- Erin Seyfried (email@example.com), NPDES Permits, 206-553-1448
- Hanh Shaw (firstname.lastname@example.org), Oil and Gas Sector Manager, 206-553-0171
- Tami Fordham (email@example.com), 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 (AKG-28-4300)
On November 22, 2013, the EPA provided public notice on the proposed issuance of a 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 January 27, 2014 (78 FR 700042). In response to requests for an extension of the deadline from the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission and the Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, we are extending the comment period for an additional 23 days, from January 27, 2014 to February 19, 2014.
The NPDES Geotechnical General Permit will authorize twelve types of discharges from facilities engaged in oil and gas geotechnical surveys to evaluate the subsurface characteristics of the seafloor and related activities in federal waters of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Geotechnical surveys and related activities result in a disturbance of the seafloor and may produce discharges consisting of soil, rock and cuttings materials, in addition to facility-specific waste streams authorized under the general permit.
We are requesting public comments on the draft Geotechnical General Permit (PDF) (68 pp, 2.4MB), Fact Sheet (PDF) (54 pp, 1MB), and draft Ocean Discharge Criteria Evaluation (ODCE) (PDF) (123 pp, 4.5MB). We will consider and respond to all timely and substantive comments. Submit comments by February 19, 2014 and include your name, address, telephone number, and a concise statement of the basis and facts supporting your comment. You may submit comments by midnight Pacific Standard Time (PST), February 19, 2014, by any of the following methods:
- Mail to: U.S. EPA, Region 10, Attn: Erin Seyfried, Office of Water and Watersheds, 1200 6th Ave, Suite 900, Mail Stop: OWW-130, Seattle, WA 98101
- Email to: R10geotechpermit@epa.gov
- Fax to: Erin Seyfried, 206-553-0165
Documents available for download:
2012 Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea Oil and Gas Exploration NPDES General Permits (AKG-29-2100 and AKG-28-8100 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.