Hawaii Tribune-Herald
Notice #: 0001292402-01
Public Notices

PUBLIC NOTICE OF PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD EXTENSION AND PUBLIC HEARING SCHEDULED FOR DRAFT CLASS V UNDERGROUND INJECTION CONTROL PERMIT FOR PUNA GEOTHERMAL VENTURE Comment period open through October 9, 2020 Virtual Public Hearing October 7, 2020 (5:00 – 8:00 pm Hawai’i time) If you need translation of this public notice in a language other than Spanish, please e-mail David Albright at Albright.David@epa.gov or call (415) 972-3971. Si habla español y quiere más información sobre este aviso público por favor mande un correo a: Soledad Calvino a Calvino.Maria@epa.gov o por teléfono (415) 972-3512. PURPOSE OF PUBLIC NOTICE The US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9 (EPA or Agency) is extending the public comment period on its proposal to issue a Class V Underground Injection Control (UIC) renewal permit (Draft Permit) for Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV). Additionally, EPA is announcing a virtual public hearing where the public can provide oral testimony on the Draft Permit for PGV. Details of the public hearing and instructions on how to participate in the hearing are provided below. BACKGROUND PGV owns and operates a geothermal electrical power generating facility at 14-3860 Kapoho-Pahoa Road in Pahoa, Hawai’i (PGV Facility). The proposed action, to issue the Permit, would authorize for ten years: the continued operation of five existing injection wells at the PGV Facility (Existing Wells); and, the conversion of up to eleven (11) proposed geothermal production wells to injection wells, for the continued operation and development of PGV’s geothermal field to generate electrical power (Proposed Wells). The Existing Wells are currently permitted to inject non-hazardous fluids that are byproducts of geothermal power production under an existing EPA-issued UIC permit. The Proposed Wells would be permitted for the conversion of geothermal production wells to injection wells, contingent upon PGV meeting certain conditions of the Permit. Current production wells at the PGV Facility are authorized and regulated by a permit issued by the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources. After completing technical review of all submitted information, EPA made a preliminary determination that the activities proposed under the Draft Permit are protective of underground sources of drinking water, as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act. EPA announced a 30-day public comment period, which ended on July 24, 2020, seeking input from the public on the Draft Permit. During this period, EPA received a significant number of requests for a public hearing. Due to public interest, EPA is extending the public comment period and scheduling a public hearing pursuant to 40 CFR 124.10 and 124.12. VIRTUAL PUBLIC HEARING To protect the public’s health during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID 19) pandemic, the public hearing will be conducted virtually. The virtual public hearing for those who wish to provide oral testimony is scheduled for the evening of October 7, 2020 from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm Hawai’i time. The hearing will take place on the telephone using the toll-free number provided below: Toll Free Call-in Number: (833) 674-0416 Callers should dial the above number at the start of the hearing or anytime between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Hawai’i time on October 7, 2020. Callers will be asked whether they want to make a comment and will be placed in a queue. The operator will call on commenters in the order in which they join the queue. To ensure all interested persons have an opportunity to provide oral testimony, the speaking time allotted to each commenter will be 2 (two) minutes. While you are not speaking, you will be able to listen to others providing their comments. Once all commenters in the queue have provided testimony, if there is time remaining, the Hearing Officer will allow additional testimony from anyone who wishes to add to their prior comments. At that time, the Hearing Officer may limit the time allotted for additional comments depending on the number of people who request to provide additional comments. The hearing will conclude at 8 p.m. Hawai’i time. The virtual public hearing is an audio-only call. Commenters who want to supply written or other materials, may do so via the online docket, following the procedures outlined below. If translation services for the hearing are required, please contact EPA no later than September 23, 2020 to arrange. Any supporting materials for oral testimony will be accepted through the close of the comment period on October 9, 2020. In accordance with 40 CFR § 124.12(d), the entire hearing will be transcribed and made available to the public as part of the administrative record. PUBLIC COMMENTS EPA is extending the public comment period on the Draft Permit and will accept comments in writing through October 9, 2020 (40 CFR §124.10). During the comment period, we encourage electronic submittal of comments online at www.regulations.gov under docket number EPA-R09-OW-2020-0405. If you are unable to submit comments electronically, or if you have any questions or require assistance submitting comments, please contact Mr. Albright at the email or phone number above. If you need assistance in a language other than English or Spanish, or if you are a person with disabilities who needs a reasonable accommodation at no cost to you, please contact Mr. Albright. SUPPORTING MATERIALS All data and materials submitted by the applicant are available as part of the administrative record for the Draft Permit. EPA’s fact sheet, the Draft Permit, the permit application prepared by PGV, and this Notice may be accessed online at www.regulations.gov under docket number EPA-R09-OW-2020-0405. These materials may also be accessed through the following web address: https://www.epa.gov/uic/underground-injection-control-permits-region-9 If you are unable to access these materials, please contact Mr. Albright at the email or phone number listed above for assistance. FINAL PERMIT DECISION AND PERMIT APPEAL PROCESS After the close of the public hearing and extended public comment period, EPA will consider all comments received, modify the permit, if necessary, and issue a response to the comments with EPA’s final permit decision. All public comments submitted, including any testimony provided at the public hearing, and EPA’s response to comments will be available online at www.regulations.gov under docket number EPA-R09-OW-2020-0405. EPA will notify all commenters regarding the Agency’s decision, which will be to either issue or deny the Permit. If comments are filed which request a change in the Draft Permit, the final decision shall become effective no sooner than 30 days after the service of the notice of decision. Within 30 days after the final permit decision has been issued, any person who filed comments on the Draft Permit, participated in any public hearing on this matter, or takes issue with any changes in the Draft Permit, may petition the Environmental Appeals Board to review any condition of the permit decision. Commenters are referred to 40 CFR § 124.19 for procedural requirements of the appeal process. EPA is committed to protecting the environment and human health, which includes keeping the public informed and seeking input from the communities we serve. We welcome your comments on the Draft Permit and participation in the upcoming hearing. For any questions and comments please contact Mr. Albright. (HTH1292402 9/6/20)