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National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

Public Hearing and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Criminal Negligence Standard for State Clean Water Act 402 and 404 Programs

On December 1, 2020, the EPA Administrator signed a Federal Register notice proposing updates to the agency’s regulations to support state permitting programs that help protect surface waters. Under EPA’s proposal, the agency would be able to approve state or tribal programs that allow for prosecution based on any criminal negligence standard—including gross negligence, recklessness negligence, and simple negligence. The agency believes that this authority exists under its current regulations, but is proposing modifications to make this interpretation of the statute more clear. EPA is accepting comment on this proposal for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

On December 14, 2020, this proposal was published in the Federal Register. Comments must be received on or before January 13, 2021.

Comments may be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal ( in Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OW–2020–0517. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

Public Hearing

EPA is offering a virtual public hearing on January 7, 2021, from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. (eastern standard time). 

Register to speak at the virtual hearingExit

The last day to pre-register to speak at the hearing is December 23, 2020.

Contact Cortney Itle ( if you need additional information. 

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