Final Action on Clean Water Act Hazardous Substances Spill Prevention
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On August 22, 2019, EPA's Administrator signed a final action to establish no new regulatory requirements under the Clean Water Act (CWA) section 311(j)(1)(C) authority for CWA hazardous substances (HS) discharge prevention and containment.
This final action complies with a Consent Decree addressing CWA section 311(j)(1)(C) and is based on public comment regarding EPA's proposed approach.
CWA Section 311(j)(1)(C) directs the President to issue regulations establishing procedures, methods, and equipment; and other requirements for equipment to prevent discharges of oil and HS from vessels and from onshore facilities and offshore facilities, and to contain such discharges. EPA has been delegated the authority to regulate non-transportation-related onshore facilities, and non-transportation related offshore facilities landward of the coastline, under Section 311(j)(1)(C) of the CWA to EPA.
On July 21, 2015, EPA was sued for failing to comply with the alleged duty to issue regulations to prevent and contain CWA hazardous substance discharges. On February 16, 2016, the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a Consent Decree that required EPA to sign a notice of proposed rulemaking pertaining to the issuance of hazardous substance regulations. The Consent Decree also requires EPA to take final action after notice and comment on said notice.