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EPA Allows Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act Provisions to Apply to Discharge Permits Issued Under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act

June 1973

Citation: ELR 10071

After some initial hesitancy, EPA has agreed that the provisions of the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act1 do apply to pollutant discharge permits issued by EPA under §402 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA). The Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act requires any agency issuing a permit to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior regarding the conservation of wildlife resources. Consultation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the Department of Commerce was added by Executive Order in 1970.

The agreement was formalized recently when EPA promulgated rules for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System under the new Water Act.2 The regulations require EPA's Regional Administrators to meet with appropriate officials of the Interior and Commerce Departments to determine which applications for discharge permits will automatically be reviewed by fish and wildlife personnel. Interior and Commerce will have 30 days to evaluate the effects of the proposed discharge on wildlife resources. An agency may be allowed more time if the Regional Administrator finds that granting the request is in the public interest. Interior and Commerce play an advisory role; they can suggest conditions upon the permit "necessary to avoid substantial impairment of the fish, shellfish, or wildlife resources," but the Regional Administrator is not obligated to accept them.

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