Notice of action: The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is announcing an opportunity for public comment on a proposed revision to the Commonwealth of Virginia State Implementation Plan (SIP). The SIP is a plan developed by the Commonwealth in order to fulfill its responsibilities under the federal Clean Air Act to attain and maintain the ambient air quality standards promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Act. If adopted, the Commonwealth intends to submit the regulation or a portion thereof to the EPA as a revision to the SIP in accordance with the requirements of § 110(a) of the federal Clean Air Act.
Regulations affected: The regulation of the board affected by this action is: Regulation for Transportation Conformity (9VAC5 Chapter 151).
Purpose of notice: DEQ is seeking comment on the issue of whether the regulation amendments should be submitted as a revision to the SIP.
Public comment period: February 17, 2009 to March 19, 2009.
Public hearing: A public hearing may be conducted if a request is made in writing to the contact listed below. In order to be considered, the request must include the full name, address and telephone number of the person requesting the hearing and be received by DEQ by 5:00 pm on the last day of the comment period. Notice of the date, time, and location of any requested public hearing will be announced in a separate notice, and another 30-day comment period will be conducted.
Public comment stage: The regulation amendments are exempt from the state administrative procedures for adoption of regulations contained in Article 2 of the Administrative Process Act by the provisions of § 2.2-4006 A 4 c of the Administrative Process Act because they are necessary to meet the requirements of the federal Clean Air Act and do not differ materially from the pertinent EPA regulations. Since the amendments are exempt from administrative procedures for the adoption of regulations, DEQ is accepting comment only on the issue cited above under "purpose of notice" and not on the content of the regulation amendments.
Description of proposal: In essence, the proposed revision will consist of amendments to existing regulation provisions concerning transportation conformity. The major provisions of the proposal are summarized below:
EPA promulgated amendments to the federal transportation regulation on January 24, 2008 (73 FR 4420). In this action, EPA amended the transportation conformity rule to finalize provisions that were proposed on May 2, 2007. Most of the amendments are necessary to make the rule consistent with Clean Air Act § 176(c), as amended by SAFETEA-LU on August 10, 2005. The changes: (i) provide more time for state and local governments to meet conformity requirements, (ii) provide a one-year grace period before the consequences of not meeting certain conformity requirements apply, (iii) allow the option of shortening the timeframe of conformity determinations, and (iv) streamline other provisions. This final rule also includes minor amendments that are not related to SAFETEA-LU, such as allowing the Department of Transportation to make categorical hot-spot findings for appropriate projects in carbon monoxide nonattainment and maintenance areas.
How to comment: DEQ accepts written comments by email, fax, and postal mail. In order to be considered, comments must include the full name, address and telephone number of the person commenting and be received by DEQ by 5:00 pm on the last day of the comment period. Due to problems with the quality of facsimile transmissions, commenters are encouraged to provide the signed original by postal mail within one week. All testimony, exhibits and documents received are part of the public record.
To review regulation documents: The proposal and any supporting documents are available on the DEQ Air Public Notices for Plans web site (http://www.deq.state.va.us/air/permitting/planotes.html). The documents may also be obtained by contacting the DEQ representative named below. The public may review the documents between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. of each business day until the close of the public comment period at the following DEQ locations: 1) Main Street Office, 8th Floor, 629 E Main St, Richmond VA, 804-698-4070, 2) Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Rd, Glen Allen VA, 804-527-5020, 3) Northern Regional Office, 13901 Crown Court, Woodbridge VA, 703-583-3800, and 4) Tidewater Regional Office, 5636 Southern Blvd, Virginia Beach VA, 757-518-2000.