EPA's plan to list aerosol cans as universal waste was announced in last week's Environmental Tip of the Week. In this week's tip, we include the details of the proposal, which was published in the March 16, 2018 Federal Register. The proposed rule would add aerosol cans to the existing universal waste requirements currently applicable to small quantity handlers of universal waste (SQHUWs) and large quantity handlers of universal waste (LQHUWs) would also be applicable to handlers of discarded aerosol cans. For both SQHUWs and LQHUWs, the rules for labeling and marking, accumulation time limits, employee training, response to releases, requirements related to off-site shipments, and export requirements would be similar to the rules other universal wastes.
For the labeling requirement, EPA has proposed that either each aerosol can, or container in which the aerosol cans are contained, be labeled or marked clearly with any of the following: "Universal Waste--Aerosol Can(s)," "Waste Aerosol Can(s),'' or "Used Aerosol Can(s)." In addition, universal waste aerosol cans would be required to be managed in a manner designed to prevent releases to the environment. This includes accumulating universal waste aerosol cans in containers that are structurally sound and compatible with the contents of the can, and show no evidence of leaks, spills, or damage that could cause leaks under reasonably foreseeable conditions. EPA will allow aerosol cans to be sorted by type and consolidated while intact into larger containers. It will be ok to remove actuators to reduce the risk of accidental release, and under certain conditions, puncturing and draining of aerosol cans that are being recycled will be allowed if performed as part of the recycling process (e.g., scrap metal recycling).
The proposal would require generators that puncture their cans to establish a written procedure detailing how to safely puncture and drain universal waste aerosol can (including operation and maintenance of the unit; segregation of incompatible wastes; and proper waste management practices to prevent fires or releases), and ensure employees operating the device are trained in the proper procedures. At minimum, EPA has proposed that the written procedure address the operation and maintenance of the unit including its proper assembly; segregation of incompatible wastes; and proper waste management practices, (e.g., ensuring that flammable wastes are stored away from heat or open flames). In addition, EPA has proposed that the contents from the cans be immediately transferred from the waste aerosol can, or puncturing device if applicable, to a container or tank and that the contents are subject to a hazardous waste determination under 40 CFR 262.11. The handler would then become the hazardous waste generator of the hazardous aerosol can contents and would be required to manage those waste in accordance with applicable RCRA regulations.
The proposed rule would also require that a written procedure be in place in the event of a spill or release and a spill clean-up kit should be provided. All spills or leaks of the contents of the aerosol cans should be cleaned up promptly. The proposal notes that all puncturing, waste collection, and disposal, must be conducted in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local waste (solid and hazardous waste) and occupational safety and health laws and regulations.
In addition, EPA requested comment on establishing further limitations on puncturing and draining of aerosol cans, similar to limitations that have been established by state waste management programs either through regulations or guidance. Many states have issued guidelines for puncturing and draining aerosol cans under their hazardous waste program. Some state guidelines recommend against the generator puncturing and draining certain types of aerosol cans due to the possible incompatibility with the puncturing and draining equipment or the contents of other cans being drained, or due to the hazardous nature of the contents. Examples include cans containing ethers including ethyl ether, chlorinated compounds, pesticides, herbicides, freons, foamers, corrosive cleaners, and unknowns. EPA also requested comment on establishing additional regulatory requirements for can draining devices and limits on aerosol cans that may pose compatibility problems and that may be punctured and drained under the proposed rules.
Jacksonville Hazardous Waste and DOT Hazardous Materials Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Jacksonville, FL, on March 27-29 and save $100 or receive an Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet with electronic versions of both handbooks. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.
New Orleans Hazardous Waste and DOT Hazardous Materials Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in New Orleans, LA, on April 3-5 and save $100 or receive an Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet with electronic versions of both handbooks. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.
San Diego Hazardous Waste and DOT Hazardous Materials Training
Register for California Hazardous Waste Management and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in San Diego, CA, on April 10-12 and save $100 or receive an Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet with electronic versions of both handbooks. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.
New EPA Guidance Modifies Applicability of New Source Review
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt recently issued guidance regarding the process for evaluating projects under the major New Source Review (NSR) program.
NSR requires covered facilities to obtain a preconstruction permit prior to the construction of a new major stationary source or a major modification to an existing stationary source. Determining whether a proposed project triggers the threshold to obtain an NSR permit is a two-step process, which is laid out in the Agency's applicability procedures. Step 1 determines whether a proposed project will, by itself, result in a significant emissions increase. If an increase is projected to occur, the process moves to Step 2 to determine whether the project, combined with other unrelated recent projects, will result in a significant net emissions increase.
According to EPA, inconsistent application and interpretation of Step 1 evaluation accounting, this process has prevented environmentally beneficial projects from moving forward. The memo clarifies that companies can consider projected decreases in emissions of air pollution, as well as projected emissions increases, during Step 1. This will remove regulatory obstacles, save time and money, and reduce emissions.
If the Step 1 evaluation shows that the proposed project will not result in a significant emissions increase, the project then proceeds under a state-issued minor source permit and avoids the complex multi-year evaluation to obtain a major NSR permit.
The first step in reforming the NSR program came in December 2017, when Administrator Pruitt issued a guidance memorandum making clear the Agency will not second guess an owner or operator’s analysis, as long as it is done in a manner consistent with NSR requirements. It was followed by EPA Office of Air and Radiation Assistant Administrator Bill Wehrum’s memo withdrawing the “once in always in” policy, which the current EPA administration considers a major deterrent to improving environmental outcomes.
This new guidance could allow companies to potentially get projects greenlighted faster.
Relaxed Fugitive Emissions Requirements for Natural Gas Facilities
In the March 12 Federal Register, EPA issued amendments of certain requirements that are contained in the Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources, that were published in the Federal Register on June 3, 2016. The amendments address two narrow provisions of the requirements for the collection of fugitive emission components at well sites and compressor stations: Removes the requirement for completion of delayed repair during unscheduled or emergency vent blowdowns, and provides separate monitoring requirements for well sites located on the Alaskan North Slope.
Proposed Rules on Coal Combustion Residues
EPA has proposed amendments the regulations for the disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCR) in landfills and surface impoundments in order to: 1) Address provisions of the final rule that were remanded back to the Agency on June 14, 2016; 2) to provide States with approved CCR permit programs (or EPA where it is the permitting authority) under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act the ability to set certain alternative performance standards; and 3) address one additional issue raised by commenters that has arisen since the April 2015 publication of the final rule, namely the use of CCR during certain closure situations.
Two categories of revisions plus one additional revision to the regulations at 40 CFR 257 subpart D have been proposed . The first category is associated with a judicial remand in connection with the settlement agreement entered on April 18, 2016 that resolved four claims brought by two sets of plaintiffs against the final CCR rule. The second category is a set of revisions that are proposed in response to the WIIN Act. The last revision in the proposal deals with an issue that has been raised by commenters since the publication date of the final CCR rule. In the 2015 CCR final rule, EPA organized the regulations for the record-keeping requirements, notification requirements and publicly accessible internet site requirements into 40 CFR 257.105, 257.106, and 257.107, respectively. There are record-keeping, notification and internet posting requirements associated with the revisions that are in this proposal. Those requirements have not all been added to the regulatory language but will be added to 40 CFR 257.105-257.107 when the final rule is developed.
$287,000 Fines for Lead Paint Hazards
EPA has announced six lead paint enforcement actions—for a combined total of $287,000 in settlements—completed over the past year (January 2017-January 2018) in California and Arizona.
“Lead paint is one of the most common sources of lead poisoning in children. EPA’s diligent enforcement of federal lead paint laws is not only necessary to protect communities across the country, but also ensures those who break the law are held accountable,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest.
EPA settled with the following companies for violations of the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule:
- Best Value Home Improvements (Oakland, Calif.) – $38,990 penalty
- Holland and Harley Construction (Berkeley, Calif.) – $14,210 penalty
- K Kittle LLC, known as Rebath and 5 Day Kitchens (Phoenix, Ariz.) – $19,810 penalty
- Renovation Realty (San Diego, Calif.) – $41,633 penalty
- Simply Building (Daly City, Calif.) - $24,105 penalty
In addition to the penalties, each company has made corrections to their operations, including becoming EPA-certified, for those not already certified.
EPA also settled with Haven Homes (El Segundo, Calif.) for $148,618 for violations of the Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rule. The company has corrected its practices to become compliant with the notification and disclosure rule.
According to EPA, these enforcement actions reinforce EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s commitment to prioritize action to address childhood lead exposure. Though harmful at any age, lead exposure is most dangerous to children. Lead exposure can cause behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems and diminished IQ. In 1978, the federal government banned consumer uses of lead-containing paint, but it is still present in millions of older homes, sometimes under layers of new paint.
The Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule was created to protect the public from lead paint hazards that occur during repair or remodeling activities in homes and child-occupied facilities, such as schools, that were built before 1978. The rule requires that individuals performing renovations are properly trained and certified and follow lead-safe work practices.
The Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rule requires landlords, property managers, real estate agents, and others who sell or rent houses built before 1978 to provide known information on lead paint and lead paint hazards to buyers or tenants.
You can report a lead paint violation here.
Settlement Reached Between EPA and Idaho Mining Companies after Decades of Litigation
The EPA and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a settlement with the owner of the Bunker Hill Mine, Placer Mining Company, Inc. (Placer Mining), resolving Placer Mining’s cleanup liability in Idaho’s northern panhandle. DOJ and EPA have concurrently reached a settlement with the lessee of the Bunker Hill Mine, Bunker Hill Mining Corp. (BHMC), removing a barrier to new operations at the Mine.
- Protects area waterways and ecosystems, through the continued treatment of 1,300 gallons of acid mine drainage discharged per minute;
- Reduces the financial burden on federal taxpayers by shifting the responsibility for future wastewater treatment to the new operator;
- Paves the way for a new mining enterprise, with the prospect of more jobs in Idaho’s Silver Valley;
- Offers more regulatory certainty for current and future mine owners and operators; and
- Resolves close to three decades of litigation surrounding the cleanup of contaminated mine waste in Idaho’s Silver Valley.
As part of the settlement, BHMC will pay EPA up to $20 million, on behalf of Placer Mining, in satisfaction of EPA’s past costs claim against Placer Mining. Placer Mining also agrees to drop its “takings” case against the United States. This settlement of claims between EPA and Placer Mining also enables BHMC to return the Bunker Hill Mine to production after a hiatus of more than two decades. For nearly a century, the Bunker Hill Mine was one of the most productive mines in the Coeur d’Alene Mining District. As part of the agreement, BHMC has agreed to pay for future treatment of acid mine drainage coming from the mine. BHMC has also agreed to undertake various maintenance and monitoring tasks to help ensure previous cleanup work at the Superfund Site remains protective and is not adversely impacted by new mining operations.
By innovatively approaching this complex situation involving multiple parties and interests, EPA and DOJ addressed a host of complex legal and technical issues that arise when a third party locates a business within a Superfund site where response actions and litigation are pending. These issues were resolved through a combination of a consent decree for cost recovery and a prospective purchaser agreement to govern the performance of ongoing response actions.
The Bunker Hill Mine sits amidst the Bunker Hill Mining and Metallurgical Complex Superfund Site, running next to Interstate 90 from near the Montana state line, then along the Coeur d’Alene River, and reaching into the state of Washington. The historic Jesuit Cataldo Mission is also within the Site, which has been home to the Coeur d’Alene Tribe for millennia.
EPA first listed the Site on its National Priorities List (NPL) in 1983. Soon after being added to the NPL, cleanup of mine waste contamination in surface water, groundwater, soil, and sediment began across the Site. EPA and the state of Idaho jointly lead the project. Currently, EPA and the state of Idaho are coordinating approximately $25-$30 million in cleanup projects annually.
The site-wide cleanup was spurred by the toxic side effects of widespread lead (and other metals) contamination which began showing up in the 1970s in routine blood lead screenings for children who lived in the area. Some of the highest blood lead readings ever documented in North America were measured in local children in the 1970s and 1980s. Following years of a comprehensive approach that includes a large-scale cleanup, outreach, education, and health interventions, local blood lead levels have fallen dramatically.
Funding from this settlement will help reimburse EPA for past costs incurred related to the Central Treatment Plant (CTP) in Kellogg, Idaho. The CTP has been treating acid mine drainage from the Bunker Hill Mine since 1995. The settlement agreement is structured to recover up to 82% of the past costs for water treatment and result in payment for all future water treatment costs.
EPA Ordered to Implement Smog Standards
Leading a coalition of 15 Attorneys General and on behalf of the California Air Resources Board, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra secured a federal court ruling that will require the EPA to designate areas of the country that have unhealthy levels of smog in excess of federal Clean Air Act requirements. Once the EPA designates an area as not meeting the requirements, the area must take immediate steps to improve its air quality and develop a plan to come into compliance. The EPA was required to make these designations by October 1, 2017. Because it missed the October 1, 2017 deadline without any justification, this coalition, led by Attorney General Becerra, filed a lawsuit against the EPA.
The US District Court for the Northern District of California ordered EPA to take the next step by promulgating official identifications of most areas with smog levels violating the 2015 ozone health standard by April 30, 2018. Rejecting EPA’s request for extra time, the court also ordered EPA to finish the job by determining whether the San Antonio area violates the ozone standard by July 17.
June 1st Deadline to Comply with Formaldehyde Safety Standards
A federal court order has required EPA to take action on formaldehyde emissions from manufactured wood products effective by June 1. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen that also causes and exacerbates respiratory illnesses. Formaldehyde emissions have been known to pose a health risk for years, particularly to vulnerable populations, which Congress recognized in passing a statute to regulate these emissions in 2010. The EPA has been slow to establish tougher standards, and the Trump administration put off the compliance deadlines until December 12, 2018.
The Sierra Club and A Community Voice-Louisiana challenged that extension as illegal, and the court ruled in their favor, holding that the EPA exceeded its authority in extending the deadline.
US District Court Judge Jeffrey White issued an Order mandating compliance with the formaldehyde limits by all newly manufactured or imported wood products.
In his previous Order on the merits of the case, Judge White held that, “the interpretation advanced by the EPA…is contrary to law and beyond the valid grant of authority bestowed upon the agency by Congress in the Formaldehyde Act.” He emphasized that, “the clear purpose of the Act and plain meaning of its core provisions was to set expeditious compliance standards.”
The court order setting the compliance deadline also levels the competitive playing field for many U.S.-based manufacturers of wood products and the consumer goods made with them. These domestic companies already have reduced formaldehyde emissions to the levels mandated by Congress, but often, they have been undercut by foreign products that don’t meet the same safety standards.
As of June 1, 2018, imported wood products will be held to the same emissions standards.
Requiring the EPA to meet this deadline should mean safer furniture, cabinets, flooring, travel trailers and even emergency housing. The severity of formaldehyde exposure risks became apparent after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, when some of the temporary housing provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) made people ill.
Report Indicates Long-Term Monitoring Major Factor in Environmental Health
According to a team of eleven senior researchers in Environmental Science & Policy, environmental policy guided by science saves lives, money, and ecosystems.. Using air pollution in the US as a case study, they highlighted the success of cleanup strategies backed by long-term environmental monitoring.
Co-author Gary Lovett, a Senior Scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, commented, "In an era where science faces skepticism, we came together to highlight measurable improvements to air and water quality made possible by legislation backed and tracked by environmental monitoring."
Lead author Timothy Sullivan of E&S Environmental Chemistry Inc., said, “when it comes to sound environmental policy, facts and data matter. Our efforts to curtail harmful emissions in the US have been guided and validated by environmental monitoring. Reduced air pollution has had tremendous environmental, social, and economic benefits."
Air pollution has been linked to illness and premature death. When it falls on forests and freshwaters, it also compromises habitat, water quality, and ecosystem services. Reducing air pollution is good for our health and keeps industries like forestry, tourism, and fisheries viable.
Across the US, the quality of air and freshwater has vastly improved in recent decades, mainly due to the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts enacted nearly 50 years ago.
Since the 1970s, monitoring sites have recorded declining concentrations of airborne pollutants such as sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, and lead. Precipitation has become less acidic, improving water quality in lakes and streams. Visibility-limiting haze and concentrations of ground-level ozone have also decreased.
Improvements in ecosystem health associated with legislation include reductions in:
- Acidification: Fossil fuel combustion and other emissions sources release sulfur and nitrogen into the atmosphere. When these pollutants are deposited on the landscape, they can acidify soil and surface waters. Acidification degrades ecosystems; harms vegetation, fish, and wildlife; and threatens water quality. Nitrogen further compromises freshwaters by fueling algal and cyanobacterial blooms that can result in water toxicity and low-oxygen conditions that are unsuitable for aquatic life.
- The National Atmospheric Deposition Program, established in response to the Clean Air Act, measures concentrations of sulfur and nitrogen in precipitation at 270 monitoring sites across the US. These records show that total sulfur and nitrogen deposition has decreased by more than half since monitoring began in the 1980s.
- Mercury: Sources of mercury emissions include power plants, incinerators, industry, mining, and biomass burning. When mercury enters surface waters, it is passed up the food chain. Through 'bioaccumulation', mercury can reach toxic levels in fish, posing a health threat to humans and wildlife who eat contaminated fish. In the US, mercury emissions peaked in the 1980s and are in steady decline.
- Lead: Lead causes neurological damage in children and cardiovascular effects in adults. Regulations requiring the removal of lead-based fuel additives from gasoline have led to a dramatic decline (>95%) in lead concentrations in the air.
- Haze: Gases and airborne particulate matter create haze and reduce visibility. Human-generated sulfur emissions are the primary cause of haze in the eastern US; smoke from wildfires is one of the top contributors in the west. The Regional Haze Rule (1999) requires states to reduce haze to a 'natural background' in protected 'Class 1' national parks and wilderness areas. Several eastern national parks have already reported significant declines, in some cases well ahead of stipulated benchmarks.
- Ozone: Ozone is a greenhouse gas that harms vegetation and human health. As part of the Clean Air Act, the National Ambient Air Quality Standard was created to limit the amount of ozone in ground-level air. Ozone concentrations recorded in many protected areas are decreasing and are now below the standard.
The authors highlighted the importance of monitoring programs in evaluating the success or failure of environmental policies. Gene Likens, President Emeritus of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and a Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Connecticut, Storrs explains, "Monitoring programs throughout the US keep a finger on the pulse of shifting environmental conditions. They help us track the effectiveness of pollution reduction policies, and they provide the data needed to recalibrate strategies if they are not working."
Likens established the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study, one of the longest running environmental monitoring programs in the US. Since 1963, the program has recorded precipitation and stream water chemistry in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Data from the study provided the evidence needed to link air pollution to fossil fuel combustion, and informed the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. The site is currently a part of the National Science Foundation's Long Term Ecological Research Network.
To date, economic benefits of the Clean Air Act far outweigh costs. Co-author Dallas Burtraw, a Senior Fellow at Resources for the Future, reported, "improved human health and reduced mortality between 1970 and 1990 provided an estimated $22 trillion benefit to the US economy - at a cost of only 2-3% of that total benefit. By 2020, the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments are projected to yield an additional $2 trillion in benefits, at an estimated cost of about 3% of that benefit."
Duke Energy Funding Cleaner Wood Stoves for Improved Air Quality
Duke Energy committed $500,000 to help fund an American Lung Association program targeting high-emitting wood stoves in North Carolina – replacing them with cleaner, more efficient models.
"Over the past decade, Duke Energy has steadily improved air emissions from its power generation fleet, and we continue to focus on improving air quality in other ways in North Carolina," said David Fountain, Duke Energy's North Carolina president. "Replacing older, less efficient wood stoves with cleaner models is yet another way we can all help improve overall air quality and reduce our environmental impact."
The program covers residents of Cherokee, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Mecklenburg and Swain counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Since 2010, the American Lung Association has successfully implemented a number of wood stove changeout programs across the country.
In addition to lowering particle pollution emissions, the program also supports local retail stove businesses that are working with the American Lung Association. Customers can contact participating retailers.
According to the EPA, wood smoke contains several harmful air pollutants and is made up of a mixture of gases and fine particles. The more efficiently you burn wood, the less smoke is created.
The US Department of Energy estimates that 11.6 million households in the US burn wood as either a primary or supplemental source of heat. An EPA-certified wood stove uses up to one-third less firewood than an older, less efficient stove.
Homeowners who live in the project areas and own a non-EPA certified wood stove or qualified fireplace can apply for a voucher. Vouchers are available for:
- Up to $750 for replacement of a non-EPA-certified wood stove or qualified fireplace with a new EPA-certified wood stove
- Up to $1,500 for replacement of a non-EPA-certified wood stove or qualified fireplace with a new EPA-certified wood-pellet stove, ductless heat pump or new gas stove
- Up to $4,000 for a single-story home or up to $4,500 for a two-story home for replacement of a non-EPA-certified wood stove with a new EPA-certified wood or wood-pellet stove, or ductless heat pump with a new heater rated gas stove, for an income-qualified homeowner
- Up to $6,000, or up to $10,000 for income-qualified customers, for replacement of an older technology hydronic heater with a new EPA-certified wood pellet hydronic heater or other clean technology home heating device
Applications for the vouchers are available online.
In recent years, Duke Energy has focused on lowering air emission. Since 2005, the company's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have decreased by 30%, sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions have decreased by 94% and nitrogen oxides (NOX) emissions have decreased by 70%. This is primarily due to the addition of pollution control equipment, decreased coal generation, increased natural gas generation and replacement of higher-emitting plants.
Funding for the changeout program was part of a 2015 Duke Energy settlement with the EPA and environmental groups.
New Report Details How Cap-and-Trade Proceeds Benefit California
A new report details the dramatic growth last year in Cap-and-Trade investments that are reducing greenhouse gas emissions while strengthening local economies and improving public health and the environment across the state, especially in disadvantaged and low-income communities.
More than $720 million in new funding last year went to projects that were either under way or completed across all of California’s 58 counties, a two-thirds increase in implemented investments. From rebates for electric cars to affordable housing units, completed projects totaled 75,000, including doubling the number of home energy efficiency installations and nearly tripling the number of trees planted.
The report tracking the progress of California Climate Investments was released by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Department of Finance.
Signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in July, Assembly Bill 398 extended and improved the state’s world-leading Cap-and-Trade program to ensure California continues to meet its ambitious climate change goals and that billions of dollars in auction proceeds keep flowing to communities across the state through California Climate Investments.
“The investment of Cap-and-Trade proceeds is an important part of the state’s overall climate efforts, reducing climate-changing gases and improving quality of life especially in the state’s most vulnerable communities,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “California communities across the state are reaping the fruit of these investments in better air and improved transit. Governments around the world are looking to California as a model for how protecting the environment can strengthen their economies.”
Since 2014, $6.1 billion has been appropriated to 17 state agencies that have distributed $2 billion to projects that are completed or under way. Agencies have awarded more than 80% of funds appropriated before September 2017. Additionally, implemented funds (not including the High-Speed Rail Project) have attracted over $8.2 billion from other sources representing an average of nearly $6 leveraged for every dollar invested. Projects included:
- A 44-unit affordable housing development in Tulare County with integrated vanpooling service and discount transit passes is among more than 1,600 housing units funded statewide.
- The Cecchini Farm in Contra Costa County, whose fifth-generation owners decided not to sell after they were approved for a conversation easement, is among more than 250,000 acres of land statewide that will be preserved, from coastal watersheds and wetlands to mountain meadows.
- Los Angeles County’s Foothill Transit is purchasing 15 zero-emission electric buses to advance the agency’s goal to go all-electric by 2030 to reduce GHG emissions and improve air quality in the inland communities it serves.
- In California’s forests, California Climate Investments are protecting more than 1.4 million acres, funding projects to reduce fire risk, limit loss of life and property damage, and lower the cost of fighting wildfires. More than 14,000 trees have been planted to provide shade and limit the heat island effect in urban areas from Oakland and Stockton to San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties.
Grants to farmers, businesses and individuals for more water-efficient technology will not only cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but save more than 370 billion gallons of water throughout the state. And more than 150,000 rebates for zero-emission and plug-in hybrid cars are expected to reduce over 5,000 tons of criteria and toxic air pollutants in addition to GHG emissions.
The report features profiles that highlight the impact these investments are having on individuals and communities, particularly those in California’s most disadvantaged communities.
51% of the $2 billion in implemented projects ($1 billion) is providing benefits to disadvantaged communities, including 31% ($615 million) going to projects located within these communities. This exceeds the requirement under SB 535 (De León) that at least 25% of investments are allocated to projects that benefit disadvantaged communities.
The report also found that projects are underway in 98% of the 2,000 census tracts in the state that the California Environmental Protection Agency designated as disadvantaged. And state agencies are actively working to make investment opportunities more accessible to disadvantaged communities through technical assistance grants and increased outreach.
In 2016, Governor Brown signed AB 1550 establishing new investment minimums for disadvantaged communities, and low-income communities and households. The Legislature directed the 2019 Investment Plan to allocate funding in accordance with AB 1550. In 2017, CARB released guidance to help administering agencies to begin implementing AB 1550. Future reports will include AB 1550 outcomes as agencies implement more funding.
Projects funded to date are expected to reduce GHG emissions by more than 23 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), roughly the equivalent of taking four million cars off the road for a year. In addition, the High Speed Rail Project is estimated to reduce GHG emissions by almost 59 million metric tons of CO2e over its operating life.
The report includes detailed information on cost-effectiveness and metrics for evaluating program effectiveness. It also includes new statistics and information on co-benefits quantified to date and an update on plans for more comprehensive future reporting.
Accompanying the report is an updated interactive map that allows users to track where Cap-and-Trade funds are being invested across in the state. Users can view the locations of individual projects and aggregate them by program and by the state’s 120 legislative districts and 58 counties.
Project-level data for all projects included in the 2018 Annual Report and featured on the interactive map is available on the California Climate Investments website, including project locations, GHG reductions and benefits to disadvantaged communities.
Sunoco to Pay $750,000 for Unpermitted Air Emissions
Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin has issued a Conciliation Order by Consent to Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals, LP addressing alleged violations of Delaware’s regulations governing air pollution. The order calls for a cash penalty of $600,000 from Sunoco and an additional $150,000 for an environmental improvement project. In addition, the DNREC order requires the decommissioning of an emergency flare at the company’s Claymont, Del. facility, by March 31, 2019, and sets out stipulated penalties if that decommissioning deadline is not met.
The order reflects that DNREC’s Division of Air Quality learned the emergency flare at the Claymont facility, adjacent to Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals, LP’s Marcus Hook facility in Pennsylvania, had been modified without a permit to combust gas from other sources in a non-emergency capacity. In addition to alleged violations for the modification and operation of the flare without a permit, DNREC also found that the company violated the Department’s new source review requirements because of the increased emissions that resulted from the modified use of the flare, and violated reporting requirements by the company’s failing to notify DNREC of the modifications and emissions.
The DNREC order allows Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals, LP to continue to use the flare to combust specific waste streams at specified emissions levels, in addition to emergency use. However, the flare must be decommissioned upon completion of construction of a new flare, to be located in Pennsylvania. Failure by the company to decommission the flare by the March 31 deadline as the DNREC order requires will result in payment of a stipulated penalty of $1,000 per day from April 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019. Operation of the flare after June 30, 2019, is not authorized in any way by the order and may subject Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals, LP to additional enforcement action.
In addition to the $600,000 administrative penalty, Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals, LP will pay $150,000 for an environmental improvement project that supports the transition of Delaware’s ambient monitoring network for air pollution from filter-based PM2.5 (particulate) monitoring to continuous monitors that will be located throughout the state.
The DNREC Secretary’s Order resolves each of the alleged air quality violations related to unpermitted modification and operation of the emergency flare by Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals, LP. The conciliation order can be found on the DNREC website. Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals, LP, consented to and has signed the DNREC Conciliation Order by Consent No. 2018-A-0019.
Michigan My Solar School Contest Entries Due March 30th
The Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE) said there’s still time for Michigan students in grades six to 12 to participate in the My Solar School contest. To enter, student teams must submit, by March 30, a study for installing a solar system at their school, along with a short video outlining their vision.
Winning schools will be announced at the Michigan Earth Day Festival in Rochester, Michigan in April.
“The Michigan Agency for Energy is proud to be a sponsor of this contest,” said MAE Acting Executive Director Anne Armstrong Cusack. “The contest gives students a chance to learn about solar energy and how it can lower energy bills at their school. All participants will see first-hand how renewable energy is an important part of Michigan’s energy future.”
Winning schools must match funds provided by the Michigan Energy Office (MEO) and others to move forward with their projects.
The contest is sponsored by the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor and the U.S. Green Building Council Detroit Region, in partnership with the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association in Dimondale, EcoWorks in Detroit and the MEO, which is part of MAE.
Environmental News Links
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California and the EPA May be Headed Toward a Showdown
Plastic Used to Remove Toxic Dyes from Water
Researchers Tap Problematic E-Waste Surplus to Recover High-Quality Polymers
US Demands Proof Steel is Safe in Nuke Plant
Former Coal Lobbyist On Tap For No. 2 Spot At EPA
Its 50 Years Since Climate Change was First Seen
Charging an Electric Vehicle is Far Cleaner than Driving on Gasoline
EPA’s new electronic hazardous waste manifest will require what new information:
- LDR notice
- Email address
- DOT MC number for the transport vehicle operator
- All of the above