Council comments on proposal to eliminate fueling station vapor controls for Jefferson County

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Council comments on proposal to eliminate fueling station vapor controls for Jefferson County  Posted: June 20, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District
850 Barrett Avenue
Louisville, Kentucky 40204
Attn: Ms. Rachel Hamilton, Esq.

By email only:

Dear Ms. Hamilton:

These comments are submitted on behalf of the membership of the Kentucky Resources Council, Inc. who live and work in the Louisville airshed, in response to the notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the intent to repeal Regulation 6.40, Standards of Performance for Gasoline Transfer to Motor Vehicles (Stage II Vapor Recovery and Control Systems).

For the reasons stated below, the Council suggests that the Air Pollution Control District Board and staff move cautiously in considering the repeal of the Stage II vapor recovery regulation, and that such an action be undertaken only after it is determined that the control measure is no longer necessary to assure maintenance of attainment of the eight-hour ozone ambient air quality standard for ozone in this air quality region, and that elimination of the control measure from the maintenance plan will not result in an appreciable increase in ozone pollution.

The Council appreciates the recognition by the District that Regulation 6.40 was adopted as part of its plan for attaining the NAAQS for ozone. It is also the case that continuation of that program is one of those measures to which the District has committed as part of the ?maintenance plan” that was submitted pursuant to Section 175A of the Clean Air Act in support of the redesignation to attainment for the 8-hour ozone standard, and which is required to remain in effect for ten (10) years after the approval of the redesignation on August 6, 2007. 72 Fed Reg. 20966, 20974.

On May 16, 2012, the EPA determined that ORVR technology is in widespread use throughout the motor vehicle fleet for purposes of controlling motor vehicle refueling emissions, thereby states and local agencies may now demonstrate that the requirement to implement a Stage II gasoline vapor recovery program is no longer necessary to reach or maintain attainment of the ozone NAAQS. 77 Fed. Reg. 28772. The EPA indicated that it is updating its guidance documents to reflect the degree of emissions reductions from Stage II vapor controls, which it has indicated it expects to be “substantially less than what was estimated in the past before ORVCR use became widespread.” Id.

The Council believes that the decision on whether to repeal Regulation 6.40 should rest on a careful evaluation of several issues. The first consideration is whether the removal of the Stage II vapor recovery requirement would necessitate substitution of another control measure in order for the maintenance plan to continue to demonstrate that compliance with the air quality standard will continue to be attained for the 10 year period. The emissions reductions achieved by continuation of the measure (which will be estimated under the revised guidance) should be reviewed against fleet characteristics and data for the Louisville MSA and surrounding areas in order to determine whether the EPA national assumptions regarding anticipated emissions reductions should be adjusted to reflect more local data regarding the motor vehicle fleet age and ORVR capability.

While EPA estimates that 71% of vehicles currently on the road will have ORVR by the end of 2012, the number of vehicles in the Louisville MSA with that technology may be less, given the average income of the residents of the region relative to other MSAs.

If removal of the measure from the maintenance plan would have to be offset by imposition of another control measure, the cost-effectiveness of the measures should be compared.

Even if the elimination of the control measure does not require addition of an offsetting control measure into the maintenance plan, the District should consider whether the ORVR technology is sufficiently widespread in the Louisville MSA that elimination of the control measure will be of negligible consequence in terms of air quality. Even assuming that the 71% value holds true for the Louisville MSA, that still leaves 29% of the vehicles on the road without onboard controls, so that elimination of the Stage II obligation will result in atmospheric emissions from refueling the 29% of vehicles without controls. While we are currently in attainment with the 8-hour ozone standard, Louisville has had several days already this summer in which the air has reached the unhealthy level for ozone, and with predictions of hotter, drier summer weather, no actions eliminating current control measures that result in an appreciable increase in ozone precursors should be taken.

KRC looks forward to continued dialogue with the District once the revised EPA guidance is issued.


Tom FitzGerald
By Kentucky Resources Council on 06/20/2012 5:32 PM
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