The EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) announces a public meeting of the SAB Panel to conduct a review of the 331 page EPA draft report, Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence (September, 2013 External Review Draft, EPA/600/R-11/098B). The public meeting is schedule for December 16-18, 2013 in Washington, DC. Comments are due November 6, 2013.
Submit your comments and/or request for extension of time on www.regulations.gov Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OA-2013-0582. (Just copy and paste the Docket ID into the search box)
Attached are copies of comments submitted by Pacific Legal Foundation and State of Alaska.
My suggestions is for every person, organization, agency and state to follow Alaska’s lead and request the meeting of the EPA Science Advisory Board for this issue be postponed and a 90 day extension of time for comments on the report.
The Pacific Legal Foundation comments contain good information for use in comments.
Some information from articles about what attorney are saying on this issue.
Attorneys said the study could allow the agencies to assert jurisdiction in a blanket fashion over ephemeral and intermittent streams, rather than force them to try to find a significant nexus for each non-navigable tributary in question with downstream navigable waters. The so-called significant nexus test was established by the 2006 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Rapanos v. United States, 547 U.S. 715, 62 ERC 1481 (2006).
“As you read the tea leaves, that’s exactly the conclusion we believe is likely–that the agencies will use the draft study to provide the scientific basis to argue all streams should be considered jurisdictional no matter the size or flow rate, ” Carson said. – Brent Carson, a Seattle-based attorney and partner with Van Ness Feldman LLP,
An example of information in the report. “The scientific literature demonstrates that streams, individually or cumulatively, exert a strong influence on the character and functioning of downstream waters. All tributary streams, including perennial, intermittent, and ephemeral streams, are physically, chemically, and biologically connected to downstream rivers via channels and associated alluvial deposits where water and other materials are concentrated, mixed, transformed, and transported. Headwater streams (headwaters) are the most abundant stream type in most river networks and supply most of the water in rivers. In addition to water, streams transport sediment, wood, organic matter, nutrients, chemical contaminants, and many of the organisms found in rivers. Streams are biologically connected to downstream waters by the dispersal and migration of aquatic and semiaquatic organisms, including fish, amphibians, plants, microorganisms, and invertebrates, that use both up- and downstream habitats during one or more stages of their life cycles, or provide food resources to downstream communities. Physical, chemical, and biological connections between streams and downstream waters interact via processes such as nutrient spiraling, in which stream communities assimilate and chemically transform large quantities of nitrogen (N) and other nutrients that would otherwise increase nutrient loading downstream.”
Public comment for consideration by EPA’s federal advisory committees and panels has a different purpose from public comment provided to EPA program offices. Federal advisory committees and panels, including scientific advisory committees, provide independent advice to EPA.