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Project Level PM2.5 Procedures

Background

On March 10, 2006 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule, PM 2.5 and PM 10 Hot-Spot Analyses in Project-level Transportation Conformity Determinations for the New PM 2.5 and Existing PM 10 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (71 FR 12468). The rule establishes transportation conformity criteria for determining which transportation projects must be analyzed for local air quality impacts in PM 2.5 and PM10 non-attainment and maintenance areas. The final rule requires that as of April 5, 2006 a qualitative PM 2.5 hot-spot analysis be completed for projects of air quality concern in PM 2.5 and PM 10 non-attainment and maintenance areas. Projects of air quality concern are defined in 40 CFR 93.123(b)(1) of the final rule.

Purpose

The purpose of this memorandum is to outline the procedures that GDOT and FHWA will follow to ensure that projects in PM 2.5 non-attainment areas are evaluated for PM 2.5 and that the proper documentation is included in environmental documents.

FHWA will make a determination on each project in a PM 2.5 non-attainment area and will request concurrence from the Interagency Consultation Group, which currently consists of:

Each project will fall into one of the following categories:

Submission of PM Determinations

Exempt Projects: A list/table of exempt projects will be submitted to FHWA no more than twice a month. These will be sent to FHWA on the 1st and 15th of every month. The list will include at a minimum the County, project number, PI number, MPO, project status and project description. FHWA will review the list, request additional information if necessary, and forward to the Interagency Consultation Group for concurrence. The Interagency Consultation Group will be given a reasonable amount of time to respond; the Interagency Consultation Group be notified that no feed back will be construed as concurrence.

GDOT will keep a master list/table, subject to FHWA process review, of all projects that have been determined by FHWA to be exempt and will update it as the lists/tables receive concurrence. This master list/table will be sent to FHWA after each update.

Projects NOT of air quality concern: PM Determination letters will be submitted to FHWA for projects NOT of air quality concern no more than twice a month. These will be sent to FHWA on the 1st and 15th of every month. The determination letters will include at a minimum the following information:

FHWA will review each determination letter, request additional information if necessary, and forward to the Interagency Consultation Group for concurrence. The Interagency Consultation Group will be allowed a reasonable amount of time to respond (reasonable time to be defined as the process matures); the Interagency Consultation Group will be notified that no response within a reasonable time will be construed as concurrence.

GDOT will keep a master list/table, subject to FHWA process review, of all projects that have been determined to be NOT of air quality concern. This list will include information regarding the type of public involvement that will/has been done. This list will be updated as necessary and will be sent to FHWA following each update.

Projects of Air Quality Concern: It is anticipated that few projects will fall into this category. If GDOT has concerns that a project may fall into this category, FHWA should be notified as soon as possible.

Documentation of PM Determinations in Environmental Documents

Exempt Projects: The following language will be included in environmental documents for exempt projects:

This project has been reviewed by an Interagency Consultation Group consisting of representatives from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD), and the local Metropolitan Planning Organization(s) (MPO). FHWA has determined and the Interagency Consultation Group has concurred that this project is exempt from the PM 2.5 hot-spot requirements. Documentation and correspondence are included in appendix ____.

The following documentation and correspondence is to be included in an appendix:

Projects NOT of Air Quality Concern: The following language will be included in environmental documents for projects NOT of air quality concern:

This project was reviewed by an Interagency Consultation Group consisting of representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD), and the local Metropolitan Planning Organization(s) (MPO). FHWA has determined and the Interagency Consultation Group has concurred that this project is NOT a project of air quality concern under 40 CFR 93.123(b)(1). The Clean Air Act and 40 CFR 93.116 requirements were met without a hot-spot analysis. Documentation of this determination is provided in Appendix ___.

The following documentation is to be included in the appendix:

Projects of Air Quality Concern: A qualitative hot-spot analysis must be included in the environmental document.

Public Involvement

Exempt Projects: No public involvement is required for Exempt Projects.

Projects NOT of Air Quality Concern: The NEPA public involvement process will be used to satisfy the PM 2.5 public involvement requirements for projects that have not completed the NEPA process. For projects that have already completed the NEPA process (Reevaluations, Right-of way and Construction approvals), the level of public involvement will be commensurate with the public involvement of the original environmental document. Generally, the type of public involvement will be based on the level of environmental documentation and no public involvement will be required for PM Determinations on projects that were evaluated as Categorical Exclusions (CEs). If the project was evaluated as an EA/FONSI or an EIS and the NEPA process is complete it will be necessary to place an advertisement in the local newspaper. The advertisement will:

Public Involvement on PM Determinations will be determined based on Interagency Consultation. When FHWA requests concurrence from the Interagency Consultation Group on a PM Determination for a project that is not exempt under 40 CFR 93.126 or 93.128, FHWA will also include a statement related to the anticipated public involvement. If the Interagency Consultation Group has concerns related to the level of public involvement, it will be further discussed.

Projects of Air Quality Concern: Public involvement will be followed as outlined above, with the additional requirement that the public will be notified that the project is of air quality concern and that a qualitative hot-spot analysis was performed. The purpose of the analysis is to determine whether or not the project will cause or contribute to a new violation of the PM 2.5 standard, increase the frequency or severity of a violation or delay timely attainment of the standard. The results of the qualitative analysis (i.e. that the project will not cause or contribute to a new violation of the PM 2.5 standard, increase the frequency or severity of a violation or delay timely attainment of the standard) will be disclosed to the public.





Approval of Project Level PM 2.5 Procedures

These procedures are effective as of October 1, 2006 and will be updated as necessary.








__________________________________     _____Signed 9/7/06_____________
Harold E. Linnenkohl, Commissioner                 Date
Georgia Department of Transportation





_____________________________________     _Signed 9/20/06______________
Robert M. Callan, Division Administrator                 Date
Federal Highway Administration

Updated: 07/06/2011
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