NPDES Permits for Accelerated Oil & Gas Developmentby Daniel I. Steinborn, US EPA, EIS & Energy Review, Section, Seattle, WA, USA,
Richard R. Thiel, US EPA, EIS & Energy Review, Section, Seattle, WA, USA,
Abstract: Section 402 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for waste discharges to the marine environment from offshore oil and gas operations. Section 403 requires EPA to develop an ocean discharge criteria evaluation (ODCE) and make specific findings before issuing these permits. Finally, Section 309 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) requires that EPA determine whether proposed major Federal actions are acceptable in terms of public health, welfare, and environmental quality. EPA's implementation of these related mandates has uncovered significant gaps in the data available to support the development of ODCEs. These data gaps could impair EPA's ability to develop technically sound NDPES permits for development and production phase discharges for Arctic areas. Most of the burden for filling these data gaps, and thus avoiding delays in OCS hydrocarbon production, rests with the Minerals Management Service (MMS) and industry.
Subject Headings: Permits | Water discharge | Environmental Protection Agency | Air quality | Offshore platforms | Pollutants | Clean Water Act | Arctic
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