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Water: Cooling Water Intakes (316b)

Cooling Water Intake Structures - Section 316(b) - QUARTERLY STATUS REPORT - JULY 10, 1997

Cronin, et al. v. Browner

U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

No. 93 Civ. 0314 (AGS)

Pursuant to paragraph 3(a) of the Consent Decree in the above-referenced matter, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA" or "the Agency") provides this Quarterly Status Report concerning its actions to propose and take final action with respect to regulations under § 316(b) of the Clean Water Act ("CWA").

During the past quarter, EPA has continued to develop a screener survey and detailed survey questionnaire under § 308 of the CWA for use in this regulatory proceeding. EPA has finished preparing a draft screener survey for notice in the Federal Register pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. § 3501, et seq. The Federal Register notice will announce that EPA is developing an Information Collection Request (ICR) to seek authorization from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to administer the screener survey. The notice also will announce the commencement of a 60 day period for public comment on the draft screener survey. At the time of the Federal Register notice, the Agency also intends to administer a "pretest" of the screener survey on a number of industry associations, as described in the January 10, 1997 Quarterly Status Report. After EPA considers the public comments it receives, the Agency will submit the screener survey to OMB for review and approval, and will publish another notice in the Federal Register announcing submission of the screener to OMB.

Agency and contractor personnel who are responsible for preparing the detailed survey questionnaire continue to revise that document. In the last Quarterly Status Report, EPA reported that it is developing five different versions of the economic portion of the survey questionnaire to cover the utility industry and two different versions to cover nonutility facilities that utilize cooling water intake structures. EPA has prepared a master economic survey covering the utility industry that will serve as a template for the five versions of the economic portion of the survey. These five versions will vary based on the accessibility of publicly available information for different types of utilities. EPA does not intend to include questions that seek publicly available information on the economic portions of the survey questionnaire. EPA is continuing to refine the two nonutility portions of the economic part of the survey.

EPA also has continued to develop "sample frames" for the categories of facilities that will receive the screener survey and the survey questionnaire. As described in the last Quarterly Report, a "sample frame" identifies all the individual facilities within a category, across the United States. EPA has selected the data bases that it intends to use for the utility "sample frame" and the "sample frame" covering non-utility generators of electricity. EPA is continuing to analyze databases that might be used to complete the manufacturing industry (i.e., non-electric generation) "sample frame."

In addition to the survey and "sample frame" development, EPA continues to allocate time to collecting and analyzing data to determine what is an "adverse environmental impact" and what is the "best technology available" to minimize such impacts under § 316(b). For example, in April 1997, EPA conducted site visits of four Florida Power and Light steam electric facilities to evaluate current intake structure technologies. EPA also visited sites in Wisconsin and Illinois in June and early July. During the last quarter, Agency and contractor personnel who are working on "adverse environmental impact" issues held several meetings to frame a preliminary approach to defining "adverse environmental impacts." The Agency has recently created a new workgroup to address environmental benefits.

The undersigned, James F. Pendergast, is acting Director of the Permits Division of EPA's Office of Wastewater Management. The Permits Division has primary responsibility for discharging EPA's duties under the Consent Decree.

James F. Pendergast


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