The September public meeting is designed to assist EPA in developing
options relating to the development of proposed regulations under § 316(b)
applicable to cooling water intake structures. The purpose of this meeting
is to facilitate an exchange of information that will assist EPA. In
particular, EPA is seeking input on technology issues, cost issues, and
mitigation issues raised by this rulemaking effort. To help you prepare
for this public meeting, EPA thought it would be helpful for attendees to
see a set of specific issues on which EPA seeks input from stakeholders.
This set of issues is listed below.
Issues for Discussion at the Public
Meeting on September 10 and 11, 1998
Regarding § 316(b) Rulemaking
Best Technology Available (BTA) could be a single technology or a suite
of technologies that work together to meet the goal of minimizing adverse
environmental impacts from cooling water intake structures. EPA has not
yet reached a definition, and thus solicits input on the following.
- Is there a BTA technology or a suite of BTA technologies that can be
applied on a national basis?
- Is there a BTA technology that can be applied on a waterbody
environment basis (e.g., estuary, lake, larger river, ocean)? If so,
what conditions/factors prevent the application of the technology
- Are there measures other than structural (excluding mitigation) that
can effectively minimize adverse environmental impacts from cooling
water intake structures (e.g., operational measures)?
- What techniques and criteria should be used to measure the efficacy
of a technology's performance? Are there performance measures (e.g., a
bucket of fish) or rate base measures (e.g., not more than 10% of the
standing population of blue crab) that can be used to measure BTA
EPA solicits input on how, if at all, costs should be taken into
account in determining the technology that meets § 316(b) requirements;
the types of cost tests that should be conducted; and the organizational
or structural level at which any cost tests should be carried out.
- Role of costs in determining § 316(b) requirements on a case-by-case
a. Should § 316(b) requirements be determined by the minimization
of adverse environmental impact only, without regard to costs?
b. Should costs be considered in determining which technology or
suite of technologies meets the requirements of § 316(b)?
- Potential cost tests in the § 316(b) proposed rulemaking
a. If costs are to be considered on a case-by-case basis, what
should be EPA's approach? What type of "cost test" should be used?
Types of cost tests may include, but are not limited to:
i. cost-benefit tests (costs compared with benefits or a
b. What are the important parameters that EPA should take
into account in its cost test approach? Are these important for all
industries or only selected industries?
ii. cost-effectiveness tests (e.g., limit on the absolute cost
per unit reduction in environmental impact)
iii. affordability tests (e.g., costs compared with revenues or
iv. absolute threshold tests (limits on the absolute level of
costs imposed on a facility, category of facility, or industry).
- Level of § 316(b) cost tests.
a. What is the appropriate level at which § 316(b) cost tests
should be conducted to determine the technology that meets the
requirements of § 316(b)? Levels of cost tests may include, but are
not limited to:
i. the facility (i.e., a permit-by-permit approach);
ii. the utility or firm;
iii. the aquatic habitat immediately surrounding a facility
(e.g., a watershed or eco-region);
iv. the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC)
v. the industry as a whole.
IssuesEPA does not view mitigation as BTA in
itself, but sees mitigation as a potential means of supplementing
technology to satisfy the requirements of § 316(b). Mitigation is
typically defined as compensatory activities (e.g., hatcheries for
replacement of impinged or entrained organisms) which serve to minimize
adverse environmental impacts caused by cooling water intake structures.
- What should the role of mitigation play in meeting the requirements
of § 316(b)?
- What types of mitigation if any, should be employed to offset
adverse environmental impacts from cooling water intake structures?
- What types of demonstration should the applicant have to make to
show that any mitigation effort will produce incremental environmental
benefits? What information should the applicant be required to provide
on the effectiveness of mitigation or the limitations of BTA at their