Air Pollution Control; Proposed Actions on Clean Air Act Grants to the South Coast Air Quality Management District

Summary

The Environmental Protection Agency has made two proposed determinations that reductions in expenditures of non-Federal funds for the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) in Diamond Bar, California are a result of non-selective reductions in expenditures. These determinations, when final, will permit the SCAQMD to keep the financial assistance awarded to it by EPA for FY-96, and to be awarded financial assistance for FY-97 by EPA, under section 105(c) of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

Full text

SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency has made two proposed 
determinations that reductions in expenditures of non-Federal funds for 
the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) in Diamond 
Bar, California are a result of non-selective reductions in 
expenditures. These determinations, when final, will permit the SCAQMD 
to keep the financial assistance awarded to it by EPA for FY-96, and to 
be awarded financial assistance for FY-97 by EPA, under section 105(c) 
of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

DATES: Comments and/or requests for a public hearing must be received 
by EPA at the address stated below by July 14, 1997.

ADDRESSES: All comments and/or requests for a public hearing should be 
mailed to: R. Michael Stenburg, Grants and Program Integration Office 
(Air-8), Air Division, U.S. EPA Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San 
Francisco, California 94105-3901; FAX (415) 744-1076.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
R. Michael Stenburg, Grants and Program Integration Office (Air-8), Air 
Division, U.S. EPA Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, 
California 94105-3901 at (415) 744-1182.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the authority of Section 105 of the 
CAA, EPA provides financial assistance (grants) to the SCAQMD, whose 
jurisdiction includes Los Angeles and Orange Counties in southern 
California, to aid in the operation of its air pollution control 
programs. In FY-96, EPA awarded the SCAQMD $7,084,731, which 
represented approximately 8.4% of the SCAQMD's budget.
    Section 105(c)(1) of the CAA, 42 U.S.C. 7405(c)(1), provides that 
``[n]o agency shall receive any grant under this section during any 
fiscal year when its expenditures of non-Federal funds for recurrent 
expenditures for air pollution control programs will be less than its 
expenditures were for such programs during the preceding fiscal year. 
In order for [EPA] to award grants under this section in a timely 
manner each fiscal year, [EPA] shall compare an agency's prospective 
expenditure level to that of its second preceding year.'' EPA may still 
award financial assistance to an agency not meeting this requirement, 
however, if EPA, ``after notice and opportunity for public hearing, 
determines that a reduction in expenditures is attributable to a non-
selective reduction in the expenditures in the programs of all 
Executive branch agencies of the applicable unit of Government.'' CAA 
section 105(c)(2). These statutory requirements are repeated in EPA's 
implementing regulations at 40 CFR 35.210(a).
    In its FY-96 section 105 application, the SCAQMD projected 
expenditures of non-Federal funds for recurrent expenditures (or its 
maintenance of effort (MOE)) of $78,452,571. This MOE would have been 
sufficient to meet the MOE requirements of the CAA, i.e. it would have been equal to or greater than the MOE for the previous year 
(FY-95). Subsequently, however, the SCAQMD submitted to EPA final 
documentation which shows that its actual FY-96 MOE was $76,882,860. 
This amount represents a shortfall of $520,712 from the MOE of 
$77,403,572 for the preceding fiscal year (FY-95). In order for the 
SCAQMD to be eligible to keep its FY-96 grant, EPA must make a 
determination under section 105(c)(2).
    Furthermore, in its FY-97 Sec. 105 grant application the SCAQMD 
projected MOE of $67,362,724. This amount represents a shortfall of 
$9,520,136 from the actual FY-96 MOE of $76,882,860. In order for the 
SCAQMD to be eligible to be awarded its FY-97 grant, EPA must make a 
determination under section 105(c)(2).
    The SCAQMD is a single-purpose agency whose primary source of 
funding is emission fee revenue. It is the ``unit of Government'' for 
section 105(c)(2) purposes. The SCAQMD submitted documentation to EPA 
which shows that over the last five years emission reductions brought 
on by a combination of regulated and voluntary emission reductions and 
actions to minimize fee increases on businesses have reduced fee 
revenues from stationary sources from a high of $66,914,362 in 1991-
1992 to approximately $49,147,500 in 1996-1997. As a result, the SCAQMD 
has instituted hiring/salary freezes, furloughs, and layoffs, has 
reduced its equipment purchases and contract expenditures, and has 
instituted new programs to reduce costs such as permit streamlining, 
computer-assisted permit processing, and privatization efforts.
    Therefore, the SCAQMD's MOE reductions resulted from a loss of fee 
revenues due to circumstances beyond its control. EPA proposes to 
determine that the SCAQMD's lower FY-96 and FY-97 MOE levels meet the 
section 105(c)(2) criteria as resulting from a non-selective reduction 
of expenditures. Pursuant to 40 CFR 35.210, these determinations will 
allow the SCAQMD to keep the funds received from EPA for FY-96 and be 
awarded financial assistance for FY-97.
    This notice constitutes a request for public comment and an 
opportunity for public hearing as required by the Clean Air Act. All 
written comments received by July 14, 1997 on this proposal will be 
considered. EPA will conduct a public hearing on this proposal only if 
a written request for such is received by EPA at the address above by 
July 14, 1997.
    If no written request for a hearing is received, EPA will proceed 
to both final determinations. While notice of the final determinations 
will not be published in the Federal Register, copies of the 
determinations can be obtained by sending a written request to R. 
Michael Stenburg at the above address.

    Dated: June 3, 1997.
David P. Howekamp,
Director, Air Division, U.S. EPA, Region 9.
[FR Doc. 97-15366 Filed 6-11-97; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P  

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