Criteria and Standards for Cooling Water Intake Structures

Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0667
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) requires the EPA to ensure that the location, design, construction, and capacity of cooling water intake structures reflect the best technology available (BTA) for minimizing adverse environmental impacts. In July, 2004, the EPA promulgated Phase II which covered large existing electric generating plants. In July 2007, the EPA suspended most of the Phase II rule following a decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Several parties petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review that decision, and the Supreme Court granted the petitions, limited to the issue of whether the Clean Water Act authorized the EPA to consider the relationship of costs and benefits in establishing 316(b) standards. On April 1, 2009, the Supreme Court held that EPA has the authority to consider costs and benefits under Section 316(b). In June 2006, the EPA promulgated the Phase III regulation, covering small existing electric generating plants, new offshore oil and gas facilities, and all existing manufacturing facilities. In 2010 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted the request of the EPA and environmental petitioners to remand the existing facility portion of the rule to the Agency. The EPA entered a settlement agreement with the plaintiffs in two lawsuits concerning the section 316(b) rulemakings. Under the settlement agreement, the EPA agreed to sign a notice of a proposed action, and notice of a final decision pertaining to issuance of requirements for implementing section 316(b) of the CWA at existing facilities. After a number of subsequent modifications to the settlement agreement, the EPA and the plaintiffs agreed that a notice of proposed rulemaking would be signed by March 28, 2011 and that a final decision would be signed by April17, 2014. The EPA's proposed regulation includes standards for all existing facilities to prevent fish from being trapped against screens (impingement), and for existing facilities and new units at existing facilities to prevent fish from being drawn through cooling systems (entrainment). The EPA issued two Notices of Data Availability in June 2012 that described measures to provide additional flexibility that EPA was considering for the impingement mortality standard and that described the preliminary results of surveys of households' willingness to pay for incremental reductions in fish mortality. In light of the Supreme Court 2009 decision and its recognition that the EPA has broad discretion in what factors to consider in developing its 316(b) regulations, the EPA initiated consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. EPA and the Services began informal consultation in 2012, and concluded in 2013 that formal consultation was necessary.
RIN: 2040-AE95
Impacts and Effects: None
CFR Citation: 40 CFR 122; 40 CFR 125
Priority: Economically Significant
UA and Regulatory Plan Information open glossary dialog  
Publication Period: Spring 2014
Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Completed Action
Major Rule: Yes
Legal Authorities: CWA 101; CWA 301; CWA 304; CWA 308; CWA 316; CWA 401; CWA 402; CWA 501; CWA 510
Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State
Federalism Implications: No
Unfunded Mandates: Private Sector
Requires Regulatory Flexibility Analysis: No
Small Entities Affected: No
International Impacts: No
Energy Effects: No
Included in Regulatory Plan: No
Legal Deadline
JudicialOtherSettlement Agreement - Riverkeeper v. EPA04/17/2014
JudicialNPRMNPRM: 3/28/2011 - Settlement Agreement - As per 14 day extension granted 3/10 (or 4 days if no CR). Riverkeeper v. EPA, 06-12987, SDNY (signed 11/22/2010).03/28/2011
ActionDateFR Citation
NPRM04/20/201176 FR 22174
Notice06/11/201277 FR 34315
Notice06/12/201277 FR 34927
Final Rule05/00/2014
Docket Details open glossary dialog  
Related RINs: None
Related Dockets: None
Keyword(s): 316(b), Phase II, electric power
Type: Rulemaking
Location: HQ-OW

Primary Documents

View All  (7)
Comment Period Closed
Jul 28, 2014 11:59 PM ET
Posted: 05/28/2014
ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0667-3156
Comment Period Closed
Jul 12, 2012 11:59 PM ET
Proposed Rule
Posted: 06/12/2012
ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0667-2863
Comment Period Closed
Jul 11, 2012 11:59 PM ET
Proposed Rule
Posted: 06/11/2012
ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0667-2602
Comment Period Closed
Aug 18, 2011 11:59 PM ET
Proposed Rule
Posted: 04/20/2011
ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0667-0110
Comments Not Accepted
Posted: 08/15/2014
ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0667-3164

Supporting Documents

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Comments Not Accepted
Supporting & Related Material
Posted: 01/30/2015
ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0667-4158
Comments Not Accepted
Supporting & Related Material
Posted: 12/19/2014
ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0667-4155
Comments Not Accepted
Supporting & Related Material
Posted: 12/19/2014
ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0667-4152


View All  (1,409)

Comments Received*
Regulatory Timeline
Pre Rule
Current Stage
Proposed Rule
Current Stage
Final Rule
Current Stage
Current Stage
Agency Contact
Tom Born
202 566-1001
202 566-1053 (Fax)
Mail Code 4303T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460
Washington, DC 20460
Julie Hewitt
Mail Code 4303T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460
Washington, DC 20460
*This count refers to the total comment/submissions received on this docket, as of 11:59 PM yesterday. Note: Agencies review all submissions, however some agencies may choose to redact, or withhold, certain submissions (or portions thereof) such as those containing private or proprietary information, inappropriate language, or duplicate/near duplicate examples of a mass-mail campaign. This can result in discrepancies between this count and those displayed when conducting searches on the Public Submission document type. For specific information about an agency’s public submission policy, refer to its website or the Federal Register document.