This starts on page 7 of http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/speed_limit_revision.pdf. My name is mentioned on page 6.
Comment: One comment urged rejection of the currently proposed rule and future proposed rule that modifies the environmental speed limits in any SIP unless the change is a full cessation of the ESL program. This commenter raised three concerns about the effectiveness of speed limits as a control measure. First, for a variety of reasons the commenter did not believe that reduced speed limits would result in lowering the actual speeds being driven based on experience with the 1974 speed limit. Second, he felt that the emission reductions from a 5 mph reduction in speed limits are not sufficient to be worthwhile. Third, he felt that ESLs are not enforceable under State law.
Response: We do not believe that it is appropriate to disapprove the revision to the Stateís speed limit strategy based on these comments. Disapproval of the Stateís proposed revision would only leave in place the previously approved SIP with its requirement for a 55 mph speed limit starting in May of 2002. This result would not address the commenterís concerns. EPAís decision to approve the revision is based on whether the proposed changes were consistent with the approved attainment plan. As explained more fully in the proposal(67 FR 60633, September 26, 2002), we were able to make this determination, because the revision is only a delay in full implementation until 2005 and not a relaxation of the measure. Therefore, the emission reductions by the 2007 attainment date are expected to be equivalent to those that would have been achieved by the previous plan. Thus, the revision will not interfere with timely attainment. Also, as noted below, no reductions from this measure were relied on to meet interim Rate of Progress (ROP) requirements.
EPA will consider the commenterís concerns about the measureís effectiveness as we oversee the implementation of the State Implementation Plan. If we determine that the measures in the plan are not being effectively implemented as the commenter anticipates we will consider making a finding of failure to implement. It the State fails to correct the problem either through more effective implementation or substitute measures, sanctions will have to implemented. We do not anticipate a finding of nonimplementation will be necessary because Texas will weigh the effectiveness of all of the measures in the plan and correct any shortfalls at the mid-course review scheduled for May of 2004. Finally, the fact that the reduction from a 5 mph decrease in speeds may be small does not provide grounds for EPA to disapprove the revision. So long as the revision provides any reductions contributing to attainment of the National Ambient Air Quality Standard, EPA must approve it if it meets all applicable requirements.