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Notice of Availability of a Draft Program Environmental Impact Report for Public Review

Notice of Availability of a Draft Program Environmental Impact Report for Public Review

Imperial County has released a Draft Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) for the project listed below:

Proposed Project: Adoption of Proposed Rule 214.2 - Paving Unpaved Public Roads Emissions Reduction Credits (PERCs) (State Clearinghouse SCH #2015031006)

Public Review and Comment Period: October 1, 2016 thru November 17, 2016

Project location: The adoption of proposed Rule 214.2 applies to approximately 1,280 miles of existing, unpaved public roads located throughout Imperial County. Imperial County extends over 4,597 square miles within the southeastern portion of California, bordering Mexico to the south, Riverside County to the north, San Diego County to the west and the State of Arizona to the east.

Project Description: Imperial County proposes to adopt Rule 214.2, which would become an element of the Air District's New Source Review (NSR) program. Specifically, the rule will codify a District methodology for calculation of emission reductions that result from paving existing, unpaved public roads, and add procedures to assure that the emission reductions are federally enforceable. Once the Rule has been adopted into the State Implementation Plan, emission reductions generated under the Rule can be enforced by USEPA. This will, in turn, allow the use of such emission reductions to offset emission increases at federal major stationary sources, which are subject to federal offset requirements under the federal New Source Review regulations. The objectives of adopting proposed Rule 214.2 are as follows:

Codify a District procedure to create PERCs in a way making their application federally enforceable; and

Allow PM10 emission reductions generated by unpaved public road paving to be used as offsets for specifically identified permit applications subject to local district or Federal New Source Review requirements.

Significant Environmental Effects: Adoption of proposed Rule 214.2 will have no direct environmental impacts. Potential environmental impacts of the rule's reasonably foreseeable consequences of paving unpaved public roads and associated new or modified stationary source will be mitigated to less-than-significant levels during the project-level CEQA review required of these consequences.

Proposed Rule 214.2 requires a project-level CEQA review of a proposed construction of a new source or modification of a specific existing source to be completely certified prior to issuance of PERCs. Proposed Rule 214.2 requires that the specific source desiring to use the PERCs be identified prior to issuance of the credits, thereby assuring that environmental impacts from road paving and the facility emissions increase being offset will be considered together. The required specific project-level CEQA review would address the possibility that the activity of paving roads in and of itself would have potential environmental impacts. Replacement of a dirt road with a paved road has the potential to increase the amount and speed of traffic on that road. Improvement of the road surface may also encourage development along the road.

The PERCs that are generated may be used as offsets to meet District and federal permit requirements. Construction or modification of the specific stationary source using PERCs may also have environmental impacts. The specific stationary source that might use PERCs, and the environmental impacts of such a source, are not part of the project (rule adoption) being analyzed herein; however, to the extent that these impacts are reasonably foreseeable (without knowing a specific source and facility) and can be appropriately characterized, they are addressed in the context of the cumulative impact analysis.

A copy of the Draft PEIR is available for review during normal business hours at the County offices; IC Planning and Development Services, 539 W Main Street, El Centro, CA 92243 or the Air Pollution Control District Office, 150 S. 9th Street, El Centro, CA 92243. Electronic copies of the Draft PEIR may be downloaded from the County's website at http://www.co.imperial.ca.us/AirPollution/

A second notice will be published when a Public Hearing is scheduled for the adoption of proposed Rule 214.2, at which time comments will be considered related to the merits of the project.

Comments on the adequacy of the information with the PEIR should be submitted in writing at the earliest possible date, but no later than close of business (5:00pm) on November 17, 2016. Comments should be directed to Reyes Romero, Interim Air Pollution Control Officer, 150 S 9th Street, El Centro, CA 92243. Electronic copies maybe submitted to reyesromero@co.imperial.ca.us. Comments regarding the adequacy of the Draft PEIR not presented during the public review period may not be considered at subsequent hearings.

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