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Federal Register Highlights – 1/6/16

January 6, 2016

Unpublished, time-sensitive and proposed rules for January 6, 2016:

PROPOSED RULE: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing changes to the regulations governing small municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permits to respond to a remand from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Environmental Defense Center, et al. v. EPA, 344 F.3d 832 (9th Cir. 2003). In that decision, the court determined that the regulations for providing coverage under small MS4 general permits did not provide for adequate public notice and opportunity to request a hearing. Additionally, the court found that EPA failed to require permitting authority review of the best management practices (BMPs) to be used at a particular MS4 to ensure that the small MS4 permittee reduces pollutants in the discharge from their systems to the “maximum extent practicable” (MEP), the standard established by the Clean Water Act for such permits. EPA’s proposal would revise the small MS4 regulations to ensure that the permitting authority determines the adequacy of BMPs and other requirements and provides public notice and the opportunity to request a public hearing on the requirements for each MS4. The proposal would not establish any new substantive requirements for small MS4s. Comments must be received on or before March 21, 2016. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov, reference Docket Number EPA-HQ-OW-2015-0671.)

PROPOSED RULE: Under Section 7(h)(9) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, as amended (the Act), States have the option to require that a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card contains a photo of one or more household members. The Act and existing program regulations further provide that a State that implements a photo on the EBT card shall establish procedures to ensure that any other appropriate member of the household or any authorized representative of the household may use the card. This proposed rule would provide clear parameters on these requirements. In addition, this rule proposes to amend program regulations to codify guidance that was issued December 29, 2014, requiring States that intend to implement the photo EBT card option to submit a comprehensive Implementation Plan that addresses certain operational issues to ensure State implementation is consistent with all Federal requirements and that program access is protected for participating households. In this proposed rule, the United States Department of Agriculture (the Department or USDA) would clarify that the State option to place a photo on an EBT card is a function of issuance. Pursuant to this, State agencies would be prohibited from having photo EBT card requirements affect the eligibility process. This includes ensuring that the option is appropriately implemented in a manner that does not impose additional conditions of eligibility or adversely impact the ability of appropriate household members to access the nutrition assistance they need. Failure to cooperate may result in penalties, including loss of federal financial participation. The proposed rule would also codify other program updates to reflect the current operations of the program. Written comments must be received on or before March 7, 2016 to be assured of consideration. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov, reference RIN 0584-AE45.)

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