Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) regulations require municipalities that meet certain size standards based on census data obtain NPDES permit coverage for discharges of stormwater from their municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s). Phase I of this requirement occurred years ago for large MS4s such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Phase II includes small and medium size MS4s.
In PA, there are 1,059 small MS4s. The requirements include six Minimum Control Measures (MCMs). However, since many of these small MS4s are within the 43 counties within the Chesapeake Bay watershed and there is a TMDL for the Chesapeake Bay, these municipalities must also implement a Chesapeake Bay Pollution Reduction Plan. To implement the requirements, municipalities have begun assessing a “fee” to cover the costs.
PACA opposes MS4 fees for those facilities with NPDES permits and no discharge to stormwater systems.
The Environmental Quality Board (EQB) has approved moving forward DEP’s proposed rulemaking which adds manganese to Table 4 in 25 PA Code Chapter 93 as a toxic human health substance, at a level of 0.3 mg/l to be met in all points in all surface waters. DEP has not yet sent the proposed rulemaking package for publication and public comment in the PA Bulletin. It is anticipated that many entities across the Commonwealth, including operations owned by the DEP, will not be able to meet such a stringent standard. Note that EPA has no primary drinking water maximum contaminant levels (MCL) for manganese. They do have a secondary standard for aesthetics.
The Pennsylvania Climate Change Act (Act 70 of 2008) required the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop an annual inventory of GHG (greenhouse gases) emissions and update it annually, administer a Climate Change Advisory Committee, set up a voluntary registry of GHG emissions, and prepare a Climate Change Action Plan, updated every 3 years. The latest plan was released April 2019, as well as an Energy Assessment Report with inventory information.
Governor Wolf signed two Executive Orders in 2019 relating to climate change. Executive Order 2019-01 mandated the Commonwealth to reduce net GHG emissions by 26 percent from 2005 levels and reduce net GHG emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Executive Order 2019-7 directs DEP to develop a rulemaking package to limit carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
Playing into this includes a citizen petition signed by over 160 groups calling for a cap and trade program aimed at cutting the Commonwealth’s GHG emissions. The petition is currently under review by the DEP.
DEP and 12 other states are working on a framework for of a regional proposal to reduce GHG emissions from transportation via an allowance banking and pricing mechanism. Conceptually, fuel suppliers would be regulated entities and would be required to hold allowances to cover reported emissions. CO2 emissions from the combustion of the fossil component of finished gasoline and diesel fuel would be capped and decline in future years.
In 2015, EPA revised primary and secondary NAAQS (National Ambient Air Quality Standards) for ozone. Reevaluation of RACT (Reasonably Available Control Technology) is a requirement every time ozone NAAQS are promulgated for nonattainment areas. Because the entire Commonwealth is in the Ozone Transport Region (OTR) and treated as a moderate nonattainment area, RACT is applicable to major NOx and/or VOC sources. DEP is developing RACT III, as part of their required State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision. DEP will be including notification requirements for all facilities subject to RACT III.
Chair - Andrew Gutshall, Hanson Aggregates
Staff Liaison - Josie Gaskey, Director of Environmental, Safety & Health
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