Tag Archives: Clean Water Act

10/27/2011 EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson: Keystone conversation is 'awesome'

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson still offers some hope for a clean future. This from the Hill “Politico”. 10/27/2011 EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson: Keystone conversation is ‘awesome’ By Erica Martinson: EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Thursday took an artful dodge when asked by a student activist about the Keystone XL pipeline, praising civic engagement and promising that the EPA will “do its job.” “People ask me all the time, ‘What about this whole issue?’ To me, it’s awesome; it’s awesome that we’re having this conversation in this country. This should be a moment where we’re having a big conversation,” she said.

But, Jackson added a cautionary note: “This is a pipeline that cuts our country literally in half.” Jackson addressed a Sierra Club meeting of national campus activists, most of whom are focused on shutting down coal-fired power plants on their campuses and on other similar issues.

One student, Jarymar Arana from Texas — who plans to bring up the pipeline again this afternoon when the students visit the White House — thanked the administrator for its previous “robust review” of the pipeline and asked “if you will continue to stand up for the communities affected by Keystone XL.”

“Yes, that’s our job,” Jackson said, speaking of EPA’s obligation under the National Environmental Policy Act to review environmental impact statements.

But, she noted, “Everyone, I think, knows here that the actual decision-makers are the State Department.”

Jackson said the EPA is almost finished with its final comments on the pipeline, but declined to tell reporters when they would be completed.

She noted President Barack Obama’s brief mention Wednesday of the controversy, telling the activists that “he’s certainly heard your voices and is very much aware of the concerns you have raised.”

Arana told POLITICO that Sierra Club and its student activists feel that EPA’s last comments filed on the Keystone XL pipeline essentially rejected the project, and they want to “build on that momentum and ask that they do it again.”

Arana is particularly concerned about family in Brownsville, Texas, near the Gulf Coast, where there may be increased demand for refineries once the pipeline is built, and said she and other activists are concerned about the disproportionate impact on the Hispanic community that could come from the pipeline.

Most of the students at the Sierra Club event at Howard University this morning were focused on coal.

Students at the event said that 17 student groups thus far have won campaigns to retire coal-fired power plants on campus and that last month students held more than 100 events nationwide asking for a transition off of coal at their schools.

Jackson used the event to warn students about congressional assaults on a slew of rules and defend the agency’s recent decisions. “We’re not going to use the current economic crisis to roll back the health and safety people have come to rely on for a decade. … It would be tragic if we took one step forward, and we end up taking four or five steps back, “she said.

About environmental laws, she added: “None of them are safe right now.”

“We will … continue to face vote after vote to knock these rules down,” Jackson said. “They’re threatening more votes … against the Clean Air Act. Against the Clean Water Act … of course now we hear that the EPA is the enemy.”

She called out an unnamed lawmaker in her speech, noting, “I read a really interesting headline today … an elected official, I won’t say which one, said he needs to protect coal ash from regulation. I thought — ‘I thought the job was to protect us from coal ash!’ One of the reason that we have regulations and standards was to protect we the people.”

It appears Jackson was referring to Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and a story in The Hill.

Jackson specifically defended the agency’s agreement with automakers to up standards to 55 miles per gallon by 2025, though she warned students, “There will be an effort to reverse it. … And it will probably be led by someone from California.” (Rep. Darrell Issa has been a leading critic of the deal.)

Jackson also spoke voraciously of the agency’s upcoming mercury and air toxics standards, due out Dec. 16 after environmental litigants recently granted a one-month extension.

One of the reasons it’s so important to meet the standards, Jackson told the students, is that there are many coal plants that are 40, 50, 60 years old. “We actually have one, I think, approaching 70 years old. And in their entire history … they’ve never found the time, or the reason, to clean up their act.”

8/23/2011 US EPA Press Release: Over 80 Tribal Schools in Arizona, Navajo Nation to improve environmental management

8/23/2011 US EPA Press Release: Over 80 Tribal Schools in Arizona, Navajo Nation to improve environmental management – EPA Announces Settlement with the Department of the Interior to Resolve Violations at 164 DOI Schools in Indian Country, benefitting more than 40,000 students nationwide Contact: Margot Perez-Sullivan: SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a comprehensive settlement with the Department of the Interior to address alleged violations of waste, water, air, toxics and community right-to-know laws at schools and public water systems in Indian Country owned or operated by DOI’s Indian Affairs Office.

Fifty-five tribal schools in Arizona and thirty-one New Mexico-Navajo territory are impacted. The settlement will protect student’s health and the health of communities in Indian Country by reducing potential exposure to environmental hazards.

“Children are more vulnerable to environmental exposures than adults, which is why ensuring that schools provide safe, healthy learning environments for our children, particularly in tribal communities, is a top priority for EPA,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s landmark settlement will help strengthen public health and environmental protection in Indian Country and will improve environmental management practices at federally managed tribal schools.”

“The Federal government has a trust responsibility to protect human health and the environment in Indian Country,” said Jared Blumenfeld, regional administrator for EPA’s Pacific Southwest office. “We are pleased that the Department of Interior is taking steps to ensure that native children growing up in small communities on the Navajo and other reservations benefit from the same healthy educational environment as all other Americans.”

The settlement will correct all of DOI’s alleged violations at 72 schools and 27 water systems nationally. DOI will implement an environmental compliance auditing program and an environmental management system (EMS), designed to improve environmental practices at all of its Indian Country schools and public water systems serving these schools. DOI has also agreed to install a solar energy system which will serve a school located in the Grand Canyon. The solar energy project will help ensure a more reliable source of electricity for the school and local community. DOI will also pay a civil penalty of $234,844 which it must spend to correct violations of the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) at its schools.

EPA conducted compliance inspections and data reviews at more than 100 DOI schools and public water systems. The settlement addresses all alleged violations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Emergency Planning and Community-Right-to-Know Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act’s PCB provisions, and AHERA.

The settlement affects 60 tribes throughout the U.S. which have DOI Office of Indian Affairs schools or public water systems on or near their tribal lands. Consistent with EPA’s consultation process with tribes, EPA consulted with the 60 tribes affected prior to finalization of the settlement agreement.

More information on the settlement: http://epa.gov/compliance/federalfacilities/enforcement/civil/bia-settlement.html

US EPA Public Comment period open: US EPA News Releases – Water Update on Waters of the U.S. Draft Guidance

6/27/2011 US EPA News Releases – Water Update on Waters of the U.S. Draft Guidance Contact Information: Enesta Jones, jones.enesta@epa.gov, 202-564-7873, 202-564-4355: WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have extended the public comment period by 30 days for the draft guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act. In response to requests from state and local officials, as well as other stakeholders, EPA and the Corps will take additional comment until July 31, 2011 on this important draft guidance that aims to protect U.S. waters. These waters are critical for the health of the American people, the economy and ecosystems in communities across the country. This change in the public comment period will not impact the schedule for finalizing the guidance or alter the intent to proceed with a rulemaking.

Public input received will be carefully considered as the agencies make final decisions regarding the guidance. These comments will also be very helpful as the agencies prepare a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

The original 60-day public comment period was originally set to expire on July 1, 2011. The agencies will be publishing a notice of this 30-day extension in the Federal Register.

More information:
http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/guidance/wetlands/CWAwaters.cfm

US EPA 60 day comment period ends 7/1/2011 on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Air Act

EPA and USACE Seek Comment on “Draft Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act” On May 2, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) jointly published in the Federal Register their proposal to issue clarifying guidance for determining which waters and wetlands are protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA) programs. During a 60-day comment period, the agencies are soliciting comments on the proposed draft guidance from interested parties. The agencies are interested in whether the proposed guidance would result in any disproportionate adverse effects or benefits for environmental justice communities. The comment period ends July 1How to Comment: EPA and the Corps are accepting comment on the draft guidance until July 1, 2011. The draft guidance and the May 2, 2011 Federal Register notice announcing it are available in docket EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0409 at Regulations.gov.

Please submit your comments, identified by docket identification number EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0409, by one of the following methods:

  • Online: Regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
  • Email: ow-docket@epa.gov. Include “EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0409” in the subject line of the message.
  • Mail: Send the original and three copies of your comments to:

    Water Docket
    Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 2822T
    1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460
    Attention: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0409

  • Hand Delivery/Courier: Deliver your comments to:

    EPA Docket Center
    EPA West, Room 3334
    1301 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20460
    Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0409

    Such deliveries are accepted only during the Docket’s normal hours of operation, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. Special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. The telephone number for the Water Docket is 202-566-2426.

4/27/2011 US EPA Water News Release (HQ): Obama Administration Affirms Comprehensive Commitment to Clean Water

Please submit comments. The draft guidance from U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is open for 60 days of public comment, will protect waters that many communities depend upon for drinking, swimming, and fishing, and provide clearer, more predictable guidelines for determining which water bodies are protected from pollution under the Clean Water Act. 4/27/2011 US EPA Water News Release (HQ): Obama Administration Affirms Comprehensive Commitment to Clean Water CONTACTS: (CEQ) Taryn Tuss, 202-456-6998 (EPA) 202-564-6794; press@epa.gov (USDA) 202-720-4623 (DOI) Kendra Barkoff, 202-208-6416 (DOA) Moira Kelley, 703-614-3992 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Obama Administration Affirms Comprehensive Commitment to Clean Water WASHINGTON – Recognizing the importance of clean water and healthy watersheds to our economy, environment and communities, the Obama administration released a national clean water framework today that showcases its comprehensive commitment to protecting the health of America’s waters. The framework emphasizes the importance of partnerships and coordination with states, local communities, stakeholders and the public to protect public health and water quality, and promote the nation’s energy and economic security.

For nearly 40 years, the Clean Water Act, along with other important federal measures, has been a cornerstone of our effort to ensure that Americans have clean and healthy waters. The administration’s framework outlines a series of actions underway and planned across federal agencies to ensure the integrity of the waters Americans rely on every day for drinking, swimming, and fishing, and that support farming, recreation, tourism and economic growth. It includes draft federal guidance to clarify which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act nationwide; innovative partnerships and programs to improve water quality and water efficiency; and initiatives to revitalize communities and economies by restoring rivers and critical watersheds.

“Clean water and healthy waterways are vital to the health and vibrancy of our communities and the strength of our economy,” said Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “Working with our partners across communities, governments and sectors, we are taking comprehensive action to ensure Americans have the clean and healthy waters they need and deserve.”

”The steps we’re outlining today will be instrumental to protecting the waters of the United States, and ensuring that the vital natural resources our communities depend on for their health and their economy are safeguarded for generations to come,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “After four decades of progress on clean water, there is still work to be done to address unfinished business and tackle new threats to our waters. American families and businesses are counting on us to maintain and improve the rivers, lakes, streams and other waters that support thousands of communities and millions of jobs across the country.”

“Healthy rivers and clean waters are fundamental to our economy, our health, and our way of life,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “With growing pressures on our natural systems, we must work to secure cleaner, safer, and more reliable water supplies for our communities.”

“As our nation’s foremost conservationists, farmers, ranchers and forest owners have a values system rooted in rural America that recognizes we cannot continue to take from the land without giving something back,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “At USDA, we are working with farmers, ranchers and forest owners to conserve land, plant stream buffers for cleaner water, and install other conservation practices. We also will continue to invest in rural water and community facility projects that help small towns ensure their citizens have access to safe and reliable drinking water. The draft Clean Water Act guidance released today reflects USDA’s work with our federal partners by maintaining existing exemptions for ongoing agricultural and forestry activities, thereby providing farmers, ranchers and forest landowners with certainty that current agricultural and forestry activities can continue.”

“The Army is very proud of our ecosystem restoration efforts across the nation,” said Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy. “The proposed joint EPA and Army guidance will clarify Clean Water Act jurisdiction and help the Corps and its partner agencies protect important aquatic resources and watersheds that communities rely on for their quality of life and essential services.”

Clean water provides critical health, economic and livability benefits to American communities. Since 1972, the Clean Water Act has kept billions of pounds of pollution out of American waters, doubling the number of waters that meet safety standards for swimming and fishing. Despite the dramatic progress in restoring the health of the nation’s waters, an estimated one-third of American waters still do not meet the swimmable and fishable standards of the Clean Water Act. Additionally, new pollution and development challenges threaten to erode our gains, and demand innovative and strong action in partnership with federal agencies, states, and the public to ensure clean and healthy water for American families, businesses, and communities.

The Obama administration is safeguarding clean water by: Promoting Innovative Partnerships. Federal agencies are partnering with states, tribes, local governments and diverse stakeholders on innovative approaches to restore urban waters, promote sustainable water supplies, and develop new incentives for farmers to protect clean water.

Enhancing Communities and Economies by Restoring Important Water Bodies: The Obama administration is dedicating unprecedented attention to restoring iconic places like the Chesapeake Bay, California Bay-Delta, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico and Everglades, investing in action and helping states, local governments and stakeholders find pollution control solutions that are tailored to their specific needs.

Innovating for More Water Efficient Communities: The administration is working with policymakers, consumers, farmers and businesses to save water – and save money – through 21st century water management policies and technology.

Ensuring Clean Water to Protect Public Health: The Obama administration is aggressively pursuing new ways to protect public health by reducing contaminants in Americans’ drinking water. We are updating drinking water standards, protecting drinking water sources, modernizing the tools available to communities to meet their clean water requirements, and providing affordable clean water services in rural communities.

Enhancing Use and Enjoyment of our Waters: The administration is promoting stewardship of America’s waters through innovative programs and partnerships. These efforts include expanding access to waterways for recreation, protecting rural landscapes, and promoting public access to private lands for hunting, fishing and other recreational activities.

Updating the Nation’s Water Policies: The administration is strengthening protection of America’s waters and American communities. We are modernizing water resources guidelines, and updating federal guidance on where the Clean Water Act applies nationwide. The draft guidance will protect waters that many communities depend upon for drinking, swimming, and fishing, and provide clearer, more predictable guidelines for determining which water bodies are protected from pollution under the Clean Water Act. The guidance is open for 60 days of public comment to all allow all stakeholders to provide input and feedback before it is finalized.

Supporting Science to Solve Water Problems: The administration is using the latest science and research to improve water policies and programs and identify and address emerging pollution challenges.

More information and to read the Obama administration’s clean water framework: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/clean-water

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