Time-Sensitive U.S. EPA office of Water Information and Tribal Participation Opportunities- September 2013

1.  NEW: Notification of Proposed Rule on WQS and forthcoming Tribal Consultation Plan – September

 For the first time in 30 years, the U.S. EPA is today proposing changes to the core requirements of the federal water quality standards regulation that interprets part of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

Water quality standards (WQS) define the goals for a water body by designating its uses, setting water quality criteria to protect those uses, and establishing antidegradation policies to protect high quality waters from degradation. Clearer regulatory requirements and improved implementation of the federal WQS regulation will protect and maintain waters from further degradation, ensure designated uses protect the highest attainable uses of a water body, and increase public transparency and state and authorized tribal accountability to ensure the public has the information it needs to become actively involved as states and authorized tribes manage their waters.

Authorized tribes are those tribes that have been found eligible for treatment in a manner similar to a state (TAS) for the purpose of administering CWA programs, specifically, TAS for the WQS program under CWA Section 518(e) and EPA regulations at 40 CFR 131.8.

All tribes may be interested in this rulemaking, particularly if the tribe

  • is one of the 48 tribes that is eligible to be treated in a manner similar to a state for the purpose of administering water quality standards under the Clean Water Act,
  • has submitted an application for TAS for the purpose of administering water quality standards under the Clean Water Act,
  • is developing water quality standards, or
  • has encountered issues relating to water quality standards of other jurisdictions.

Opportunities for tribal involvement:

During the public comment period for the proposed rule, EPA plans to hold a tribes-only webinar, and extends an ongoing invitation for tribes to request formal government-to-government consultation until December 3, 2013. EPA is finalizing the Tribal Consultation Plan and will mail it to consultation officials as soon as possible.

In addition, EPA will hold two public webinars and one public meeting that tribal representatives are welcome to attend.  Session details will be announced on EPA’s website (http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/lawsguidance/wqs_index.cfm ) as they become available.  At the sessions, EPA will provide a review of the current regulation and a summary of the revisions in the proposed rule.

EPA will accept public comments for 90 days beginning on September 4, 2013.  Comments must be submitted to the docket following the instructions in the Federal Register notice. https://federalregister.gov/a/2013-21140

2.  Notification of Consultation and Coordination on draft Guidelines for the Clean Water Indian Set Aside Program—September 3 and 11

 EPA is continuing its consultation and coordination with federally-recognized Indian Tribes on potential revisions to the guidelines that direct the Clean Water Indian Set Aside (CWISA) program. These potential revisions are intended to improve the programs’ abilities to support EPA’s priorities to increase access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation in Indian country. EPA initiated tribal consultation back in August 2012 and is continuing consultation and coordination with tribes now that EPA has completed the draft guidelines. The EPA invites tribes, including designated consultation representative(s), to participate in this process through two national teleconferences and/or by providing written comments on the proposed guidelines.

Teleconferences:

September 3, 2013                                                          September 11, 2013

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST                                              3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST

Call in number: 1-866-299-3188                                  Call in number: 1-866-299-3188

Code:  2025642947#                                                        Code:  2025642947#

Send written comments to:

Matthew Richardson

EPA Office of Wastewater Management

1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW,

(Mailcode 4204M)

Washington, DC  20460

The Draft Guidelines are available at http://water.epa.gov/type/watersheds/wastewater/clean-water-indian-set-aside-grant-program.cfm or by typing in “www.epa.gov/CWISA”.  In addition, you can access this tribal consultation record at  http://tcots.epa.gov/oita/TConsultation.nsf/TC?OpenView   to find the revised guidelines, the notification letter, the summary of proposed guideline revisions,  and information on how you can provide input to this action.

Categorised in: EPA, Time-Sensitive

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