MOJAVE DESERT AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT DISTRICT

RULE 2002 - GENERAL FEDERAL ACTIONS CONFORMITY
(Adopted: October 26, 1994)

(A) General

  1. Purpose.

    (a) The purpose of this rule is to implement section 176(c) of the Federal Clean Air Act (FCAA) § 176(c) (42 U.S.C. § 7506(c)) and regulations under 40 CFR 51, subpart W, with respect to the conformity of general Federal actions to the applicable implementation plan. This rule sets forth policy, criteria, and procedures for demonstrating and assuring conformity of such actions to the applicable implementation plan.

  2. Applicability

    (a) No department, agency or instrumentality of the Federal Government shall engage in, support in any way or provide financial assistance for, license or permit, or approve any activity which does not conform to an applicable implementation plan.

  3. Federal Action Applicability

    (a) A Federal agency must make a conformity determination that a Federal action conforms to the applicable implementation plan in accordance with the requirements of this rule before the action is taken for any of the following Federal actions:

      (i) 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.) conformity determinations shall be made pursuant to the provisions of District Rule 2001.

      (ii) For Federal actions where the total of direct and indirect emissions in a nonattainment or maintenance area caused by a Federal action would equal or exceed any of the rates listed below;

        (A) For purposes of paragraph (2) of this section, the following rates apply in nonattainment areas (NAAs):



Ozone
Tons/Year

(VOC or NOx)

-Serious NAAs

- Severe NAAs

- Extreme NAAs

- Other ozone NAAs outside an ozone transport region

- Marginal and moderate NAAs inside an ozone transport region

50

25

10

100

  VOC

Nox
50

100
Carbon monoxide
- All NAAs 100
PM10
- Moderate NAAs

- Serious NAAs
100

70
Pb (Lead)
- All NAAs 25



Ozone (NOx), SO2 or NO2)
Tons/Year

(VOC or NOx)
- All maintenance areas 100
Ozone (VOC)
- Maintenance areas inside an ozone transport region

- Maintenance areas outside an ozone transport region
50

100
Carbon monoxide and PM10
- All maintenance areas 100
Pb (Lead)
- All maintenance areas 25

(B) Definitions

  1. For the purposes of this rule the following definitions shall apply. Terms used but not defined herein, shall have the meaning given them by the FCAA, titles 23 and 49 of the United States Code, other USEPA regulations, other DOT regulations, or other CARB or MDAQMD rules, in that order of priority.

    (a) Affected Federal Land Manager - The Federal agency or the Federal official charged with direct responsibility for management of an area designated as Class I under the FCAA (42 U.S.C. §7472) that is located within 100 km of the proposed Federal action.

    (b) Applicable Implementation Plan - Is defined in FCAA § 302(q) (42 U.S.C. §7602(q)) and means the portion (or portions) of the implementation plan, or most recent revision thereof, which has been approved under FCAA § 110 (42 U.S.C. §7601(d)), or promulgated under FCAA § 110(c) (42 U.S.C. §7510(c)), or promulgated or approved pursuant to regulations promulgated under FCAA § 301(d) (42 U.S.C. §7601(d)) and which implements the relevant requirements of the FCAA.

    (c) Areawide Air Quality Modeling Analysis - An assessment on a scale that includes the entire nonattainment or maintenance area which uses an air quality dispersion model to determine the effects of emissions on air quality.

(C) Requirements [40 CFR 51.854]

  1. Any Federal department, agency, or instrumentality of the Federal government taking an action subject to the provisions of 40 CFR 51, subpart W and this rule must make its own conformity determination consistent with the requirements of this rule.

    (a) In making its conformity determination, a Federal agency must consider comments from any interested parties.

    (b) Where multiple Federal agencies have jurisdiction for various aspects of a project, a Federal agency may choose to adopt the analysis of another Federal agency (to the extent the proposed action and impacts analyzed are the same as the project for which a conformity determination is required) or develop its own analysis in order to make its conformity determination.

  2. Notwithstanding any provision of this rule, a determination that an action is in conformity with the applicable implementation plan does not exempt the action from any other requirements of the applicable implementation plan, the NEPA, or the FCAA.

(D) Exemptions, De Minimis Activities and Activities Presumed to Conform

  1. The requirements of this rule shall not apply to:

    (a) Actions where the total of direct and indirect emissions are below the emissions levels specified in section (A)(3)(a)(ii).

    (b) The following 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 material 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 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) 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, actions such as 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 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 the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (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.

    (c) The following actions where the emissions are not reasonably foreseeable, such as the following:

    (d) Individual actions which implement a decision to conduct or carry out a program that has been found to conform to the applicable implementation plan, such as prescribed burning actions which are consistent with a land management plan that has been found to conform to the applicable implementation plan.

  1. Notwithstanding the other requirements of this rule, a conformity determination is not required for the following Federal actions (or portion thereof):

    (a) The portion of an action that includes major new or modified stationary sources that require a permit under the new source review (NSR) program or the prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) program.

    (b) Actions in response to emergencies or natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, etc., which are commenced on the order of hours or days after the emergency or disaster and, if applicable, which meet the requirements of section (D)(3).

    (c) Research, investigations, studies, demonstrations, or training [other than those exempted pursuant to section (D)(1)(b)], where no environmental detriment is incurred or the particular action furthers air quality research, as determined by the State agency primarily responsible for the applicable implementation plan.

    (d) 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).

    (e) Direct emissions from remedial and removal actions carried out under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) 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.

  2. Federal actions which are part of a continuing response to an emergency or disaster under section (D)(2)(b) and which are to be taken more than 6 months after the commencement of the response to the emergency or disaster under section (D)(2)(b) are exempt from the provisions of this rule only if:

    (a) 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

    (b) For actions which are to be taken after those actions covered by section (D)(3)(a) of this section, the Federal agency makes a new determination as provided in section (D)(3)(a) of this section.

  3. Notwithstanding other requirements of this rule, individual actions or classes of actions specified by individual Federal agencies that have met the criteria set forth in either section (D)(5)(a) or (b) and the procedures set forth in section (D)(6) of this section are presumed to conform, except as provided in section (A)(3)(a)(iv) of this section.

  4. The Federal agency must meet the criteria for establishing activities that are presumed to conform by fulfilling the requirements set forth in either paragraph (D)(5)(a) or (b) of this section:

    (a) The Federal agency must clearly demonstrate using methods consistent with this rule 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 implementation plan 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 implementation plan for purposes of:

      1. A demonstration of reasonable further progress;
      2. A demonstration of attainment; or
      3. A maintenance plan; or

    (b) 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 (2) of this section, based, for example, on similar actions taken over recent years.

  5. In addition to meeting the criteria for establishing exemptions set forth in paragraphs (D)(5)(a) or (b) of this section, the following procedures must also be complied with to presume that activities will conform:

    (a) The Federal agency must identify through publication in the Federal Register its list of proposed activities that are presumed to conform and the analysis, assumptions, emissions factors, and criteria used as the basis for the presumptions;

    (b) The Federal agency must notify the appropriate EPA Regional Office(s), State and local air quality agencies and, where applicable, the agency designated under section 174 of the Act and SCAG and provide at least 30 days for the public to comment on the list of proposed activities presumed to conform;

    (c) 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

    (d) The Federal agency must publish the final list of such activities in the Federal Register.

(E) Reporting Requirements.

  1. A Federal agency making a conformity determination shall provide to the USEPA Region IX, CARB and MDAQMD and, where applicable, affected Federal land managers, and the MPO a 30-day notice which describes the proposed action and the Federal agency's draft conformity determination on the action.

  2. A Federal agency must notify the appropriate USEPA Region IX, CARB and the MDAQMD and, where applicable, affected Federal land managers, and the MPO within 30 days after making a final conformity determination.

(F) Public Participation and Consultation.

  1. Upon request by any person regarding a specific Federal action, a Federal agency must make available for review its draft conformity determination under (H) with supporting materials which describe the analytical methods, assumptions, and conclusions relied upon in making the applicability analysis and draft conformity determination.

  2. A Federal agency must make public its draft conformity determination by placing a notice by prominent advertisement in a daily newspaper of general circulation in the areas affected by the action and by providing 30 days for written public comment prior to taking any formal action on the draft determination. This comment period may be concurrent with any other public involvement, such as occurs in the NEPA process.

  3. A Federal agency must document its response to all the comments received on its draft conformity determination and make the comments and responses available, upon request by any person regarding a specific Federal action, within 30 days of the final conformity determination.

  4. A Federal agency must make public its final conformity determination for a Federal action by placing a notice by prominent advertisement in a daily newspaper of general circulation in the areas affected by the action within 30 days of the final conformity determination.

(G) Frequency of Conformity Determinations.

  1. The conformity status of a Federal action automatically lapses 5 years from the date a final conformity determination is reported, unless the Federal action has been completed or a continuous program has been commenced to implement that Federal action within a reasonable time.

  2. Ongoing Federal activities at a given site showing continuous progress are not new actions and do not require periodic redeterminations so long as the emissions associated with such activities are within the scope of the final conformity determination reported.

  3. If, after the conformity determination is made, the Federal action is changed so that there is an increase in the total of direct and indirect emissions above the levels pursuant to section (A)(3), a new conformity determination is required.

(H) Criteria for Determining Conformity of General Federal Actions.

  1. An action required to have a conformity determination pursuant to this rule for a specific pollutant, will be determined to conform to the applicable implementation plan if, for each pollutant that exceeds the rates in (A)(3), or otherwise requires a conformity determination due to the total of direct and indirect emissions from the action, the action meets the requirements of section (H)(3), and meets any of the following requirements:

    (a) For any criteria pollutant, the total of direct and indirect emissions from the action are specifically identified and accounted for in the applicable implementation plan's attainment or maintenance demonstration;

    (b) For ozone or nitrogen dioxide, the total of direct and indirect emissions from the action are fully offset within the same nonattainment or maintenance area through a revision to the applicable implementation plan or a measure similarly enforceable under State and Federal law that effects emission reductions so that there is no net increase in emissions of that pollutant;

    (c) For any criteria pollutant, except ozone and nitrogen dioxide, the total of direct and indirect emissions from the action meet the requirements:

      (i) specified in section (H)(2), based on areawide air quality modeling analysis and local air quality modeling analysis, or

      (ii) specified in section (H)(1)(e) and, for local air quality modeling analysis, the requirement of section (H)(2);

    (d) For CO or PM10,

      (i) Where the MDAQMD determines that an areawide air quality modeling analysis is not needed, the total of direct and indirect emissions from the action meet the requirements specified in section (H)(2) of this section, based on local air quality modeling analysis, or

      (ii) Where the MDAQMD determines that an areawide air quality modeling analysis is appropriate and that a local air quality modeling analysis is not needed, the total of direct and indirect emissions from the action meet the requirements specified in section (H)(2), based on areawide modeling, or meet the requirements of section (H)(1)(e) of this section; or

    (e) For ozone or nitrogen dioxide, and for purposes of sections (H)(1)(c)(ii) and (H)(1)(d)(ii), each portion of the action or the action as a whole meets any of the following requirements:

      (i) Where EPA has approved a revision to an area's attainment or maintenance demonstration after 1990 and the MDAQMD makes a determination as provided in subsection (A) below, or where the MDAQMD makes a commitment as provided in subsection (B).

        (A). The total of direct and indirect emissions from the action (or portion thereof) is determined and documented by the MDAQMD to result in a level of emissions which, together with all other emissions in the nonattainment (or maintenance) area, would not exceed the emissions budgets specified in the applicable implementation plan.

        (B). The total of direct and indirect emissions from the action (or portion thereof) is determined by the MDAQMD to result in a level of emissions which, together with all other emissions in the nonattainment (or maintenance) area, would exceed an emissions budget specified in the applicable implementation plan and the MDAQMD, who makes a written commitment to USEPA which includes the following:

        1. A specific schedule for adoption and submittal of a revision to the applicable implementation plan which would achieve the needed emission reductions prior to the time emissions from the Federal action would occur;
        2. Identification of specific measures for incorporation into the applicable implementation plan which would result in a level of emissions which, together with all other emissions in the nonattainment or maintenance area, would not exceed any emissions budget specified in the applicable implementation plan;
        3. A demonstration that all existing applicable implementation plan requirements are being implemented in the area for the pollutants affected by the Federal action, and that local authority to implement additional requirements has been fully pursued;
        4. A determination that the responsible Federal agencies have required all reasonable mitigation measures associated with their action; and
        5. Written documentation including all air quality analyses supporting the conformity determination.

        C. Where a Federal agency made a conformity determination based on a MDAQMD commitment under section (H)(1)(e)(i)(B) of this paragraph, such a MDAQMD commitment is automatically deemed a call for an implementation plan revision by USEPA under FCAA § 110(k)(5) (42 U.S.C. §7410(k)(5)), effective on the date of the Federal conformity determination and requiring response within eighteen (18) months or any shorter time within which the MDAQMD commits to revise the applicable implementation plan;

      (ii) The action (or portion thereof), as determined by the MPO, is specifically included in a current transportation plan and transportation improvement program which have been found to conform to the applicable implementation plan under District Rule 2001 or 40 CFR 93, subpart A;

      (iii) The action (or portion thereof) fully offsets its emissions within the same nonattainment or maintenance area through a revision to the applicable implementation plan or an equally enforceable measure that effects emission reductions equal to or greater than the total of direct and indirect emissions from the action so that there is no net increase in emissions of that pollutant;

      (iv) Where USEPA has not approved a revision to the relevant implementation plan attainment or maintenance demonstration since 1990, the total of direct and indirect emissions from the action for the future years do not increase emissions with respect to the baseline emissions, and:

        (A). The baseline emissions reflect the historical activity levels that occurred in the geographic area affected by the proposed Federal action during:

          1. Calendar year 1990,

          2. The calendar year that is the basis for the classification (or, where the classification is based on multiple years, the year that is most representative in terms of the level of activity), if a classification is promulgated in 40 CFR 81, or

          3. The year of the baseline inventory in the PM10 applicable implementation plan;



        (B). The baseline emissions are the total of direct and indirect emissions calculated for the future years using the historic activity levels and appropriate emission factors for the future years; or

      (v) Where the action involves regional water or wastewater projects, such projects are sized to meet only the needs of population projections that are in the applicable implementation plan.

  2. The areawide and local air quality modeling analyses must:

    (a) Meet the requirements in (I) of this rule, and

    (b) Show that the action does not:

      (i) Cause or contribute to any new violation of any standard in any area; or

      (ii) Increase the frequency or severity of any existing violation of any standard in any area.

  3. Notwithstanding any other requirements of this section, an action subject to this rule may not be determined to conform to the applicable implementation plan unless the total of direct and indirect emissions from the action is in compliance or consistent with all relevant requirements and milestones contained in the applicable implementation plan, such as elements identified as part of the reasonable further progress schedules, assumptions specified in the attainment or maintenance demonstration, prohibitions, numerical emission limits, and work practice requirements, and such action is otherwise in compliance with all relevant requirements of the applicable implementation plan.

  4. Any analyses required under this section must be completed, and any mitigation requirements necessary for a finding of conformity must be identified in compliance with (J) of this rule, before the determination of conformity is made.

(I) Procedures for Conformity Determinations of General Federal Actions.

  1. The analyses required under this rule must be based on the latest planning assumptions.

    (a) All planning assumptions must be derived from the estimates of current and future population, employment, travel, and congestion most recently developed by the MPO in consultation with MDAQMD. The conformity determination must also be based on the latest assumptions about current and future background concentrations and other Federal actions.

    (b) Any revisions to these estimates used as part of the conformity determination, including projected shifts in geographic location or level of population, employment, travel, and congestion, must be approved by MDAQMD, the MPO or other agency authorized to make such estimates for the area.

  2. The analyses required under this rule must be based on the latest and most accurate emission estimation techniques available as described below, unless such techniques are inappropriate. If such techniques are inappropriate and written approval of the EPA Regional Administrator is obtained for any modification or substitution, they may be modified or another technique substituted on a case-by-case basis or, where appropriate, on a generic basis for a specific Federal agency program.

    (a) For motor vehicle emissions, the most current version of the motor vehicle emissions model specified by EPA for use in the preparation or revision of implementation plans in the State or area must be used for the conformity analysis as specified below:

      (i) The EPA must publish in the Federal Register a notice of availability of any new motor vehicle emissions model; and

      (ii) A grace period of three months shall apply during which the motor vehicle emissions model previously specified by EPA as the most current version may be used. Conformity analyses for which the analysis was begun during the grace period or no more than 3 years before the Federal Register notice of availability of the latest emission model may continue to use the previous version of the model specified by EPA, if a final determination as to conformity is made within 3 years of such analysis.

    (b) For non-motor vehicle sources, including stationary and area source emissions, the latest emission factors specified by USEPA in the "Compilation of Air Pollutant Emission Factors (AP-42)" must be used for the conformity analysis unless more accurate emission data are available, such as actual stack test data from stationary sources which are part of the conformity analysis.

  3. The air quality modeling analyses required under this rule must be based on the applicable air quality models, data bases, and other requirements specified in the most recent version of the "Guideline on Air Quality Models (Revised)" (1986), including supplements (USEPA publication no. 450/2-78-027R), unless:

    (a) The guideline techniques are inappropriate, in which case the model may be modified or another model substituted on a case-by-case basis or, where appropriate, on a generic basis for a specific Federal agency program; and

    (b) Written approval of the USEPA Regional Administrator is obtained for any modification or substitution.

  4. The analyses required under this rule must be based on the total of direct and indirect emissions from the action and must reflect emission scenarios that are expected to occur under each of the following cases:

    (a) The FCAA mandated attainment year or, if applicable, the farthest year for which emissions are projected in the maintenance plan;

    (b) The year during which the total of direct and indirect emissions from the action for each pollutant analyzed is expected to be the greatest on an annual basis; and

    (c) Any year for which the applicable implementation plan specifies an emissions budget.

(J) Mitigation of Air Quality Impacts.

  1. Any measures that are intended to mitigate air quality impacts must be identified (including the identification and quantification of all emission reductions claimed) and the process for implementation (including any necessary funding of such measures and tracking of such emission reductions) and enforcement of such measures must be described, including an implementation schedule containing explicit timelines for implementation.

  2. Prior to determining that a Federal action is in conformity, the Federal agency making the conformity determination must obtain written commitments from the appropriate persons or agencies to implement any mitigation measures which are identified as conditions for making conformity determinations. Such written commitment shall describe such mitigation measures and the nature of the commitment, in a manner consistent with section (I)(1).

  3. Persons or agencies voluntarily committing to mitigation measures to facilitate positive conformity determinations must comply with the obligations of such commitments.

  4. In instances where the Federal agency is licensing, permitting or otherwise approving the action of another governmental or private entity, approval by the Federal agency must be conditioned on the other entity meeting the mitigation measures set forth in the conformity determination, as provided in section (I)(1).

  5. When necessary because of changed circumstances, mitigation measures may be modified so long as the new mitigation measures continue to support the conformity determination in accordance with (H) and (I) and this section. Any proposed change in the mitigation measures is subject to the reporting requirements of (E) and the public participation requirements of (F).

  6. Written commitments to mitigation measures must be obtained prior to a positive conformity determination and such commitments must be fulfilled.

  7. After this implementation plan revision is approved by USEPA, any agreements, including mitigation measures, necessary for a conformity determination will be both State and federally enforceable. Enforceability through the applicable implementation plan will apply to all persons who agree to mitigate direct and indirect emissions associated with a Federal action for a conformity determination.

(K) Savings Provision.

  1. The Federal conformity rules under 40 CFR 51, subpart W, in addition to any existing applicable State requirements, establish the conformity criteria and procedures necessary to meet the requirements of FCAA § 176(c) (42 U.S.C. §7506(c)) until such time as this conformity implementation plan revision is approved by USEPA. Following USEPA approval of this revision to the applicable implementation plan (or a portion thereof), the approved (or approved portion of the) State criteria and procedures would govern conformity determinations and the Federal conformity regulations contained in 40 CFR 93 would apply only for the portion, if any, of the State's conformity provisions that is not approved by USEPA. In addition, any previously applicable implementation plan requirements relating to conformity remain enforceable until the State revises its applicable implementation plan to specifically remove them and that revision is approved by USEPA.