News

  • New Polypropylene for a Stable, Sustainable Packaging Supply Chain
    on February 3, 2023 at 5:09 pm

    Heartland Polymers' sustainable plant and US logistics hub solve packaging supply and price volatility with new resins for films, closures, and containers. […]

  • AICC Packaging Xperience Slated For May In Chicago
    by Len Prazych on February 3, 2023 at 3:21 pm

    Mike D’Angelo, President of AICC, The Independent Packaging Association, has announced that the AICC Packaging Xperience will take place May 22-24 in Chicago. Building on the success of last year’s event, this year’s presenters will answer some of the most challenging questions packaging manufacturers have about their customers.   During a series of general sessions, […]

  • Biden-Harris Administration Announces $340 Million for Water Infrastructure and Lead Pipe Replacement Projects in Philadelphia
    by Water (OW) on February 3, 2023 at 12:00 pm

    WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $340 million financing commitment to upgrade the City of Philadelphia’s aging drinking water infrastructure, including replacing customers’ lead service lines. This Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) low-interest loan will jumpstart the work to modernize the drinking water system with an initial investment of nearly $20 million. “At EPA, we’re committed to ensuring access to clean, safe water for all. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic investment in water infrastructure upgrades, we’re delivering on that commitment for communities across this nation,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “With the funds announced today, the City of Philadelphia will be able to upgrade its aging system for the 1.6 million people that depend on it, ensuring no one has to worry about access to safe, affordable drinking water.” The announcement was made by President Biden, Vice President Harris and Administrator Regan at an event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to highlight the progress we have made and the Administration’s work implementing the Biden-Harris economic and environmental agenda that continues to deliver results for the American people. Portions of the City of Philadelphia’s drinking water systems are approaching the end of their useful life and need significant upgrades to continue to deliver clean and safe water to the residents of Philadelphia. With this announcement, EPA is committing over $340 million in WIFIA financing to the city. The initial loan of $19.8 million will modernize critical drinking water infrastructure by replacing approximately 160 lead service lines and 15 miles of watermains throughout the city. “This commitment will provide an immense boost to Philadelphia’s ongoing efforts to ramp up water main replacement and help sustain our recently launched 25-year, multibillion-dollar Water Revitalization Plan, investments that will result in direct health and safety benefits for all Philadelphians,” said Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Randy E. Hayman. “Replacing miles of water mains in these neighborhoods will also strengthen our campaign to replace customers’ lead service lines as we renew and improve the City’s infrastructure. This represents the biggest investment in drinking water infrastructure in a generation, and we would not be able to do this work without this level of federal investment.” The Biden-Harris Administration has committed to revitalizing the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure to ensure every community has access to clean, safe and reliable drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services. In addition to WIFIA loans and other federally funded programs, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is making a historic $50 billion investment in water infrastructure and allocates $15 billion specifically for lead service line replacement and removal. To date, more than $4.7 billion of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding has been invested through the State Revolving Funds to support states, Tribes and territories in improving water infrastructure. By financing this first project with a WIFIA loan, EPA estimates the City of Philadelphia will save approximately $4 million. Construction and operation under this first loan are estimated to create approximately 100 jobs. Background  Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program administered by EPA. The WIFIA program’s aim is to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects.  The WIFIA program has an active pipeline of projects that will result in billions of dollars in water infrastructure investment and thousands of jobs. With this loan closing, EPA’s WIFIA program has announced 97 loans that are providing $17 billion in credit assistance to help finance $36 billion for water infrastructure while creating 122,000 jobs and saving ratepayers over $5 billion.  EPA is currently accepting letters of interest for WIFIA and SWIFIA loans. In June, EPA announced the availability of $5.5 billion under the 2022 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability and an additional $1 billion under the SWIFIA program. Together, this newly available funding will support more than $13 billion in water infrastructure projects while creating more than 40,000 jobs. […]

  • EPA and HUD Officials Present Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert with $34.3M to Protect Children from Lead at Homes in City
    by Region 07 on February 3, 2023 at 12:00 pm

    EPA Region 7 Deputy Administrator Edward Chu presents Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert with a ceremonial check for nearly $30 million, joined by other officials. (Photo credit: U.S. EPA)LENEXA, KAN. (FEB. 3, 2023) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) presented ceremonial checks worth $34.3 million to the City of Omaha, Nebraska, to protect children from lead at homes in the city. EPA awarded $29.9 million celebrating the renewal of a seven-year, $29.9 million cooperative agreement that enables the city to perform remedial activities within the Omaha Lead Superfund Site, including cleaning up contaminated yards. HUD presented $4.4 million the City of Omaha to address interior lead-based paint. EPA Region 7 Deputy Administrator Edward Chu and Michelle Miller, deputy director of HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, joined Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert to celebrate the agreements that highlight a whole-of-government approach to removing lead from the environment at homes where our children spend much of their time. There is no safe level of lead exposure for children. “The partnership between EPA and the City of Omaha has reduced lead in the environment by remediating lead-contaminated soil and removing exterior lead-based paint from properties within the Omaha Lead Superfund Site,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “Renewing our cooperative agreement with the city helps continue to ensure that the children and citizens of Omaha are protected from the dangers associated with lead exposure.” "Even though lead-based paint was in fact banned many years ago in residential housing, its harmful legacy remains,” said HUD Region 7 Administrator Ulysses Clayborn. “With today's funding from HUD and through our continuing interagency coordination with EPA, the city of Omaha will be able to continue its ongoing work with medical and social service providers to substantively address lead and other health hazards.” “Every child, every family, should live in a safe and healthy environment,” Mayor Stothert said. “We have made tremendous progress in Omaha; however, children are still at risk. The continuation of our cooperative agreement with the EPA makes safer and healthier homes for families and children possible.” Omaha was once home to a large lead smelter and lead battery recycling plant that are estimated to have released more than 400 million pounds (200,000 tons) of lead particles into the environment. Much of that ended up in residential areas within the 27 square miles of downtown Omaha where the lead processing facilities operated. The Record of Decision for the Omaha Lead Superfund Site includes remediation of lead-impacted soil from historic smelting and lead processing activities at the site. The remedy also includes exterior lead-based paint stabilization, which was included to protect the soil remedy at the site. HUD presented the city with approximately $4.4 million in combined grants through HUD’s Lead-Based Paint and Lead Hazard Reduction and Healthy Homes Program. These funds will enable the city to address interior lead-based paint hazards in 160 housing units, providing safer homes for low-income families with children. Also in attendance were officials from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) and the Douglas County Health Department (DCHD). EPA and DCHD have a separate cooperative agreement in place to provide DCHD with funding for the county’s free blood lead screening services, indoor lead screening, and education and outreach to medical professionals within the site boundary. Learn more about the Omaha Lead Superfund Site. Learn more about the City of Omaha’s Lead Hazard Programs. Learn more about Douglas County’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. Read more about HUD’s Healthy Homes Program. # # # Learn more about EPA Region 7 View all Region 7 news releases Connect with EPA Region 7 on Facebook Follow us on Twitter: @EPARegion7 […]

  • EPA Opens Public Comment Period on Ozone Data Determination for Detroit
    by Region 05 on February 3, 2023 at 12:00 pm

    CHICAGO (February 3, 2023) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began a 31-day public comment period on a determination that the Detroit metropolitan area has attained the health-based air quality standard for ground level ozone, or smog. This determination is based on an analysis from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) that high ozone values in June 2022 were caused by wildfires. EPA is also taking comment on the state’s analysis. EGLE’s analysis relies on meteorological data, modeling of air mass trajectories, comparisons to historical data, and measurements of brown carbon and black carbon, or soot. Considered together, the analysis concludes that high smog values measured at an air monitor in Wayne County on June 24 and 25, 2022, were caused by Canadian wildfires. Under EPA rules, wildfire impacts may be excluded when calculating attainment of the smog standard. The air quality data now show that the Detroit area meets the federal smog standard. Air quality that shows attainment of the standard is one of the requirements for areas to receive formal air quality “attainment” status under the Clean Air Act.  Comments may be submitted at Regulations.gov (search for docket number EPA-R05-OAR-2023-0058) or via email to [email protected] until March 6. For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Additional information about the proposal can be found on EPA’s website. ### […]

  • 2023 Heralds Useful Ideas for Packaging Progress
    by Lisa McTigue Pierce on February 2, 2023 at 2:46 pm

    If your New Year’s resolutions have anything to do with delivering more in your packaging job in 2023, we’ve got some suggestions on how you can do that. […]

  • Corrugated Packaging’s Cleverest Cases
    by Rick Lingle on February 2, 2023 at 1:48 pm

    Corrugated boxes can be turned into something extraordinary such as a connected smart package, a stealthy shipper, a self-healing box, or life-sized DeLorean car. […]

  • 1023 Diesel & Fleet of Wasilla, AK., fined $65,000 for Clean Air Act Violations
    by Region 10 on February 2, 2023 at 12:00 pm

    SEATTLE (February 2, 2023) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that 1023 Diesel and Fleet, Inc., of Wasilla, Alaska paid a $65,000 penalty for the illegal sale and installation of aftermarket products that disable vehicle emission control systems, known as defeat devices.     "Diesel emissions are known health threats," said Ed Kowalski, Director of Region 10’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division. "The sale and installation of defeat devices like these is a fast track to a significant penalty.”      Between January 1, 2019 and March 1, 2021 EPA found that 1023 Diesel and Fleet sold at least 211 defeat devices and installed some of those devices on at least 32 heavy-duty diesel motor vehicles. The penalty amount was reduced based on the company’s inability to pay a higher penalty and continue in business.    To meet emission standards intended to protect public health, vehicle and engine manufacturers install certain hardware devices to reduce the amount of particulate matter and other harmful pollutants released into the air. These hardware systems are operated and monitored by software systems. The Clean Air Act prohibits manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, and installing aftermarket devices that bypass, defeat, or render inoperative the emission control systems. As a result of EPA's regulations, cars and trucks manufactured today emit far less pollution than older vehicles.     A November 2020 study found that sales of defeat devices for certain diesel trucks between 2009 and 2020 resulted in more than 570,000 tons of excess nitrogen oxide and 5,000 tons of excess particulate matter over the lifetime of the trucks. These pollutants contribute to serious health effects including premature mortality, aggravation of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, aggravation of existing asthma, acute respiratory symptoms, chronic bronchitis, and decreased lung function. Numerous studies also link diesel exhaust to increased incidence of lung cancer.    EPA focuses its enforcement and compliance assurance resources on the most serious environmental violations by developing and implementing national program priorities, called National Compliance Initiatives. This settlement is part of EPA’s National Compliance Initiative, “Stopping Aftermarket Parts Defeat Devices for Vehicles and Engines.”  &nbs […]

  • Healthcare Packaging News and Top Issues
    by Lisa McTigue Pierce, Kassandra Kania on February 2, 2023 at 5:55 am

    Projected growth for pharma packaging, cost cutting measure for healthcare packaging, BlackHägen Design named in Bayer patent, more. […]

  • WestPack 2023 Answers Your Packaging Education Questions
    by Lisa McTigue Pierce on February 1, 2023 at 10:38 pm

    Leading organizations contribute to the strength of the packaging education offered at our early-February show in Anaheim, California. […]

  • Best in New Food and Beverage Packaging
    by Rick Lingle , Lisa McTigue Pierce on February 1, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    FB newsletter, Coke's tethered caps, Sealed Air’s recycle-ready food films, word search wine label, oat powder pouch replaces milk carton, edible food pods, Al Roker babka, Tic Tac packs get playful. […]

  • Koenig & Bauer Names Ran Landau New Senior Vice President Of Sales
    by Len Prazych on February 1, 2023 at 2:54 pm

    Ran Landau, a seasoned business leader with proven sales performance, has joined Koenig & Bauer as its new senior vice president of sales. Landau, who has lived and worked in Israel, relocated to Dallas to the company’s North American headquarters in January 2023. “I am thrilled to be joining Koenig & Bauer’s strong sales and […]

  • Packaging by the Numbers
    by Rick Lingle on February 1, 2023 at 1:00 pm

    Packaging market reports for bag-in-box, snack food, pharmaceuticals, PET stretch blow-molding machinery, and compostable packaging are featured in this slideshow. […]

  • EPA Announces Financial Capability Guidance to Support Communities and Ensure Clean, Affordable Water
    by Water (OW) on February 1, 2023 at 12:00 pm

    WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its updated Clean Water Act Financial Capability Assessment (FCA) Guidance to help communities ensure public health protections and financial feasibility as they make plans to comply with the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Guidance outlines strategies for communities to follow to support affordable rates while planning investments in water infrastructure essential to protecting our Nation’s waters. “EPA is committed to ensuring all communities have access to clean water and critical water services. We also recognize that a growing number of people struggle to afford their water bills,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “The updated FCA Guidance provides a better process to assess communities’ ability to afford water quality improvements, and also highlights a variety of tools, including assistance programs, grants, and subsidized loans, to help communities plan and pay for necessary water infrastructure improvements.”   When discharges from municipal wastewater treatment facilities violate the CWA, EPA sets a schedule for the municipality to implement control measures to address the discharges as soon as possible. When negotiating CWA compliance schedules, EPA considers public health, environmental protection, and a community’s financial capability. The FCA Guidance outlines the financial information and formulas used to assess a community’s financial ability to make the needed water infrastructure investments essential for CWA implementation. The FCA Guidance is also used to evaluate the economic impacts on public entities of certain water quality standards (WQS) decisions. For communities seeking extended CWA compliance schedules or certain changes to water quality standards, the updated FCA Guidance provides a clear process to demonstrate financial capability and ensure that a financial strategy is in place to support needed infrastructure upgrades without overburdening their most vulnerable ratepayers. The updated FCA Guidance also contains new measures that provide a better description of a community’s ability to afford water services, including community-specific poverty factors that are available and easy to find from census data. The FCA Guidance incorporates feedback from nearly 3,000 comments received during the public comment period and provides clear, step-by-step instructions for evaluating financial capability, including options for communities with less capacity. The FCA Guidance is a starting point for negotiations and is not legally binding. The FCA Guidance recognizes that a variety of factors should be included in CWA schedule negotiations and encourages communities to bring their individual circumstances to those discussions. If a community has additional information that justifies a longer schedule than the general schedule benchmarks, this information can be submitted to EPA. Where appropriate, this information can result in different schedules than those suggested by the baseline analysis in the FCA Guidance. The updated FCA Guidance provides ideas for working within legal boundaries and broadly consider how to minimize rate impacts to residents. For example, the FCA Guidance provides links to resources for obtaining available federal funding or for establishing programs to help low-income customers. In addition, EPA’s Water Finance Center can connect communities to technical assistance providers who can help with rate design and analysis, asset management planning, identifying sources of funding, and/or developing State Revolving Fund applications. The FCA Guidance is available here. BackgroundThe Updated FCA Guidance supersedes the 1997 Guidance for Financial Capability Assessment and Schedule Development to evaluate a community’s capability to fund CWA control measures in both the permitting and enforcement context. The FCA Guidance also supplements the public sector sections of the 1995 Interim Economic Guidance for Water Quality Standards to assist states and authorized tribes in assessing the degree of economic and social impact of potential WQS decisions. During a 60-day public comment period on the proposed FCA Guidance, EPA received nearly 3,000 public comments from a wide range of stakeholders, including local governments, state governments, utilities and municipalities, environmental organizations, NGOs, and private citizens. The final FCA Guidance has been informed by the input provided during the comment period. […]

  • EPA Opens Public Comment Period for Indoor airPLUS Program Update
    by Air and Radiation (OAR) on February 1, 2023 at 12:00 pm

    WASHINGTON — In order to advance indoor air quality protection, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing proposed updates to the Indoor airPLUS program, and will be taking public comment for 60 days. Comments will be accepted until April 3, 2023. Indoor airPLUS is a voluntary partnership and labeling program designed to improve indoor air quality in homes to help reduce the likelihood of common and serious health problems like heart disease, cancer, asthma and other respiratory issues. Builders that participate in the program must use construction practices designed to minimize exposure to airborne pollutants and contaminants in the home. The indoor airPLUS program also requires that these practices are inspected and certified by qualified verifiers. The updates to the program being proposed today take into consideration the broad range of feedback EPA received in response to a December 2020 opportunity for public comment on revised Indoor airPLUS Construction Specifications proposed at that time. This 2023 proposal is designed to address feedback received on the 2020 proposal and to encourage broad industry participation to advance indoor air quality protections, while strengthening program integrity with an improved verification and quality assurance framework. Under this proposed program update, builders will have an opportunity to choose between two Indoor airPLUS labels: Indoor airPLUS Certification, and Indoor airPLUS Gold. The proposed “Indoor airPLUS Certification” specifications focus on strategies to improve indoor air quality without a pre-requisite of ENERGY STAR certification. The proposed “Indoor airPLUS Gold” specifications include more advanced protections for improved indoor air quality in conjunction with ENERGY STAR certification. Other features of the proposed program update include changes to the training requirements for verifiers, a Home Certification Organization model to improve quality assurance, and a five-year expiration date to the new Indoor airPLUS labels and specifications for voluntary recertification by the home/building owner after the five-year expiration. Following the 60-day comment period, EPA expects to release the final Indoor airPLUS Certification and Gold specifications in January 2024. During the first 12-months of implementation beginning January 2024, partners could continue to use Indoor airPLUS Construction Specifications Version 1, Rev.4 or begin to use one of the new two-tier specifications, if finalized. EPA anticipates that the Indoor airPLUS Construction Specifications Version 1, Rev. 4 will be sunset by January 2025. These dates are subject to change. More about the Indoor airPLUS program: Indoor airPLUS homes are healthier by design, improving indoor air quality (IAQ) and comfort. Labeled homes can help reduce the likelihood of common and serious health problems like heart disease, cancer, asthma, allergies, respiratory issues, headaches and more through comprehensive IAQ approaches. These approaches include mold and moisture control; radon resistance; pest management; improved heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems; combustion venting; healthier building materials; and homeowner education. Find more information on: Indoor airPLUS Indoor airPLUS Version 2 Finding an Indoor airPLUS builder or rater in your area Joining the Indoor airPLUS program […]

  • Your Packaging Machine: ‘Can We Talk?’
    by John R. Henry on February 1, 2023 at 12:12 am

    OMAC’s PackML communication language simplifies packaging machine operations, for sure. But its strategic business advantages might be where it really shines. […]

  • 5 Types of Packaging Materials and Their Best Uses
    by Emily Newton on January 31, 2023 at 5:10 pm

    So you need a package for your product. You’ve got a big decision to make. Which packaging material will you choose and why? […]

  • Breaking News in Flexible Packaging January 2023
    by Rick Lingle on January 31, 2023 at 4:00 pm

    Sealed Air's new film, cellulose film market, pouched oat powder replaces cartoned milk, Sirane scores ovenable film first, biodegradable food packaging from kudzu, ProAmpac’s QuadFlex LT. […]

  • EPA Announces Community Meeting Feb. 23 to Discuss Groundwater Contamination in St. Charles, Missouri
    by Region 07 on January 31, 2023 at 12:00 pm

    LENEXA, KAN. (JAN. 31, 2023) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 will hold a Community Meeting at the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Parish on Thursday, Feb. 23. The session will begin at 6 p.m. with a formal presentation held at 7 p.m. Following the presentation, EPA staff will facilitate a question-and-answer session until 8:30 p.m. “We are committed to providing the residents of St. Charles with timely and accurate information regarding EPA’s work at the Findett Corp. Superfund Site,” said EPA Region 7 Superfund and Emergency Management Division Director Bob Jurgens. “EPA will be available to address community concerns in St. Charles on Feb. 23.” The purpose of the meeting is to provide members of the public with an update on the field sampling conducted by EPA to identify the source of new contamination found near the Ameren Huster Road substation. EPA conducted this field work in January 2023. This meeting follows a November 2022 Public Meeting in which EPA shared information about the Consent Decree for the Operable Unit 4 Remedial Design/Remedial Action and response actions at the site. The Community Meeting will be held: Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023 Public Availability: 6 to 7 p.m. Presentation: 7 to 7:30 p.m. Question and Answer: 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. The meeting location will be: St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Parish Gymnasium 534 N. 5th Street St. Charles, MO 63301 During the public availability portion, representatives from EPA will be available for one-on-one discussions and to answer questions. Following the availability, EPA will provide a site update presentation at 7 p.m. After the presentation, EPA will facilitate a question-and-answer session until 8:30 p.m. Site project information is available to the public on EPA’s Site Profile page. If you do not have internet access, you can view these documents online at this location: Kathryn Linnemann Branch, St. Charles City-County Library, 2323 Elm Street, St. Charles, MO 63301; 636-946-6294. EPA is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. For reasonable accommodations at the Community Meeting, including the public availability portion, please contact Euleashia Embry at [email protected] or 1-800-223-0425. # # # Learn more about EPA Region 7 View all Region 7 news releases Connect with EPA Region 7 on Facebook Follow us on Twitter: @EPARegion7 […]

  • Biden-Harris Administration Announces Action to Help Protect Bristol Bay Salmon Fisheries
    by Water (OW) on January 31, 2023 at 12:00 pm

    WASHINGTON — Today, EPA issued a Final Determination under the Clean Water Act to help protect Bristol Bay, the most productive wild salmon ecosystem in the world. With this action, the Biden-Harris Administration is protecting certain waters that are important to sustaining Southwest Alaska’s salmon resources from disposal of dredged or fill materials associated with developing the Pebble deposit. Protecting Bristol Bay builds on a series of recent actions the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to conserve and restore some of America’s most cherished lands and waters, many of which are sacred to Tribal Nations. Last week the Administration finalized protections for the Tongass National Forest in Alaska and the Boundary Waters Area Watershed in Minnesota.“The Bristol Bay watershed is a vital economic driver, providing jobs, sustenance, and significant ecological and cultural value to the region,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “With this action, EPA is advancing its commitment to help protect this one-of-a-kind ecosystem, safeguard an essential Alaskan industry, and preserve the way of life for more than two dozen Alaska Native villages.” “After reviewing the extensive scientific and technical record spanning two decades, EPA has determined that specific discharges associated with developing the Pebble deposit will have unacceptable and adverse effects on certain salmon fishery areas in the Bristol Bay watershed,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “Our Final Determination helps prevent those adverse effects while helping protect a vibrant and magnificent watershed. It’s also important to note that EPA’s action does not apply to current or future resource development projects in Alaska.”The Bristol Bay watershed’s fishery resources are a thriving economic driver for the region, generating significant nutritional, cultural, economic, and recreational value. The total economic value, including subsistence uses of the Bristol Bay watershed’s salmon resources, was estimated at more than $2.2 billion in 2019 and results in 15,000 jobs annually. The Bristol Bay Watershed is home to 25 Alaska Native villages and communities and supports one of the last intact, sustainable salmon-based cultures in the world. Salmon provides more than half of the subsistence harvest for some Alaska Native communities in the Bristol Bay region. After reviewing the Recommended Determination provided by EPA’s Region 10 office, including the scientific and technical information spanning nearly two decades, EPA has determined that the discharges evaluated in the Final Determination will have unacceptable adverse effects on salmon fishery areas in the South Fork Koktuli River, North Fork Koktuli River, and Upper Talarik Creek watersheds of Bristol Bay. Ecologically valuable streams, wetlands, and other aquatic habitats, like those found in these watersheds, provide the foundation for the productive fishery areas in the region.Final Determination The Final Determination prohibits certain waters of the United States in the South Fork Koktuli River and North Fork Koktuli River watersheds from being used as disposal sites for the discharge of dredged or fill material for the construction and routine operation of Pebble Limited Partnership’s mine plan described in its June 8, 2020 CWA Section 404 permit application. It also prohibits future proposals to construct and operate a mine to develop the Pebble deposit that would result in the same or greater levels of loss or change to aquatic resources. The Final Determination also restricts the use of certain waters of the United States in the South Fork Koktuli River, North Fork Koktuli River, and Upper Talarik Creek watersheds as disposal sites for the discharge of dredged or fill material associated with future proposals to develop the Pebble deposit that would result in adverse effects similar or greater in nature and magnitude to those associated with the 2020 Mine Plan. In the 50-year history of the Clean Water Act, EPA has used its Section 404(c) authority judiciously. Today’s action marks the third time in 30 years, and only the 14th time in the history of the Clean Water Act, that EPA has used this authority. This highlights the value of the Bristol Bay watershed’s fishery resources. The federal government, the State of Alaska, federally recognized Tribal governments, the Pebble Limited Partnership, and many interested stakeholders have devoted significant resources over many years of study, engagement, and review. Considering the extensive record, it is not reasonable or necessary to engage in additional multi-year National Environmental Policy Act or Clean Water Act Section 404 processes for future proposals to develop the Pebble deposit involving discharges of dredged or fill material that would result in adverse effects that EPA has already determined are unacceptable in this Final Determination. By acting now, based on an extensive and carefully considered record, EPA promotes regulatory certainty for all stakeholders and avoids unnecessary expenditure of additional resources by all stakeholders.The prohibition and restriction in EPA’s Final Determination only apply to certain discharges of dredged or fill material associated with developing the Pebble Deposit. This action does not apply to any current or future resource development projects in the state of Alaska. A copy of the Final Determination is available on EPA’s Bristol Bay website at: www.epa.gov/bristolbay.Background The Pebble deposit, a large, low-grade deposit containing copper-, gold-, and molybdenum-bearing minerals, is located at the headwaters of the pristine Bristol Bay watershed in Southwest Alaska. The Pebble deposit underlies portions of the South Fork Koktuli River, North Fork Koktuli River, and Upper Talarik Creek watersheds, which drain to two of the largest rivers in the Bristol Bay watershed, the Nushagak and Kvichak Rivers. Efforts to evaluate the effects of developing a mine at the Pebble deposit have been underway for more than a decade. The Pebble Limited Partnership’s 2020 Mine Plan underwent the CWA Section 404 permit review process with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and was evaluated in the context of an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. In November 2020, USACE denied Pebble Limited Partnership’s permit application; Pebble Limited Partnership appealed the permit denial with USACE, and review of the appeal is ongoing. The diverse, abundant, and high-quality streams, wetlands, and other aquatic habitats in the South Fork Koktuli River, North Fork Koktuli River, and Upper Talarik Creek watersheds provide important spawning and rearing habitat for Coho, Chinook, and Sockeye salmon and provide high-quality habitat for other fishes, such as Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden, Arctic Grayling, and Northern Pike. The aquatic habitats of the South Fork Koktuli River, North Fork Koktuli River, and Upper Talarik Creek watersheds also provide critical support for downstream habitats. By contributing water, organic matter, and macroinvertebrates to downstream systems, these headwater areas help maintain downstream habitats and fuel their fish productivity. Together, these functions—direct provision of high-quality habitat and indirect provision of other resources to downstream habitats— support the valuable fisheries of the Bristol Bay watershed. The objective of the Clean Water Act is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers share responsibilities for implementing Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Section 404(a) of the Clean Water Act requires a permit from the Corps of Engineers to discharge dredged or fill material into waters of the United States. Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act authorizes EPA to prohibit the specification of or restrict the use for specification of any defined area as a disposal site for the discharge of dredged or fill material whenever it determines that such discharges will have an unacceptable adverse effect on fishery areas (including spawning and breeding areas […]