Water Pollution Control Board Tables Draft Antidegradation Rule
By Larry Kane, Attorney, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP
On July 27, 2011, the Indiana Water Pollution Control Board (WPCB) decided, by a split vote, to table the draft Antidegradation Rule proposed by IDEM for preliminary adoption. During the public hearing conducted by the WPCB on the draft rule, fifteen speakers, representing stakeholders from regulated entities, potential regulated entities, and environmental advocacy organizations presented brief comments concerning the draft rule. Comments critical of the draft rule primarily focused on implementation issues relating to the following, among others: (i) the threshold for triggering an antidegradation review; (ii) scope of the de minimis exception; (iii) the extent and manner by which narrative water quality criteria should be a factor for antidegradation review; (iv) the scope of alternative treatment technology assessments; and (v) the scope of socio-economic impacts to be considered by IDEM in deciding to approve or deny a proposed lowering of water quality. In tabling the draft rule, the WPCB charged Chairman Gary Powdrill and WPCB member David Wagner (both volunteers) to review the major issues posed by comments and provide a report of their review to the Board at its next meeting. In conjunction with the tabling of the proposed rule, the WPCB invited interested persons to submit additional written comments to IDEM by July 29, 2011. The Antidegradation Rule is scheduled to be considered at the September 14, 2011 meeting of the WPCB.