United States
Environmental Protection
Office of Water   EPA- 820-F-10-002
                                                   Mav  2010
      Withdrawal of Federal Antidegradation Policy for
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) is taking final action to withdraw the
federal antidegradation policy for the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Clean
Water Act (CWA) requires that all States,
Territories, and authorized Tribes develop water
quality standards that include the designated use
or uses of the water, water quality criteria to
protect those uses, and an antidegradation
policy. An antidegradation policy maintains and
protects existing uses, high quality waters, and
outstanding national resource waters. The Clean
Water Act authorizes EPA to promulgate water
quality standards for a State when EPA
disapproves the State's new or revised water
quality standards.
                          antidegradation regulation in combination with
                          the Guidance and determined Pennsylvania's
                          antidegradation policy is consistent with federal
                          antidegradation regulations.  EPA approved
                          Pennsylvania's Tier 3 regulation on March 7,
                          2007. Thus, Pennsylvania had a fully-approved
                          antidegradation policy, making the federally-
                          promulgated antidegradation policy duplicative.

                          In September 2008, EPA published a Direct
                          Final Rule with a Parallel Proposed Rule to
                          withdraw the federal antidegradation policy for
                          the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In
                          November 2008, EPA withdrew the Direct Final
                          Rule and reopened the public comment period
                          for the action. EPA received one set of
                          comments on the action in December 2008,
                          which was considered in this action.
On June 6, 1994, EPA disapproved portions of
Pennsylvania's antidegradation policy that were
not consistent with federal antidegradation
requirements.  When Pennsylvania did not fix
the disapproved portions of its antidegradation
policy in a timely manner, EPA promulgated a
federal antidegradation policy for Pennsylvania
on December 9, 1996. In August 1999,
Pennsylvania modified its antidegradation
policy. EPA subsequently approved the
majority of these revisions on March 17, 2000,
but withheld action on the portion of
Pennsylvania's antidegradation policy relating to
Exceptional Value or Tier 3 waters because it
was not consistent with federal  antidegradation

In 2003, Pennsylvania published "Water Quality
Antidegradation Implementation Guidance",
which provides guidance on implementing its
antidegradation policy and identifies the
requirements for protecting Exceptional Value
waters. EPA reviewed Pennsylvania's Tier 3
                          Impact of this Action
                          Pennsylvania currently has two antidegradation
                          policies: the federally promulgated policy and
                          Pennsylvania's EPA-approved policy. This
                          action will withdraw the federally promulgated
                          policy since Pennsylvania's policy is as
                          protective as the federal policy, leaving
                          Pennsylvania's antidegradation policy in place.
                          For More Information
                          Contact Janita Aguirre at the EPA Office of
                          Water at 202-5 66-1149 or
                          aguirre j anitaigiepa. gov. or Denise Hakowski at
                          EPA Region 3 at 215-814-5726 or
                          hakowski .denise@epa. gov.