May 20, 2021
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, DAPC
Lazarus Government Center
P.O. Box 1049
Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049
Re: Conservation Organizations’ Request for an Extension of Comment Period for Ohio’s Regional Haze State Implementation Plan for the Second Implementation Period.
Dear Ms. Kaloz:
On behalf of the Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, Ohio
Environmental Council, and Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks (collectively, the “Conservation Organizations”), we request that Ohio EPA grant a 30-day extension on the public comment deadline and virtual public hearing date for Ohio’s Regional Haze State Implementation Plan (“SIP”) for the Second Implementation Period, currently noticed for public comment.1See public notice: https://www.epa.ohio.gov/Portals/27/SIP/regional/P1_RH2021_PN_Draft.pdf Specifically, we ask that the current deadline for comments and date of a virtual public hearing, Monday, June 14, 2021, be extended to Wednesday, July 14, 2021.
For the proposed SIP, Ohio EPA provided interested stakeholders with approximately 30 days to evaluate and provide comment regarding hundreds of pages of legal and technical analysis, as well as air dispersion modeling data files.2See Ohio Proposed SIP and appendices https://www.epa.ohio.gov/Portals/27/SIP/regional/RH2021_SIP2ndPlanPer_DRAFT.pdf and https://www.epa.ohio.gov/dapc/sip/haze/haze_appendix5. Furthermore, the SIP that Ohio EPA has noticed for public comment has no information as to how the control cost evaluations were performed—it only provides the results of such evaluations. And, on the Ohio EPA website, there is no underlying air impacts modeling report in the public notice package. The Conservation Organizations need to obtain and review this information before submitting comments to Ohio EPA. Given the scope, volume, and complexity of this information, the Conservation Organizations believe that the current comment period is not sufficient to fully analyze the potential impacts of the proposed SIP and provide meaningful comment. Reviewing Ohio EPA’s legal and technical analysis along with its modeling, conducting any analysis of our own, and developing comments will take more time than allowed by the current comment period, which ends on June 14, 2021.
An extension of time will not adversely impact any other party. We understand that Ohio EPA intends to submit the SIP to U.S. EPA by the end of July 2021. As the current comment period would only allow the state several weeks to consider comments prior to this planned submission we believe it is reasonable for the state to consider whether a window of additional time is needed to thoroughly review comment submissions and evaluate any changes needed to the SIP accordingly. To the extent that this extension would result in delayed submission to EPA, we believe that such delay would be outweighed by fully considering comments submitted and revising the SIP to reflect such considerations. Because the proposal consists primarily of technical analyses prepared by the regulated sources themselves, it is unlikely that this docket will generate voluminous new material from regulated industry. Thus, a mere 30-day extension of the deadline will not prejudice any regulated entity, and will not materially affect Ohio EPA’s ability to submit its SIP to EPA within a reasonable time.
Conversely, given the scope and complexity of the proposed SIP, the current deadline for comments will effectively preclude the Conservation Organizations from reviewing all of the relevant technical data supporting the rule, fully analyzing those voluminous files, and providing meaningful legal and technical comments. Moreover, if finalized, the proposed SIP will adversely affect the Conservation Organizations’ interests in pollution reduction, the environment, as well the health and welfare of our members and their use and enjoyment of protected national parks and wilderness areas.
We respectfully ask that you grant our request by Friday, May 28, 2021, so that we can plan our comments most efficiently.