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EPA Public Notice: Proposed Air Permit: Shell Offshore Inc. - Beaufort Sea, Alaska

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10

PUBLIC NOTICE: Proposed OCS/PSD Air Permit to Shell Offshore Inc. for Oil & Gas Exploration in the Beaufort Sea, Alaska

Public Comment Open:  February 17 - March 22, 2010

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a Clean Air Act permit to Shell Offshore Inc. (Shell) at 3601C St., Ste. 1000, Anchorage, Alaska 99503. The permit will allow Shell to operate the Frontier Discoverer drillship and its associated fleet for multi-year exploration drilling within Shell's current lease blocks in lease sales 195 (March 2005) and 202 (April 2007) on the Beaufort Sea outer continental shelf (OCS), within and beyond 25 miles from Alaska's seaward boundary.  Because the drillship operations are a "major" source, the permit requires the drillship operations to comply with the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) regulations. You are invited to comment on the proposed permit until March 22. If you believe any condition of this permit is inappropriate, you must comment on the permit and raise all reasonably ascertainable issues and submit all reasonably available arguments supporting your position by the end of the comment period. EPA is also asking for comments on the non-guideline ISC3-PRIME modeling system used to predict air pollutant concentrations and determine ambient air quality impacts in this permit.

Comments must be postmarked by March 22, 2010.

SEND COMMENTS TO:
E-mail: R10ocsairpermits@epa.gov
Mail: EPA Region 10, Shell Beaufort Air Permit, 1200 6th Ave, Ste. 900, AWT-107, Seattle, Washington 98101
Fax: (206) 553-0110

PUBLIC HEARINGS
March 16, 2010
Information Meeting: 6:00 pm and Public Hearing: 7:00 pm, City Hall, Kaktovik, Alaska

March 17, 2010
Information Meeting: 6:00 pm and Public Hearing: 7:00 pm, Kisik Community Center, Nuiqsut, Alaska

March 18, 2010
Information Meeting: 6:00 pm and Public Hearing: 7:00 pm, Inupiat Heritage Center, Barrow, Alaska

EPA will receive public comments on the proposed air permit at public hearings in Kaktovik, Nuiqsut and Barrow. You do not need to attend the public hearings to give your comments. You can send written comments by mail or e-mail. You can also record and submit your comments on cassette tape or CD. Send your comments to the addresses above. Comments must be postmarked by March 22, 2010.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Questions about the air permit: Natasha Greaves, Air Permit Writer, (206) 553-7079, greaves.natasha@epa.gov

Questions about the public hearings: Suzanne Skadowski, Community Involvement/Public Affairs, (206) 553-6689, skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov

Shell Beaufort air permit Web Site:  http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/airpage.nsf/Permits/beaufortap/

PERMIT DOCUMENTS AVAILABLE
EPA has prepared a detailed document called a statement of basis that explains the derivation of the permit conditions and the reasons for them. The record for this permit includes Shell's application and supplemental information, the statement of basis, the proposed permit and all other materials relied on by EPA.  The permit record is available at EPA Region 10, 1200 6th Ave, Seattle, Washington, from 9 am-12 pm and 1 pm- 4 pm, Monday- Friday, (206) 553-1200.

The permit application, the statement of basis, and the proposed permit will also be available at the locations listed below.  Please call in advance for available viewing times.

Barrow City Office, 2022 Ahkovak Street, Barrow, Alaska, 99723, (907) 852-4050
Kaktovik City Office, 2051 Barter Avenue, Kaktovik, Alaska, 99747, (907) 640-6313
Nuiqsut City Office, 2230 2nd Street, Nuiqsut, Alaska, 99789, (907) 480-6727
EPA Alaska Office, Federal Building, 222 West 7th Ave, Anchorage, Alaska, 99513, (907) 271-5083
EPA Region 10 web site: http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/airpage.nsf/Permits/beaufortap/

To request a copy of the permit application, statement of basis and/or the proposed permit, or to be added to our Beaufort or Chukchi permits mailing lists, contact Suzanne Skadowski, (206) 553-6689, skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov.

HOW TO COMMENT
Any person may submit comments on the proposed air permit during the public comment period.  If you believe any condition of this permit is inappropriate, you must raise all reasonably ascertainable issues and submit all reasonably available arguments supporting your position.  Any documents supporting your comments must be included in full and may not be incorporated by reference unless they are already part of the record for this permit, consist of state or federal statutes or regulations, EPA documents of general applicability, or other generally available referenced materials.  

We recommend that comments submitted by mail, e-mail, cassette tape or CD include your contact information so that we can provide you with notice of the final permit decision.  If EPA cannot read or hear your comment and cannot contact you for clarification, we may not be able to fully consider your comment. Any personal information, including addresses or phone numbers that are included with a public comment will be included in the public record for the permit. All comments must be postmarked by March 22, 2010.

This permit is subject to the decision-making procedures of 40 C.F.R. Part 124.  All timely comments will be considered in making the final decision, included in the record, and responded to by EPA.  When EPA issues a final permit decision, we will prepare a response to comments received, an explanation of any changes made in the final permit, and we will notify all commenters of our permit decision.

ADDITIONAL PROJECT INFORMATION

Arctic General Permit

Shell's proposed drilling activities also include wastewater discharges to the Beaufort Sea, which are regulated under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).  In 2006, EPA issued the Arctic NPDES General Permit (AKG-28-0000) to authorize discharges from oil and gas exploration activities in state and federal waters on the outer continental shelf in the Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, Hope Basin, and northern Norton Basin, if the facilities meet the permit terms and conditions. This permit expires in 2011.  

Shell submitted two notices of intent (NOIs) requesting coverage under the Arctic General Permit for wastewater discharges related to its proposed exploration activities in Camden Bay within the Beaufort Sea. EPA will decide whether to grant coverage for Shell under the Arctic NPDES General Permit following the end of the public and tribal review period. EPA is accepting public and tribal input on Shell's Beaufort NOIs until March 22, 2010.

To learn more about the Arctic General Permit or to comment on Shell's Beaufort NOIs, contact: Hanh Shaw, EPA NPDES Permit Writer, (206) 553-0171, shaw.hanh@epa.gov.

To sign up for the Arctic General Permit mailing list, contact: Suzanne Skadowski, EPA Public Affairs, (206) 553-6689, skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov.

Find more information on the Arctic NPDES General Permit and Shell's Beaufort NOIs on the Web:
http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/airpage.nsf/Permits/beaufortap/#water

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