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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").
As EPA stated in the last Quarterly Status Report, the first notice of
the draft screener questionnaire was published in the Federal
Register on September 18, 1997. 62 Fed. Reg. 49007.
During the public comment period, which ended on November 17, 1997, EPA
received eight letters making seventy eight separate comments on the
draft. EPA is now evaluating and revising the draft in light of the public
comment and is preparing an information collection request (ICR) under the
Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. § 3501, et seq., to
obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to
administer the screener questionnaire. The ICR is a comprehensive document
that, among other things, explains the need for the information being
collected and the collection methodology, estimates the amount of time
required to complete the screener questionnaire, and summarizes the public
comments EPA received on the draft and the Agency's responses to those
During the past quarter, EPA and contractor personnel have
continued to prepare the draft detailed industry questionnaire, which has
been described in previous status reports. As stated previously, EPA is
preparing five versions of the detailed industry questionnaire, reflecting
the economic diversity of the facilities to be surveyed. The five versions
will cover: 1) Publicly Owned Utilities; 2) Major Privately Owned Electric
Utilities; 3) Rural Electric Cooperatives; 4) Non-Utility Power Producers;
and 5) Manufacturers. The first Federal Register notice announcing
the availability of the draft detailed industry questionnaire for public
comment is currently under management review within EPA. In accordance
with the Paperwork Reduction Act, EPA will follow the same notification
procedures for the detailed industry questionnaire as described in
previous status reports for the screener questionnaire. EPA also has
continued to refine the "sample frames" for the categories of facilities
that will receive the screener questionnaire and detailed questionnaire,
and to collect and analyze data to determine what is an "adverse
environmental impact" and what is the "best technology available" to
minimize such impacts under § 316(b).
EPA project staff have briefed Agency management several times during the past quarter on issues raised by this rulemaking effort. The Agency intends to hold two or three public meetings later this year to discuss those issues and receive other public input on the
§ 316(b) rulemaking.
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