New York comment
5 Pages
English
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New York comment

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5 Pages
English

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Representatives of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation wrote the following when asked to provide or verify figures regarding the state's enforcement of the Clean Water Act:The most important federal funding to support enforcement and permitting programs is known as "Clean Water Act Section 106" money. These funds are provided to the State and are not earmarked to specific EPA items. In New York, however, we have an extensive annual work plan we agree to with EPA that describes the specific work output promised by DEC's Division of Water -- known as the "performance partnership agreement."CWA Section 106 funding was $216 million nationally in 2006. In 2008 it was $221.7 million. New York's Section 106 funding has gone up 11% in non-inflation adjusted dollars between 2003 and 2008. During that time the average cost of a DEC staffer rose 23%. Almost all Section 106 money is now used for staff. EPA's national office did a study in 2002 and found an $800 million funding gap for Section 106 type programs (some 45 states are authorized CWA entities).The House re-authorization amount for Section 106 funding (remember this is authorized, not necessarily appropriated) was passed at $300 million per year for the next 5 years. This is not yet final, however. (Congressman Norm Dix of Washington State is the lead on appropriations, Congressman James Oberstar of Minnesota is the lead on authorization). The Environmental Council of ...

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Representatives of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
wrote the following when asked to provide or verify figures regarding the state's
enforcement of the Clean Water Act:
The most important federal funding to support enforcement and permitting programs is
known as "Clean Water Act Section 106" money. These funds are provided to the State
and are not earmarked to specific EPA items. In New York, however, we have an
extensive annual work plan we agree to with EPA that describes the specific work output
promised by DEC's Division of Water -- known as the "performance partnership
agreement."
CWA Section 106 funding was $216 million nationally in 2006. In 2008 it was $221.7
million. New York's Section 106 funding has gone up 11% in non-inflation adjusted
dollars between 2003 and 2008. During that time the average cost of a DEC staffer rose
23%. Almost all Section 106 money is now used for staff.
EPA's national office did a study in 2002 and found an $800 million funding gap for
Section 106 type programs (some 45 states are authorized CWA entities).
The House re-authorization amount for Section 106 funding (remember this is authorized,
not necessarily appropriated) was passed at $300 million per year for the next 5 years.
This is not yet final, however. (Congressman Norm Dix of Washington State is the lead
on appropriations, Congressman James Oberstar of Minnesota is the lead on
authorization). The Environmental Council of the States supports at least $540 million
per year for annual Section 106 funding; $1 billion is a very reasonable annual amount
based on the Bush Administration's own gap analysis.
• Increased Work Load.
In 1998, DEC had 10,860 facilities covered under state and federal clean water permits;
in 2008 the number was 19,010.
DEC's total permitting and enforcement staff (there is other staff for monitoring,
standards setting, etc.) in 1998 was 88; in 2008 that number was 107.
Since 1998 many new permitting programs and related activities have been instituted:
concentrated animal feeding operations (over 600); construction sites and new
development (about 7,000 annually); polluted runoff from urbanized areas (500);
industrial storm water sites (1,750).A heightened focus has been brought to combined sewer overflows and sanitary sewer
over flows over this period -- often huge and costly projects with extensive technical
review, monitoring and prodding for many years after the initial execution of an order.
Actions like "total maximum daily load" assessments (essentially pollutant budgets for
each impaired water) are now very important and work intensive. EPA really started this
effort in the late 1990's in response to lawsuits brought by NRDC. TMDL's serve as the
legal basis for imposing more stringent controls in permits (than the national technology
standards) to force achievement of compliance with water quality standards. Our whole
Long Island Sound water quality program, for example, is based on controls that were
justified by a TMDL. A big problem is the failure of EPA to set more stringent minimum
national technology standards for pollution discharges for many years -- necessitating the
very burdensome, individualized, TMDL process.
DEC has been able to maintain approximately 2,500 annual clean water site inspections
since 1990. In 1990, however, almost all the inspections were waste water treatment
plants; now only about 1,250 are WWTP inspections.
* * * *
Compliance really works to drive down water pollution. We are very heartened by the
new EPA under Administrator Jackson. She worked in the trenches at a State Agency and
understands what is needed to get the job done. Another big issue is funding for clean
water infrastructure: we have a (conservatively) documented need in NY of $36 billion in
NY over the next 20 years. Until this new Administration, funding was on a severe
decline and set to expire in 2011. This was a major cause of non-compliance as a number
of communities are under severe financial hardship (think Utica). Obama and Jackson
have turned that around in a big way, giving us some initial hope that all of these facilities
that have been aging out and starting to fall apart can be restored -- to the great benefit of
our water quality.