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North Slope Community Update on EPA Permits in the Alaska Arctic Oct 9, 2012

On October 29, 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued final general permits for waste water discharges from oil and gas exploration on the Beaufort Sea Outer Continental Shelf and Contiguous State Waters and on the Chukchi Sea Outer Continental Shelf.

The Beaufort and Chukchi general permits, issued under the Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System or NPDES, authorize 13 types of discharges from exploration and exploratory drilling activities. The permits set effluent limitations and requirements to ensure the discharges will not cause unreasonable degradation of the marine environment.

The Beaufort general permit will be jointly implemented by EPA for discharges to federal waters and by Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation for discharges to state waters. The Alaska DEC issued a Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification for the Beaufort Sea general permit on October 9, 2012.

EPA will implement the Chukchi general permit, which authorizes discharges only to federal waters.

Operators must submit a Notice of Intent to discharge within 120 days prior to discharge.

Operators that received administratively extended coverage under the previous general permit must submit a new Notice of Intent to comply with the submission requirements of the Beaufort and Chukchi general permits.

The general permits will be effective on November 28, 2012 and will expire on November 27, 2017.

The general permits may be appealed within 120 days of issuance in the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals according to the Clean Water Act Section 509(b)(1).

The general permits, Response to Comments, and Ocean Discharge Criteria Evaluations are on EPA's website at: 

http://yosemite.epa.gov/r10/water.nsf/npdes+permits/arctic-gp

The permits can be viewed in person at:   Alaska DEC, Anchorage office, 555 Cordova St, Anchorage, 907-269-7235;   Z. J. Loussac Public Library, 3600 Denali St, Anchorage, 907-343-2975;   North Slope Borough School District Library, Pouch 169, 829 Aivak St, Barrow, 907-852-5311

Contact: Suzanne Skadowski, EPA Public Affairs, 206-553-6689, skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov

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