On May 15, 2003, EPA announced in the Federal Register that it is seeking comment on proposed rule amendments that are designed to encourage and promote pollution prevention. In this action, EPA is proposing amendments that would provide regulatory relief to facilities that use pollution prevention (P2) to achieve emission reductions. Reducing hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions to the maximum achievable control technology (MACT) level of control or a better level, required under applicable National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs), qualifies under this proposal. EPA is also proposing additional incentives specifically designed for, and only available to, facilities that are members of the National Environmental Performance Track Program.
These amendments are proposed in direct response to the perception that the current rule discourages the development and implementation of P2 measures after a MACT level of control has gone into effect, by mandating that a facility must continue to comply with specific source MACT requirements. The proposed amendments offer two options as alternatives:
- If a facility uses P2 to completely eliminate all HAP emissions from all sources of emissions regulated by the NESHAP, it could request to no longer be subject to that NESHAP.
- If a facility uses P2 to reduce HAP emissions either to the level required by the NESHAP or below, it could request "P2 alternative compliance requirements." These "P2 alternative compliance requirements" would include monitoring, recordkeeping, reporting and /or other requirements which match the P2 measures implemented by the facility. If approved, the "P2 alternative compliance requirements" would replace specific requirements in the NESHAP.
These proposed amendments address the Part 63 General Provisions for all MACT-based NESHAPs. They are designed to reduce HAP emissions with alternative approaches that achieve results in innovative and sustainable ways. Preventing Pollution at the source continues to be EPA's strategy of first choice.
The full text of the proposed amendments can be found in the Federal Register (68FR26249). The public comment period closes July 14, 2003. For further information, please contact Steve Fruh, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards at 919-541-2837 or Paul Matthai, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics at 202-564-8839.
Acting EPA Administrator and Deputy Administrator Named
Two top EPA officials were named by President George W. Bush to serve as Acting Administrator and Acting Deputy Administrator for the Agency.
Marianne Lamont Horinko, who currently serves as Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste & Emergency Response (OSWER), will succeed Linda Fisher, the current Acting Administrator and former Deputy Administrator. Fisher will be leaving office on Friday, July 11, 2003. Stephen Johnson, who currently serves as Assistant Administrator of the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances (OPPTS), will serve as the Agency's Acting Deputy Administrator.
"I have been privileged to work with both of these individuals during their distinguished tenures at EPA," said Fisher. "As a team, Marianne Horinko and Steve Johnson will provide dedicated leadership for the agency in the coming months."
Before coming to EPA, Marianne Lamont Horinko was the former President of Clay Associates, Inc., a public policy firm devoted to hazardous waste issues and was Project Director for the National Sediments Dialogue, sponsored by the National Environmental Policy Institute (NEPI), as well as Director of NEPI's "How Clean is Clean?" project. Prior to joining the Bush Administration, Ms. Horinko served as Attorney Advisor to Don Clay, Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response, from 1989 until 1993. Earlier in her career, Ms. Horinko worked as an attorney at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius from 1986 until 1990 and as a staff scientist at ENVIRON Corporation from 1983 until 1986. A lifelong environmental professional, Ms. Horinko earned her B.S. at the University of Maryland, College Park and her J.D. at Georgetown University Law School. She lives in Virginia.
"When Marianne came back to work at the Agency for a second time in the fall of 2001, I was thrilled. She spent her first few months at EPA in the unprecedented and unexpected role of assisting in environmental cleanup resulting from the September 11 attacks, as well as the U.S. Capitol's anthrax contamination. She has also proven her leadership in overseeing EPA's response to the Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster. Marianne has the strength, leadership, and character to be a very effective Acting Administrator," Fisher said.
Prior to Senate confirmation in December 2000, Stephen Johnson served as Acting Assistant Administrator and Principal Deputy Administrator, among other leadership positions, in OPPTS. Previously, Mr. Johnson served as Deputy Director of EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), where he managed the nation's pesticide programs since May 1997. He also served as OPP's Director of the Registration Division, Director of the Field Operations Division, Deputy Director of OPP's Hazard Evaluation Division, and Executive Secretary of the Scientific Advisory Panel for the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. Prior to joining EPA, where he has been for two decades, Mr. Johnson served as the Director of Operations at Hazelton Laboratories Corporation and Litton Bionetics Inc. Mr. Johnson received his B.A. from Taylor University and his M.S. from George Washington University. He lives in Maryland.
"It has been a great honor to work with Steve, including our service together during my tenure as Assistant Administrator for OPPTS from 1989-1993. As a 20-year EPA veteran he is well known for his command of the issues and commitment to the Agency. His vast understanding of EPA and immense respect for its employees will make him a strong Acting Deputy Administrator," Fisher concluded.
EPA Issues FY 2002 Enforcement Accomplishments Report
The EPA released its Fiscal Year 2002 Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Accomplishments Report entitled "Environmental Results Through Smart Enforcement." The report highlights environmental improvements resulting from the Agency's compliance assistance, monitoring, incentives, and enforcement activities. n addition, it provides an overview of the enforcement and compliance program and useful contact and Web site information. Copies of the report are available from the National Service Center for Environmental Publications online or call 1-800-490-9198. It is also available in PDF format at: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/reports/accomplishments/oeca/fy02accomplishment.pdf .
Environmental Groups to Sue EPA Over Cancer-Causing Air Pollutants
On July 10, 2003, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and Sierra Club filed a 60-day notice of their intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to meet a July 1, 2003 deadline to propose regulations to reduce emissions of toxic chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde from the nation’s cars, trucks, and buses.
Benzene, formaldehyde, and other toxic emissions from motor vehicles can cause a wide range of serious health impacts, including cancer, birth defects, neurological damage, and respiratory effects. EPA’s own National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment shows that motor vehicle emissions are the largest source of hazardous air pollutants nationwide, and that these pollutants substantially increase the risks of cancer and other serious adverse health effects for millions of Americans.
“For years, the EPA has promised the public and the courts that it will reduce toxic emissions from motor vehicles—just not yet,” said Jim Pew, attorney for Earthjustice, who is representing the environmental groups in the case. “Now yet another deadline has passed, and the EPA still has done nothing to protect the public from this well known threat. It’s time for the EPA to live up to its word, and give us more than empty promises.”
According to EPA data, motor vehicles emit 169,000 tons of benzene, 83,400 tons of formaldehyde, 23,600 tons of 1,3-butadiene, and 28,800 tons of acetaldehyde each year, accounting for between 25 and 50% of the total emissions of each pollutant. Motor vehicles also produce more than one million tons of other hazardous air pollutants. Benzene and 1,3-butadiene are known to cause cancer, while acetaldehyde and formaldehyde are “probable” human carcinogens.
The groups assert that major reductions in these and other air toxics could be achieved simply from a wider application of existing technology. For example, cities that are required to use cleaner-burning gasoline during the summer smog season already benefit from limits on benzene in gasoline. These limits, which date from 1995 and apply to more than 30 percent of all the gasoline sold in America, have reduced the amount of benzene in gasoline by more than 50 percent. Just by requiring all gasoline to meet that same standard--a standard that is already in place in 17 states and the District of Columbia--the groups believe that EPA could significantly reduce cancer and other health risks for tens of millions of Americans.
The groups suggest that EPA also could take steps to reduce the level of other toxic pollutants in gasoline, require the use of better emission controls on cars, implement an effective national inspection and maintenance program to ensure that new cars continue to meet emission standards as they age, create incentives to increase the number of hybrid cars, fuel-cell vehicles, and other alternatives to polluting fossil fuels on the roads, and expand the use of modern emission controls on small gasoline engines.
In a 2001 rulemaking, EPA asserted that it lacked the information necessary to require reductions in mobile source air toxics. The agency committed to implement a “Technical Analysis Plan” to obtain the missing information and then to issue a proposed rule to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants from motor vehicles by July 1, 2003, taking final action by July 1, 2004. EPA failed to issue such a proposal by July 1.
Renewable Energy Heralded as Best Management Practice
EPA Acting Administrator Linda Fisher praised U.S. companies for their commitment to green power through the Green Power Partnership, a new EPA voluntary program working to standardize green power procurement as part of environmental management's best-practice. In remarks delivered at the 2003 conference of the American Council for Renewable Energy (ACRE) being held in Washington, D.C., Fisher lauded companies that are switching to renewable energy.
"Commitments to renewable energy by our Green Power Partners are providing big dividends for our environment and the economy," said EPA Acting Administrator Fisher. "The Green Power Partnership now includes over 150 organizations -- green power market trendsetters that are providing a great example of environmental leadership."
Partners in the Green Power Partnership – including Fortune 500 companies, states, federal agencies, trade associations and universities -- have made a combined total commitment to procuring over 800 million kilowatt hours of green power annually. If generated by conventional means, the annual emissions associated with that much electricity would include over 1.1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, roughly the annual emissions of about 100,000 cars.
The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary government-industry program. Partners in the program pledge to switch to green power for a portion of their electricity needs within one year. In return, EPA provides technical assistance and public recognition. Green power is electricity generated by renewable energy sources including solar, wind, water (hydro), geothermal, biomass (combustion of organic materials) and biogas (combustion of naturally-produced methane).
EPA honors leading national green power purchasers each year at the Green Power Leadership Awards. Award winners in 2002 included Kinko's, the City of Chicago, Advanced Micro Devices, Pennsylvania State University, University of Pennsylvania, Alameda County, California, and Johnson & Johnson.
The 2003 Green Power Leadership Awards will be held on November 4, 2003 in Chicago during the Eighth National Green Power Marketing Conference. The deadline for receipt of 2003 Awards nominations is August 1, 2003. Additional information is available at: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/
EPA Funds Nine Projects to Test New Approaches to Waste Reduction, Recycling, and Land Revitalization
EPA announced nine new projects from around the country to test creative approaches to waste minimization, energy recovery, recycling and land revitalization that may be replicated across various industries, communities and regions. Examples of projects include: collecting old computers; applying a renewable energy source to groundwater cleanup technology; and transforming a Brownfields site into an urban wetlands ecosystem with a "green" parking plaza.
This is the third round of innovation pilots, totaling $448,294. EPA spent $352,000 on the second round in May 2002; and $525,000 on the first round in July 2002. The objective is to test innovative ideas to make EPA's waste programs more effective, analyze the results, and conduct a public education campaign.
These projects build on the Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC), the Land Revitalization and the " One Cleanup" agendas. The RCC urges all Americans to embrace a resource conservation ethic of producing, purchasing and using products that are easy to recycle and consist of recycled materials. The Land Revitalization Agenda outlines over 60 specific ways to integrate land reuse and economic revitalization into EPA's cleanup programs. The goal of the One Cleanup Program is to improve the speed, effectiveness and consistency of cleanups at all contaminated sites and ensure that EPA's activities and results are effectively communicated to the public. The nine projects are as follows:
Collecting and Recycling Used Computers by the Reverse Distribution System
In partnership with the Product Stewardship Institute, Staples, Inc., Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and the Connecticut Dept. of Environmental Protection, EPA will test the reverse distribution model for moving used computers from consumers to recyclers rather than to disposal. Reverse distribution will collect the computers through the same infrastructure used to deliver the products to the customer making it convenient for households and businesses.
Collaborative Partnership to Effect Significant Environmental Performance
and Compliance Improvements
in the Healthcare Sector (Amount: $74,040)
In partnership with the American Hospitals Association, American Nurses Association, Healthcare without Harm, and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), EPA will include environmental compliance and performance information into the JCAHO survey and accreditation process.
Rails-to-Trails Conversion Resource Guide (Amount: $37,440)
In partnership with the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and the communities of Malden, Everett, Woburn, and Waltham, Mass., EPA will develop a
resource guide about case studies of potential environmental contamination issues along rail lines in multiple jurisdictions.
Florida Green Lodging Certification Program's Web Locator and Green Information
Service (Amount: $30,000)
In partnership with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Earth 911, EPA will work to enhance the state's green lodging certification program with a web site to identify certified green hotel/motel properties.
Potential Recycling of Medium Density Fiberboard (Amount: $27,225)
In partnership with the University of Tennessee, EPA will determine if the formaldehyde portion of the urea formaldehyde (UF) resin from ground-up fiberboard poses a risk to human health or can be safely recycled.
Financial Benchmarks for Recycling Businesses (Amount: $65,000)
In partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, North Carolina Department of Environmental Protection, Minnesota Bankers Association and AMPros Corporation, EPA will analyze financial data from recycling companies to provide industry-specific benchmark information. The benchmark will be a financial risk management tool to make informed decisions about recycling investments.
An Integrated "Green" Parking Lot and Urban Wetlands (Amount:
In partnership with Heifer International, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Arkansas Economic Development Fund, Downtown Partnership of Little Rock, the City of Little Rock and Pulaski County, EPA will develop an innovative design for converting a former industrial property to an urban wetlands ecosystem with a "green" parking plaza. The parking plaza will encourage environmental stewardship by demonstrating environmentally friendly approaches to construction and designing green development projects.
Powering Groundwater Cleanup by a Renewable Energy Source (Amount:
In partnership with the University of Missouri at Rolla, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bergey Wind Systems, EPA will test the use of a renewable energy source (wind turbines) to power a groundwater cleanup technology.
National Paint Product Stewardship Dialogue (Amount: $43,804)
In partnership with the Product Stewardship Institute, numerous major paint manufacturers, retailers, and various state and local government agencies, EPA will work with stakeholders to reduce paint waste; develop ways to collect, reuse, and recycle surplus paint; and develop sustainable financing systems to cover management costs of the program.