Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
Under draft guidance for distributing grants for state nonpoint source programs, the Environmental Protection Agency would no longer require states to set aside $100 million to develop watershed-based plans for impaired lakes and streams.
Under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, states, territories, and tribes receive grants for technical assistance, financial assistance, education, training, technology transfer, demonstration projects, and monitoring to assess the success of specific nonpoint source implementation projects.
The draft guidance encourages states to look for alternative sources of funding, acknowledging the limited funds that Congress appropriates for Section 319 programs. In FY 2012, Congress appropriated $165 million for Section 319 grants. EPA requested the same amount in FY 2013, but now the agency is operating under FY 2012 levels, owing to the continuing resolution that is in effect.
Nonpoint source pollution arises from nutrient and sediment runoff from farms to stormwater and other pollutants in urban environments. EPA said it remains the largest source of water quality impairments in the nation.
The removal of the set aside funds is contained in the draft Nonpoint Source Program and Grants Guidelines for States and Territories. These guidelines spell out the conditions and circumstances in which these grants can be used and leveraged with other federal, state, and local programs to address nonpoint source water quality impairments. EPA has not revised the guidelines for distributing grants for state nonpoint source programs since 2003 (205 DEN A-3, 10/23/03).
The revisions are a result of an EPA-state workgroup and are to be implemented in all states and most territories.
EPA said the draft guidelines, upon being finalized, are “binding requirements” that apply to grants made with funds appropriated by Congress under Section 319. States and EPA regions will begin to implement these guidelines in fiscal year 2013 and will fully implement them in FY 2014 and in subsequent years, the agency said in the draft guidance.
EPA said it is no longer requiring states to set aside $100 million to develop watershed-based plans to address runoff in impaired lakes and streams. Instead, EPA in the guidance said it would require a revised “set aside” of at least 50 percent of a state's allocation for watershed projects.
It also was removing the 20 percent caps it had required in the 2003 guidance for statewide nonpoint source monitoring assessment.
The draft document specifically encouraged states to consider the farm bill programs at the Agriculture Department--the Environmental Quality Incentive Program, the Conservation Reserve Program, and the Conservation Stewardship Program--that provide funds for improving water quality.
It said states should work closely with state conservationists who are authorized to disburse USDA funds to identify and address watersheds impaired by nutrients, sediment, and other nonpoint source pollutants.
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service made $33 million available in May for 157 watersheds that are impaired by nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment runoff from farmlands, ranches, and forests. In July, EPA officials said USDA funds and Section 319 funds could not be used for the same project (132 DEN A-4, 7/11/12).
But the draft guidelines clarify that Section 319 funds can be used for monitoring the watershed, if not for the specific project, and developing waters
The goal of the guidelines remains to encourage states to address waters impaired by nonpoint pollution sources through watershed based plans and through total maximum daily load plans. A TMDL plan calculates the maximum amount of each pollutant, be it from a point or nonpoint source, that can be discharged into a given water body without adversely affecting water quality standards for those pollutants.
Also, the draft guidelines encourage states to “creatively” use the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to address source waters impaired by nonpoint sources.
EPA said it would continue to allow states to use their funds for “the full range of activities” addressed in their EPA-approved nonpoint source management program. This means the money can be used for protection of waters not currently identified as having an impairment and for restoration of impaired waters.
EPA said it will receive comments on the draft guidelines until Dec. 9 at email@example.com.
EPA's draft Nonpoint Source Program and Grants Guidelines for States and Territories is available at http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/upload/final-draft-public-comment-319-guidelines2.pdf.
For more information on the draft guidance, contact Nancy Yoshkawa in the Nonpoint Source Control Branch Assessment and Watershed Protection Division in the Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds at (202) 566-3012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)