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EPA Approves DEQ Water Permitting Program Changes

Release Date: 12/29/2004
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

     Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its approval of recent improvements to the Louisiana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (LPDES) program administered by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).  This approval completes EPA's review of DEQ's LPDES program.

     "I congratulate Louisiana and the DEQ on the hard work to improve the wastewater discharge permitting and enforcement program," EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said. "EPA is pleased to be Louisiana's partner in finding new and better ways to protect public health and the environment."

     In response to concerns about DEQ's implementation of the LPDES program, EPA conducted an independent oversight review to ensure the program was being properly administered.  In May 2004, the DEQ successfully completed all seven of the performance measures EPA and DEQ established to improve DEQ's management of its program. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) solidifying the recommended changes to the LPDES program was signed by EPA and DEQ.

"DEQ is making great strides and this announcement is further evidence of that fact,"  Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said. "The people of Louisiana are best served by efficient, effective and accountable regulatory processes.  I'm pleased that the state and the federal government are working together to improve our environmental permitting and enforcement process, better protecting our citizens and precious resources."

     DEQ Secretary Mike McDaniel said, "EPA's approval makes it clear that DEQ is committed to protecting Louisiana's surface waters through effective administration of our water discharge program.  The successful implementation of all performance measures established by EPA and DEQ allows the agency to continue to fulfill our obligation of protecting human health and the environment."

     Because DEQ has implemented the recommendations required by EPA for continued authority over the program, EPA has determined that petitions submitted by several environmental groups in 2001 to withdraw DEQ's authority are moot.  

     EPA authorized Louisiana to implement the LPDES program in lieu of the national program in August 1996.  For more information about DEQ's programs, visit http://www.deq.state.la.us.  A copy of the MOA, the notice sent to the Federal Register for publication and a "Crosswalk Between Petition Allegations and Finding and/or Action Taken" are available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/lpdes-program.htm.

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