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EPA Outlines Framework for
PHILADELPHIA (December 29, 2009) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has completed the creation of a rigorous accountability framework for reducing pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and the region’s streams, creeks and rivers. A letter sent today to the six states in the Bay watershed and the
“President Obama, EPA and the states want real, measurable results to restore and protect the
Federal, state and local officials have been working together on development of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), a pollution budget that will set limits for sources of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment to the Bay and its tidal creeks, rivers and bays. EPA is confident the collaborative work will continue and that the states and D.C. will successfully meet expectations for reducing water pollution. The series of consequences will serve as a backstop, however, to achieving water quality goals.
To help the states and D.C. improve the performance and accountability of pollution control programs, EPA will provide technical assistance and an additional $11.2 million in grants for fiscal year 2010, more than doubling 2009 funding levels to the states. The funds are designed to improve permitting, enforcement and other key regulatory activities that increase accountability for reducing water pollution.
EPA is creating the rigorous accountability framework for accelerating cleanup of the
While the six Bay states –
- Expanding coverage of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits to sources that are currently unregulated.
- Increasing oversight of state-issued NPDES permits.
- Requiring additional pollution reductions from point sources such as wastewater treatment plants.
- Increasing federal enforcement and compliance in the watershed.
- Prohibiting new or expanded pollution discharges unless sufficient offsets are provided.
- Redirecting EPA grants.
- Revising water quality standards to better protect local and downstream waters.
- Establishing finer scale load allocations in the Bay TMDL.
Within 60 days of receiving a deliverable – such as a plan, milestone or permit – EPA will provide an assessment. If EPA finds a deliverable inadequate, the state or D.C. will then have 30 days to respond. EPA will deliver its final assessment and indicate any consequence the agency intends to impose within 120 days of the original submission.
The Chesapeake Bay TMDL will be completed by December 31, 2010. Under the TMDL, EPA expects the states and D.C. to provide specific timelines for enhancing programs and implementing controls to reduce pollution. By November 2010, the states and D.C. are required to identify gaps in current programs that must be addressed to meet pollution limits. Bridging these gaps may require expanding regulatory authorities, improving compliance with existing regulations, securing additional financial resources and issuing more stringent permits for wastewater facilities.
By 2011, EPA expects the states and D.C. to divide their allocated pollution loads to the local level so that counties, municipalities, conservation districts and watershed organizations understand their role in meeting water quality goals. States and D.C. must also offset any increased loads from population growth and land use changes anticipated in the coming decades. EPA expects that pollution controls will be in place that should result in approximately 60 percent of the required reductions by 2017. All measures needed to reach the pollution load limits must be in place no later than 2025.
To view the letter visit http://www.epa.gov/region03/chesapeake/bay_letter_1209.pdf
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