Arlington, VA.; February 24, 2012 — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized its new Construction General Permit (CGP) required to ensure storm water runoff from construction sites meets federal environmental standards. The new CGP replaces the former permit that recently expired. Electric cooperatives support the permit’s general intent—to protect water resources from harmful runoff—however previous drafts failed to distinguish between construction projects such as a shopping mall and power line construction.
The revised permit includes new requirements to limit erosion, regulate flows to minimize pollution, provide buffers around surface waters and to restrict discharges to waters impaired by previous pollution discharge.
While the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) remains concerned about difficulties posed by this permitting process, the 2012 CGP does not include limits on turbidity and provides relief on the buffer requirements for linear projects such as transmission lines under certain conditions.
Electric cooperatives own and maintain 2.5 million miles or 42 percent of the nation’s electric distribution lines, covering 75 percent of the U.S. landmass. Electric transmission and distribution lines have unique characteristics; projects on transmission lines are often relatively narrow but can go on for tens or hundreds of miles.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.