EPA Issues a § 316(b) Notice of Data Availability: Even Edison Electric Is Impressed

Late last week, EPA issued a Notice of Data Availability concerning its proposed rule for cooling water intake structures at existing facilities. The NODA stated that, since it had issued the proposed CWIS rule, it had received more than 80 studies providing additional data on CWIS structures at existing facilities. Those studies have led EPA to consider potential revisions to the rule prior to promulgation.

Some of the specific revisions now under consideration include:

  • The addition of site-specific impingement mortality controls
  • Compliance with impingement mortality limitations based on defined technologies such as closed cycle recirculating systems
  • Streamlined permitting for modified traveling screens
  • Clarification of credit for existing technologies
  • Potential limited exemptions for facilities with low impingement rates

In response, the Edison Electric Institute, which has been leading the charge against the CWIS rule, issued a press release stating that the NODA “provides the basis to develop a sound final rule.” I have noted previously that EPA has attempted to respond to industry comments on a number of rules in the past few years, but has rarely gotten credit for its attempts at flexibility. Here, credit goes to EPA for responding to the additional data it has received and to EEI for acknowledging EPA’s efforts.

Fingers crossed for a reasonable final rule.