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Rule 2 2023 Stakeholder Workgroup

  • The Rule 2 2023 Stakeholder Workgroup Meetings are ongoing. Stay tuned here for new announcements. 


Western and Ouachita Fanshell Proposed Threatened Species Listing and Critical Habitat Designation
The US Fish and Wildlife Service published in the Federal Register a notice proposing to list two freshwater mussel species as threatened, along with proposed critical habitat listings for both species and proposed 4(d) rules for both species.  Attached is a copy of this notice.  Comments on the proposed listings will be accepted through May 2. 
Both of these species are present in Arkansas, and there are extensive stretches of several rivers proposed to be designated as critical habitat in Arkansas, including a 53.5 mile stretch of the Ouachita River between Arkadelphia and Camden, a 32.7 mile stretch of the Ouachita River between Cherry Hill and just downstream of Pencil Bluff, and a significant 185.3 mile stretch of the Saline River from Benton to just north of its confluence with the Ouachita River in south Arkansas.  Various other river stretches are proposed to be designated as critical habitat as well.  Maps and descriptions of the proposed critical habitat designations are found in the attached FR notice.
EPA Proposed Rulemaking on Clean Water Act Hazardous Substance Worst Case Discharge Planning
On March 10, 2022, EPA Administrator Michael Regan signed a proposed rule to require certain facilities to develop facility response plans for a worst case discharge of Clean Water Act (CWA) hazardous substancesEXITEXIT EPA WEBSITE, or threat of such a discharge. A worst case discharge is the largest foreseeable discharge in adverse weather conditions, including those from climate change. 
The facility response plan requirements would apply to facilities that could reasonably be expected to cause substantial harm to the environment, based on their location. These include industrial facilities with a maximum onsite capacity of a CWA hazardous substance that meets or exceeds threshold quantities, located within a 0.5-mile radius of navigable water or conveyance to navigable water, and that meets one or more substantial harm criteria.
The proposed action considers increased risks of worst case discharges from climate change as well as impacts to communities with environmental justice concerns. The Agency is also soliciting comment on additional strategies to take these concerns into account.
EPA is taking public comment on the proposed rule until 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Comments can be submitted at www.regulations.govEXITEXIT EPA WEBSITE (Docket No.: EPA-HQ-OLEM-2021-0585).

  •  The Water Committee agreed to not file comments. 

AE&E/DEQ Office of Water Quality Proposed STAA Changes
On July 19, AEF members met with the Office of Water Quality to go over STAA changes they proposed. Please, review them here and let me know as soon as possible if you have any questions. They intend to make these changes effective no later than September.