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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 1 (1978-1979)

Stowasser, W.F.
Phosphate rock,   pp. 677-697 ff. PDF (2.4 MB)

Page 678

phosphate minerals, the long-range phosphate reserve position, and legislation
that may be needed to ensure supply. 
 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an areawide final environmental
impact statement (EIS) for the central Florida phosphate industry.2 
 A task force was assembled in 1978 to draft a supplemental EIS addressing
the question of mining phosphate rock in the Osceola National Forest. The
supplemental EIS was issued in April 1979. 
 A series of reports were prepared by Zellars-Williams, Inc. (ZWI) under
contract to the Bureau of Mines to develop information on phosphate rock
reserves and resources. The reports were: 
 (1) Evaluation of the Phosphate Deposits of Florida Using the Minerals Availability
 (2) Evaluation of the Phosphate Deposits of Georgia, North Carolina and
South Carolina Using the Minerals Availability System. 
 (3) Evaluation of the Phosphate Deposits of Tennessee Using the Minerals
Availability System. 
 Legislation and Government Programs.—Environmental legislation
regulatory actions are in constant flux. An overview of the status of laws
and regulations and their impact on the Florida phosphate industry is intended
to show the relationship to the environmental review process: The Federal
laws include the Clean Air Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act,
as amended by the Clean Water Act of 1977, the National Environmental Policy
Act, the Atomic Energy Act, and other statutory controls such as the Safe
Drinking Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Surface
Mining Control and Reclamation Act. 
 Section 109 of the Clean Air Act requires the Administrator of the Environmental
Protection Agency to issue regulations establishing national ambient air
quality standards. Criteria for pollutants (sulfur oxides, particulate matter,
carbon monoxide, photochemical oxidants, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxide)
were promulgated by EPA. EPA has also promulgated standards of performance
for phosphate fertilizer manufacturing operations. 
 The national goal expressed by the Federal Water Pollution Control Act,
as amended by the Clean Water Act of 1977 (commonly referred to as the "Clean
Water Act"), is the elimination of the discharge of pollutants into
waters by 1985. Phos 
phate rock beneficiation plants and phosphate fertilizer manufacturing plants
may discharge waste water through point sources subject to the regulation
of the Clean Water Act. Section 402 establishes the "National Pollutant
Elimination System" (NPDES) which .provides for issuance of permits
for the
discharge of pollutants through point sources to navigable waters. Discharges
are subject to various technology-based "effluent limitations and standards"
developed by EPA and promulgated as regulations, and are generally incorporated
as requirements in NPDES permits. 
 When a new operation starts, new sources of pollution must comply with applicable
new source performance standards, which represent the "best~availab1e
control technology" (BAT) processes, operating methods, or other alternatives,
including, where practicable, a standard permitting no discharge of pollutants.
Under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, existing
sources were to achieve limitations that required the application of the
"best practicable control technology currently available" (BPT)~
by July
1, 1977. By July 1, 1983, existing point sources were to apply BAT. The 1977
amendments modified this phased implementation approach. The July 1, 1977
date for BPT compliance has passed. The Clean Water Act does contain certain
limited provisions authorizing EPA to grant extensions of time for compliance
with BPT requirements. The requirement for achieving BAT were extended 1
year to July 1, 1984. The Clean Water Act now requires that by July 1, 1984,
existing sources of certain identified "conventional pollutants"
total suspended solids and pH) achieve effluent limitations that require
the application of the best conventional pollutant control technology (BCT).
Existing sources that discharge any of 65 specifically identified toxic pollutants
must apply BAT by July 1, 1984. For other toxic pollutants BAT must be applied
within 3 years of promulgation of an applicable effluent limitation. Pollutants
that are neither toxic nor conventional have been termed nonconventional
 EPA has published regulations establishing technology-based effluent limitations
applicable to the phosphate industry. BPT and BAT limitations, and new source
performance standards were established for the phosphate subcategory of the
fertilizer manufacturing point source category. 

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