Incident Reporting Requirements and Incident Report Form
The DOT has extended the compliance date to update and clarify requirements in the Hazardous Materials Regulations applicable to incident reporting requirements and the Hazardous Materials Incident Report (HMIR) DOT Form F 5800.1. In response to appeals submitted by persons affected by the December 3, 2003 final rule, this final rule amends certain requirements, and makes minor editorial corrections. This final rule is effective January 1, 2005.
The final rule amendments are the following:
- 49 CFR 171.16(b)(1) has been clarified so that readers understand that either a written or electronic HMIR must be submitted, but not both
- Removed the supplemental guidance immediately following Item 23 from the HMIR
- Amended the requirement to provide the manufacturer and model number for any valve or device that failed on a tank to include the words “if present and legible”
- Corrected the definition of an “undeclared hazardous material”
For more information on this ruling see http://hazmat.dot.gov/rules/69fr-30113.htm
of the HMR to Loading, Unloading, and Storage Operations
On October 30, 2003, RSPA published a final rule (68 FR 61905) to clarify the applicability of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to loading, unloading, and storage operations. RSPA is delaying the effective date of the final rule from October 1, 2004 to January 1, 2005. Fourteen appellants raised a number of issues related to the consistency of the final rule with Federal hazardous materials transportation law; state and local regulation of hazardous materials facilities; the relationship of the HMR to regulations promulgated by OSHA, EPA, and ATF; the definitions adopted in the final rule for unloading incidental to movement, transloading, and storage incidental to movement; and the consistency of the final rule with security regulations adopted in a final rule issued under Docket No. HM-232.
Delaying the effective date will provide RSPA with sufficient time to fully address the issues raised by the appellants. It will also provide RSPA with sufficient time to coordinate the appeals document fully with the other Federal agencies that assisted in developing the HM-223 final rule.
For more information on this ruling see http://hazmat.dot.gov/rules/69fr-30588.htm
New Guide Will Support Specialty-Batch Chemical Manufacturers' Participation in EPA's Voluntary Programs
EPA is releasing a new guide that will help the specialty-batch chemical industry learn about voluntary environmental programs that can improve their environmental and economic performance.
With more than 70 voluntary programs now available, EPA recognizes the need to help organizations make informed decisions about the ones best suited to their operations. The EPA Voluntary Programs Guide for the Specialty-Batch Chemical Sector addresses that need by summarizing the requirements and benefits of 16 voluntary programs, such as EnergyStar, Waste Wise, and Design for the Environment, that are applicable to specialty-batch chemical manufacturers.
Developed with input from the specialty-batch chemical sector, the guide demonstrates EPA's recent commitment to improving management of voluntary programs. Voluntary programs are increasingly being used as a complement to traditional regulatory approaches. They play a major role in the Agency's efforts to enhance environmental performance through innovation and collaboration, and are instrumental in helping industry sectors address environmental challenges.
The guide is available at http://www.epa.gov/sectors/sbchemical/index.html.
The Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico Fined for Hazardous Waste Violations
The Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico (Catholic University), faces $280,619 in penalties for alleged violations of hazardous waste regulations at its main campus in Ponce, Puerto Rico. EPA is taking action against the university for past violations of federal laws that provide for the safe handling and storage of hazardous wastes. The action is part of EPA's ongoing effort to protect the health of those working at and attending institutions of higher learning.
"Catholic University in Puerto Rico could have avoided some of these penalties by volunteering to look at its own facilities and remedying any problems found," said EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny. "EPA has developed voluntary self audit programs to protect people's health and the environment. We continue to provide alternate approaches to colleges and universities, as well as all other regulated entities, to assist their efforts to come into compliance."
The complaint charges Catholic University with violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which requires hazardous waste to be managed in an environmentally sound manner from "cradle to grave." The complaint includes an order requiring the university to promptly address the alleged deficiencies if it has not already done so and to comply with federal hazardous waste laws.
An EPA inspection of Catholic University's main campus revealed the university had failed to determine if wastes it generated were hazardous wastes; stored hazardous wastes without a permit; stored hazardous waste in open containers; and stored hazardous waste in containers that were in poor condition. Catholic University did not maintain and operate its facility to minimize the possibility of fire, explosion and other risks if an unplanned or sudden release of hazardous waste to the environment should occur. Many chemicals were stored in an unsafe manner, significantly increasing the risk of fire or an explosion occurring. The university also did not provide employees with required training in hazardous waste management or develop emergency contingency plans or a make arrangements with emergency responders and nearby hospitals in the event of sudden or unexpected releases of hazardous wastes to the environment. The fines proposed as a result of the university's violations total $280,619.
Catholic University has informed EPA that it is working towards correcting the violations found at its main campus.
EPA established its Colleges and Universities Initiative in 1999 because it found that many such institutions were not aware of their responsibilities under various environmental laws. As part of the initiative, EPA sent letters to colleges and universities in New Jersey, New York, and Puerto Rico; held free workshops to help colleges and universities comply; set up a Web site that provides information about their duties under the law; and warned them that EPA inspections of their facilities with the risk of financial penalties were imminent. EPA encouraged the institutions to avail themselves of the agency's Voluntary Audit Policy through which institutions can investigate and disclose violations to the agency and, if the necessary conditions are met, receive a partial or complete reduction in financial penalties.
EPA continues to encourage colleges and universities to participate in the Colleges and Universities Initiative. To date, 76 colleges and universities in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico have come forward to disclose more than 800 violations to EPA. Most of them have been granted a 100% waiver of certain penalties totaling more than $2.4 million.
EPA has inspected 44 colleges and universities and has issued administrative complaints with penalties totaling more than $2.4 million over the past 21 months against 15 colleges and universities in New Jersey, New York and Puerto Rico. The Colleges and Universities Initiative is an ongoing program with additional investigations anticipated.
Efficient Cooling Systems Protect the Environment and Save Money
With the launch of ENERGY STAR's "Cool Change" campaign this summer, EPA is encouraging Americans to save energy, money, and protect the environment by increasing the efficiency of home cooling systems. To improve cooling system efficiency, homeowners may replace air filters, perform annual tune-ups, or install new ENERGY STAR-qualified central air conditioners.
The average family spends $1,400 a year on energy bills, nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling. Homeowners who choose energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment that is properly sized and installed can save as much as 20 percent on their annual energy costs. ENERGY STAR products use less energy, which means less air pollution and a cleaner environment. If 1 in 10 U.S. households used heating and cooling equipment that has earned the ENERGY STAR, the change would prevent an estimated 17 billion pounds of air pollution.
The "Cool Change" campaign offers homeowners tips to realize big savings – for their wallet and the environment. Recommendations include replacing old cooling equipment with high-efficiency ENERGY STAR-qualified equipment; checking and sealing duct systems; replacing air filters; and sealing homes to keep excess air from escaping through leaky attics, doors and windows.
For a copy of EPA's Guide to Energy-Efficient Cooling and Heating and more information about home cooling system efficiency improvements, visit http://www.energystar.gov/hvacguide.
EPA established ENERGY STAR in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce air pollution by giving consumers simple energy-efficient choices. Today, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy, the ENERGY STAR is featured on more than 40 types of products, from light bulbs to major appliances to new homes and buildings. More than 9,000 organizations have become ENERGY STAR partners and are committed to improving the energy efficiency of products, homes and businesses. For more information about ENERGY STAR, call 1-888-STAR-YES or visit http://www.energystar.gov.
Planting Fields of Wild Rice Help To Bring Back Life to the Anacostia River
EPA and the Chesapeake Bay Program are helping the Anacostia Watershed Society develop the Rice Rangers project, a three-year restoration effort that reintroduces native wild rice to the tidal mudflats along the Anacostia River. At a rice-planting event along the Anacostia, EPA presented a check for $100,000 to the Anacostia Watershed Society to work with students and teachers involved in a year-long natural wetlands planting cycle.
"This project will help teach kids, young and old about the importance of restoring America's wetlands and watersheds," said Ben Grumbles, EPA's Acting Assistant Administrator for Water. "By reintroducing native plants, such as wild rice, students provide a healthier habitat and cleaner water for the Anacostia River."
Through the Rice Rangers project students will learn about the environmental importance of wetlands such as how they remove impurities from water, provide habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals and reduce flood damage. The students who participated in the planting attend LaSalle Elementary in Northeast Washington. These and other students who participate in this project live in the urban area near the Anacostia and will directly benefit from this restoration effort. The Rice Rangers project can serve as a model for wetland restoration nationwide.
The Anacostia Watershed Society is dedicated to the restoration of the Anacostia River by reintroducing native plants that will improve water quality, reduce flood and storm water impacts and provide food and habitat for fish and wildlife. In addition, it helps to reintroduce species of birds to the Anacostia watershed, including the Bobolink, Swamp Sparrow and Grasshopper Sparrow.
On Earth Day 2004, President Bush announced a new goal of restoring, improving and protecting at least three million acres of wetlands by 2009. The goal includes restoring one million acres of wetlands, improving one million acres and preserving one million acres. Specifically, EPA is charged with achieving 6,000 acres of wetlands restoration and 6,000 acres of improvement over five years, which is an average of 1200 acres a year in each category. Information about EPA's wetlands program is available at http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/. Information about the Anacostia Watershed Society and the Rice Rangers Program is available at http://www.anacostiaws.org/.