Human Studies Review Board; Notification of Public Meetings
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of the Science Advisor announces two separate public meetings of the Human Studies Review Board (HSRB) to advise the Agency on the ethical and scientific review of research involving human subjects.
Approval of California Air Plan Revisions, Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a revision to the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District (NSAQMD) portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). This revision concerns emissions of particulate matter (PM) from wood burning devices. We are proposing to approve a local measure to reduce emissions from these emission sources under the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act). We are taking comments on this proposal and plan to follow with a final action.
Notice of Final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for the Eastern Portion of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) of the Gulf of Mexico (GEG460000); Availability of Finding of No Significant Impact
Today, the EPA Region 4 (the ``Region'') is reissuing the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit for the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) of the Gulf of Mexico (General Permit No. GEG460000) for new and existing source discharges in the Offshore Subcategory of the Oil and Gas Extraction Point Source Category. This reissued general permit replaces the previous permit issued on March 15, 2010, and which became effective on April 1, 2010, and expired on March 31, 2015. The general permit authorizes discharges from exploration, development, and production facilities located in and discharging to all Federal waters of the eastern portion of the Gulf of Mexico seaward of the outer boundary of the territorial seas, and covers existing and new source facilities with operations located on Federal leases occurring in water depths seaward of 200 meters, occurring offshore the coasts of Alabama and Florida. The western boundary of the coverage area is demarcated by Mobile and Visoca Knoll lease blocks located seaward of the outer boundary of the territorial seas from the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama. The permit term will be no longer than five years from the effective date of the permit. Individual permits will be issued for operating facilities on lease blocks traversed by and shoreward of the 200-meter water depth. The draft NPDES general permit was publicly noticed from August 18, 2016 to September 17, 2016. This final permit reflects changes based on comments received during the public comments period, which are detailed in the Amendment to the Fact Sheet.
Proposed Rule; Renewable Fuel Standard Program; Grain Sorghum Oil Pathway
In this proposed rule, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is providing an opportunity to comment on an analysis of the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with certain biofuels that are produced from grain sorghum oil extracted at dry mill ethanol plants at any point downstream from sorghum grinding, also known as distiller sorghum oil. EPA seeks comment on its proposed assessment that using distillers sorghum oil as feedstock results in no significant agricultural sector GHG emissions; and that biodiesel and heating oil produced from distillers sorghum oil via a transesterification process, and renewable diesel, jet fuel, heating oil, naphtha, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) produced from distillers sorghum oil via a hydrotreating process, would meet the lifecycle GHG emissions reduction threshold of 50 percent required for advanced biofuels, and biomass-based diesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard program. Based on these analyses, EPA is proposing to amend the RFS program regulations to define the term ``distillers sorghum oil''. We also propose to add to the regulations approved pathways from the production of biodiesel and heating oil from distillers sorghum oil via a transesterification process, and renewable diesel, jet fuel, heating oil, naphtha, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) produced from distillers sorghum oil via a hydrotreating process.
Approval of California Air Plan Revisions; Anti-Idling Regulations
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking final action to approve a revision to the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). This revision concerns emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and particulate matter (PM) from the idling of diesel-powered trucks. We are approving portions of a state rule submitted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to regulate these emission sources under the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act).
Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Refrigerant Management Regulations for Small Cans of Motor Vehicle Refrigerant
On September 28, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a direct final rule and an accompanying notice of proposed rulemaking entitled ``Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Refrigerant Management Regulations for Small Cans of Motor Vehicle Refrigerant.'' Because EPA received adverse comment, EPA is withdrawing the direct final rule through a separate notice. In this action, EPA is finalizing its proposal to correct the editing oversight that led to a potential conflict in a prior rulemaking as to whether or not containers holding two pounds or less of non-exempt substitute refrigerants for use in motor vehicle air conditioning that are not equipped with a self-sealing valve can be sold to persons that are not certified technicians, provided those small cans were manufactured or imported prior to January 1, 2018. This action clarifies that those small cans manufactured or imported prior to January 1, 2018 may continue to be sold to persons that are not certified as technicians under sections 608 or 609 of the Clean Air Act.
Water Quality Standards for the State of Missouri's Lakes and Reservoirs
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency) proposes to establish federal nutrient criteria to protect designated uses for the State of Missouri's lakes and reservoirs. On August 16, 2011, EPA disapproved most of the numeric criteria for total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and chlorophyll a that the State submitted to EPA in 2009. EPA acknowledged the importance of Missouri's proactive efforts to address nutrient pollution by adopting numeric nutrient criteria. However, EPA concluded that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) had failed to demonstrate the criteria would protect the State's designated uses and were not based on a sound scientific rationale. The Clean Water Act (CWA) directs EPA to promptly propose water quality standards (WQS) that meet CWA requirements if a state does not adopt WQS addressing EPA's disapproval. On February 24, 2016, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) filed a lawsuit alleging that EPA failed to satisfy its statutory obligation to act ``promptly.'' On December 1, 2016, EPA entered into a consent decree with MCE committing to sign a notice of proposed rulemaking by December 15, 2017 to address EPA's 2011 disapproval, unless the State submits and EPA approves criteria that address the disapproval on or before December 15, 2017. As of the date of this proposed rule, Missouri has not submitted new or revised standards to address EPA's 2011 disapproval and EPA has not approved such water quality standards. Therefore, under the terms of the consent decree, EPA is signing a notice of proposed rulemaking that proposes new water quality standards addressing EPA's August 16, 2011 disapproval. In this proposal, EPA seeks comment on two primary alternatives. Under the first alternative, EPA proposes nutrient protection values and eutrophication impact factors in a combined criterion approach. Under the second alternative, EPA proposes a similar combined criterion approach that would mirror the State of Missouri's October 2017 proposal for lake nutrient water quality standards. EPA will not proceed with final rulemaking (or will withdraw its final rule, if applicable) to address its 2011 disapproval if Missouri adopts and submits criteria to address EPA's 2011 disapproval and EPA approves them as meeting CWA requirements.
Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Virginia; Revisions to the Regulatory Definition of Volatile Organic Compound
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve two state implementation plan (SIP) revisions (Revision C16 and Revision I16) formally submitted by the Commonwealth of Virginia. These revisions pertain to amendments made to the definition of ``volatile organic compound'' (VOC) in the Virginia Administrative Code to conform with EPA's regulatory definition of VOC. Specifically, these amendments remove the record keeping and reporting requirements for t-butyl acetate (also known as tertiary butyl acetate or TBAC; Chemical Abstracts Service [CAS] number: 540-88-5) and add 1,1,2,2-Tetrafluoro- 1-(2,2,2-trifluoroethoxy) ethane (also known as HFE-347pcf2; CAS number: 406-78-0) as a compound excluded from the regulatory definition of VOC, which match actions EPA has taken. EPA is approving these revisions to update the definition of VOC in the Virginia SIP under the Clean Air Act (CAA).