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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Environmental Quality
Air Pollution Control Board

General Notice
Public Comment Period - Proposed State Implementation Plan Revision (Transportation Conformity)
Date Posted: 4/18/2011
Expiration Date: 6/8/2011
Submitted to Registrar for publication: YES
No comment forum defined for this notice.
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. The Commonwealth intends to submit the regulation to 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 Transportation Conformity (9VAC5-151, Rev. E10).
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: May 9 to June 8, 2011.
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 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 a of the Administrative Process Act because they are necessary to conform to Virginia statutory law. 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: The proposed revision will consist of amendments to existing regulation provisions concerning transportation conformity, 9VAC5 Chapter 151. The major provisions of the proposal are summarized as follows: The federal Clean Air Act requires that federally-funded transportation plans, programs and projects conform to state air quality implementation plans (SIPs). Metropolitan planning organizations and the United States Department of Transportation must demonstrate that such plans, programs, and projects conform to Virginia's SIP.  “Conformity” means that the activity conforms to the SIP's purpose of eliminating or reducing the severity and number of violations of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and achieving expeditious attainment of such standards, and will not (i) cause or contribute to any new violation of any standard, (ii) increase the frequency or severity of any existing violation of any standard, or (iii) delay timely attainment of any standard or any required interim emission reductions or other milestones. Under 40 CFR 51.390, Virginia is required to submit to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a revision to the SIP that establishes conformity criteria and procedures consistent with the transportation conformity regulation promulgated by EPA at 40 CFR Part 93.
EPA promulgated amendments to the federal transportation regulation on March 24, 2010 (75 FR 14260).  In this action, EPA amended the transportation conformity rule to finalize provisions that were proposed on May 15, 2009 and to address hot-spot analyses as a result of a remand from the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. EPA updated the transportation conformity regulation in light of the October 17, 2006 final rule that strengthened the 24-hour PM2.5 national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) and revoked the annual PM10 NAAQS (71 FR 61144). However, the October 2006 rule did not revoke the 1997 annual or 24-hr PM 2.5 NAAQS; therefore, the designations for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS remain separate from the existing designations for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS.   Transportation conformity applies for the NAAQS for which an area is designated nonattainment; the transportation conformity regulation must address all PM2.5 designations.
The federal transportation conformity regulations address the following: (i) determining the baseline year for certain 2006 PM2.5 nonattainment areas (ii) regional conformity tests in 2006 PM2.5 nonattainment areas that do not have adequate or approved SIP budgets for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS, (iii) regional conformity tests in 2006 PM2.5 areas that have 1997 PM2.5 SIP budgets, (iv) other conformity requirements for 2006 PM2.5 areas, (v) transportation conformity in PM10 nonattainment and maintenance areas in light of the revocation of the annual PM10 NAAQS, and (vi) response to the December 2007 hot-spot court decision.
In order to implement the federal transportation conformity requirements, the Virginia regulation must reflect the recent revisions made to the federal regulations. To this end, 9VAC5 Chapter 151 of the regulations needs to be amended to include the most recent federal revisions.
Federal information: This notice is being given to satisfy the public participation requirements of federal regulations (40 CFR 51.102) and not any provision of state law. Except as noted below, the proposal will be submitted as a revision to the Commonwealth of Virginia SIP under § 110(a) of the federal Clean Air Act in accordance with 40 CFR 51.104. It is planned to submit all provisions of the proposal as a revision to the Commonwealth of Virginia SIP.
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 the last day of the comment period. Commenters submitting faxes 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 ( The documents may also be obtained by contacting the DEQ representative named below. The public may review the documents between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm 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.

Contact Information
Name / Title: Mary E. Major 
Address: 629 East Main Street
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, 23218
Email Address:
Telephone: (804)698-4423    FAX: (804)698-4510    TDD: ()-