EPA Proposes Incentives For Clean Water Permit Fees

EPA announced on Jan. 5 a proposed rule that would provide a financial incentive to states to use fees when running a clean water permit program. The agency's rule would allot up to 3 percent of state water pollution control grant funds to states that have adequate National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit fee programs.

"We encourage states to use permit fees for additional funding for their clean water programs," said EPA Assistant Administrator of Water Benjamin H. Grumbles. "A variety of tools and funding approaches are needed for a strong program, including having permitted facilities share the cost of keeping water clean."

The increased cost of administering water permit programs has prompted some states to levy permit fees to cover shortfalls. Certain states, however, still operate with little or no reliance on permit fees. The proposed "NPDES Permit Fee Incentive for Clean Water Act Section 106 Grants; Allotment Formula" is designed to create financial incentives to prompt more states to implement adequate fee programs and shift part of the financial burden to those who benefit from the permits. It also will allow states to move funds to other critical water quality program activities, agency officials said.

The proposal defines eligibility for the incentive, identifies the process for determining the amount each eligible state will receive, and establishes procedures and guidelines -- including reporting requirements -- for eligible states to follow when applying for the incentive. The proposed rule would not take effect until after Oct. 1, 2007.

For additional information, go to http://www.epa.gov/owm/cwfinance/npdes-permit-fee.htm.

This article originally appeared in the 01/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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