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Authorization and Certification

Description: 

Section 301(a) of the of the CWA provides that the discharge of pollutants to surface waters of the United States is prohibited except in accordance with a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.  Section 402 of the Clean Water Act establishes the NPDES permit program, which provides the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the authorized states the authority to control and limit the discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States.  HAK has applied for a NPDES permit for the discharge of waste streams associated with the LDPI.  The LDPI is located 4.78 nautical miles (8.9 km) offshore in Federal waters of the outer continental shelf; therefore the EPA is the NPDES permitting authority.

Ocean Discharge Criteria Evaluation 

In addition, Section 403(c) of the CWA requires that NPDES permits authorizing discharges into the territorial seas, the contiguous zones, and the oceans, including the outer continental shelf, comply with EPA’s Ocean Discharge Criteria (40 CFR Part 125, Subpart M).  The purpose of the Ocean Discharge Criteria Evaluation (ODCE) is to assess the discharges authorized under the NPDES permit and to evaluate the potential for unreasonable degradation of the marine environment based on the consideration of ten specific criteria. 

The ten criteria are specified at 40 CFR Part 125.122, Determination of Unreasonable Degradation of the Marine Environment.  The Director shall determine whether a discharge will cause unreasonable degradation of the marine environment based on consideration of:

1. The quantities, composition and potential for bioaccumulation or persistence of the pollutants to be discharged;

2. The potential transport of such pollutants by biological, physical or chemical processes;

3. The composition and vulnerability of the biological communities which may be exposed to such pollutants, including the presence of unique species or communities of species, the presence of species identified as endangered or threatened pursuant to the Endangered Species Act, or the presence of those species critical to the structure or function of the ecosystem, such as those important for the food chain;

4. The importance of the receiving water area to the surrounding biological community, including the presence of spawning sites, nursery/forage areas, migratory pathways, or areas necessary for other functions or critical stages in the life cycle of an organism;

5. The existence of special aquatic sites including, but not limited to marine sanctuaries and refuges, parks, national and historic monuments, national seashores, wilderness areas and coral reefs;

6. The potential impacts on human health through direct and indirect pathways.

7. Existing or potential recreational and commercial fishing, including finfishing and shellfishing;

8. Any applicable requirements of an approved Coastal Zone Management plan;

9. Such other factors relating to the effects of the discharge as may be appropriate;

10. Marine water quality criteria developed pursuant to section 304(a)(1).

Discharges to surface waters of the United States associated with the oil and gas extraction point source category are regulated under 40 CFR Part 435, Subparts A-D, which were promulgated in 1979.  Effluent limitation guidelines and new source performance standards for the offshore subcategory of the oil and gas extraction point source category were amended on January 15, 1993 and became effective on March 4, 1993 (40 CFR 435, Subpart A; 58 FR 12454).  New oil and gas development and production operations where construction commenced after the effective date of applicable new source performance standards (NSPS) are considered new sources. 

40 CFR § 122.2 defines “new source” as follows:

New Source means any building, structure, facility or installation from which there is or may be a “discharge of pollutants,” the construction of which is commenced:

a. After promulgation of standards of performance under §306 of CWA which are applicable to such source, or

b. After proposal of standards of performance in accordance with §306 of CWA which are applicable to such source, but only if the standards are promulgated in accordance with §306 within 120 days of their proposal.

The regulations at 40 CFR §122.29(b)(4) define what constitutes “construction” of a new source, stating that:

“Construction has commenced if the owner or operator has:

(i) Begun, or caused to begin as part of a continuous on-site construction program:

(A)  Any placement assembly, or installation of facilities or equipment; or

(B)  Significant site preparation work including clearing, excavation or removal of existing buildings, structures, or facilities which is necessary for placement, assembly, or installation of new source facilities or equipment; or

(ii) Entered into a binding contractual obligation for the purchase of facilities or equipment intended to be used in its operation with a reasonable time.”

Milestones:
Initial application received
Environmental Protection Agency
EPA - NPDES - Initial application received
Complete 07/19/2016
Completed application received
Environmental Protection Agency
EPA - Completed NPDES application received
Complete 05/05/2017
Issuance of decision for permit/approval
Environmental Protection Agency
EPA - NPDES - Issuance of decision for permit
Planned
Target: 09/28/2018
Notice to proceed
N/A
Review Terminated with no decision
N/A
Optional Milestones:
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Notice of Availability [Includes draft NPDES permit, draft Ocean Discharge Criteria Evaluation and Fact Sheet]
In Progress
Target: 07/28/2017
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