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Water: Cooling Water Intakes (316b)

Cooling Water Intake Structures - Section 316(b) - QUARTERLY STATUS REPORT - JANUARY 12, 1998

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").

As EPA stated in the last Quarterly Status Report, the first notice of the draft screener questionnaire was published in the Federal Register on September 18, 1997. 62 Fed. Reg. 49007. During the public comment period, which ended on November 17, 1997, EPA received eight letters making seventy eight separate comments on the draft. EPA is now evaluating and revising the draft in light of the public comment and is preparing an information collection request (ICR) under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. § 3501, et seq., to obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to administer the screener questionnaire. The ICR is a comprehensive document that, among other things, explains the need for the information being collected and the collection methodology, estimates the amount of time required to complete the screener questionnaire, and summarizes the public comments EPA received on the draft and the Agency's responses to those comments.

During the past quarter, EPA and contractor personnel have continued to prepare the draft detailed industry questionnaire, which has been described in previous status reports. As stated previously, EPA is preparing five versions of the detailed industry questionnaire, reflecting the economic diversity of the facilities to be surveyed. The five versions will cover: 1) Publicly Owned Utilities; 2) Major Privately Owned Electric Utilities; 3) Rural Electric Cooperatives; 4) Non-Utility Power Producers; and 5) Manufacturers. The first Federal Register notice announcing the availability of the draft detailed industry questionnaire for public comment is currently under management review within EPA. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, EPA will follow the same notification procedures for the detailed industry questionnaire as described in previous status reports for the screener questionnaire. EPA also has continued to refine the "sample frames" for the categories of facilities that will receive the screener questionnaire and detailed questionnaire, and to collect and analyze data to determine what is an "adverse environmental impact" and what is the "best technology available" to minimize such impacts under § 316(b).

EPA project staff have briefed Agency management several times during the past quarter on issues raised by this rulemaking effort. The Agency intends to hold two or three public meetings later this year to discuss those issues and receive other public input on the § 316(b) rulemaking.

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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