Subject:          TN Clean Water News #14

    Date:          Wed, 25 Apr 2001 12:17:43 EDT

 

 April 25, 2001

 

Inside this Issue!

 

1.  NEWSFLASH - NEW TDEC COPY FEE RULE - Lower Copy Costs at TDEC

2.  NOTICE - PUBLIC WATERSHED MEETINGS - TDEC Water Quality Assessment Meeting for Little Tennessee River, April 26 

3.  ANNOUNCEMENT - NEW ADDRESS - Nashville Corps of Engineers Regulatory Branch has moved

4.  TAKE ACTION - SANITARY SEWER OVERFLOW REGS - Say No to Sewage in Our Water

5.  TAKE ACTION - WRITE CONGRESS - Stream flow Information in Budget Trouble

6.  NOTICE - ARSENIC STANDARD - EPA Sets Process for Evaluating Arsenic in Drinking Water Standard 

7.  NOTICE - WETLANDS SUCCESS - Tulloch-Fix Rule Goes into Effect

8.  ALERT - MORE BUDGET WOES - List of Clean Water Concerns in Bush's Budget Proposal

9.  RESOURCE - NONPOINT SOURCE - EPA List of Best Non-point Source Materials

 

 

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1.  New TDEC Copy Fee Rule Lowers Cost of Copies:

 

Previously 50 cents per page, ordinary unbound copies at the TN Department of Environment and Conservation are now 10 cents per page.  If extraordinary effort is required, to pull a number of staples, remove sticky notes, or otherwise prepare documents for coping, the charge can be increased to forty cents per page.  In vary rare cases, in which the Department's cost would exceed forty cents per page (over size copies, color, reductions, etc.) a Director, Assistance Center Manager, Program Manager or Park Manager can charge the amount that he/she determines is necessary to cover the Department's actual cost.

 

The new copy fee rule was adopted in response to criticism that the department was charging too much for copies and that different divisions charged different amounts.  The rule, which applies to the entire department and supercedes all other rules /policies dealing with fees for copies, went into effect this month.

 

TCWN would like to thank all the groups who came together to make this happen: Broadened Horizons Riverkeeper Project, Chota Canoe Club, Cumberland

Countians for Peace & Justice, Save Our Cumberland Mountains, Dogwood Alliance, Forest Watch, East Tennessee Headwaters Project, Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, Oak Ridge Reservation Local Oversight Committee, Inc., Obed Watershed Association, Sierra Club, Southern Environmental Law Center, Tennessee Citizen Action, Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning, Tennessee Clean Water Network Tennessee Environmental Council, Tennessee Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association, Upper Cumberland/Scenic Environmental

Alliance, United Church of Christ Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility, and Wolf River Conservancy

 

 

2.  TDEC Watershed Meetings:

 

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is using a watershed approach to address water quality. In order to provide an opportunity for the public to become involved, the approach includes at least two public meetings in each watershed in each five-year cycle. Meeting dates for Group 3 Water Quality Assessment Meetings have been set for the following watersheds:

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Little Tennessee River:  4/26/01, 7 pm, Vonore Campus, Cleveland State Community College

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For more information, please contact:  David Duhl, TDEC Watershed Coordinator at (615) 532-0438 or e-mail:  [email protected]

 

 

3.  Nashville Corps of Engineers Regulatory Branch has Moved!:

 

The Nashville District Corps of Engineers Regulatory Branch is now located at:

              3701 Bell Road, near Percy Priest Dam

For more information, call (615) 369-7500.

 

 

4.  Say "No" to Sewage!:

 

In January, the Clinton administration announced proposed Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) regulations to control and prevent sewer overflows and require the public is informed of potential health threats when overflows occur. The proposed rules, however, have been stalled by the Bush administration.  Municipalities are arguing how burdensome and costly it would be for them to clean up raw sewage in our waters.  Congress needs to hear from you!

 

Sewer overflows dump raw and inadequately treated sewage into basements, streets and waterways, contaminating beaches, lakes and streams and jeopardizing public health. Clean Water Network is asking concerned members to call your senators and representatives and tell them to say "no" to sewage in our waters and to urge EPA to release the proposed SSO regulations.  To get your members ‚*™ direct phone number, call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or go to the Legislative Action Center at Clean Water Network's website at www.cwn.org and click on Elected Officials. You can also send an email or letter to your members through the Legislative Action Center at this website.

 

For more information, please contact Nancy Stoner with NRDC at 202-289-2394 or [email protected]

 

 

5.  Stream flow Information in Budget Trouble: Call to anglers, fisheries biologists, stream ecologists and river conservationists! 

 

USGS collects stream flow information for lots of reasons, such as water supply system operation, flood management and warning, river biology and  other worthwhile activities. This information is fundamental to understanding the health of the nation's rivers. It is also fundamental to managing the nation's rivers for water supply, hydropower, irrigation and of course, flood control.  Anglers, fisheries biologists, stream ecologists and river

conservationists all depend on this information.

 

Budget cuts in the last decade have reduced the number of stream gages by about 1000 - leaving about 7000 active now. In President Bush's first budget, the USGS water program took a huge cut - $43 million or 21% of the $202 million FY 2001 budget. The USGS usually loses in the congressional wrangling over money, largely because it gets little support from the people who use the information, including anglers and conservationists.

 

To take action, go to the Activist Network page on Trout Unlimited's website, www.tu.org   and send an e-mail or letter of support to the President and your members of Congress. Alert your members to this issue. A flood of support in the next month may help save the information system we need. For more information and to send a letter, go to:

capwiz.com/tu/issues/alert/?alertid=16435&type=CO

 

6.  EPA Establishes Process to Evaluate Arsenic in Drinking Water Standard:

 

Last week EPA established a process for setting a new standard for arsenic in drinking water.  The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) will perform an expedited review of  EPA's risk analysis for arsenic, focusing on levels ranging from three to 20 parts per billion.  NAS will also review new studies regarding the health risks of arsenic ingestion.  Additionally, EPA will convene a subgroup of the National Drinking Water Advisory Council to assess the economic issues associated with the standard.  In order to allow time for these reviews, EPA has proposed to extend the effective date for a new

arsenic standard an additional 9 months, from the current May 22 effective date until February 22, 2002.  The compliance date for the new standard will remain until 2006.  For more information on the proposal, go to  www.epa.gov/safewater/arsenic.html on the Internet.

 

 

7. Tulloch-Fix Rule Goes Into Effect:

 

(from Clean Water Network's Clean Water Info Listserve) A rule that will limit the amount of wetland draining and excavation that developers and mining interests can do in wetlands and streams was put into effect last week.  Many thanks to Network members who called EPA, sent in comments on the rule, and activated your grassroots members. It feels so good to  have a wetlands success!  Please share our thanks with your members.

 

However, Network members should know the National Homebuilders' Association and the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association have both brought lawsuits against the rule so we will still be hearing about this possibly for some time. These lawsuits may be settled out of court or may be weakly defended in court. There is also the possibility that this rule may not be implemented in the field. We will keep you abreast of what's going on and keep you involved.

 

NRDC, Sierra Club, NWF, and Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund all did press releases of the announcement. Visit their web sites for the press releases ( www.nrdc.org  , www.sierraclub.org , www.nwf.org , www.earthjustice.org ). Here are some links to Washington Post and New York Times articles on the rule. www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25173-2001Apr16.html  http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/17/politics/17WETL.html

 

 

8.  President Bush's Budget Proposal:

 

(from Clean Water Network's Clean Water Info Listserve) Congress is beginning to hold detailed hearings on the Bush budget, and appropriations committee markups are expected to begin in late May.  The final budget is scheduled to be finished by Congress in October. CWN groups will be circulating sign-on letters and other calls to action over the next few weeks.  Below you'll find a list of clean water concerns with the budget.For more information, contact Clean Water Network at 202-289-2421.

 

US ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

-Cuts overall enforcement budget by 9%, from $160 million to $149 million. While the proposed budget decreases enforcement funding for EPA headquarters and regions, it establishes $25 million for state enforcement grants.

-Authorizes only $2 million for the 35 coastal states for beach water quality monitoring grants.  In the BEACH Act Congress unanimously authorized $30

million annually for this program.

- Seeks $850 million for the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund.  Last year EPA received $1.35 billion for the SRF. 

- Establishes a $450 million grant program for controlling SSOs and CSOs. Last year‚*™s bill, which created the overflow grant program called on EPA to

not reduce the SRF to fund the grants, but rather provide overall increases for infrastructure funding.

- Decreases the budget for the National Estuaries Program by $1 million, dropping it to less than half of what Congress authorized in the Estuary Act of 2000.

-Decreases Section 106 grants from $172 million enacted in FY01 to $170 million requested for FY02.

- Provides Level funding for section 319 (state nonpoint source grants) at $237 million.

- Increases the budget for NPDES program from $39.4 million to $40.2 million.

- Increases the budget for Water Quality Monitoring/Assessment by $150,000 to $11.3 million

- Increases the budget for EPA wetlands program by $150,000 TO $17.2 million.

- Increases the budget for Water Quality Criteria and Standards by $400,000 to $18.7 million.

 

DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR

-Cuts the US Geological Survey BY $70 million, hitting water programs the hardest including:

- Decreasing the budget for the National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA) by $20 million or 32%

- Reducing the budget of the Toxics Substances Hydrology Program to $0.

- Reducing the streamgauging activities by $5 million.

 

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

- Eliminates funding for the Wetlands Reserve Program.  In 2001 it is estimated that $162 million will be spent on the program.

- Continues funding the Environmental Quality Incentives Program at last year‚*™s level,  $174 million. 

 

CORPS OF ENGINEERS

- Includes $200,000 to oversee the National Estuary Habitat Restoration Council, but did not request any funding for actual estuarine habitat restoration activities.  The Estuaries and Clean Waters Act of 2000 authorized the Corps to spend $40 million in FY 2002 for estuary restoration.

- Slight increase in Corps wetlands regulatory budget.

- Decreases Overall Corps budget by 14 percent.

 

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION

- Requests $10 million to implement coastal nonpoint pollution implementation grants (same as last year's enacted level).  This supports the work done on NOAA'S coastal nonpoint pollution control programs, and not just general coast zone management programs.

- Requesting $2 million to support NOAA work on developing a national estuary habitat restoration strategy and developing restoration databases.

 

To view the EPA budget, go to www.epa.gov/ocfo/

To view the USGS budget, go to www.usgs.gov/budget/2002

To view the USDA budget, go to www.usda.gov/special/budget/budget2002.htm

 

 

9.  Index of Best Non-point Source Pollution Controls:

 

EPA recently drafted a list of what it considers the best non-point source materials available for both the public and professionals.  Many of these resources are available in electronic format.  To view the list visit www.epa.gov/owow/nps/bestnpsdocs.html#urban

 

 

 

 

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Tennessee Clean Water Network E-News

 

This newsletter is intended to provide a quick look at current clean water issues in Tennessee, in addition to resources available to the concerned citizen.

Visit our website www.tcwn.org  to find more detailed information.

 

Comments and submissions for the newsletter are welcome.  Send to   [email protected]   or to   [email protected]  Thanks for your participation!