Summary: H.R.2029 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.2029. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (04/23/1991)

Title I: General Provisions - Operation Coastal Shield of 1991 - Sets forth congressional findings and purposes with respect to coastal and Great Lakes water quality.

Title II: Coastal Water Quality - Amends the Clean Water Act to require the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to: (1) issue guidance to States for implementing water quality criteria, developing water and sediment quality-based effluent limitations, and implementing water quality related controls on nonpoint sources; (2) submit a workplan to specified congressional committees on a five-year schedule for developing and revising criteria for pollutants found in coastal waters; (3) issue or revise at least five new criteria and revise at least five existing criteria biennially for pollutants which pose the greatest risk to coastal waters; and (4) publish biological criteria for assessing and protecting coastal water quality and habitat to complement pollutant-specific criteria.

Requires a coastal State, whenever the State reviews water quality standards, to adopt coastal water quality standards for pollutants for which water quality criteria and information have been issued. Requires criteria issued by the Administrator to take effect immediately as interim coastal water quality standards for States that fail to adopt approvable standards.

Directs the Administrator to publish information on methods for measuring water quality criteria for pollutants that may pose risks to coastal and Great Lakes water quality on bases other than pollutant-by-pollutant criteria.

Requires applicants for Federal permits to conduct activities which may result in discharges into navigable waters to obtain a certification from the State in which the discharge will originate that such activities will not contribute to a failure to achieve water quality standards.

Directs coastal States to develop coastal water quality protection programs for restoring and protecting coastal water quality. Requires such programs to: (1) incorporate requirements of specified Acts; (2) identify coastal waters for which standards cannot be expected to be maintained and waters that currently meet standards but are threatened by increases in pollution; (3) establish a priority ranking for such waters and implement schedules for developing water quality restoration plans for those waters; (4) provide for a system of allocating and exchanging discharge reduction credits and pollution offsets among sources of conventional pollutants and nutrients into coastal waters; (5) establish a system through which a State authority certifies that the issuance or renewal of a discharge permit or the undertaking of any activity subject to the requirements of a coastal water quality restoration plan complies with such requirements; and (6) ensure public participation in the program and include procedures to ensure compliance with the program.

Sets forth: (1) requirements for coastal water quality restoration plans; and (2) approval procedures for such plans and for coastal water quality protection programs. Directs the Administrator to develop water quality restoration plans for States that fail to do so.

Requires the Administrator to issue orders to, or commence civil actions against, persons failing to comply with coastal water quality protection program requirements. Authorizes citizen suits against the United States and other governmental authorities for violations of such requirements.

Prohibits the issuance or renewal of permits for discharges into estuaries nominated for the National Estuary Program, except in compliance with specified guidelines. Directs the Administrator to review and revise guidelines to prevent the degradation of coastal water quality and to reflect changes made by this Act.

Authorizes State Governors to request the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to enter into a cooperative agreement to permit a State and its political subdivisions to enforce requirements for marine sanitation devices. Requires such agreements to authorize States or political subdivisions to assess and retain required penalties.

Directs the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Administrator to notify the fish and game and water pollution control authorities of each coastal State of the funds available under the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act to finance shoreside pumpout stations for marine sanitation devices.

Requires the Administrator to review and revise standards for marine sanitation devices to prevent discharges from vessels equipped with Type III marine aviation devices.

Directs the Administrator to: (1) identify pollution control measures for controlling the introduction of pollutants into coastal waters from nonpoint sources; (2) develop techniques for evaluating the effectiveness of such measures; and (3) make available to State and local authorities technical guidance for implementing and monitoring such measures.

Requires the Administrator, with respect to best management practices for industry, to identify releases of pollutants that may cause risks to human health or the environment and to prohibit or restrict the production of such pollutants to eliminate such risks.

Revises provisions concerning the purposes of management conferences under the National Estuary Program. Requires such conferences to be convened for periods of at least five years (currently, up to five years). Permits the extension of a conference for an additional five years if the affected Governors concur in the extension and the extension is necessary to meet requirements. Revises approval and implementation procedures for conservation and management plans under the Program. Authorizes the Administrator to make grants for the implementation of such plans. Extends the authorization of appropriations for Program activities. Authorizes appropriations to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and the Director to participate in the development and implementation of such plans. Requires the Administrator to issue orders to, or commence civil actions against, persons failing to comply with requirements concerning national estuaries.

Title III: Coastal and Great Lakes Contaminated Sediments Remediation Program - Directs the Administrator to conduct a survey and report to the Congress on bottom sediment contamination in the Great Lakes and U.S. coastal waters. Declares that the purpose of such survey is to assess the severity of such contamination, identify areas for which additional pollution reduction requirements may be required, and determine the order of priority for undertaking remedial actions. Requires the Administrator to publish: (1) criteria for sediment quality; and (2) information on the factors necessary to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of aquatic ecosystems. Authorizes persons to petition for the development of criteria for pollutants. Requires the Administrator to approve a petition if the pollutant, when present in sediments, is preventing: (1) the attainment of a balanced, indigenous population of fish, shellfish, or wildlife; or (2) recreation in and on the Great Lakes or coastal waters.

Directs the Administrator to: (1) issue national sediment remediation standards to govern remediation projects involving contaminated sediments; and (2) issue standards to establish temporary maximum permissible concentrations of pollutants or contaminants during the duration of projects for sediment contamination. Requires the Administrator, when publishing sediment quality criteria for a pollutant, to issue guidance on the imposition by the appropriate permitting authority of sediment-based effluent limits that will prevent the violation of such criteria.

Directs the Administrator to publish guidelines to govern projects to clean up contaminated sediments. Provides for the review and revision of such guidelines at least once every five years.

Requires the Administrator, with the approval of a State Governor, to implement sediment remediation projects for locations posing the greatest risks to human health and the environment. Prohibits the Administrator, in selecting such sites, from selecting any site listed as a priority under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 and for which there is reasonable likelihood of remediation under such Act.

Authorizes approprations.

Title IV: Monitoring Coastal Waters - Establishes the National Coastal Water Quality Monitoring Task Force. Requires the Task Force to: (1) implement a national strategy for conducting coastal water quality monitoring programs; (2) identify all Federal water quality monitoring programs and incorporate those programs into the national strategy; (3) develop a memorandum of understanding among appropriate Federal agencies to implement such strategy; (4) develop coastal water quality monitoring guidelines; and (5) select high priority coastal waters and approve, implement, or disapprove coastal water quality monitoring programs for such waters.

Directs the Task Force to issue quidelines to assist in the development and implementation of such programs.

Amends the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 to require Regional Marine Research Boards to establish monitoring committees comprised of individuals with technical expertise in coastal water quality monitoring programs. Requires the Boards, acting through such committees, to: (1) recommend areas for individual monitoring; (2) submit recommendations to the Task Force; (3) develop coastal water quality monitoring programs for high priority coastal waters selected by the Task Force; (4) provide for public participation in such programs; (5) provide technical guidance for the implementation of such programs; and (6) review the effectiveness of such programs and make necessary modifications.

Sets forth requirements for coastal water quality monitoring programs and approval procedures for programs submitted by the committees to the Task Force.

Requires the Under Secretary, the Administrator, and State Governors to ensure compliance with such programs. Deems requirements of approved programs to be requirements of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 and requires such programs to be submitted for approval as part of coastal zone management programs under the coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. Directs the Administrator or a State permitting authority to incorporate monitoring requirements into discharge permits.

Title V: Compliance and Enforcement - Amends the Clean Water Act to authorize the use of specified civil and administrative penalties for beneficial mitigation projects.

Increases the maximum on class II civil penalties authorized to be assessed under such Act.

Prohibits Federal agencies from entering into any contract for the procurement of goods or services if the contract is to be performed at any facility owned or operated by a person who has: (1) repeatedly violated a discharge permit or the requirements of a nonpoint source management program or categorical standard with respect to the treatment of pollutants; or (2) been in repeated noncompliance with an estuary conservation and management plan.

Authorizes the Administrator to commence administrative enforcement actions against Federal agencies to enforce this Act.

Permits partial program withdrawal of State discharge permit programs if the Administrator determines that a State is not administering part of a program in accordance with applicable requirements. Requires permits to take effect upon issuance unless the permittee demonstrates that: (1) he will be irreparably harmed; and (2) there is a likelihood that he will succeed on the merits in an administrative hearing or civil action to review the permit's conditions.

Prohibits Federal agencies from undertaking any development project or awarding any grant for an activity that may adversely affect the quality of navigable waters in any State with a pattern of: (1) continuing and chronic violations of coastal water quality standards; or (2) continuing and chronic failure to maintain a designated use under such standards.

Requires Federal agencies which own or operate facilities that discharge pollutants into navigable waters (and that would qualify as major dischargers if industrial facilities) to develop and submit to the Administrator environmental auditing plans for such facilities.

Directs industrial dischargers and publicly owned treatment works that discharge pollutants into navigable waters and that have repeatedly violated discharge permits or consent decrees to conduct biannual environmental audits of such facilities until they are no longer in violation of applicable requirements. Requires major dischargers, prior to the renewal of a permit, to provide to the Administrator an environmental audit conducted during the six-month period preceding the renewal.

Sets forth requirements for audits and auditors. Requires the Administrator to: (1) issue regulations establishing eligibility requirements for certification of environmental auditors and continuing education requirements for maintaining the certification; and (2) issue guidance to States on the development of State programs for certification of environmental auditors.

Directs States having navigable waters that do not meet applicable water quality standards to post and maintain signs at each place of public access to such waters indicating the standards such waters fail to meet and the health and environmental effects which may occur as a result of such failure.

Title VI: Financing - Subtitle A: Discharge Fees - Establishes the Coastal Defense Fund. Provides for the deposit of specified fines, penalties, and payments collected under the Clean Water Act and the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 into the Fund. Requires the Administrator to use Fund revenues to supplement funding for activities associated with administering the discharge permit program.

Directs the Administrator to establish a National Coastal Discharge Permit Fee System to collect fees from coastal dischargers. Declares that the objectives of the System are to: (1) recoup the costs to Federal, State, and local governments of administering coastal discharge permit programs; (2) provide economic incentives to dischargers to eliminate or reduce the volume of toxicities of their effluents; and (3) supplement funding for discharge permitting programs under the Clean Water Act. Provides for the deposit of fees and penalties collected under the System into the Fund. Makes persons failing to pay fees liable for civil penalties. Provides for a hardship exemption to fees under certain conditions.

Requires the Administrator, upon the petition of a coastal State, to waive the application of the System to such State if the amount of discharge fees collected under a State system is equivalent to the amount that would be collected by the System. Prohibits such waiver if the State uses fees solely to support State water quality programs.

Makes industrial users of publicly owned treatment works liable for fees and requires users to pay fees to the authority responsible for controlling the treatment works. Directs the authority to retain such fees and use them to enforce water quality programs.

Requires the Administrator to establish a fee schedule under the System that provides for the assessment of fees at least once a year and for the triennial adjustment of fees.

Subtitle B: General Authorizations - Extends through FY 1999 the authorization of appropriations under the Clean Water Act for: (1) specified research, investigations, training, and information; (2) grants to States for pollution control programs; (3) nonpoint source pollution control in rural areas; (4) interagency agreements to maintain water quality; (5) the clean lakes program; and (6) nonpoint source pollution management programs. Extends the general authorization under such Act through FY 1999.

Subtitle C: State and Local Financing - Authorizes States to use up to 15 percent of monies available in water pollution control revolving funds under the Clean Water Act to provide financial assistance to financially restricted communities. Permits loans to be made to such communities on terms of up to 40 years. Authorizes a fund to be used to reduce the principal of a debt obligation of a municipality or intermunicipal or interstate agency incurred after April 1, 1991, by up to 34 percent.

Adds to the list of projects eligible for revolving fund assistance: (1) approved combined stormwater and sanitary sewer control programs; and (2) Great Lakes protection programs.

Provides that: (1) annual principal and interest payments for loans made with revolving fund monies will commence no later than three years (currently, one year) after the completion of the project; and (2) amounts used for administering a fund shall not exceed four percent of amounts allotted to a State, or $400,000, whichever is greater (currently, four percent of all grant awards to such fund).

Extends the allotment formula with respect to such funds. Raises the ceiling on the dollar amount to be reserved for planning purposes.

Extends the authorization of appropriations for such funds through FY 1999.