and Burbank) reflect data collected by continuous PM2.5 FEM monitors for which the SCAQMD has requested an ineligibility determination (i.e., for comparison to the NAAQS), and because the EPA has approved the 2014 Annual SCAQMD’s request, the continuous Monitoring site mean PM2.5 FEM data are excluded from 3) (μg/m NAAQS attainment determinations. With respect to the annual average PM2.5 Central Los Angeles—Los Angeles (Main Street) ....... 18.8 concentrations cited by Health Advocates at the two other monitoring Metropolitan Riverside County—Rubidoux ..................... 15.6 sites (Riverside (Magnolia) and Upland), Riverside—Magnolia ............. 16.3 the data reflect non-FEM methods and Mira Loma—Mira Loma (Van are therefore not eligible for comparison Buren) ............................... 19.2 with the PM NAAQS.18 2.5 Burbank—W Palm Ave ......... 19.8 Second, as discussed in detail in San Bernardino—Upland ...... 17.9 section II of this document, a review of the only complete, quality-assured data Lastly, Health Advocates assert that, in light of 2014 data showing violations available after the 2011–2013 period, that is, the 2015 PM2.5 ambient data of the 1997 PM2.5 standard, the EPA collected in the South Coast, supports must reclassify the South Coast as a EPA’s determination that the area is ‘‘Serious’’ nonattainment area under attaining the NAAQS. As a result, our CAA section 188(b)(2) and require the South Coast to prepare a ‘‘Serious’’ area suspension of attainment-related SIP submittal requirements is appropriate, plan. and reclassification of the area to Response to Comment #1: We note ‘‘Serious’’ for the 1997 PM2.5 standards that Health Advocates do not challenge our evaluation of South Coast PM2.5 data is not warranted. Lastly, with respect to reclassification for 2011–2013, our proposed of the South Coast to Serious, we note determination that the design values in that the EPA has reclassified the South the South Coast for that period are less Coast from Moderate to Serious for the than the 1997 PM2.5 standards or our more stringent 2006 (24-hour) PM2.5 proposed suspension of any remaining NAAQS. See 81 FR 1514 (January 13, SIP submittal requirements for the 1997 2016). As a result of that action, PM2.5 standards. Rather, Health California is required to submit, by Advocates assert that data for 2014 August 14, 2017, additional SIP made available since publication of our proposed rule precludes our final 18 Under 40 CFR 50.7(a)(1), the 1997 PM 2.5 determination of attainment because the NAAQS are defined in terms of ambient air 2014 data purportedly shows that the measurements made by FRMs or FEMs. that the South Coast is not attaining the 1997 PM2.5 standards, and because the South Coast is not attaining the standard, suspension of attainmentrelated SIP submittal requirements, as proposed by the EPA, is inappropriate. In support of their assertion, Health Advocates present annual average PM2.5 data for six monitoring sites in the South Coast for year 2014 downloaded from the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB’s) Air Quality and Meteorological Information System (AQMIS) Web site (http:// www.arb.ca.gov/aqmis2/aqmis2.php). Specifically, Health Advocates present the following data downloaded from AQMIS: PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES 48354 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations revisions to satisfy the statutory requirements that apply to Serious PM2.5 nonattainment areas, including the requirements of subpart 4 of part D, title I of the Act. The Serious area plan must provide for attainment of the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS in the South Coast as expeditiously as practicable, but no later than December 31, 2019, in accordance with the requirements of part D of title I of the Act. Moreover, notwithstanding the suspension of attainment-related SIP requirements related to the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS arising from today’s action, California must continue to develop such plans not just for the more stringent 2006 (24-hour) PM2.5 NAAQS cited above, but also for the more stringent 2012 (annual average) PM2.5 NAAQS for which the South Coast has been classified as Moderate nonattainment effective April 15, 2015. See 80 FR 2206 (January 15, 2015). The new South Coast plan addressing Moderate area requirements for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS is due no later than October 15, 2016. See CAA section 189(a)(2)(B). Comment #2: Health Advocates contend that the EPA cannot make a clean data determination for the 1997 PM2.5 standards in the South Coast because the data the EPA considered for its proposed determination exclude data from near-roadway monitors. In support of their contention, Health Advocates cite CAA section 107(a), which requires states to assure air quality within the entire geographic area and note that Congress did not exempt areas near highways, where evidence cited by the commenters indicates much higher levels of PM2.5 within 300 meters of the highway. Thus, they assert that the inclusion of near-roadway monitoring data is necessary to protect the people who live, work and go to school within 300 meters of a highway in the South Coast and cite changes in the EPA’s monitoring regulations that require near-roadway monitoring in certain urban areas. Health Advocates also cite a case pending in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in which community and environmental groups are challenging the EPA’s approval of the attainment demonstration for the 1997 PM2.5 standards in the South Coast, in part, on the grounds that the attainment demonstration does not address the near-highway environment. Health Advocates contend that the EPA should not make a clean data determination VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 before the court has ruled on this issue.19 Response to Comment #2: CAA section 107(a) provides that each state shall have the primary responsibility for assuring air quality within the entire geographic area comprising such state by submitting a SIP that will specify the manner in which the NAAQS will be achieved and maintained in such state. CAA section 107(a) does not specify how the EPA must determine whether an area within a state has attained the NAAQS. Such determinations are governed by the applicable sections of 40 CFR parts 50, 53 and 58, and in the proposed rule at page 73001, the EPA identifies the specific regulations governing our proposed determination of attainment for the South Coast for the 1997 PM2.5 standards. Health Advocates cite changes made by the EPA to the Agency’s monitoring regulations to require states to establish near-road PM2.5 monitors in certain urban areas as support for their assertion that the EPA’s proposed determination of attainment for the South Coast in essence denies thousands of people who live near highways from the protections of the Clean Air Act. We agree that the EPA’s monitoring regulations have been revised to require near-road PM2.5 monitoring in Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) having one million or greater persons. See 40 CFR part 58, appendix D, section 4.7.1(b), as added by the EPA’s final action published at 78 FR 3086, at 3282 (January 15, 2013). The South Coast encompasses two such areas, the Los Angeles-Long BeachAnaheim, CA CBSA and the RiversideSan Bernardino, CA CBSA. Given that both CBSAs exceed 2.5 million people, the first PM2.5 monitors specifically located to measure the near-road environment were required to be operational as of January 1, 2015. In response to the revised monitoring requirements, beginning January 1, 2015, the SCAQMD began monitoring ambient PM2.5 concentrations at two near-road sites: the Long Beach Route 710 site (AQS ID 06–037–4008) is located near Route 710 in Long Beach, and the Ontario Route 60 Near-Road site (06–071–0027) is located near Route 60 in Ontario. We now have one year’s worth of data from the two near-road PM2.5 monitors.20 At the Long Beach Route 710 site, the annual average PM2.5 concentration was 12.9 m/m3 during 19 The case cited is Physicians for Social Responsibility—Los Angeles v. EPA, 9th Cir., No. 12–70079. 20 See AQS Design Value Report, dated May 5, 2016. PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 2015, and the 98th percentile 24-hour PM2.5 concentration was 36 m/m3. At the Ontario Route 60 site, the corresponding concentrations were 14.5 m/m3 and 40 m/ m3, respectively. In summary, the ambient concentrations were less than the corresponding 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS and are consistent with continued attainment of the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS in the South Coast. Also, as noted in our proposed rule, the EPA’s evaluation of whether the South Coast PM2.5 nonattainment area has attained the 1997 annual and 24hour PM2.5 NAAQS is based in part on our review of the adequacy of the PM2.5 monitoring network in the nonattainment area and the reliability of the data collected by the network. During the relevant time period in which the data that we relied upon for the proposed determination of attainment were collected (i.e., 2011– 2013), the PM2.5 monitoring network in the South Coast was not required to include near-road PM2.5 monitors. Therefore, the lack of a near-road PM2.5 monitor during the 2011–2013 period does not undermine our determination of attainment of the standard based on the data collected during those years. Moreover, as noted above, the near-road ambient PM2.5 data that are now available are consistent with continued attainment of the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS in the South Coast. Lastly, Health Advocates are correct that a lawsuit was filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in which nearroad PM2.5 concentrations were at issue. See Physicians for Social Responsibility—Los Angeles v. EPA, Ninth Circuit, No. 12–70079. However, the action that is challenged in that case is the EPA’s approval of the attainment demonstration for the 1997 PM2.5 standards in the South Coast that relies on modeling results to predict future ambient concentrations. Today’s action does not rely on future modeled concentrations but rather on past monitored concentrations collected by a monitoring network that, as explained above, is adequate and consistent with the EPA’s monitoring requirements for the relevant period. In any event, on June 9, 2015, the court issued a memorandum denying the petition for review in the Physicians for Social Responsibility case. As relevant here, the court held that the South Coast PM2.5 plan does not impermissibly ignore pollution in the near-highway areas because the monitoring guidelines explicitly specify that states generally need not monitor ‘‘microscale’’ or ‘‘middle scale’’ areas, which include ‘‘traffic corridors’’ and areas ‘‘along traffic corridors.’’ See E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES Physicians for Social Responsibility— Los Angeles v. EPA, No. 12–70079, memorandum opinion at 3 (9th Cir., June 9, 2015). Thus, the case presents no reason to delay final action on the determination of attainment for the South Coast for the 1997 PM2.5 standards. IV. Final Action For the reasons stated above, the EPA is taking final action to determine that the South Coast nonattainment area in California has attained the 1997 annual and 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS based on complete (or otherwise validated), quality-assured and certified data in AQS for 2011–2013. We also find that the most recent quality-assured and certified data in AQS show that this area continues to attain the standards. In conjunction with and based upon our final determination that the South Coast has attained and is currently attaining the standard, the EPA is taking final action to determine that the obligation to submit any remaining attainment-related SIP revisions arising from classification of the South Coast as a Moderate nonattainment area under subpart 4 of part D (of title I of the Act) for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS is not applicable for so long as the area continues to attain the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS. These attainment-related requirements include, but are not limited to, the part D, subpart 4 obligations to provide an attainment demonstration pursuant to section 189(a)(1)(B), the RACM provisions of section 189(a)(1)(C) and the RFP provisions of section 189(c). Today’s final action does not constitute a redesignation of the South Coast nonattainment area to attainment for the 1997 annual and 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS under CAA section 107(d)(3) because we have not yet approved a maintenance plan for the South Coast as meeting the requirements of section 175A of the CAA or determined that the area has met the other CAA requirements for redesignation. The classification and designation status in 40 CFR part 81 remains Moderate nonattainment for this area until such time as the EPA determines that California has met the CAA requirements for redesignating the South Coast nonattainment area to attainment. If the South Coast nonattainment area continues to monitor attainment of the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS, the requirements for the area to submit an attainment demonstration and associated RACM, an RFP plan, contingency measures and any other planning requirements related to attainment of the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 will remain suspended. If, after today’s action, the EPA subsequently determines, after notice-and-comment rulemaking in the Federal Register, that the area has violated the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS, the basis for the suspension of the attainment planning requirements for the area would no longer exist, and the area would thereafter have to address such requirements. V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews This final action makes a determination of attainment based on air quality and suspends certain federal requirements, and thus, this action would not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law. For this reason, the final action: • Is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993); • 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 the EPA with the discretionary authority to address disproportionate human health or environmental effects with practical, appropriate and legally permissible methods under Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994). In addition, this final action does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), because the SIP obligations discussed herein do not PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 48355 apply to Indian Tribes, and thus this action will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law. 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. The 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. 804(2). Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by September 23, 2016. 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, Incorporation by reference, Nitrogen dioxide, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides, Volatile organic compounds. Dated: July 8, 2016. Alexis Strauss, Acting Regional Administrator, Region IX. Part 52, 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. 7401 et seq. Subpart F—California 2. Section 52.247 is amended by adding paragraph (g) to read as follows: ■ E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1 48356 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations § 52.247 Control strategy and regulations: Fine Particle Matter. * * * * * (g) Determination of Attainment: Effective August 24, 2016, the EPA has determined that, based on 2011 to 2013 ambient air quality data, the South Coast PM2.5 nonattainment area has attained the 1997 annual and 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. This determination suspends the requirements for this area to submit an attainment demonstration, associated reasonably available control measures, a reasonable further progress plan, contingency measures and other planning SIPs related to attainment for as long as this area continues to attain the 1997 annual and 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. If the EPA determines, after notice-and-comment rulemaking, that this area no longer meets the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS, the corresponding determination of attainment for the area shall be withdrawn. [FR Doc. 2016–17410 Filed 7–22–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 63 [EPA–HQ–OAR–2011–0817; FRL–9949–46– OAR] RIN 2060–AS98 National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for the Portland Cement Manufacturing Industry Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Direct final rule. AGENCY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking direct final action to amend the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for the Portland Cement Manufacturing Industry. This direct final rule provides, for a period of 1 year, an additional compliance alternative for sources that would otherwise be required to use an HCl CEMS to demonstrate compliance with the HCl emissions limit. This compliance alternative is needed due to the current unavailability of a calibration gas used for quality assurance purposes. This direct final rule also restores regulatory text requiring the reporting of clinker production and kiln feed rates that was deleted inadvertently. DATES: This rule is effective on September 8, 2016 without further notice, unless the EPA receives significant adverse comment by August asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 24, 2016. If the EPA receives significant adverse comment, we will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the public that the rule will not take effect. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–HQ– OAR–2011–0817, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or withdrawn. The 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. The 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 http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/ commenting-epa-dockets. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Sharon Nizich, Sector Policies and Programs Division (D243–02), Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, 27711; telephone number: (919) 541– 2825; fax number: (919) 541–5450; and email address: nizich.sharon@epa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Organization of This Document. The information in this preamble is organized as follows: I. General Information A. Why is the EPA using a direct final rule? B. Does this direct final rule apply to me? C. What should I consider as I prepare my comments for the EPA? II. What are the amendments made by this direct final rule? III. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review B. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism F. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 G. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks H. Executive Order 13211: Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations K. Congressional Review Act (CRA) I. General Information A. Why is the EPA using a direct final rule? The EPA is publishing this direct final rule without a prior proposed rule because we view this as a noncontroversial action and do not anticipate significant adverse comment. However, in the ‘‘Proposed Rules’’ section of this Federal Register, we are publishing a separate document that will serve as the proposed rule to amend the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for the Portland Cement Manufacturing Industry, if EPA receives significant adverse comments on this direct final rule. We will not institute a second comment period on this action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so at this time. For further information about commenting on this rule, see the ADDRESSES section of this document. If the EPA receives significant adverse comment on all or a distinct portion of this direct final rule, we will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the public that some or all of this direct final rule will not take effect. We would address all public comments in any subsequent final rule based on the proposed rule. B. Does this direct final rule apply to me? Categories and entities potentially regulated by this direct final rule include: Category NAICS Code 1 Portland cement manufacturing facilities ................... 327310 1 North American Industry Classification System. This table is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a guide for readers regarding entities likely to be regulated by this direct final rule. To determine whether your facility is affected, you should examine the applicability criteria in 40 CFR 63.1340. If you have questions regarding the applicability of any aspect of this action E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 142 (Monday, July 25, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 48350-48356]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-17410]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 52

[EPA-R09-OAR-2014-0708; FRL-9949-47-Region 9]


Clean Data Determination for 1997 PM2.5 Standards; 
California--South Coast; Applicability of Clean Air Act Requirements

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking final 
action to determine that the South Coast air quality planning area in 
California has attained the 1997 annual and 24-hour fine particle 
(PM2.5) National Ambient Air Quality Standards. This 
determination is based upon complete (or otherwise validated), quality-
assured and certified ambient air monitoring data showing that the area 
has monitored attainment of the 1997 annual and 24-hour 
PM2.5 NAAQS based on the 2011-2013 monitoring period, and 
that all complete data available since that time period indicate that 
the area continues to attain. Based on the above determination, the 
requirements for this area to submit certain state implementation plan 
(SIP) revisions related to attainment shall be suspended for so long as 
the area continues to attain the 1997 annual and 24-hour 
PM2.5 standards.

DATES: This rule is effective on August 24, 2016.

ADDRESSES: The EPA has established a docket for this action under 
Docket ID No. EPA-R09-OAR-2014-0708. All documents in the docket are 
listed on the http://www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in 
the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., 
confidential business information (CBI) or other information whose 
disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as 
copyrighted materials, is not placed on the Internet and will be 
publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket 
materials are available through http://www.regulations.gov, or please 
contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
section for additional availability information.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wienke Tax, (415) 947-4192, or by 
email at tax.wienke@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Throughout this document, wherever ``we'', 
``us'' or ``our'' are used, we mean the EPA.

Table of Contents

I. Summary of Proposed Action
II. Evaluation of 2014 and 2015 Data
III. Public Comments and the EPA's Responses
IV. Final Action
V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

I. Summary of Proposed Action

    On December 9, 2014 (79 FR 72999), the EPA proposed to determine 
that the Los Angeles-South Coast Air Basin (``South Coast'') 
nonattainment area had attained the 1997 annual and 24-hour national 
ambient air quality standards (NAAQS or ``standards'') for fine 
particles (generally referring to particles less than or equal to 2.5 
micrometers in diameter, PM2.5)(``1997 PM2.5 
NAAQS'').\1\ Herein, we refer to our December 9, 2014 proposed rule as 
the ``proposed rule.''
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    \1\ The South Coast includes Orange County, the southwestern 
two-thirds of Los Angeles County, southwestern San Bernardino 
County, and western Riverside County (see 40 CFR 81.305).
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    In our proposed rule, we explained that in making an attainment 
determination, the EPA generally relies on complete, quality-assured 
and certified data gathered at State and Local Air Monitoring Stations 
(SLAMS) and entered into the EPA's Air Quality System (AQS) 
database.\2\ Under 40 CFR 50.7 (``National primary and secondary 
ambient air quality standards for PM2.5'') and appendix N to 
40 CFR part 50 (``Interpretation of the National Ambient Air Quality 
Standards for PM2.5''), the 1997 annual and 24-hour 
PM2.5 NAAQS is met when each monitoring site in the area has 
a design value at or below the standard.\3\ \4\
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    \2\ AQS is EPA's repository for ambient air quality data. Data 
completeness requirements for a given year are met when at least 75 
percent of the scheduled sampling days for each quarter have valid 
data.
    \3\ The annual PM2.5 standard design value is the 3-
year average of annual mean concentration, and the 1997 annual 
PM2.5 NAAQS is met when the annual standard design value 
at each eligible monitoring site is less than or equal to 15.0 
[micro]g/m\3\. In 2012, we established a more stringent annual 
PM2.5 NAAQS of 12.0 [micro]g/m\3\, 78 FR 3086 (January 
15, 2013) (``2012 PM2.5 NAAQS''), but the 1997 annual 
PM2.5 NAAQS remains in effect.
    \4\ The 24-hour PM2.5 standard design value is the 3-
year average of annual 98th percentile 24-hour average values 
recorded at each eligible monitoring site, and the 1997 24-hour 
PM2.5 NAAQS is met when the 24-hour standard design value 
at each monitoring site is less than or equal to 65 [micro]g/m\3\. 
In 2006, we established a more stringent 24-hour PM2.5 
NAAQS of 35 [micro]g/m\3\, 71 FR 61144 (October 17, 2006) (``2006 
PM2.5 NAAQS''), but the 1997 24-hour PM2.5 
NAAQS remains in effect.
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    The EPA proposed the determination of attainment for the South 
Coast area based upon a review of the monitoring network operated by 
the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and the data 
collected at the monitoring sites operating during the most recent 
three-year period from which data was available at the time of the 
proposed rule (i.e., 2011 to 2013). Based on this review, the EPA found 
that complete (or otherwise validated), quality-assured and certified 
data for the South Coast showed that the annual and 24-hour design 
values for the 2011-2013 period were equal to or less than 15 
micrograms per cubic meter ([micro]/m\3\) and 65 [micro]/m\3\, 
respectively, at all monitoring sites and that, therefore, the South 
Coast had attained the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS. See the data 
summary tables on pages 73003 and 73004 of our proposed rule.
    In conjunction with and based upon our proposed determination that 
the South Coast had attained the standard,

[[Page 48351]]

the EPA also proposed to determine that the obligation under the Clean 
Air Act (CAA or ``Act'') to submit any remaining attainment-related SIP 
revisions arising from classification of the South Coast as a Moderate 
nonattainment area under subpart 4 of part D (of title I of the Act) 
for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS was not applicable for so long as 
the area continues to attain the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS. These 
attainment-related requirements include, but are not limited to, the 
part D, subpart 4 obligations to provide an attainment demonstration 
pursuant to section 189(a)(1)(B), the reasonably available control 
measures (RACM) provisions of section 189(a)(1)(C) and the reasonable 
further progress (RFP) provisions of section 189(c). In so doing, we 
proposed to apply the EPA's Clean Data Policy to the 1997 
PM2.5 NAAQS to suspend the attainment-related SIP submittal 
obligations under subpart 4 of part D (of title I of the CAA), since 
the South Coast nonattainment area is considered a ``Moderate'' 
nonattainment area under subpart 4. See page 73005 of our proposed 
rule. In proposing to apply the Clean Data Policy to the 1997 
PM2.5 NAAQS, we explained that we are applying the same 
statutory interpretation with respect to the implications of clean data 
determinations that the Agency has long applied in regulations for the 
1997 8-hour ozone and PM2.5 NAAQS and in individual 
rulemakings for the 1-hour ozone, coarse particle (PM10) and 
lead NAAQS.
    Please see the proposed rule for more detailed information 
concerning the PM2.5 NAAQS, designations of PM2.5 
nonattainment areas, the regulatory basis for determining attainment of 
the NAAQS, the SCAQMD's PM2.5 monitoring network, the EPA's 
review and evaluation of the data and the rationale and implications 
for application of the Clean Data Policy to the 1997 PM2.5 
NAAQS.

II. Evaluation of 2014 and 2015 Data

    We noted in our proposed rule that, at that time, AQS included no 
PM2.5 data for year 2014 for the South Coast, but that 
several quarters of preliminary data were expected to be uploaded to 
AQS prior to the EPA's final action. See page 73003 of the proposed 
rule. We also indicated that we would review the preliminary 2014 data 
prior to taking final action to ensure that 2014 data are consistent 
with the determination of attainment. In the paragraphs that follow, 
before we discuss the data for 2014 and 2015, we discuss changes to the 
SCAQMD PM2.5 ambient monitoring network and the EPA's 
determination regarding eligibility of data from certain collocated 
monitors for comparison to the NAAQS.
    At the time of our proposed rule, the PM2.5 monitoring 
network in the South Coast consisted of 18 SLAMS. Monitoring networks 
frequently change over time in response to changing circumstances, 
requirements and needs. Since our proposed rule, the SCAQMD has 
discontinued monitoring at three sites (Burbank, Riverside (Magnolia) 
and Ontario (Fire Station)) and has established near-road 
PM2.5 monitoring sites along Route 710 in Long Beach and 
along Route 60 in Ontario.\5\ During at least portions of 2014 and 
2015, SCAQMD operated collocated filter-based Federal Reference Method 
(FRM) and Federal Equivalent Method (FEM) Beta Attenuation Method (BAM) 
samplers at seven sites: Anaheim, Burbank, Central Los Angeles, North 
Long Beach, South Long Beach, Rubidoux and Mira Loma.
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    \5\ See SCAQMD, Annual Air Quality Monitoring Network Plan, July 
2015, pages 16 and 17. SCAQMD submitted the 2015 network plan to the 
EPA on July 1, 2015. See letter from Rene M. Bermudez, Principal Air 
Quality Instrument Specialist, SCAQMD, to Meredith Kurpius, Ph.D., 
EPA Region IX, July 1, 2015.
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    With respect to the discontinued sites, SCAQMD has requested 
approval from the EPA to suspend monitoring at the Burbank and 
Riverside (Magnolia) sites until suitable replacement sites can be 
located.\6\ SCAQMD is not planning to replace the Ontario (Fire 
Station) site but rather to consolidate measurements from that site 
with nearby sites and thus has requested approval from the EPA to 
discontinue, rather than suspend, monitoring at the Ontario (Fire 
Station) site. The EPA has not taken action on the requests due to 
insufficient information, but is working with the SCAQMD to provide the 
basis to resolve the requests by including sufficient information in 
SCAQMD's upcoming 2016 Annual Air Quality Monitoring Network Plan (due 
for submittal to the EPA in July 2016). None of the three discontinued 
sites (Burbank, Riverside (Magnolia) and Ontario (Fire Station)) was 
ever the design value site in the South Coast for PM2.5, and 
given that the determination of attainment is based on the 
concentrations measured at the design value site, the fact that the EPA 
has not yet approved the relocation or closure of the three monitoring 
sites does not preclude taking final action on the attainment 
determination.
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    \6\ Id., at appendix D, pages 1 and 2.
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    With respect to the two newly-established near-road 
PM2.5 monitoring sites, the EPA has approved the sites and 
has determined that, with the addition of the near-road sites, the 
SCAQMD network of PM2.5 monitoring sites continues to meet 
the minimum requirements of our monitoring regulations even in the 
absence of the three discontinued sites.\7\
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    \7\ See letter and enclosures from Gretchen Busterud, Acting 
Deputy Director, Air Division, EPA Region IX, to Matt Miyasato, 
Deputy Executive Officer, Science and Technology Advancement, 
SCAQMD, dated October 29, 2015.
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    With respect to the eligibility of data from collocated monitors 
for comparison with the NAAQS, our regulations provide that monitoring 
agencies must assess data from PM2.5 FEM monitors using 
certain performance criteria where the data are identified as not of 
sufficient comparability to a collocated FRM, and the monitoring agency 
requests that the FEM data should not be used for comparison to the 
NAAQS.\8\ As described on page 73003 of the proposed rule, the SCAQMD 
requested that the 2011-2013 data from the collocated PM2.5 
FEM monitors at seven monitoring sites in the PM2.5 
monitoring network be considered not eligible for comparison to the 
NAAQS as part of its 2014 Annual Air Quality Monitoring Network Plan. 
The EPA approved the request by letter dated September 9, 2014. 
Similarly, as part of the 2015 Annual Air Quality Monitoring Network 
Plan, the SCAQMD submitted an ineligibility determination request for 
data from collocated FEM monitors over the 2012-2014 period, and on May 
2, 2016, the EPA approved that request.\9\ Both determinations were 
made based on assessments of the data showing that bias in the FEM data 
(relative to collocated FRM data) exceeded EPA's performance criteria 
for acceptable slope and intercept as defined in 40 CFR 58.11(e).
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    \8\ 40 CFR 58.11(e).
    \9\ See letter from Meredith Kurpius, Manager, Air Quality 
Analysis Office, Air Division, EPA Region IX, to Jason Low, Ph.D., 
South Coast Air Quality Management District, dated May 2, 2016.
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    In the South Coast, SCAQMD has designated the PM2.5 FRM 
samplers as the primary monitors where FRM and FEM monitors are 
collocated at a given site. Under our regulations, comparisons with the 
PM2.5 NAAQS are made on a site-level, not a monitor-level 
basis, and the default dataset for a site is based on the designated 
primary monitor's recorded concentrations.\10\ Collocated monitors may 
be used to augment the default dataset to fill in data gaps; however, 
collocated monitor data are ineligible for this purpose if the EPA has 
approved a request from a district to approve a determination that such 
data

[[Page 48352]]

are ineligible for NAAQS comparison purposes. In this instance, the EPA 
has approved such ineligibility requests for collocated 
PM2.5 FEM monitoring data for both the 2011-2013 and 2012-
2014 periods.
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    \10\ 40 CFR part 50, appendix N, section 3.0(d).
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    With respect to the data, all four quarters for 2014 and 2015 have 
now been uploaded, and the SCAQMD has certified that 2014 and 2015 data 
are quality-assured.\11\ As part of the 2014 and 2015 data review 
process, we reviewed raw data reports for SCAQMD monitoring sites. With 
respect to 2014 data, we noted that significant portions of the 2014 
data had been flagged with a number of Quality Assurance (QA) qualifier 
flags. Specifically, portions of the 2014 data in quarters one, two, 
three and four were flagged with ``QX'' (does not meet QC criteria) and 
portions of data in quarter four were flagged with ``1'' (deviation 
from a CFR/critical criteria requirement).\12\ An in-depth review of 
the data revealed that the ``1'' and ``QX'' flags were associated with 
deviations from the criteria in 40 CFR part 50 appendix L, sections 
8.3.6 and 8.3.5, respectively. Some of the QA issues during 2014 stem 
from arrangements made by SCAQMD in anticipation of the agency's 
temporary closure of its weighing room to allow for an upgrade to that 
facility and in response to construction delays associated with that 
project. The SCAQMD's weighing room reopened on December 4, 2014, and 
the QA issues affecting 2014 data did not affect data collected in 
2015.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ For the letter of certification of 2014 data, see the 
letter from Matt M. Miyasato, Ph.D., Deputy Executive Officer, 
Science and Technology Advancement, SCAQMD, to Jared Blumenfeld, 
Regional Administrator, EPA Region IX, dated May 1, 2015. For the 
letter of certification of 2015 data, see the letter from Laki 
Tisopulos, Ph.D., P.E., Assistant Deputy Executive Officer, Science 
and Technology Advancement, SCAQMD, to Deborah Jordan, Air Division 
Director, EPA Region IX, April 29, 2016.
    \12\ See 2014 Raw Data Report (AMP 350, April 14, 2016, 
SouthCoast_PM2.5_RawDataReport_2014.pdf).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The requirements in 40 CFR part 50, appendix L, section 8.3.6 state 
that post-sample conditioning and weighing shall not exceed 30 days. 
This refers to the amount of time between when the sample is collected 
and when the sample is post-weighed. This is commonly referred to as 
the ``post-sample hold time requirement'' and, per EPA guidance (``QA 
Handbook''), is considered a ``critical criteria''.\13\ Adherence to 
this requirement is important because loss of mass is possible with 
excessive post-sample hold times, which would likely bias data low.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ See EPA's Quality Assurance Handbook for Air Pollution 
Measurement Systems, Volume II, May, 2013 (EPA-454/B-13-003).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As described in section 17.3.3 and appendix D of the QA Handbook, 
for PM2.5, critical criteria are the specific requirements 
in 40 CFR 50 appendix L and 40 CFR 58 appendix A that have been deemed 
critical to maintaining the integrity of a sample or group of samples. 
The QA handbook further explains that observations that do not meet 
each and every criterion on the Critical Criteria Table should be 
invalidated unless there are compelling reasons and justification for 
not doing so. Since a portion of the 2014 data in quarter four has not 
met a critical criterion, as defined by the QA Handbook, SCAQMD has 
invalidated these data. Therefore these data will not be considered as 
valid data for the purposes of this action.\14\ Given the extent of 
invalidated data, the dataset for quarter four of 2014 is incomplete 
from all of the monitoring sites, resulting in an incomplete year for 
2014.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ On May 5, 2016, SCAQMD replaced the data code ``1'' with 
the null data code ``AR'' (lab error) for post-sample hold time 
requirement noncompliant data and therefore removed the data from 
the regulatory data record. See 2014 Raw Data Report (AMP 350), May 
5, 2016. 
SouthCoast_PM2.5_RawDataReport_PostSample_Removed.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Unlike the data for 2014, however, the data collected during 2015 
are complete (or nearly complete) for all four quarters from all 
monitors.\15\ For 2015, the basin-wide high-site annual average and 
(98th percentile) 24-hour-average PM2.5 concentrations are 
14.5 [micro]g/m\3\ and 43 [micro]g/m\3\, respectively, based on 
complete or nearly complete datasets for 2015. During 2015, the high 
site for the annual average was the near-road Ontario (Route 60) site, 
and the high site for the 98th percentile 24-hour concentration was the 
Mira Loma site. Because the concentrations fall below the relevant 
NAAQS (15.0 [micro]g/m\3\, annual average and 65 [micro]g/m\3\, 24-hour 
average), they are consistent with the 2011-2013 data upon which the 
determination of attainment is based.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ The data from all quarters of 2015 from all of the 
monitoring sites are complete (i.e., 75 percent or greater sampling 
days with valid data) except for: (1) Quarter one at the Long 
Beach--Route 710 near-road monitor (AQS ID #06-037-4008) during 
which 74 percent of sampling days have valid data; and (2) quarter 
four at the Anaheim monitor (AQS ID # 06-059-0007) during which 43 
percent of sampling days have valid data. The Long Beach--Route 710 
near-road monitor began operating in 2015. The Anaheim monitor has 
been operating for many years but has never been the design value 
site within the South Coast.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Lastly, we find further support for the conclusion that the South 
Coast has attained the 1997 PM2.5 standard in a review of 
the long-term trends in PM2.5 concentrations in the South 
Coast as summarized below in Table 1.

      Table 1--South Coast Basin-Wide High Annual and 24-Hour PM2.5
                        Concentrations, 2001-2015
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               98th
                                              Annual      Percentile 24-
                  Year                        average      hour  average
                                            ([micro]g/      ([micro]g/
                                             m\3\) \a\       m\3\) \b\
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2001....................................            31.0              74
2002....................................            27.5              66
2003....................................            24.8              77
2004....................................            22.1              72
2005....................................            20.9              58
2006....................................            20.8              54
2007....................................            20.9              71
2008....................................            18.3              47
2009....................................            17.2              43
2010....................................            15.2              36
2011....................................            15.3              37
2012....................................            15.1              36
2013....................................            14.1              38
2014....................................  ..............  ..............

[[Page 48353]]

 
2015....................................            14.5              43
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\a\ Basin-wide high annual-average concentration is from the Rubidoux
  site for 2001-2005, the Mira Loma site from 2006-2013, and the Ontario
  (Route 60) site for 2015. Bold values represent exceedances of the
  applicable 1997 standard.
\b\ Basin-wide high 98th percentile 24-hour average concentration is
  from the Rubidoux site for 2001-2003, 2005, and 2006; the San
  Bernardino site for 2004 and 2007; the Mira Loma site for 2008, 2010,
  2011, 2013, and 2015; the Azusa site for 2009; and the Fontana site
  for 2012. Bold values represent exceedances of the applicable 1997
  standard.
Source: AQS Design Value Reports, dated October 6, 2014, October 7,
  2014, and May 5, 2016.

    As shown in Table 1, basin-wide high-site PM2.5 
concentrations in the South Coast declined rapidly from 2001 to 2009. 
In more recent years, the decline has been more gradual and has even 
started to level out; however, the level reached in recent years are 
below the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS of (less than or equal to) 15.0 
[micro]g/m\3\ (annual average) and 65 [micro]g/m\3\ (98th percentile 
24-hour average). We have concluded that South Coast attained the 1997 
PM2.5 standard by the end of 2013, and this conclusion is 
supported by the data collected during 2015 and the long-term trend 
data of PM2.5 concentrations in the South Coast that show 
signs of leveling out at a level consistent with attainment of that 
standard.

III. Public Comments and the EPA's Responses

    The EPA's proposed rule provided a 30-day public comment period. 
Upon request, we extended the comment period 14 days, from January 8th 
to January 22nd, 2015.\16\ We received one set of comments on our 
proposed rule, a letter from Earthjustice on behalf of a group that 
Earthjustice refers to collectively as ``Health Advocates''.\17\ We 
summarize the comments from Health Advocates and respond to them below.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ See 80 FR 449 (January 6, 2015).
    \17\ See letter, Elizabeth Forsyth, Earthjustice, and Maya 
Golden-Krasner, Communities for a Better Environment, to Wienke Tax, 
EPA Region IX, dated January 22, 2015. Earthjustice submitted the 
comments on our proposed rule on behalf of Communities for a Better 
Environment, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth 
Guardians, Medical Advocates for Healthy Air, and Physicians for 
Social Responsibility--Los Angeles. Earthjustice's letter included 
four attachments: (1) EPA's technical support document and response 
to comments document for action on the 2007 South Coast Air Quality 
Management Plan; (2) comments on the 2011 Air Monitoring Network 
Plan for the South Coast Air Quality Management District; (3) a 
draft report prepared by Greg Gould, ``Near Roadway Emissions: 
Measures, Exposure, and Monitoring;'' and a report prepared by E.H. 
Pechan & Associations, Inc., ``Estimating Contributions of On-Road 
Emissions to Near Highway PM2.5 Concentrations.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Comment #1: Health Advocates assert that 2014 monitoring data 
demonstrate that the South Coast is not attaining the 1997 
PM2.5 standards, and because the South Coast is not 
attaining the standard, suspension of attainment-related SIP submittal 
requirements, as proposed by the EPA, is inappropriate.
    In support of their assertion, Health Advocates present annual 
average PM2.5 data for six monitoring sites in the South 
Coast for year 2014 downloaded from the California Air Resources 
Board's (CARB's) Air Quality and Meteorological Information System 
(AQMIS) Web site (http://www.arb.ca.gov/aqmis2/aqmis2.php). 
Specifically, Health Advocates present the following data downloaded 
from AQMIS:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            2014 Annual
                     Monitoring site                      mean ([micro]g/
                                                               m\3\)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Central Los Angeles--Los Angeles (Main Street)..........            18.8
Metropolitan Riverside County--Rubidoux.................            15.6
Riverside--Magnolia.....................................            16.3
Mira Loma--Mira Loma (Van Buren)........................            19.2
Burbank--W Palm Ave.....................................            19.8
San Bernardino--Upland..................................            17.9
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Lastly, Health Advocates assert that, in light of 2014 data showing 
violations of the 1997 PM2.5 standard, the EPA must 
reclassify the South Coast as a ``Serious'' nonattainment area under 
CAA section 188(b)(2) and require the South Coast to prepare a 
``Serious'' area plan.
    Response to Comment #1: We note that Health Advocates do not 
challenge our evaluation of South Coast PM2.5 data for 2011-
2013, our proposed determination that the design values in the South 
Coast for that period are less than the 1997 PM2.5 standards 
or our proposed suspension of any remaining SIP submittal requirements 
for the 1997 PM2.5 standards. Rather, Health Advocates 
assert that data for 2014 made available since publication of our 
proposed rule precludes our final determination of attainment because 
the 2014 data purportedly shows that the South Coast is not currently 
attaining the 1997 PM2.5 standards. We disagree.
    First, CARB's AQMIS combines preliminary (real-time) data with 
official (historical) data. By their nature, preliminary data are 
subject to change and may be subject to adjustment, substitution or 
exclusion under applicable monitoring regulations. In this instance, 
the annual average PM2.5 concentrations cited by Health 
Advocates at four of the monitoring sites (Central Los Angeles, 
Rubidoux, Mira Loma and Burbank) reflect data collected by continuous 
PM2.5 FEM monitors for which the SCAQMD has requested an 
ineligibility determination (i.e., for comparison to the NAAQS), and 
because the EPA has approved the SCAQMD's request, the continuous 
PM2.5 FEM data are excluded from NAAQS attainment 
determinations. With respect to the annual average PM2.5 
concentrations cited by Health Advocates at the two other monitoring 
sites (Riverside (Magnolia) and Upland), the data reflect non-FEM 
methods and are therefore not eligible for comparison with the 
PM2.5 NAAQS.\18\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \18\ Under 40 CFR 50.7(a)(1), the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS 
are defined in terms of ambient air measurements made by FRMs or 
FEMs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Second, as discussed in detail in section II of this document, a 
review of the only complete, quality-assured data available after the 
2011-2013 period, that is, the 2015 PM2.5 ambient data 
collected in the South Coast, supports EPA's determination that the 
area is attaining the NAAQS. As a result, our suspension of attainment-
related SIP submittal requirements is appropriate, and reclassification 
of the area to ``Serious'' for the 1997 PM2.5 standards is 
not warranted.
    Lastly, with respect to reclassification of the South Coast to 
Serious, we note that the EPA has reclassified the South Coast from 
Moderate to Serious for the more stringent 2006 (24-hour) 
PM2.5 NAAQS. See 81 FR 1514 (January 13, 2016). As a result 
of that action, California is required to submit, by August 14, 2017, 
additional SIP

[[Page 48354]]

revisions to satisfy the statutory requirements that apply to Serious 
PM2.5 nonattainment areas, including the requirements of 
subpart 4 of part D, title I of the Act. The Serious area plan must 
provide for attainment of the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS in the South 
Coast as expeditiously as practicable, but no later than December 31, 
2019, in accordance with the requirements of part D of title I of the 
Act.
    Moreover, notwithstanding the suspension of attainment-related SIP 
requirements related to the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS arising from 
today's action, California must continue to develop such plans not just 
for the more stringent 2006 (24-hour) PM2.5 NAAQS cited 
above, but also for the more stringent 2012 (annual average) 
PM2.5 NAAQS for which the South Coast has been classified as 
Moderate nonattainment effective April 15, 2015. See 80 FR 2206 
(January 15, 2015). The new South Coast plan addressing Moderate area 
requirements for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS is due no later than 
October 15, 2016. See CAA section 189(a)(2)(B).
    Comment #2: Health Advocates contend that the EPA cannot make a 
clean data determination for the 1997 PM2.5 standards in the 
South Coast because the data the EPA considered for its proposed 
determination exclude data from near-roadway monitors. In support of 
their contention, Health Advocates cite CAA section 107(a), which 
requires states to assure air quality within the entire geographic area 
and note that Congress did not exempt areas near highways, where 
evidence cited by the commenters indicates much higher levels of 
PM2.5 within 300 meters of the highway. Thus, they assert 
that the inclusion of near-roadway monitoring data is necessary to 
protect the people who live, work and go to school within 300 meters of 
a highway in the South Coast and cite changes in the EPA's monitoring 
regulations that require near-roadway monitoring in certain urban 
areas.
    Health Advocates also cite a case pending in the Ninth Circuit 
Court of Appeals in which community and environmental groups are 
challenging the EPA's approval of the attainment demonstration for the 
1997 PM2.5 standards in the South Coast, in part, on the 
grounds that the attainment demonstration does not address the near-
highway environment. Health Advocates contend that the EPA should not 
make a clean data determination before the court has ruled on this 
issue.\19\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \19\ The case cited is Physicians for Social Responsibility--Los 
Angeles v. EPA, 9th Cir., No. 12-70079.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Response to Comment #2: CAA section 107(a) provides that each state 
shall have the primary responsibility for assuring air quality within 
the entire geographic area comprising such state by submitting a SIP 
that will specify the manner in which the NAAQS will be achieved and 
maintained in such state. CAA section 107(a) does not specify how the 
EPA must determine whether an area within a state has attained the 
NAAQS. Such determinations are governed by the applicable sections of 
40 CFR parts 50, 53 and 58, and in the proposed rule at page 73001, the 
EPA identifies the specific regulations governing our proposed 
determination of attainment for the South Coast for the 1997 
PM2.5 standards.
    Health Advocates cite changes made by the EPA to the Agency's 
monitoring regulations to require states to establish near-road 
PM2.5 monitors in certain urban areas as support for their 
assertion that the EPA's proposed determination of attainment for the 
South Coast in essence denies thousands of people who live near 
highways from the protections of the Clean Air Act. We agree that the 
EPA's monitoring regulations have been revised to require near-road 
PM2.5 monitoring in Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) 
having one million or greater persons. See 40 CFR part 58, appendix D, 
section 4.7.1(b), as added by the EPA's final action published at 78 FR 
3086, at 3282 (January 15, 2013).
    The South Coast encompasses two such areas, the Los Angeles-Long 
Beach-Anaheim, CA CBSA and the Riverside-San Bernardino, CA CBSA. Given 
that both CBSAs exceed 2.5 million people, the first PM2.5 
monitors specifically located to measure the near-road environment were 
required to be operational as of January 1, 2015. In response to the 
revised monitoring requirements, beginning January 1, 2015, the SCAQMD 
began monitoring ambient PM2.5 concentrations at two near-
road sites: the Long Beach Route 710 site (AQS ID 06-037-4008) is 
located near Route 710 in Long Beach, and the Ontario Route 60 Near-
Road site (06-071-0027) is located near Route 60 in Ontario. We now 
have one year's worth of data from the two near-road PM2.5 
monitors.\20\ At the Long Beach Route 710 site, the annual average 
PM2.5 concentration was 12.9 [micro]/m\3\ during 2015, and 
the 98th percentile 24-hour PM2.5 concentration was 36 
[micro]/m\3\. At the Ontario Route 60 site, the corresponding 
concentrations were 14.5 [micro]/m\3\ and 40 [micro]/m\3\, 
respectively. In summary, the ambient concentrations were less than the 
corresponding 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS and are consistent with 
continued attainment of the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS in the South 
Coast.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \20\ See AQS Design Value Report, dated May 5, 2016.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Also, as noted in our proposed rule, the EPA's evaluation of 
whether the South Coast PM2.5 nonattainment area has 
attained the 1997 annual and 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS is based in 
part on our review of the adequacy of the PM2.5 monitoring 
network in the nonattainment area and the reliability of the data 
collected by the network. During the relevant time period in which the 
data that we relied upon for the proposed determination of attainment 
were collected (i.e., 2011-2013), the PM2.5 monitoring 
network in the South Coast was not required to include near-road 
PM2.5 monitors. Therefore, the lack of a near-road 
PM2.5 monitor during the 2011-2013 period does not undermine 
our determination of attainment of the standard based on the data 
collected during those years. Moreover, as noted above, the near-road 
ambient PM2.5 data that are now available are consistent 
with continued attainment of the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS in the 
South Coast.
    Lastly, Health Advocates are correct that a lawsuit was filed in 
the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in which near-road PM2.5 
concentrations were at issue. See Physicians for Social 
Responsibility--Los Angeles v. EPA, Ninth Circuit, No. 12-70079. 
However, the action that is challenged in that case is the EPA's 
approval of the attainment demonstration for the 1997 PM2.5 
standards in the South Coast that relies on modeling results to predict 
future ambient concentrations. Today's action does not rely on future 
modeled concentrations but rather on past monitored concentrations 
collected by a monitoring network that, as explained above, is adequate 
and consistent with the EPA's monitoring requirements for the relevant 
period.
    In any event, on June 9, 2015, the court issued a memorandum 
denying the petition for review in the Physicians for Social 
Responsibility case. As relevant here, the court held that the South 
Coast PM2.5 plan does not impermissibly ignore pollution in 
the near-highway areas because the monitoring guidelines explicitly 
specify that states generally need not monitor ``microscale'' or 
``middle scale'' areas, which include ``traffic corridors'' and areas 
``along traffic corridors.'' See

[[Page 48355]]

Physicians for Social Responsibility--Los Angeles v. EPA, No. 12-70079, 
memorandum opinion at 3 (9th Cir., June 9, 2015). Thus, the case 
presents no reason to delay final action on the determination of 
attainment for the South Coast for the 1997 PM2.5 standards.

IV. Final Action

    For the reasons stated above, the EPA is taking final action to 
determine that the South Coast nonattainment area in California has 
attained the 1997 annual and 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS based on 
complete (or otherwise validated), quality-assured and certified data 
in AQS for 2011-2013. We also find that the most recent quality-assured 
and certified data in AQS show that this area continues to attain the 
standards.
    In conjunction with and based upon our final determination that the 
South Coast has attained and is currently attaining the standard, the 
EPA is taking final action to determine that the obligation to submit 
any remaining attainment-related SIP revisions arising from 
classification of the South Coast as a Moderate nonattainment area 
under subpart 4 of part D (of title I of the Act) for the 1997 
PM2.5 NAAQS is not applicable for so long as the area 
continues to attain the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS. These attainment-
related requirements include, but are not limited to, the part D, 
subpart 4 obligations to provide an attainment demonstration pursuant 
to section 189(a)(1)(B), the RACM provisions of section 189(a)(1)(C) 
and the RFP provisions of section 189(c).
    Today's final action does not constitute a redesignation of the 
South Coast nonattainment area to attainment for the 1997 annual and 
24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS under CAA section 107(d)(3) because we 
have not yet approved a maintenance plan for the South Coast as meeting 
the requirements of section 175A of the CAA or determined that the area 
has met the other CAA requirements for redesignation. The 
classification and designation status in 40 CFR part 81 remains 
Moderate nonattainment for this area until such time as the EPA 
determines that California has met the CAA requirements for 
redesignating the South Coast nonattainment area to attainment.
    If the South Coast nonattainment area continues to monitor 
attainment of the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS, the requirements for the 
area to submit an attainment demonstration and associated RACM, an RFP 
plan, contingency measures and any other planning requirements related 
to attainment of the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS will remain suspended. 
If, after today's action, the EPA subsequently determines, after 
notice-and-comment rulemaking in the Federal Register, that the area 
has violated the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS, the basis for the 
suspension of the attainment planning requirements for the area would 
no longer exist, and the area would thereafter have to address such 
requirements.

V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    This final action makes a determination of attainment based on air 
quality and suspends certain federal requirements, and thus, this 
action would not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by 
state law. For this reason, the final action:
     Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' subject to 
review by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Order 
12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993);
     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 the EPA with the discretionary authority 
to address disproportionate human health or environmental effects with 
practical, appropriate and legally permissible methods under Executive 
Order 12898 (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994).
    In addition, this final action does not have tribal implications as 
specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), 
because the SIP obligations discussed herein do not apply to Indian 
Tribes, and thus this action will not impose substantial direct costs 
on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.
    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. The 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. 
804(2).
    Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, petitions for judicial review 
of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for 
the appropriate circuit by September 23, 2016. 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, Incorporation by 
reference, Nitrogen dioxide, Particulate matter, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides, Volatile organic compounds.

    Dated: July 8, 2016.
Alexis Strauss,
Acting Regional Administrator, Region IX.

    Part 52, Chapter I, Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations is 
amended as follows:

PART 52--APPROVAL AND PROMULGATION OF IMPLEMENTATION PLANS

0
1. The authority citation for Part 52 continues to read as follows:

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

Subpart F--California

0
2. Section 52.247 is amended by adding paragraph (g) to read as 
follows:

[[Page 48356]]

Sec.  52.247  Control strategy and regulations: Fine Particle Matter.

* * * * *
    (g) Determination of Attainment: Effective August 24, 2016, the EPA 
has determined that, based on 2011 to 2013 ambient air quality data, 
the South Coast PM2.5 nonattainment area has attained the 
1997 annual and 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. This determination 
suspends the requirements for this area to submit an attainment 
demonstration, associated reasonably available control measures, a 
reasonable further progress plan, contingency measures and other 
planning SIPs related to attainment for as long as this area continues 
to attain the 1997 annual and 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. If the 
EPA determines, after notice-and-comment rulemaking, that this area no 
longer meets the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS, the corresponding 
determination of attainment for the area shall be withdrawn.

[FR Doc. 2016-17410 Filed 7-22-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6560-50-P