The EPA Continues to Tinker with GHG Reporting RequirementsAugust 23, 2010
Monitoring greenhouse gases (GHG) has already begun and the first reports are due in a few short months, but for the third time this year the EPA is proposing amendments to the GHG reporting requirements. The EPA predicts that a final rule will be published by the end of 2010, which is good news considering the first reporting deadline is March 2011 and somewhere around 10,000 facilities will be impacted.
Regulatory Rules Strain BusinessesAugust 17, 2010
Jeff Landin, president of the Wisconsin Paper Council, recently authored an op-ed piece for the Post Crescent discussing the impact of the EPA’s proposed emissions standards for boilers and solid waste incinerators on Wisconsin businesses.
Tailoring Rules May Subject Wisconsin Businesses to Federal PermittingAugust 16, 2010
The EPA has proposed two rules to ensure New Source Review Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permits that address greenhouse gases (GHG) are issued.
The first rule directs 13 states to revise their permitting plans while all other states evaluate their plans to determine if they are adequate.
The second rule creates a federal implementation plan for PSD permits in case a state finds its permits are not adequate and cannot revise them before the Tailoring Rule becomes effective in 2011. This plan gives the EPA temporary authority to issue permits for large GHG emitters in a state while the state revises its rules.
Natural Resources Board Rushes to Finalize Proposed RulesAugust 10, 2010
The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board begins its two-day August meeting today in Superior. This meeting is notable because the DNR is rushing to finalize a number of proposed rules and submit them to the Legislature to meet the September 1 deadline. Under Wisconsin law, state agencies must submit all proposed rules and the accompanying reports to the Legislature by September 1 to be considered by the standing legislative committees this legislative session. Any rule submitted to the Legislature after September 1 is to be considered by the Legislature in the next legislative session. To meet the September 1 deadline, state agencies must submit extensive “record” requirements when filing the rule's report to the Legislature.
The reason this year’s deadline holds considerable importance for many state agencies, particularly the DNR, is that Wisconsin will elect a new Governor this fall. Moreover, the elections this fall could alter the balance of either the Senate and the Assembly, or both. Therefore, the DNR is rushing to finalize a number of controversial rules knowing that those rules would likely garner more scrutiny by the next Legislature or Governor.
To view the proposed rules the Natural Resources Board plans to consider today and tomorrow, click here to view its agenda.
Proposed Wisconsin Water Use Permitting Rule
Most Recent Action
Final Proposed Rulemaking Order sent to Legislature May 9, 2011.
This rule is one of seven rules that the DNR will be promulgating in order to implement the legislation that ratified the Great Lakes Compact in Wisconsin, 2007 Wisconsin Act 227. The other rules include Water Use Fees for the Great Lakes Basin; Water Conservation and Use Efficiency; Water Supply Service Area Planning; Water Loss and Consumptive Use; Water Use Registration and Reporting; and Water Use Public Participation.
Beginning on December 8, 2011 , coverage under a general permit or an individual permit is required for all persons who withdraw water from the Great Lakes Basin in an amount that averages 100,000 gallons per day or more in any 30-day period.This particular rule creates NR 860, which establishes definitions, permit application information requirements, permit review time limits, required permit conditions, criteria for permit issuance, procedures for amending and terminating permits, and standards and procedures for pubic participation for the water use permitting program.
2007 Wisconsin Act 227 and 2009 Wisconsin Act 28 require the department to draft rules to implement the water use permitting program by December 8, 2011.Section 281.346(4s), Wis. Stats. directs the Department to promulgate rules associated with the creation of General Water Use Permits for the Great Lakes basin. The rules are to establish permit application information requirements; permit review time limits; and requirements for estimating, monitoring, and reporting of water withdrawals from the Great Lakes basin.Section 281.246(5), Wis. Stats. directs the Department to promulgate rules associated with the creation of Individual Water Use Permits for the Great Lakes basin. The rules are to establish permit application information requirements; permit review time limits; permit limits on the location and times and uses of withdrawals; and requirements for estimating, monitoring, and reporting of water withdrawals from the Great Lakes basin.Section 281.346(9) Wis. Stats. directs the Department to promulgate rules for public notice and participation procedures for applications for general and individual water use permits.
Beginning on December 8, 2011, water use permits are required in the Great Lakes basin for persons making withdrawals above certain thresholds.
The DNR is required to issue one or more general water use permits to cover withdrawals averaging 100,000 gallons per day or more in any 30-day period but less than 1,000,000 gallons per day for 30 consecutive days. The DNR may issue general water use permits based on geographical areas or based upon a category or group of water withdrawals.All existing withdrawers that had a withdrawal at the level requiring a general permit before December 8, 2008 will qualify for automatic coverage under a general water use permit. Withdrawers that did not have DNR approval and existing withdrawers that need to submit additional information must submit the required information to the DNR by November 1, 2011 to qualify for automatic coverage.Existing withdrawers that do not qualify for automatic coverage and new withdrawers that are required to obtain coverage under a general water use permit must apply to the DNR. The DNR will review a complete application within 45 days and issue a notice of coverage under the general water use permit to those withdrawers that have an approved water conservation plan and the required permits from other DNR programs.
Individual water use permits are required for withdrawals equaling at least 1,000,000 gallons of water per day for any 30 consecutive days. Existing withdrawers that had a withdrawal at the level requiring a general or individual permit before December 8, 2008 will qualify for the automatic issuance of a permit. The automatic issuance process is the same process as that for automatic coverage under a general permit.Existing withdrawers that do not obtain an automatic permit and new withdrawers that are required to obtain an individual water use permit must apply to the DNR. The individual water use permit process varies based upon the volume of the proposed withdrawal. As the volume of the withdrawal increases, the required information and review standards increase.New and increased withdrawals of 1,000,000 gallons per day or more have to meet the state decision making standard. New and increased withdrawals of 10,000,000 gallons per day or more that have a water loss of 5,000,000 gallons per day or more have to meet the compact decision making standard.The state decision making standard requires applicants to:
- Demonstrate that there is no significant adverse impact to the waters of the state from the withdrawal.
- Demonstrate the need for the withdrawal.
- Implement cost effective water conservation measures.
- Obtain the necessary permits from other DNR programs.
The compact decision making standard requires applicants to:
- Return all of the withdrawn water to the source watershed less an allowance for consumptive use.
- Demonstrate that there is no significant adverse individual or cumulative impact to the Great Lakes basin, the source watershed, and water dependent natural resources.
- Implement environmentally sound and economically feasible water conservation measures.
- Comply with all applicable local, state, federal laws and interstate and international agreements.
- Demonstrate that the water use is reasonable.
Public participation including a public notice, comment period, and opportunity for a hearing is required for the issuance of general permits and individual permits that require compliance with the state or compact decision making standard. Withdrawals that have a new or increased consumptive use of 5 million gallons per day or greater average in any 90 day period must also be reviewed by the other Great Lakes states and Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec.The rule also establishes the minimum permit conditions for all permits, the process for making an open records request, the process for requesting a modification to the permitted withdrawal amount, and the specific public participation procedures.
EPA Rejects Claims of Flawed Climate ScienceAugust 5, 2010
On July 29, 2010 the EPA re-affirmed its 2009 determination that climate change is real, is occurring due to emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities, and threatens human health and the environment by rejecting 10 petitions for reconsideration.
Potential Revisions to Water Quality Standards RegulationAugust 5, 2010
Proposed changes to the rules governing water quality and conservation in Wisconsin have generated interest from all corners of the state. Wisconsin, however, is not the only place where water quality is an issue for debate. The EPA recently announced that it will hold public listening sessions on potential changes to the water quality standards regulation on August 24 and 26, 2010.
Phosphorus Rules Continue to Muddy the Regulatory WatersAugust 5, 2010
Two state Senate panels recently heard testimony on the phosphorus rules that were adopted by the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board in June.