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Federal Water Tap, June 18: EPA Framework for Stormwater and Sewers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the final version of its new framework for addressing the twinned problems of stormwater and sewer overflows. Nearly eight months in the making, the framework will give municipalities greater flexibility in how they meet federal water quality standards by allowing them to fix the most dire problems first. The framework also encourages wider use of green infrastructure to absorb rain.

Biofuels
Under certain processing conditions, grain sorghum qualifies as an “advanced” biofuel under federal greenhouse gas emissions standards, according to EPA lifecycle analysis. The Renewable Fuel Standard requires advanced biofuels—those not derived from corn—to reduce GHG emission by 50 percent compared to petroleum fuels. The standard also mandates a minimum volume of biofuels each year for the nation’s transportation sector.

Cooling Water Intakes
The EPA has published new data regarding its proposed rule for cooling water intakes at existing power plants. The agency conducted a survey to estimate how much the public would be willing to pay for the ecosystem improvements that would be achieved. Comments on the survey results and methodology are being accepted through July 12. They can be submitted referencing docket number EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0667.

Public Meeting on Fracking Rule
On June 29, the EPA will hold a public meeting in Washington, D.C. to discuss a proposed rule regarding the use of diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing. Registration begins on Wednesday June 20 via a form that will be posted to this webpage.

Two days earlier, on June 27, the National Drinking Water Advisory Council, which consults with the EPA, will have a public conference call to discuss the same proposed fracking rule. To register, email Simon.Roy@epa.gov.

Global Waters
The latest issue of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s quarterly water-programs magazine is out. Read about the agency’s work in Afghanistan and Pakistan and how it is using mobile phone technology to improve water service and farming practices.

Everglades
The EPA approved a US$880 million state plan for restoring the Everglades, McClatchy reports. Florida officials will expand a network of artificial marshes and build storage basins to reduce the nutrients in water flowing south.

New Mexico Water Supply Project
The final environmental impact statement is available for the Alamogordo Regional Water Supply Project, which consists of well fields, a desalination plant and a pipeline to the city of Alamogordo, in southern New Mexico.

Rural Water
The Bureau of Reclamation has released a draft report assessing its rural water supply projects. The report, which is available for public comment through August 14, will be posted here this week.

Earthquakes!
On June 19, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on earthquakes caused by energy production.

Federal Water Tap is a weekly digest spotting trends in U.S. government water policy. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

Author: Brett Walton  is a Seattle-based reporter for Circle of Blue. He writes our Federal Water Tap, a weekly breakdown of U.S. policy. Interests: Southwest, Pacific Northwest, Pricing, Infrastructure.

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