In March of 2021, EPA published its revised 2021 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Multi-Sector General Permit (“MSGP”) for stormwater discharges from industrial activities. The MSGP applies to printing operations that are not able to qualify for a “No Exposure Certification.” PRINTING United Alliance participated in the development of the revised permit through membership in the Small Business Low-Risk Coalition (SBLRC) which submitted comments on the draft permit. When the final rule was issued, the Center for Biological Diversity, a nongovernment organization, filed a lawsuit challenging the final rule.
The primary issues with the revised MSGP are that it would impose new quarterly and other monitoring requirements on printing operations, which were absent in the previous version of the permit, representing a significant imposition of costs on the printing operation. During the development of the permit, comments were submitted via the SBLRC objecting to the imposition of the monitoring requirements as the monitoring data that is available showed that printing operations pollutant loadings are minimal and have gone down over time.
The current concern centers on the Center for Biological Diversity’s lawsuit. If successful in its lawsuit, then EPA will be forced to revise every contested issue, possibly resulting in even more stringent monitoring requirements for the printing industry. Therefore, the coalition that PRINTING United Alliance joined has filed petition to intervene in the lawsuit and to submit a petition of reconsideration to EPA for the monitoring requirements.
The petition to intervene will give the coalition a seat at the table if EPA is forced by the court to revise the permit so that it will not only be the Center for Biological Diversity who will dictate the terms and conditions of the revised permit. The petition for reconsideration to EPA is a separate action and if EPA denies it, a lawsuit by the impacted industries could be filed challenging the determination. The petition for reconsideration is being filed because EPA may be open to further negotiation as they would not want to be the subject of an additional lawsuit that would force them to revise the permit that they spent years on its development.