ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
MOBILE and BALDWIN COUNTIES
NOTICE OF REQUEST FOR A REVIEW OF A FEDERAL AGENCY’S CONSISTENCY DETERMINATION FOR A PROPOSED FEDERAL ACTION
PUBLIC NOTICE - 591
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) hereby gives notice that the U.S. EPA has requested, in accordance with Title 15 C.F.R. 930 Subpart C, review of a proposed federal action pursuant to ADEM Administrative Code division 335-8.
The U.S. EPA has determined that the development of the proposed rule - National Performance Standards for Discharges Incidental to the Normal Operation of a Commercial Vessel - authorized by the Clean Water Act (CWA) section 312(p) - is a de minimis federal activity in which the anticipated effects would be environmentally beneficial. On October 26, 2020, EPA proposed regulations under the CWA, as amended by the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) of 2018, to establish national performance standards for discharges incidental to the normal operation of primarily commercial vessels. The proposed rule would establish general and specific technology-based discharge standards of performance for approximately 82,000 domestic and international non-military, non-recreational vessels operating in the waters of the United States or the waters of the contiguous zone. Discharges from commercial vessels have been regulated under the CWA section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting regime through the 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP). The principal effect of the VIDA is to transfer authority for establishing discharge requirements for commercial vessels from the VGP permitting program to the new uniform national regulation-based program under CWA section 312(p). Absent certain narrow exceptions, VIDA requires that the proposed standards be at least as stringent as the general requirements contained in the 2013 VGP. In contrast to the VGP, it is clear that Congress intended VIDA to result in uniform national standards without state-by-state distinctions. For example, while CWA section 312(p)(4)(C) expressly allows EPA to distinguish between “classes, types, and sizes of vessels” as well as “between new vessels and existing vessels,” the statute makes no mention of state-based distinctions in the establishment of the performance standards. Moreover, while the statute requires the VIDA standards to be at least as stringent as the VGP, the statute does not include the VGP’s state-specific requirements (from Section 6 of the VGP) as part of the minimum requirements of stringency (see CWA section 312(p)(4)(B)(iii)). Lastly, the statute requires that the proposed standards be established based on the best available technology currently achievable, the best conventional pollutant control technology, or the best practicable control technology currently available. Therefore, based on the national consistency determination prepared for the VGP, EPA now determines that the performance standards in the VIDA rulemaking are consistent to the extent practicable. The U.S. EPA has determined that this rulemaking is consistent to the maximum extent practicable with the enforceable policies of the Alabama Coastal Area Management Program (ACAMP).
Any person wishing to make comments or provide additional information relative to the proposed rulemaking’s consistency with the ACAMP must submit such comments or information by letter or by email to ADEM at the address below within fifteen (15) calendar days following the publication date of this notice. Only those comments, which address issues within the Department’s scope of authority, can be considered. All correspondence regarding this proposal should reference application number ACAMP-2021-065-FC-FAA-EPA.
J. Scott Brown, Chief
Mobile Branch Office
Alabama Department of Environmental Management
3664 Dauphin Street, Suite B
Mobile, Alabama 36608-1211
Copies of all information submitted are available for public inspection at the ADEM office located at the above address Monday – Friday (except legal holidays), 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Arrangements for copying should be made in advance. This Public Notice is available on the internet at http://adem.alabama.gov/newsEvents/publicNotices.cnt. The ADEM Division 335-8 rules are available on the internet at adem.alabama.gov.
After consideration of all written comments and consideration of the requirements of the Alabama Coastal Area Management Act and ADEM Coastal Program rules, the Department will make a final determination. The Department’s determination, associated documents and all comments received during the public comment period will be available for inspection at the ADEM office located at the above address during normal working hours. Notice of the final permit decision will be sent to any person who requests such notice, in writing, during this comment period.
Notice is hereby given this 16th day of December, 2020, by authorization of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
Lance R. LeFleur,
Nondiscrimination Statement: The Department does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in the administration of its programs.