Environmental Protection Agency: Regional Haze Regulations

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-07-08.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

United States General Accounting Office                                Office of the General Counsel
Washington, DC 20548


          July 8, 1999

          The Honorable John H. Chafee
          The Honorable Max Baucus
          Ranking Minority Member
          Committee on Environment and Public Works
          United States Senate

          The Honorable Thomas J. Bliley, Jr.
          The Honorable John D. Dingell
          Ranking Minority Member
          Committee on Commerce
          House of Representatives

          Subject: Environmental Protection Agency: Regional Haze Regulations

          Pursuant to section 801(a)(2)(A) of title 5, United States Code, this is our report on a
          major rule promulgated by Environmental Protection Agency, entitled “Regional
          Haze Regulations” (RIN: 2060-AF32). We received the rule on June 1, 1999. It was
          published in the Federal Register as a final rule on July 1, 1999. 64 Fed. Reg. 35714.

          The final rule calls for states to establish goals and emission reduction strategies for
          improving visibility in all 156 mandatory Class I national parks and wilderness areas.
          Specific provisions are included in the rule allowing nine western states to
          implement the recommendations of the Grand Canyon Visibility Transport
          Commission within the framework of the national regional haze program.

          Enclosed is our assessment of the EPA’s compliance with the procedural steps
          required by section 801(a)(1)(B)(i) through (iv) of title 5 with respect to the rule.
          Our review indicates that the EPA complied with the applicable requirements.

          If you have any questions about this report, please contact James W. Vickers,
          Assistant General Counsel, at (202) 512-8210. The official responsible for GAO

evaluation work relating to the subject matter of the rule is Peter Guerrero, Director,
Environmental Protection Issues. Mr. Guerrero can be reached at (202) 512-6111.

Sincerely yours,

Robert P. Murphy
General Counsel


cc: Mr. Thomas E. Kelly
    Director, Office of Regulatory
     Management and Information
    Environmental Protection Agency

Page 2                                                                    GAO/OGC-99-53

        ANALYSIS UNDER 5 U.S.C. § 801(a)(1)(B)(i)-(iv) OF A MAJOR RULE
                              ISSUED BY THE
                     "REGIONAL HAZE REGULATIONS"
                             (RIN: 2060-AF32)

(i) Cost-benefit analysis

EPA has prepared a Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) which contains a cost-benefit
analysis of the final rule. EPA notes that the RIA is not a precise reflection of the
actual costs, economic impacts, and benefits associated with the final rule because
the states bear the primary responsibility for establishing reasonable progress goals
and emission management strategies. Until these decisions are made, EPA can only
speculate as to the final costs and benefits.

The RIA estimates that the planning, analysis, and Best Available Retrofit
Technology (BART) control elements will result in $72 million in incremental
annualized costs. If states all choose to establish the same illustrative progress goal,
the incremental costs range from $1 billion to $4 billion with associated benefits of
$1 billion to $19 billion.

(ii) Agency actions relevant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 603-605,
607, and 609

Because the rule does not establish requirements applicable to small entities, EPA
has certified that the final rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial
number of small entities.

(iii) Agency actions relevant to sections 202-205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform
Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. §§ 1532-1535

EPA does not reach a final conclusion as to the applicability of the Unfunded
Mandates Reform Act of 1995 to the final rule. EPA contends that it is unclear
whether a requirement for a state to revise its State Implementation Plan constitutes
a federal mandate.

EPA notes that such a decision is unnecessary in view of the actions it took which
are in compliance with sections 202, 204, and 205. The actions and discussions are
documented in the Regulatory Impact Analysis.

(iv) Other relevant information or requirements under acts and executive orders

Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.

Instead of the notice and comment procedures in the Administrative Procedure Act,
the EPA promulgated this rule using the procedures, which have similar notice and
comment requirements, contained in section 307(d) of the Clean Air Act, as
amended. 42 U.S.C. § 7607(d). The use of these procedures regarding rules
pertaining to haze and visibility is mandated by section 307(d)(1)(J) of the Clean Air

EPA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on July 31, 1997. 62 Fed. Reg.
41138. Over 1,300 comments were received in response to the notice and are
discussed in the final rule’s preamble.

Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. §§ 3501-3520

The final rule contains information collections that are subject to review by the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act. EPA
has submitted the matter to OMB for approval and the collections need not be
complied with until approved by OMB and a control number issued.

The preamble to the final rule summarizes the information required to be submitted
to OMB including the annual burden imposed. EPA estimates that reporting burden
for the 50 states and the District of Columbia to be approximately 22,000 to 47,000
hours for a 3-year period between mid-1999 and mid-2002. The federal burden will
be approximately 1,900 to 4,000 hours for the same 3-year period. The costs are
estimated to be $980,000 to $2,064,000 for the states and $83,000 to $175,000 for the
federal government.

Statutory authorization for the rule

The final rule is issued pursuant to the authority contained in 42 U.S.C. §§ 7410, 7414,
7421, 7470-7479, 7491, 7492, 7601, and 7602.

Executive Order No. 12866

The final rule was determined to be an “economically significant” regulatory action
and was reviewed and approved by the Office of Management and Budget as
complying with the requirements of the Order.

Page 2                                                                    GAO/OGC-99-53