NEW REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS

Federal

All 10 EPA regions are seeking public comment on the draft 2017 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit for stormwater discharges from construction activities. The draft permit will replace the current general permit, which expires on February 16, 2017. This permit will be issued for five years and will cover all eligible operators in all areas of the country where EPA is the NPDES permitting authority, including Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Mexico, Indian country lands, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and most U.S. territories and protectorates. Comments are due May 26, 2016.  

EPA is announcing the availability for public review the draft document titled Draft Integrated Review Plan for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter. This document contains the current plans for the review of the air quality criteria for particulate matter and the primary and secondary national ambient air quality standards for particulate matter. Comments are due June 23, 2016.  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is seeking public comment on a draft recovery plan for the endangered Gulf of Maine distinct population segment of Atlantic salmon. The draft includes specific recovery objectives and a set of criteria that, when met, would lead USFWS to consider reclassifying the population from endangered to threatened, and ultimately remove the population from the list altogether. Comments are due May 31, 2016.  

EPA is announcing the release of recommended aquatic life water quality criteria for cadmium. This criteria provides recommendations to state and tribes authorized to establish water quality standards under the Clean Water Act.  

EPA is proposing to approve a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision for Massachusetts submitted by MassDEP. The revision includes amendments that allow gasoline dispensing facilities (GDFs) to decommission their Stage II vapor recovery systems as of January 2, 2015. Massachusetts also provided a demonstration that such a removal is consistent with the Clean Air Act and EPA guidance. Finally, the revision includes amendments to the SIP that address Stage I vapor recovery systems at GDFs. Comments were due April 8, 2016.  

EPA issued a final rule that revises ambient air monitoring requirements for criteria pollutants. Among other things, these revisions add and harmonize definitions, clarify annual monitoring network plan public notice requirements, revise network design requirements, and revise certain network design criteria for non-source oriented monitoring. The rule took effect April 27, 2016.  

EPA is proposing to amend its risk management program regulations. These revisions include a number of changes to the accident prevention program requirements including, among other things, an additional analysis of safer technology and alternatives for the process hazard analysis for some Program 3 processes, enhancements to the emergency preparedness requirements, and increased public availability of chemical hazard information. Comments were due April 13, 2016.  

EPA is proposing water quality standards (WQS) that would apply to certain waters under the jurisdiction of the State of Maine. Human health criteria are being proposed for waters in Indian lands and to waters for sustenance fishing rights under the Maine Implementing Act. Six other WQS are being proposed for waters in Indian lands in Maine, two other WQS are being proposed for all waters in Maine (including Indian lands), and one other WQS is being proposed for waters in Maine outside of Indian lands. Public hearings are scheduled for June 7, 2016 and June 9, 2016, and comments are due June 20, 2016.

Maine

DEP is proposing a revision to Maine’s State Implementation Plan (SIP) that incorporates DEP’s 2011 amendments to its Chapter 118 Gasoline Dispensing Facilities Vapor Control rule, which repealed the Stage II vapor control requirements for York, Cumberland, and Sagadahoc counties as of January 1, 2012, and required the removal and/or discontinuance of Stage II vapor controls no later than January 1, 2013. DEP is submitting the revision at this time because DEP now believes it can make the required demonstration that any additional emissions resulting from the program’s repeal will not interfere with the attainment or maintenance of the national ambient air quality standards in these counties. Comments were due March 31, 2016.  

DEP is proposing to amend its air definitions rule found in Chapter 100 to (1) explicitly identify NOx as a precursor to ozone in the definition of “regulated pollutant” in Section 149 and (2) replace a reference to “NO2” with “NOx” in the footnote of the definition of “significant emission increase” in Section 156. These amendments are being made as part of a State Implementation Plan submittal for new source review requirements for the PM 2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards and greenhouse gas emissions. Comments were due April 22, 2016. The rule will be addressed at the DEP’s Routine Technical Rulemaking meeting scheduled for May 3, 2016.  

DEP adopted amendments to its rules in Chapter 415, Reasonable Costs for Handling and Recycling of Electronic Wastes. Among other things, the amendments clarify definitions and organization within the rules and provide an opportunity for television and game console manufacturers to implement independent recycling programs. The amendments took effect March 7, 2016.  

DEP is proposing to amend Table 2 (Mitigation Credits) of its Stormwater Management Compensation Fees and Mitigation Credit rules. DEP believes these changes will “more accurately reflect the effectiveness of different mitigation activities” on various sites. For retrofitting with general standards, credits generally increase the closer the retrofitting gets to required sizing. Credits are being decreased for the elimination of impervious surface with replacement with landscaped areas, but are being increased for the elimination of impervious surfaces with replacement with forest plans. Comments were due April 22, 2016. The rule will be addressed at the DEP’s Routine Technical Rulemaking meeting scheduled for May 3, 2016.

Massachusetts

MassDEP is proposing changes to its Waterways Regulations, Designated Port Area (DPA) Regulations, and Municipal Harbor Plan Regulations. According to MassDEP, the changes are intended to reduce regulatory restrictions and increase the flexibility provided to municipalities and businesses by allowing for new and expanded economic development opportunities while ensuring the protection of current and future marine industrial opportunities within selected areas within DPAs. Specific changes include (1) allowing municipal harbor plans to identify sub-areas within DPAs for potential location of Supporting Uses on piers over flowed tidelands, (2) broadening the definition of Supporting DPA Uses, and (3) adding certain allowable water-dependent industrial uses. Comments were due April 25, 2016.  

MassDEP is proposing to rescind its regulations related to the Household Hazardous Waste Grant Program, Landfill Capping Grant Program, and Solid Waste Grant & Loan Program. The reason given for the rescission is that the funding for the programs no longer exists. A public hearing is scheduled for May 19, 2016, and comments are due May 31, 2016.

New Hampshire

DES is proposing to readopt and amend its rules for the New Hampshire Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NH ELAP). The NH ELAP serves as the accreditation body for laboratories that offer sampling and/or analytical services in cases where results will be used for an official purpose, such as to show compliance with public drinking water and wastewater treatment requirements. Proposed revisions include (1) the restructuring and clarification of existing rules to eliminate redundant sections in ENV-C 305 through ENV-C 308; (2) updates the incorporated standards to reflect the 2009 standards of the NELAC Institute; (3) the addition of accreditation standards for the fields of asbestos and pathogens; and (4) the revision of the fee schedule to comply with statutory requirements that the fee schedule “be designed to recover the costs associated with the accreditation services provided.” A public hearing is scheduled for May 31, 2016, and comments are due June 10, 2016.  

DES is proposing to readopt and amend its rules related to capacity assurance for public water systems. The proposed revisions are minor and are being made for the purpose of restructuring and clarifying the existing rules. Comments were due April 29, 2016.

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