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Proposed Rule

Withdrawal of the Federal Water Quality Standards Use Designations for Soda Creek and Portions of Canyon Creek, South Fork Coeur d'Alene River, and Blackfoot River in Idaho

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

EPA is proposing to take direct final action to withdraw the Federal water quality standards designating cold water biota uses for Soda Creek and portions of Canyon Creek, South Fork Coeur d'Alene River, and Blackfoot River in Idaho. In July 1997, EPA promulgated a Federal rule designating uses for water bodies in the State of Idaho, including the designation of cold water biota for Soda Creek, and portions of Canyon Creek, South Fork Coeur d'Alene River, and Blackfoot River, with the exception of any portion in Indian country. These Federal water quality standards designating cold water biota uses are no longer necessary since EPA approved Idaho's adopted uses that result in protection for cold water biota. EPA is also withdrawing the water quality standards variance provision applicable to these uses (40 CFR 131.33(d)), because this provision is no longer necessary with the withdrawal of the Federal water quality standards designating these uses.

DATES:

Written comments must be received by September 18, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0495, by one of the following methods:

  • www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • E-mail: ow-docket@epa.gov
  • Mail to either: Water Docket, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20460 or Lisa Macchio, U.S. EPA, Region 10, Mailcode: OWW-131, 1200 Sixth Avenue, Suite 900, Seattle, Washington 98101, Attention: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0495.
  • Hand Delivery: EPA Docket Center, EPA West Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20004 or Lisa Macchio, U.S. EPA, Region 10, 1200 Sixth Avenue, Suite 900, Seattle, WA 98101, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0495. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0495. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or e-mail. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an e-mail comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov your e-mail address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/​epahome/​dockets.htm.

Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, will be publicly available only in hard copy. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at two docket facilities. The OW Docket Center is open from 8:30 until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The OW Docket Center telephone number is (202) 566-2426, and the Docket address is OW Docket, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20004. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744. Publicly available docket materials are also available in hard copy at U.S. EPA, Region 10, 1200 Sixth Avenue, Suite 900, Seattle, WA 98101. Docket materials can be accessed from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number is (206) 553-1834.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Wendy Drake, U.S. EPA Headquarters, Office of Water, Mailcode: 4305T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202-564-2926; fax number: 202-566-0409; e-mail address: drake.wendy@epa.gov or Lisa Macchio, U.S. EPA, Region 10, Mailcode: OWW-131, 1200 Sixth Avenue, Suite 900, Seattle, Washington 98101; telephone number: 206-553-1834; fax number: 206-553-0165; e-mail address: macchio.lisa@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This action concerns EPA's withdrawal of the Federal water quality standards designating cold water biota uses for Soda Creek and portions of Canyon Creek, South Fork Coeur d'Alene River, and Blackfoot River in Idaho. In the “Rules and Regulations” section of this Federal Register, we are withdrawing the Federal water quality standards designating cold water biota uses for Soda Creek and portions of Canyon Creek, South Fork Coeur d'Alene River, and Blackfoot River in Idaho and the water quality standards variance provision related to these uses as a direct final rule without a prior proposed rule. If we receive no adverse comment, we will not take further action on this proposed rule.

In July 1997, EPA promulgated a Federal rule designating uses for water bodies in the State of Idaho, including the designation of cold water biota for Soda Creek, and portions of Canyon Creek, South Fork Coeur d'Alene River, and Blackfoot River, with the exception of any portion in Indian country (62 FR 41183, July 31, 1997). In March 2000, Idaho adopted a revised use for a segment of Blackfoot River, which changed from “Protected for Future Use” to undesignated. In Idaho, undesignated waters are protected for all recreational use in and on the water and for the propagation of fish, shellfish, and wildlife (IDAPA 58.01.02.101.01). In March 2002, Idaho adopted a use designation of cold water biota for segments of Canyon Creek and South Fork Coeur d'Alene River. In March 2006, Idaho adopted a revised Start Printed Page 48352use for Soda Creek, which changed from “NONE” to undesignated. As described in the undesignated surface waters provision of Idaho's Water Quality Standards (IDAPA 58.01.02.101.01a), the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) applies cold water aquatic life criteria to undesignated waters because it is presumed that most waters in the State will support cold water aquatic life. Thus, cold water aquatic life criteria now apply to Soda Creek and the segment of the Blackfoot River. EPA approved Idaho's revised water quality standards for segments of Canyon Creek and South Fork Coeur d'Alene River on June 24, 2005, and for Soda Creek on August 15, 2006. EPA approved Idaho's revised water quality standards for the segment of the Blackfoot River, except for any portion in Indian country, on August 22, 2006. Thus, the Federal water quality standards designating Soda Creek and portions of Canyon Creek, South Fork Coeur d'Alene River, and Blackfoot River for cold water biota use (40 CFR 131.33(b)) is no longer necessary, and EPA is withdrawing it with this action. EPA is also withdrawing the water quality standards variance provision applicable to these uses (40 CFR 131.33(d)), because this provision is no longer necessary with the withdrawal of the Federal water quality standards designating these uses.

For further information, including the regulatory text and various statutes and executive orders that require findings for rulemakings, please see the information provided in the direct final rule titled, “Withdrawal of the Federal Water Quality Standards Use Designations for Soda Creek and Portions of Canyon Creek, South Fork Coeur d'Alene River, and Blackfoot River in Idaho” located in the “Rules and Regulations” section of this Federal Register publication.

I. Why EPA Is Issuing This Proposed Rule

This document proposes to withdraw the Federal water quality standards designating cold water biota uses for Soda Creek and portions of Canyon Creek, Blackfoot River, and South Fork Coeur d'Alene River in Idaho. We have published a direct final rule withdrawing the Federal water quality standards designating the cold water biota uses in the “Rules and Regulations” section of this Federal Register because we view this as a noncontroversial action and anticipate no adverse comment. We have explained our reasons for this action in the preamble to the direct final rule.

If we receive no adverse comment, we will not take further action on this proposed rule. If we receive adverse comment, we will withdraw the direct final rule and it will not take effect. We would address all public comments in any subsequent final rule based on this proposed rule.

We do not intend to institute a second comment period on this action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so at this time. For further information, please see the information provided in the ADDRESSES section of this document.

II. What Entities May Be Affected by This Action?

Citizens concerned with water quality in Idaho may be interested in this rulemaking. Entities discharging pollutants to Soda Creek, Canyon Creek, South Fork Coeur d'Alene, and Blackfoot River in Idaho could be indirectly affected by this rulemaking because water quality standards are used in determining National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit limits. Because this action withdraws the Federal water quality standards designating cold water biota uses that are no longer necessary since EPA approved Idaho's adopted uses that result in protection for cold water biota, the effect of this rulemaking may only occur when entities seek variances to water quality standards. Entities seeking variances from use designations on these waters will now apply to the state, and EPA will act on the state's decision to grant the variance.

Categories and entities that may ultimately be affected include:

CategoryExamples of potentially affected entities
IndustryIndustries discharging pollutants to Soda Creek, Canyon Creek, South Fork Coeur d'Alene River, and Blackfoot River in Idaho.
MunicipalitiesPublicly owned treatment works discharging pollutants to Soda Creek, Canyon Creek, South Fork Coeur d'Alene River, and Blackfoot River in Idaho.

This table is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a guide for readers regarding NPDES regulated entities likely to be affected by this action. This table lists the types of entities that EPA is now aware could potentially be affected by this action.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 131

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Dated: August 13, 2008.

Stephen L. Johnson,

Administrator.

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[FR Doc. E8-19199 Filed 8-18-08; 8:45 am]

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