- Erin Seyfried (firstname.lastname@example.org), NPDES Permits, 206-553-1448
- Hanh Shaw (email@example.com), Oil and Gas Sector Manager, 206-553-0171
- Tami Fordham (firstname.lastname@example.org), Alaska Tribal Advisor, 907-271-1484
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Draft NPDES General Permit for Oil and Gas Geotechnical Surveys and Related Activities in Federal Waters of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas (AKG284300)
On August 15, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided public notice on the re-proposed National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Oil and Gas Geotechnical Surveys and Related Activities in Federal Waters of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas (Permit No. AKG-28-4300), and established a comment deadline of September 15, 2014. In response to a request from the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission to extend the deadline, EPA is extending the comment period deadline to close on September 30, 2014.
On November 22, 2013, EPA released a draft NPDES general permit for oil and gas geotechnical surveys and related activities in federal waters of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas for public review. The public comment period closed on February 19, 2014. Based on the comments received, EPA has made revisions to the draft Geotechnical General Permit and re-proposes a revised draft for public review, accompanied by a Fact Sheet describing the revisions and a revised Ocean Discharge Criteria Evaluation. EPA seeks public comment only on the following proposed changes:
- Inclusion of seasonal prohibitions on wastewater discharges to the 3-25 mile lease deferral area in the Chukchi Sea;
- Clarification of Environmental Monitoring Program requirements and inclusion of language regarding existing representative baseline data;
- Clarification of drilling fluids and drill cuttings testing requirements (Discharge 001);
- Revision of sampling frequencies for fecal coliform and total residual chlorine (Sanitary Wastewater, Discharge 003); and
- Clarification of Notice of Intent submission requirements.
Comments may be submitted to EPA at any time during this extension period, but must be received or post-marked no later than midnight Pacific Standard Time on September 30, 2014. All comments must include the name, address (or email address), and telephone numbers of the commenters. Comments should include the General Permit number (AKG-28-4300) and a concise statement of the basis and facts supporting the comment. All comments must include your name, address, and telephone number. You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
- Mail:Send paper comments to Erin Seyfried, Office of Water and Watersheds, Mail Stop OWW-130, 1200 6th Avenue, Suite 900, Seattle, WA 98101-3140.
- E-mail:Send electronic comments to R10geotechpermit@epa.gov.
- Fax:Fax comments to the attention of Erin Seyfried at (206) 553-0165
Please direct any questions to Hanh Shaw at email@example.com or Erin Seyfried at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Documents available for download:
2012 Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea Oil and Gas Exploration NPDES General Permits (AKG292100 and AKG288100 respectively)
On October 29, 2012, EPA issued final Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System or NPDES general permits for wastewater discharges from oil and gas exploration on the Beaufort Sea Outer Continental Shelf and Contiguous State Waters and on the Chukchi Sea Outer Continental Shelf. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation issued a Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification for the Beaufort Sea general permit on October 9, 2012.
The Beaufort and Chukchi general permits authorize 13 types of discharges from exploration drilling. The permits set effluent limitations and requirements to ensure the discharges will not cause unreasonable degradation of the marine environment, as required for ocean discharges by the Clean Water Act.
All operators must submit a Notice of Intent to discharge within 120 days prior to initiation of discharges. Operators that received administratively extended coverage under the previous general permit must submit a new Notice of Intent to comply with the requirements of the Beaufort and Chukchi general permits.
The general permits will be effective November 28, 2012 and will expire on November 27, 2017. The general permits may be appealed within 120 days of issuance in the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals in accordance with Section 509(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act.
The Beaufort and Chukchi general permits do not authorize drilling. Operators must obtain all other required permits and satisfy all other stipulations and agreements before drilling in the Arctic. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) provides authorization to drill.
Expired 2006 Arctic Oil and Gas Exploration General Permit
The previous Arctic General Permit expired on June 26, 2011. On June 23, 2011, EPA provided administratively extended permit coverage under the Arctic General Permit to Shell Gulf of Mexico, ConocoPhillips Alaska, Statoil USA E&P, and Eni US Operating Co.
The Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea general permits replace the expired Arctic general permit. Operators that received administratively extended coverage under the previous general permit must submit new Notices of Intent that comply with submission requirements of the Beaufort/Chukchi permits.