Archived Reports

ADEC Draft 401 Certification

ADEC Draft 401 Certification


ADEC is still working on the new draft 401 certification to the EPA Vessel General Permit.  The ADEC Division on Water Director said they would be releasing the new draft by the end of the month.  The release will be followed by a public comment period.  Once the new draft is released, we will work with our member lines to review the conditions and submit public comments, as needed.



On May 15, ADEC issued a number of conditions to their 401 Certification to the EPA Vessel General Permit.  The conditions were released with an accompanying cover letter outlining the informal appeal process.  ADEC verbally acknowledged the conditions were intended to be in draft form and not a final document.

ACA, on advice of counsel and out of abundance of caution, sent a letter to ADEC requesting an informal appeal.  The request was intended to preserve our legal rights in the event ADEC made a determination that the original certification was issued in final.  ADEC responded to our request in writing confirming that the original conditions were in fact draft and acknowledged the confusing language in their cover letter.  They confirmed the public comment period would be open until June 15, 2012.

ACA worked with our member lines to develop comments to the draft certification.  There were a number of significant concerns we raised in a letter prepared to ADEC.  These included the prohibition of continuous discharges of metals and applying gray and black water conditions to a broader array of vessel discharges.  Our letter also pointed out that the ADEC Certification was in conflict with the state general permit and the work of the Science Advisory Panel.

As we worked to prepare our comments, we also briefed the Cruise Ship Program staff and the Governor’s office on our concerns.  They both agreed to look into the issue.

On June 14, ADEC issued a public notice withdrawing the draft Certification.  ADEC informed us it was due to a number of issues we raised, including conflicts with the state cruise ship permit and the confusing cover letter.  We spoke with the Division Director, who expressed her apologies for the process and mentioned that “the moving parts did not work as they were supposed to.”  She noted they are on a good path now and have confirmed with the EPA that they could pull the draft certification and still put something forward at a later date.

During discussions, we noted that we worked hard on the comments and were considering the option to send them in.  At first we were encouraged to send our comments in, but later were told that we would not be able to submit them as ADEC was concerned that if they accepted our comments, they would have to accept others.

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