Section §316(b) of the Clean Water Act: Implications of Quantifying Social Costs and Benefits in a Cost-Benefit Analysis

Tuesday, August 19, 2014: 9:00 AM
203 (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Thomas Allen , Southwick Associates, Inc., Old Town, ME
Robert Southwick , Southwick Associates, Fernandina Beach, FL
Marcia Phillips , Phillips Consulting, LLC, Clinton, ME
Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act requires that the location, design, construction and capacity of cooling water intake structures reflect the best technology available for minimizing adverse environmental impact. Cooling water intake structures can cause fish mortality by pulling large numbers of fish and shellfish or their eggs into a facility’s cooling system. The Proposed Rule applies to all existing power generating stations, plus industrial facilities that withdraw more than two (2) million gallons per day and use at least 25% for cooling purposes. EPA estimates that the proposed rule covers roughly 1,260 existing facilities including 590 manufacturers and 670 power plants. 

In June 2012, EPA issued a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) pertaining to a stated preference survey of households’ in order to estimate willingness to pay for incremental reductions in fish mortality. EPA’s methodology incorporates non-use valuations that could significantly affect benefits in cost-benefit analyses. This presentation will examine the proposed rule changes as they relate to cost-benefit analyses under the existing and previous regulatory regimes.