15 CFR § 971.604 - Best available technologies (BAT) and mitigation.
(a) The Administrator shall require in all activities under new permits, and wherever practicable in activities under existing permits, the use of the best available technologies for the protection of safety, health, and the environment wherever such activities would have a significant adverse effect on safety, health, or the environment, except where the Administrator determines that the incremental benefits are clearly insufficient to justify the incremental costs of using such technologies. Because of the embryonic nature of the industry, NOAA is unable either to specify particular equipment or procedures comprising BAT or to define performance standards. Until such experience exists, the applicant shall submit such information as is necessary to indicate, as required above, the use of BAT, the alternatives considered to the specific equipment or procedures proposed, and the rationale as to why one alternative technology was selected in place of another. This analysis shall include a discussion of the relative costs and benefits of the technologies considered.
(b) NOAA is not specifying particular mitigation methodologies or techniques at this time (such as requiring the sub-surface release of mining vessel discharges), but expects applicants and permittees to develop and carry out their operations, to the extent possible, to minimize adverse environmental effects and to be able to demonstrate efforts to that end. The applicant must submit a plan describing how he would mitigate a problem, if it were caused by the surface release of mining vessel discharges, including a plan for the monitoring of any discharges. Based upon monitoring results, NOAA may find it necessary in the future to specify particular procedures for minimizing adverse environmental effects. These procedures would be incorporated into permit TCRs.
(c) NOAA will require the permittee to report, prior to implementation, any proposed technological or operational changes that will increase or have unknown environmental effects. Changes in composition, concentration or size distribution of suspended particulates discharged from the mining vessel, water depth of vessel discharges, depth of cut in the seafloor of the mining collector, and direction or amount of sediment discharged at the seafloor are factors of concern to NOAA. In reporting any such change, the permittee shall submit information to indicate the use of BAT, alternatives considered, and rationale for selecting one technology in place of another, in a manner comparable to and to the extent required in paragraph (a) of this section. If proposed changes have a high potential for increasing adverse environmental effects, the Administrator may disapprove or require modification of the changes.
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