August 13, 1999
Browner Approves Long-Awaited TMDL Proposal
This week, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Carol Browner signed a controversial package of proposed regulatory changes that are intended to improve the implementation of total maximum daily loads (TMDLs). Highlighting the significance of the TMDL regulations, President Clinton will also discuss them in his Saturday radio address.
TMDLs have been the subject of much debate within the water quality community and the focal point of litigation over EPA's Clean Water Act authority to control nonpoint sources of pollution, without which TMDLs will be ineffective. To protect municipal interests, AMSA's Board of Directors decided that the Association should intervene in a potentially precedent-setting California lawsuit that seeks to exempt nonpoint source pollution from regulation under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act. The final outcome of the case Pronsolino v. EPA could have a direct impact on key portions of EPA's TMDL regulations dealing with nonpoint source pollution.
Publication of the proposal in the Federal Register is slated for next week, at which time the comment period begins. AMSA's Water Quality Committee will convene a workgroup to draft comments on the TMDL proposal, which contains possible changes to both the TMDL program and permitting regulations. To participate on the workgroup contact Mark Hoeke at 202/833-9106 or email@example.com.
Following the president's announcement of the proposal, pre-publication copies of the regulations will be available Saturday 1:00 pm EDT at the following EPA web site: www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl. However, comments on the proposal should refer to the version published in the Federal Register, which is considered the official document. AMSA plans to distribute the TMDL proposal to the membership via an upcoming Regulatory Alert.
Tudor Davies Steps Down as OST Chief . . .a new post as Senior Advisor to Assistant Administrator for Water Chuck Fox. Davies will assist Fox in designing a program to protect ecologically valuable and sensitive ecosystems. He will also coordinate the Office of Water's activities on bioaccumulative toxins with other Agency programs. In his tenure as Office of Science & Technology (OST) Director, Davies oversaw the development of several important activities and programs including the national toxics rule, the Great Lakes Water Quality Initiative and the BEACH program. Effective Monday September 13, 1999, the Office of Wetlands, Oceans & Watersheds Assessment & Watershed Protection Division Director Geoff Grubbs will take Davies' place as OST director. In his 12 years as division director, Grubbs has overseen the development of the agency's TMDL program and headed the effort to strengthen state programs to address nonpoint source pollution. AMSA has excellent working relationships with both Grubbs and Davies and looks forward to working with them in their new posts. Beverly Banister, Deputy Director of EPA Region IV's Water Management Division will fill Grubbs' position in an acting capacity while the agency seeks a permanent Assessment and Watershed Protection Division Director.