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JANUARY 10, 1997

Cronin, et al. v. Browner

U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

No. 93 Civ. 0314 (AGS)

Pursuant to paragraph 3(a) of the Consent Decree in the above-referenced matter, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA" or "the Agency") provides this Quarterly Status Report concerning its actions to propose and take final action with respect to regulations under 316(b) of the Clean Water Act ("CWA").

During the last quarter, EPA retained a new contractor with specialized expertise in economic analysis to assist in the development of the 316(b) regulation. As a result of delays associated with this transition and input from the new contractor concerning the financial and economic portions of the draft 308 survey questionnaire referred to in the last Quarterly Status Report, the preparation of the questionnaire has not proceeded as quickly as EPA had hoped. EPA has completed the general and technical information parts of the draft survey questionnaire; however, the section of the questionnaire that seeks financial and economic data is still under development.

In accordance with its usual practice, in November 1996 the Agency sent the completed parts of the draft survey questionnaire, consisting of 97 pages, and the associated five page draft screener survey (also described in the last Quarterly Status Report) to industry representatives for early review. The Agency later sent the draft survey questionnaire and screener survey to the Hudson Riverkeeper for his review. EPA asked the reviewers to comment on the clarity and technical quality of the questions and tables.

In the latter part of 1996, EPA met with industry representatives to discuss the draft survey questionnaire and screener. The Agency has received and is now considering the industry comments. EPA also has scheduled a round table discussion for January 31, 1997 in Alexandria, Virginia for environmental groups interested in 316(b) data collection issues. The meeting is intended to update environmental groups on the 316(b) regulatory effort and to give them an opportunity to provide input on the information they believe should be collected through the survey questionnaire and screener survey.

This spring, the Agency intends to "pretest" the draft survey questionnaire and screener on a number of industry associations whose members together account for about 92% of the total cooling water intake in the United States. (The "pretest," which is generally required to obtain approval of the documents from the Office of Management and Budget, was described in the last Quarterly Status Report.) At the same time, the Agency will make the screener and survey questionnaire available for public comment by announcing their availability in the Federal Register.

The undersigned, James F. Pendergast, is acting Director of the Permits Division of EPA's Office of Wastewater Management. The Permits Division has primary responsibility for discharging EPA's duties under the Consent Decree.

James F. Pendergast