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The Need for Federal Environmental Good Samaritan Legislation
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The Need for Federal Environmental Good Samaritan Legislation

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Andy McAllister, WPCAMR, and Amy Wolfe, Trout Unlimited, “The Need for Federal Environmental Good Samaritan Legislation”

Andy McAllister, WPCAMR, and Amy Wolfe, Trout Unlimited, “The Need for Federal Environmental Good Samaritan Legislation”

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  • 1. Recent developments on theRecent developments on the Federal Good Sam front…Federal Good Sam front…  Sen. Mark Udall pressed EPA for help withSen. Mark Udall pressed EPA for help with Good Samaritans in the WestGood Samaritans in the West  EPA responded with a clarification memo.EPA responded with a clarification memo.
  • 2. 2012 EPA Memo2012 EPA Memo  According to EPA, “This memorandum focusesAccording to EPA, “This memorandum focuses more on Good Samaritans’ responsibilitiesmore on Good Samaritans’ responsibilities under the CWA. Specifically, this memorandumunder the CWA. Specifically, this memorandum discusses potential CWA responsibilities for adiscusses potential CWA responsibilities for a Good Samaritan after the cleanup activityGood Samaritan after the cleanup activity undertaken consistent with the 2007 Guidance isundertaken consistent with the 2007 Guidance is successfully completed, including when a passivesuccessfully completed, including when a passive treatment system remains.”treatment system remains.”
  • 3.  Question: Who is responsible for any remaining discharges fromQuestion: Who is responsible for any remaining discharges from the abandoned mine site after the Good Samaritan finishes theirthe abandoned mine site after the Good Samaritan finishes their work?work?  EPA’s answer: In many cases, the EPA anticipates there may beEPA’s answer: In many cases, the EPA anticipates there may be unpermitted discharges that continue after the CERCLA actionunpermitted discharges that continue after the CERCLA action is complete. While the Good Samaritan would not usually be theis complete. While the Good Samaritan would not usually be the entity responsible for obtaining an NPDES permit, anyentity responsible for obtaining an NPDES permit, any remaining point source discharges of a pollutant would likelyremaining point source discharges of a pollutant would likely require a permit. If no other “operator” is present, the facilityrequire a permit. If no other “operator” is present, the facility owner would generally be responsible for obtaining anyowner would generally be responsible for obtaining any necessary NPDES permits because the owner is most likely to benecessary NPDES permits because the owner is most likely to be the entity with control over the discharges.the entity with control over the discharges.
  • 4. However….However….  Appears that if a group has to go back in to theAppears that if a group has to go back in to the site, they may be construed as “operator”.site, they may be construed as “operator”.
  • 5.  Some interest from EPA but in general, this isSome interest from EPA but in general, this is not a big issue for them in the East.not a big issue for them in the East.  Possible administrative fix from SMCRA?Possible administrative fix from SMCRA?
  • 6. Even more recent…Even more recent…  After several discussions with EPA staff overAfter several discussions with EPA staff over the past year, it appears that efforts to gainthe past year, it appears that efforts to gain Good Samaritan protection may be moreGood Samaritan protection may be more successfully focused on EPA itself, rather thansuccessfully focused on EPA itself, rather than through legislators.through legislators.  Working to hold “Good Sam” summit in DCWorking to hold “Good Sam” summit in DC during the fall/winter to bring together largeduring the fall/winter to bring together large NGOs, States, and industry to come up with aNGOs, States, and industry to come up with a unified statement of need as combinedunified statement of need as combined stakeholders to present to EPA.stakeholders to present to EPA.
  • 7. What you can doWhat you can do  Identify/quantify your successesIdentify/quantify your successes  Publicize your group’s activities/successesPublicize your group’s activities/successes  Let your Federal legislators in on what you’re doing andLet your Federal legislators in on what you’re doing and keep them abreast.keep them abreast.  While there is no bill currently, express your concernWhile there is no bill currently, express your concern about Federal Clean Water Act liability for AMDabout Federal Clean Water Act liability for AMD treatment to your Federal legislators.treatment to your Federal legislators.  Keep agencies informed! Invite/engageKeep agencies informed! Invite/engage EPA/DEP/OSMEPA/DEP/OSM

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