Proposed Conditional State Water Quality Certification under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act for the United States Army Corps of Engineers Pennsylvania State Programmatic General Permit 6 (PASPGP-6)
[50 Pa.B. 6961]
[Saturday, December 5, 2020]
On September 4, 2020, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Baltimore, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Districts, under the authority of section 404(e) of the Clean Water Act (act) (33 U.S.C.A. § 1344(e)), issued jointly by Special Public Notice 20-57 the proposed Pennsylvania State Programmatic General Permit-6 (PASPGP-6) for a 30-day public comment period which closed on October 4, 2020. On November 6, 2020, the Corps' Baltimore District requested State Water Quality Certification (SWQC) on behalf of the Corps' Baltimore, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Districts under section 401 of the act (33 U.S.C.A § 1341) from the Department of Environmental Protection (Department) for discharges of dredged and fill material into waters of this Commonwealth that would be authorized under PASPGP-6. Section 401(a) of the act (33 U.S.C.A. § 1341(a)), requires an applicant seeking coverage under PASPGP-6 to provide the Corps with certification from the Commonwealth that the applicant's discharge will comply with the applicable provisions of the act (33 U.S.C.A. §§ 1251—1388). The Department has established water quality standards for this Commonwealth and programs to achieve those standards consistent with the applicable provisions of the act, which have been approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The Department is providing notice of its proposed conditional SWQC for use by applicants seeking coverage under PASPGP-6 for projects that do not require any Federal permit or license other than a section 404 permit under the act.
PASPGP-6 continues the Corps' recognition of the Commonwealth's permitting process for activities affecting waterways, water bodies and wetlands authorized under the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act (32 P.S. §§ 693.1—693.27). PASPGP-6 allows applicants to obtain both Corps section 404 permits and State water obstruction and encroachment permits through a joint application submitted to the Department and delegated conservation districts for most projects requiring these permits in this Commonwealth. Through the incorporation of Federal and State permitting standards in one process, PASPGP-6 continues a streamlined process for permit applicants without compromising comprehensive environmental protection. This proposed SWQC applies to activities that qualify for PASPGP-6 within the jurisdiction of section 404 of the act and structures or work in or affecting navigable waters of the United States under section 10 of the River and Harbor Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C.A. § 403).
Consistent with section 401 of the act, the Department proposes to certify that activities authorized by the Corps under the PASPGP-6 will comply with the applicable provisions of sections 301—303, 306 and 307 of the act (33 U.S.C.A. §§ 1311—1313, 1316 and 1317). The Department further proposes to certify that the construction, operation and maintenance of the projects in accordance with PASPGP-6 will comply with the Commonwealth's water quality standards provided the project applicant complies with the following SWQC conditions and constructs, operates and maintains the project in compliance with the terms and conditions of State permits obtained to meet these SWQC conditions:
1. Prior to beginning any activity authorized by the Corps under PASPGP-6, the applicant shall obtain from the Department all necessary environmental permits or approvals, and submit to the Department environmental assessments and other information necessary to obtain the permits and approvals, as required under State law, including The Clean Streams Law (35 P.S. §§ 691.1—691.1001), the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act (32 P.S. §§ 693.1—693.27), the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (52 P.S. §§ 1396.1—1396.19b), the Noncoal Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (52 P.S. §§ 3301—3326), the Bituminous Mine Subsidence and Land Conservation Act (52 P.S. §§ 1406.1—1406.21), the Coal Refuse Disposal Control Act (52 P.S. §§ 30.51—30.66), the Solid Waste Management Act (35 P.S. §§ 6018.101—6018.1003), the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (35 P.S. §§ 6020.101—6020.1305), the Land Recycling and Environmental Remediation Standards Act (35 P.S. §§ 6026.101—6026.908), 58 Pa.C.S. §§ 3201—3274 (related to development), the Air Pollution Control Act (35 P.S. §§ 4001—4015) and the regulations promulgated thereunder, including 25 Pa. Code Chapters 77, 78, 78a, 86—91, 92a, 93, 95, 96, 102, 105, 127 and 260a—299.
2. All environmental assessments required under these regulations, in addition to other regulatory requirements, must be complied with as a condition of the SWQC for PASPGP-6 consistent with section 401 of the act.
3. Fill material may not contain any wastes as defined in the Solid Waste Management Act.
4. Applicants and projects eligible for the PASPGP-6 must obtain all State permits or approvals, or both, necessary to ensure that the project meets the State's applicable water quality standards, including a project specific SWQC.
The Department has determined these proposed SWQC conditions are necessary to achieve the Commonwealth's water quality standards, which have been approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as compliant with the act. The proposed SWQC conditions achieve these standards through compliance with existing environmental programs administered by the Department under State laws and regulations.
This proposed SWQC would be subject to the Department's determination that the final PASPGP-6 activities are consistent with the Coastal Zone Management Act (16 U.S.C.A. §§ 1451—1466).
This proposed SWQC would only be available for projects that do not require any Federal authorization other than authorization from the Corps under section 404 of the act or section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. Applicants seeking authorization for activities not eligible for coverage under PASPGP-6, or for activities that require another Federal authorization (such as an interstate natural gas pipeline, a gas storage field or a nuclear or hydroelectric project requiring authorization by another Federal agency), must submit a request to the Department for a project-specific SWQC.
The Department will consider all comments received on or before Monday, January 4, 2021, before taking the final action on this proposed conditional SWQC. Comments submitted by facsimile will not be accepted. All comments, including comments submitted by e-mail, must include the commentator's name and address. Commentators are encouraged to submit comments using the Department's online eComment tool at www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/eComment or by e-mail to email@example.com. Written comments can be mailed to the Department of Environmental Protection, Policy Office, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063. Use ''PASPGP-6'' as the subject line in written communication.
The proposed PASPGP-6 and Special Public Notice 20-57 can be viewed on the Corps' webpage at www.nab.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Public-Notices/Public-Notice-View/Article/2336799/spn-20-57-pennsylvania-state-programmatic-general-permit-6-paspgp-6.
A hard copy of the proposed PASPGP-6 may be obtained by contacting Brenda Harrison, United States Army Corps of Engineers, State College Field Office, 1631 South Atherton Street, Suite 101, State College, PA 16801, Brenda.L.Harrison@usace.army.mil or (814) 235-1763.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 20-1703. Filed for public inspection December 4, 2020, 9:00 a.m.]
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