Friday, November 13, 2009

Comments Wanted On Mercury Emission Reduction Strategy

Nov 12: The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration (GLRC) announced a sixty-day public comment period for a Draft Great Lakes Mercury Emission Reduction Strategy. In fulfillment of a Collaboration Strategy recommendation, in April 2008 representatives from the Great Lakes states and U.S. EPA commenced development of a basin-wide Strategy for the reduction of mercury emissions. A draft Strategy is now available for public comment through January 12, 2010. GLRC invites comments on the Strategy itself and on how best to move forward with implementation, as well as commitments from stakeholders to implement components of the Strategy.

A copy of the initial draft document was first distributed to stakeholders for a 30-day review and comment period to provide input on the structure of the report and the emission sources to be covered in detail in the final document. The draft report reflects recommendations based on feedback received. A summary of those comments is also available.

The following information is available: Draft Great Lakes Mercury Emission Reduction Strategy, November 10, 2009; and related document: Mercury Emission Reduction Strategy Development Process and Team Structure; Mercury Emission Reduction Strategy Management Team Members; Response to Public Comments Received on Draft Outline and Background Sections of Great Lakes Mercury Emissions Reduction.

Access an announcement and links to all documents and commenting instructions (
click here).

Enviros Still Oppose U.S. Steel’s Draft NPDES Permit

Nov 12: In a release, the Alliance for the Great Lakes announced that the region’s third-largest discharger of arsenic and lead could continue releasing "unlimited amounts of arsenic" and only slightly less lead to Great Lakes waters under a proposed Indiana permit. The Alliance is encouraging the public to demand stricter pollution limits at a hearing on the draft wastewater discharge permit for U.S. Steel’s Gary Works plant, scheduled for 6 PM Wednesday, November 18 in Gary. Those unable to attend the hearing can submit written comments through November 30.

Lyman Welch, the Alliance Water Quality Program manager said, “Strong pollution limits need to be written into the permit now. Or we’ll spend more time and taxpayer dollars getting this pollution out of the water later.” The Alliance said despite numerous permit revisions to resolve objections from EPA as well as comments from their comments and those from other environmental groups, "the revised permit still falls short." Welch said, “While we are pleased with many improvements made in the proposed permit since the last public hearing, Indiana must go further to reduce toxic chemicals dumped into Lake Michigan from storm water runoff.”

On October 15, 2009, U.S. EPA Region 5 withdrew its earlier objections to a 2007 version of Indiana's wastewater discharge permit for U.S. Steel's Gary Works [See WIMS 10/19/09]. EPA said it was withholding final judgment on the new draft permit until Indiana Department of Environmental Management's 45-day comment period, including the November 18 public hearing, is completed and all comments are considered. On October 14, IDEM proposed the revised draft permit for the steel mill that EPA said "addresses objections raised by EPA in October 2007." EPA said, "The new draft permit requires lower discharge levels than currently allowed for a number of pollutants including ammonia, metals, organic compounds and suspended solids. No pollutants can be discharged at a higher rate than the current permit allows."

Access a release from the Alliance with links to additional information including the draft permit (click here). Access more information and background from EPA (click here). Access an IDEM fact sheet (click here).