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Title 40: Protection of Environment
(a) Conformity determinations for Federal actions related to transportation plans, programs, and projects developed, funded, or approved under title 23 U.S.C. or the Federal Transit Act (49 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) must meet the procedures and criteria of 40 CFR part 51, subpart T, in lieu of the procedures set forth in this subpart.
(b) For Federal actions not covered by paragraph (a) of this section, a conformity determination is required for each criteria pollutant or precursor where the total of direct and indirect emissions of the criteria pollutant or precursor in a nonattainment or maintenance area caused by a Federal action would equal or exceed any of the rates in paragraphs (b)(1) or (2) of this section.
(1) For purposes of paragraph (b) of this section, the following rates apply in nonattainment areas (NAA's):
(2) For purposes of paragraph (b) of this section, the following rates apply in maintenance areas:
(c) The requirements of this subpart shall not apply to the following Federal actions:
(1) Actions where the total of direct and indirect emissions are below the emissions levels specified in paragraph (b) of this section.
(2) Actions which would result in no emissions increase or an increase in emissions that is clearly de minimis:
(i) Judicial and legislative proceedings.
(ii) Continuing and recurring activities such as permit renewals where activities conducted will be similar in scope and operation to activities currently being conducted.
(iii) Rulemaking and policy development and issuance.
(iv) Routine maintenance and repair activities, including repair and maintenance of administrative sites, roads, trails, and facilities.
(v) Civil and criminal enforcement activities, such as investigations, audits, inspections, examinations, prosecutions, and the training of law enforcement personnel.
(vi) Administrative actions such as personnel actions, organizational changes, debt management or collection, cash management, internal agency audits, program budget proposals, and matters relating to the administration and collection of taxes, duties and fees.
(vii) The routine, recurring transportation of materiel and personnel.
(viii) Routine movement of mobile assets, such as ships and aircraft, in home port reassignments and stations (when no new support facilities or personnel are required) to perform as operational groups and/or for repair or overhaul.
(ix) Maintenance dredging and debris disposal where no new depths are required, applicable permits are secured, and disposal will be at an approved disposal site.
(x) Actions, such as the following, with respect to existing structures, properties, facilities and lands where future activities conducted will be similar in scope and operation to activities currently being conducted at the existing structures, properties, facilities, and lands; for example, relocation of personnel, disposition of federally-owned existing structures, properties, facilities, and lands, rent subsidies, operation and maintenance cost subsidies, the exercise of receivership or conservatorship authority, assistance in purchasing structures, and the production of coins and currency.
(xi) The granting of leases, licenses such as for exports and trade, permits, and easements where activities conducted will be similar in scope and operation to activities currently being conducted.
(xii) Planning, studies, and provision of technical assistance.
(xiii) Routine operation of facilities, mobile assets and equipment.
(xiv) Transfers of ownership, interests, and titles in land, facilities, and real and personal properties, regardless of the form or method of the transfer.
(xv) The designation of empowerment zones, enterprise communities, or viticultural areas.
(xvi) Actions by any of the Federal banking agencies or the Federal Reserve Banks, including actions regarding charters, applications, notices, licenses, the supervision or examination of depository institutions or depository institution holding companies, access to the discount window, or the provision of financial services to banking organizations or to any department, agency or instrumentality of the United States.
(xvii) Actions by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System or any Federal Reserve Bank necessary to effect monetary or exchange rate policy.
(xviii) Actions that implement a foreign affairs function of the United States.
(xix) Actions (or portions thereof) associated with transfers of land, facilities, title, and real properties through an enforceable contract or lease agreement where the delivery of the deed is required to occur promptly after a specific, reasonable condition is met, such as promptly after the land is certified as meeting the requirements of CERCLA, and where the Federal agency does not retain continuing authority to control emissions associated with the lands, facilities, title, or real properties.
(xx) Transfers of real property, including land, facilities, and related personal property from a Federal entity to another Federal entity and assignments of real property, including land, facilities, and related personal property from a Federal entity to another Federal entity for subsequent deeding to eligible applicants.
(xxi) Actions by the Department of the Treasury to effect fiscal policy and to exercise the borrowing authority of the United States.
(xxii) Air traffic control activities and adopting approach, departure, and enroute procedures for aircraft operations above the mixing height specified in the applicable SIP or TIP. Where the applicable SIP or TIP does not specify a mixing height, the Federal agency can use the 3,000 feet above ground level as a default mixing height, unless the agency demonstrates that use of a different mixing height is appropriate because the change in emissions at and above that height caused by the Federal action is de minimis.
(3) Actions where the emissions are not reasonably foreseeable, such as the following:
(i) Initial Outer Continental Shelf lease sales which are made on a broad scale and are followed by exploration and development plans on a project level.
(ii) Electric power marketing activities that involve the acquisition, sale and transmission of electric energy.
(4) Actions which implement a decision to conduct or carry out a conforming program such as prescribed burning actions which are consistent with a conforming land management plan.
(d) Notwithstanding the other requirements of this subpart, a conformity determination is not required for the following Federal actions (or portion thereof):
(1) The portion of an action that includes major or minor new or modified stationary sources that require a permit under the new source review (NSR) program (Section 110(a)(2)(c) and Section 173 of the Act) or the prevention of significant deterioration program (title I, part C of the Act).
(2) Actions in response to emergencies which are typically commenced on the order of hours or days after the emergency and, if applicable, which meet the requirements of paragraph (e) of this section.
(3) Research, investigations, studies, demonstrations, or training (other than those exempted under paragraph (c)(2) of this section), where no environmental detriment is incurred and/or, the particular action furthers air quality research, as determined by the State agency primarily responsible for the applicable SIP;
(4) Alteration and additions of existing structures as specifically required by new or existing applicable environmental legislation or environmental regulations (e.g., hush houses for aircraft engines and scrubbers for air emissions).
(5) Direct emissions from remedial and removal actions carried out under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act and associated regulations to the extent such emissions either comply with the substantive requirements of the PSD/NSR permitting program or are exempted from other environmental regulation under the provisions of CERCLA and applicable regulations issued under CERCLA.
(e) Federal actions which are part of a continuing response to an emergency or disaster under paragraph (d)(2) of this section and which are to be taken more than 6 months after the commencement of the response to the emergency or disaster under paragraph (d)(2) of this section are exempt from the requirements of this subpart only if:
(1) The Federal agency taking the actions makes a written determination that, for a specified period not to exceed an additional 6 months, it is impractical to prepare the conformity analyses which would otherwise be required and the actions cannot be delayed due to overriding concerns for public health and welfare, national security interests and foreign policy commitments; or
(2) For actions which are to be taken after those actions covered by paragraph (e)(1) of this section, the Federal agency makes a new determination as provided in paragraph (e)(1) of this section and:
(i) Provides a draft copy of the written determinations required to affected EPA Regional office(s), the affected State(s) and/or air pollution control agencies, and any Federal recognized Indian tribal government in the nonattainment or maintenance area. Those organizations must be allowed 15 days from the beginning of the extension period to comment on the draft determination; and
(ii) Within 30 days after making the determination, publish a notice of the determination by placing a prominent advertisement in a daily newspaper of general circulation in the area affected by the action.
(3) If additional actions are necessary in response to an emergency or disaster under paragraph (d)(2) of this section beyond the specified time period in paragraph (e)(2) of this section, a Federal agency can make a new written determination as described in (e)(2) of this section for as many 6-month periods as needed, but in no case shall this exemption extend beyond three 6-month periods except where an agency:
(i) Provides information to EPA and the State or Tribe stating that the conditions that gave rise to the emergency exemption continue to exist and how such conditions effectively prevent the agency from conducting a conformity evaluation.
(f) Notwithstanding other requirements of this subpart, actions specified by individual Federal agencies that have met the criteria set forth in either paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), or (g)(3) of this section and the procedures set forth in paragraph (h) of this section are “presumed to conform,” except as provided in paragraph (j) of this section. Actions specified by individual Federal agencies as “presumed to conform” may not be used in combination with one another when the total direct and indirect emissions from the combination of actions would equal or exceed any of the rates specified in paragraphs (b)(1) or (2) of this section.
(g) The Federal agency must meet the criteria for establishing activities that are “presumed to conform” by fulfilling the requirements set forth in either paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), or (g)(3) of this section:
(1) The Federal agency must clearly demonstrate using methods consistent with this subpart that the total of direct and indirect emissions from the type of activities which would be presumed to conform would not:
(i) Cause or contribute to any new violation of any standard in any area;
(ii) Interfere with provisions in the applicable SIP for maintenance of any standard;
(iii) Increase the frequency or severity of any existing violation of any standard in any area; or
(iv) Delay timely attainment of any standard or any required interim emission reductions or other milestones in any area including, where applicable, emission levels specified in the applicable SIP for purposes of:
(A) A demonstration of reasonable further progress;
(B) A demonstration of attainment; or
(C) A maintenance plan; or
(2) The Federal agency must provide documentation that the total of direct and indirect emissions from such future actions would be below the emission rates for a conformity determination that are established in paragraph (b) of this section, based, for example, on similar actions taken over recent years.
(3) The Federal agency must clearly demonstrate that the emissions from the type or category of actions and the amount of emissions from the action are included in the applicable SIP and the State, local, or tribal air quality agencies responsible for the SIP(s) or TIP(s) provide written concurrence that the emissions from the actions along with all other expected emissions in the area will not exceed the emission budget in the SIP.
(h) In addition to meeting the criteria for establishing exemptions set forth in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), or (g)(3) of this section, the following procedures must also be complied with to presume that activities will conform:
(1) The Federal agency must identify through publication in the Federal Register its list of proposed activities that are “presumed to conform” and the basis for the presumptions. The notice must clearly identify the type and size of the action that would be “presumed to conform” and provide criteria for determining if the type and size of action qualifies it for the presumption;
(2) The Federal agency must notify the appropriate EPA Regional Office(s), State, local, and tribal air quality agencies and, where applicable, the agency designated under section 174 of the Act and the MPO and provide at least 30 days for the public to comment on the list of proposed activities “presumed to conform.” If the “presumed to conform” action has regional or national application (e.g., the action will cause emission increases in excess of the de minimis levels identified in paragraph (b) of this section in more than one of EPA's Regions), the Federal agency, as an alternative to sending it to EPA Regional Offices, can send the draft conformity determination to U.S. EPA, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards;
(3) The Federal agency must document its response to all the comments received and make the comments, response, and final list of activities available to the public upon request; and
(4) The Federal agency must publish the final list of such activities in the Federal Register.
(i) Emissions from the following actions are “presumed to conform”:
(1) Actions at installations with facility-wide emission budgets meeting the requirements in §93.161 provided that the State or Tribe has included the emission budget in the EPA-approved SIP and the emissions from the action along with all other emissions from the installation will not exceed the facility-wide emission budget.
(2) Prescribed fires conducted in accordance with a smoke management program (SMP) which meets the requirements of EPA's Interim Air Quality Policy on Wildland and Prescribed Fires or an equivalent replacement EPA policy.
(3) Emissions for actions that the State or Tribe identifies in the EPA-approved SIP or TIP as “presumed to conform.”
(j) Even though an action would otherwise be “presumed to conform” under paragraph (f) or (i) of this section, an action shall not be “presumed to conform” and the requirements of §93.150, §93.151, §§93.154 through 93.160 and §§93.162 through 93.164 shall apply to the action if EPA or a third party shows that the action would:
(1) Cause or contribute to any new violation of any standard in any area;
(2) Interfere with provisions in the applicable SIP or TIP for maintenance of any standard;
(3) Increase the frequency or severity of any existing violation of any standard in any area; or
(4) Delay timely attainment of any standard or any required interim emissions reductions or other milestones in any area including, where applicable, emission levels specified in the applicable SIP or TIP for purposes of:
(i) A demonstration of reasonable further progress;
(ii) A demonstration of attainment; or
(iii) A maintenance plan.
(k) The provisions of this subpart shall apply in all nonattainment and maintenance areas except conformity requirements for newly designated nonattainment areas are not applicable until 1 year after the effective date of the final nonattainment designation for each NAAQS and pollutant in accordance with section 176(c)(6) of the Act.
[58 FR 63253, Nov. 30, 1993, as amended at 71 FR 40427, July 17, 2006; 75 FR 17274, Apr. 5, 2010]