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U.S. EPA permits in the Alaskan arctic

Jan. 30, 2012:  EPA Region 10 is seeking public input on two proposed waste water discharge permits for oil and gas exploration activities in the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea, Alaska. Comments are accepted until March 30, 2012.

Contact: Suzanne Skadowski, Community Involvement, 206-553-6689, skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov or Marianne Holsman, Public Affairs, 206-553-1237, holsman.marianne@epa.gov 

EPA is now seeking input on two draft waste water discharge permits for oil and gas exploration activities in the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea, Alaska: Beaufort General Permit No. AKG-28-2100 Outer Continental Shelf and Contiguous State Waters in the Beaufort Sea, Alaska AND Chukchi General Permit No. AKG-28-8100 Outer Continental Shelf in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska

The draft General Permits and project documents are online at: http://yosemite.epa.gov/r10/water.nsf/npdes+permits/arctic-gp

The proposed Clean Water Act permits protect public health and the marine environment by placing limits and conditions on the types and amounts of pollution companies can discharge in waste water during oil and gas exploration activities. The proposed permits also require the companies to conduct environmental studies before, during, and after drilling discharges occur to ensure compliance with permit limits.

These permits are National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permits. EPA is proposing one General Permit for the Chukchi Sea and one for the Beaufort Sea. The existing Arctic General Permit (GP), which covered oil and gas exploration discharges for both seas, expired June 2011. Companies currently covered under the expired Arctic GP must reapply for coverage and comply with the new terms and conditions under the final Beaufort and or Chukchi General Permits.

A detailed summary table of the changes in the General Permits and the specific sections EPA is requesting comments on is included in Appendix A of the Fact Sheet. EPA plans to reissue the final Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea General Permits by October 2012.

People who want to comment on the draft General Permits and Fact Sheet must do so by March 30, 2012 by any of the following methods:

Mail: US EPA Region 10, Suite 900, Attn: Hanh Shaw, Office of Water Watersheds, 1200 6th Ave, OWW-130, Seattle, WA 98101
Email: R10arcticpermits@epa.gov
Fax: Hanh Shaw, 206-553-0165

EPA will hold public hearings on the following dates:

March 13, 2012, in Barrow, Alaska, at the Inupiat Heritage Center
March 15, 2012, in Anchorage, Alaska, at the Loussac Public Library
Both hearings will begin at 6:00 p.m. Alaska Standard Time (AKST) and end at 10:00 p.m.

EPA will also hold two hearings via teleconferences on March 16, 2012, at the following times: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. AKST, 1-866-299-3188, code: 2065536524.

After the public comment period ends, EPA will review and address public comments before making final decisions on the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea General Permits.

For information about the draft General Permits, contact Hanh Shaw, 206-553-0171, shaw.hanh@epa.gov. For information about commenting, copies of permit documents, or to join our mailing list, contact Suzanne Skadowski, 206-553-6689, skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov.

* PUBLIC NOTICE OF THE DRAFT GENERAL PERMITS AND PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ALSO APPEARED IN THE ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS, ARCTIC SOUNDER, AND PETROLEUM NEWS JANUARY 26-30*

For more information about current EPA permit actions in Alaska, visit:
http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/AIRPAGE.NSF/Permits/ocsap/

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