DOT to Propose Changes to Hazardous Materials Regulations

September 05, 2006

The proposed amendments are intended to clarify certain regulatory requirements specific to bulk and non-bulk packaging. The amendments proposed in this NPRM also include incorporation of requirements for construction, maintenance and use of large packagings, clarification of specification marking requirements, and revisions to packaging definitions.

The DOT has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that will:

1. Revise, remove, and add definitions specific to packaging requirements
2. Amend export and import provisions in 49 CFR 171.12
3. Revise 49 CFR 172.101 table entries for packaging requirements
4. Add and revise special provisions
5. Clarify shippers' responsibilities for complying with packaging standards
6. Clarify requirements for stacking of bulk packaging
7. Correct error in general IBC requirements related to gauge pressure
8. Authorize bromine residue in cargo tanks
9. Clarify closure instructions for specification packagings
10. Add exceptions for marking of steel drums
11. Add an exception for marking of UN symbol with a stencil
12. Amend packaging variations
13. Add standards and provision for the manufacture and use of large packagings

 These revisions are necessary to harmonize the Hazardous Materials Regulations with recent changes to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, the International Civil Aviation Organization's Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air, and the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.


Online Video Describes the New Hazardous Waste Manifest


Beginning September 5, 2006, a new hazardous waste manifest must be used for all hazardous waste shipments. The training video is a free service of the Printers’ National Environmental Assistance Center (PNEAC), one of several Internet-accessible centers that provide plain language environmental compliance information for businesses. The video is helpful to all companies involved in the generation, transportation or treatment of hazardous waste. This training video introduces the new manifest form, highlights the differences between the new and the previous manifest, and provides specific instructions to those who must use the new form.

The video training tool about the manifest was prepared by the University of Wisconsin-Extension, a partner in PNEAC. The EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance provided funding and technical support. Review and assistance was provided by the Printing Industries of America / Graphic Arts Technical Foundation and the Illinois Waste Management and Research Center, which also provides overall management of PNEAC.

The video has a couple of errors. See if you can find them.

Hazardous Waste Treatment without a Permit


The Missouri Department of Natural Resources recently published the following summary of when hazardous waste generators can treat without a permit. Because Missouri has adopted the federal rules by reference, this guidance is helpful for generators in other states that adopt the federal rules.

In the federal regulations that Missouri adopts by reference, 40 CFR 260.10 defines treatment as "any method, technique, or process, including neutralization, designed to change the physical, chemical, or biological character or composition of any hazardous waste so as to neutralize such waste, or so as to recover energy or material resources from the waste, or so as to render such waste non-hazardous, or less hazardous; safer to transport, store, or dispose of; or amenable for recovery, amenable for storage, or reduced in volume." Therefore, most forms of hazardous waste treatment require a permit. You should thoroughly review the hazardous waste laws and regulations regarding treatment if your business decides to treat its own waste. As a generator, you should assume that your waste type and method of treatment require a permit until you verify that it does not require a permit. Below are the most common forms of treatment that do not require a permit. As always, if you have a unique or highly complex situation, please contact the department for assistance.

Elementary Neutralization - If you are dealing with a waste that is only classified as hazardous because it is corrosive (i.e. the pH is less than or equal to 2 or greater than or equal to 12.5) then you can use elementary neutralization to treat the waste without obtaining a permit. Again, elementary neutralization can only be used on waste that is hazardous exclusively because of its corrosivity (it is not a listed hazardous waste and does not exhibit any other hazardous characteristic) AND must be performed in a tank, tank system, container, transport vehicle or vessel as defined in 40 CFR Section 260.10.

Wastewater Treatment - The treatment of wastewater generated on-site is not subject to a hazardous waste permit if it is conducted in a unit that meets the definition of wastewater treatment unit (WWTU). The WWTU must:

1. Be part of a wastewater treatment facility that is subject to the Clean Water Act; and
2. Be managing hazardous wastewater or hazardous wastewater treatment sludge; and
3. Meet the definition of tank or tank system as defined in Section 260.10

For more details, please see 40 CFR 260.10.

Totally Enclosed Treatment Facility - A totally enclosed treatment facility that is directly connected to production equipment is not subject to acquiring a hazardous waste permit. The totally enclosed treatment facility requires two things, that the facility for the treatment of hazardous waste is directly connected to the industrial production process AND is constructed and operated in a manner which prevents the release of any hazardous waste into the environment during treatment. Please note that if there are ANY releases, measured or reasonably possible (including leaks, escaping vapors or other fugitive emissions), this treatment DOES require a permit. Again, see 40 CFR 260.10 for more details.

90/180/270 day Accumulation Units - Generators may treat their own waste in approved accumulation units as long as there is no thermal treatment of the waste and the requirements for accumulation units are followed. This means no treatment by burning, heating, or evaporation of wastes. Approved containers for large quantity generators (LQGs) include tanks, containers, drip pads, and containment buildings. Small quantity generators (SQGs) can use only tanks and containers unless the SQG adheres to LQG requirements (including accumulating hazardous waste only 90 days). As with any accumulation unit in storage, the container must remain closed unless adding or removing waste and the unit cannot be kept open while mixing or reacting the contents. These requirements prevent generators from using passive evaporation to treat hazardous waste. A hazardous waste generator that treats their own waste in accumulation units must develop and follow a written waste analysis plan that describes the procedures they used to meet treatment standards for the waste. Again, a generator may treat only its own waste and must not accept waste from off-site. As always, LQGs may accumulate hazardous waste for up to 90 days, SQGs can accumulate hazardous waste for 180 days or 270 days if their treatment facility is over 200 miles away. Please contact the department before treating hazardous waste in accumulation units.


Details are important when determining if a permit is required for a specific treatment. Even if a hazardous waste permit is not required, other environmental permits may be needed. A water pollution permit may be required from the department or from your local sewer authority, or some other type of permit may be required. As mentioned earlier, it is usually a good idea to assume that any treatment of hazardous waste requires a permit until you have discussed it with the personnel in your local regional office that are familiar with your operations. Regional office staff may be able to give you a quick answer or conduct a site visit in order to make the determination.


Buckingham Coal Co. Fined for Filling in Streams


EPA Region 5 has settled with Buckingham Coal Co. of Gloucester, Ohio, for filling in several streams without first obtaining the necessary federal permits. The company has agreed to pay a $73,500 penalty. In addition, under a separate agreement, it must apply for after-the-fact permits and correct the effects of the alleged violations, including restoring twice as much length of streambeds as were affected. Under the Clean Water Act, a permit is required to discharge pollutants into or fill in waters of the United States.

EPA alleged that at various times during 2005, Buckingham Coal used trucks and heavy equipment to deposit materials in streams near its mines in Monroe Township, Perry County, Ohio, without having received necessary permits under the Clean Water Act. The materials included rock, sandstone and fill.


Missouri Hazardous Waste Transporter List Online


 The list will be updated monthly to reflect any changes in licensed transporters and the date of the latest update can be found at the top of the list. Now you as the generator have a place online where you can independently verify that your hazardous waste transporter has a current license.

You can also sort transporters by name, state, transporter identification, etc. by clicking the top of each column. If you have any questions regarding hazardous waste transporters, please contact Jennifer Johnson of the department's Compliance/Enforcement Section at 573-751-7560.


EPA Fines Two Cleveland Area Companies for Clean Air Act Violations


EPA Region 5 has reached agreements with Beck Aluminum Corp., in Mayfield, Ohio, and Remelt Services Inc. on alleged Clean Air Act violations at Remelt's aluminum recovery plant in Cleveland. Beck will pay a $70,000 penalty and Remelt will pay a $10,000 penalty.

The agreement with Remelt resolves EPA allegations that the company failed to comply with federal dioxin and furan emission control requirements for its aluminum melting furnace. Specifically, EPA alleged that Remelt failed to meet requirements for proper operation, monitoring, planning, recordkeeping and notification.

EPA's agreement with Beck resolves allegations that Beck had supervisory authority over operations at the Remelt plant from September 2003 through December 2005, and thus was responsible for ensuring the plant's compliance with the Clean Air Act.


Forest Oil Corporation Fined $813,000 for 2,600 Effluent Limit Violations



Between January 2001 and July 2002, when Forest Oil conducted exploratory operations at the Osprey Platform, discharges from the platform were required to comply with the Cook Inlet Oil and Gas Exploration General Permit.

In July 2002, Forest Oil began production activities at the platform which made it ineligible for coverage under the Cook Inlet Oil and Gas Exploration General Permit. 

According to Forest Oil’s discharge monitoring reports, between January 2001 and July 2005, there were approximately 2,600 effluent limit violations. Most of these violations were for sanitary and domestic wastewater discharges.


Virgin Islands Government Cited for Widespread Hazardous Waste Violations


The EPA has cited the U.S. Virgin Islands for widespread violations of federal rules for the proper management of certain hazardous wastes at many government facilities on all three islands. According to an administrative consent order issued by EPA, government operations as diverse as schools, office buildings and motor pools, as well as the Virgin Islands Department of Public Works, repeatedly failed to separate hazardous waste from regular garbage items.

“While fluorescent bulbs and old computer monitors may seem innocuous, they contain substances such as mercury and lead that could be harmful to people and the environment,” explained EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “These items are hazardous waste and should be handled with care so they don’t leak dangerous substances into the environment and endanger people’s health.”

If improperly disposed, mercury can repeatedly cycle through the land, water and air. When airborne, it can be deposited on soil and water bodies, settle in sediments and, ultimately, be consumed by and stored in the fat reserves of living organisms. An unfortunate example of this problem is the prevalence of fish advisories resulting from mercury contamination.

Televisions and color computer models contain an average of four pounds of lead (the exact amount depends on size and make). Lead is a toxic metal that can cause delayed neurological development in children and other adverse health effects in adults, including increased blood pressure, nephritis and cerebrovascular disease. Lead is at the top of the agency’s list of substances that need to be eliminated from the environment as much as possible. Both computer monitors and fluorescent bulbs can be recycled or disposed of in a manner that lowers the risk of release into the environment.

EPA found these and other violations during a series of inspections in April 2005. The other violations involved failing to immediately clean up used oil spills and properly label containers of used oil at VI Department of Public Works facilities. EPA is seeking penalties of $146,933 for all the violations cited in its complaint and order. The government of the USVI can request a hearing to contest the allegations in the complaint or enter into settlement discussions.



EPA Becomes First Federal Agency to Be Powered 100% Green


EPA has closed a deal making it the first federal agency to purchase renewable energy, or "green power," equivalent to 100% of its annual electricity needs. The agency signed a contract with 3 Phases Energy Services to purchase more than 100 million kilowatt hours (kWh) in renewable energy certificates, effective Sept. 1. The arrangement extends annual green-power purchases to more than 190 EPA facilities nationwide.

This green-power purchase brings the agency total to nearly 300 million kWh per year, which is equivalent to 100% of the electricity EPA uses nationwide annually. It is enough electricity to power 27,970 homes for a year.

At EPA, we don't just talk the talk, we walk the walk," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "For 35 years, EPA has been greening our nation's landscape. By committing to alternative, renewable power sources, the agency is meeting the president's call to green our nation's energy."

 Since then, the program has steadily expanded to offset demand for conventional electricity sources by supporting such renewable energy sources as wind power, geothermal sources, and biomass — primarily through the purchase of renewable energy certificates, or RECs.

RECs help reduce emissions associated with conventional electricity sources. On an annual basis, EPA's total green power purchases offset more than 600 million pounds of carbon dioxide — roughly the amount 54,000 cars emit during a year.

EPA worked closely with the Defense Energy Support Center on this latest green power procurement. The contract, which continues through Sept. 30, 2007, supports the development of wind farms in California, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.

As the first federal agency to purchase 100% renewable energy, EPA continues to be an active partner in the agency's own Green Power Partnership, a voluntary public-private program that promotes renewable energy.


Roadway Express to Pay $65,000 for Hazardous Waste Violations


Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard announced that Roadway Express, Inc., has agreed to pay $65,000 in civil penalties for violations of the Arizona Hazardous Waste Management Act. The company, based in Akron, Ohio, transports industrial, commercial and retail goods.

On Sept. 17, 2004, a tractor trailer stored at the company's trucking hub facility in Phoenix caught fire when hazardous waste illegally stored in the trailer spontaneously combusted. A second tractor trailer also caught fire during the incident. Fire extinguishers were stored inside the tractor trailers and were therefore not available for use when the fire started.

"The company's improper storage of hazardous waste posed a threat to the public, the environment, and the company's own employees," Owens said. "It's fortunate that no one was injured in this event. The substantial penalty reflects the seriousness of the violations."

ADEQ's Emergency Response Unit was called to the scene by the Phoenix Fire Department to assist with the response effort. During a subsequent inspection of the facility, ADEQ discovered the wastes had been stored for more than one year in an undivided tractor trailer without any ventilation or means of separating the incompatible materials, in violation of Arizona's hazardous waste laws. The wastes included approximately 30 containers of corrosive acids and bases, batteries, the solvent methyl ethyl ketone, and xylene, a solvent that is also an element of gasoline.

In November 2004, ADEQ issued a notice of violation (NOV) to the company for storage of hazardous waste without a permit, failure to prevent accidental ignition or reaction of ignitable or reactive hazardous waste, failure to segregate incompatible hazardous waste, and failure to submit hazardous waste manifests to ADEQ.

"The Attorney General's Office and ADEQ continue to prosecute companies that violate the hazardous waste laws," Goddard said. "Roadway's improper operation of its facility and the resulting fire created potential harm to the public and environment. Companies must make an ongoing commitment to comply with Arizona's environmental laws."


Delaware Proposes New Underground Storage Tank Rules


The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Division of Air & Waste Management, Tank Management Branch, will hold three public workshops in September to accept comments and answer questions regarding proposed changes to the Delaware regulations governing underground tank storage systems. Underground storage tanks are typically found at gas stations. They are also used to store heating fuels.

 Some of the key changes include requirements for secondary containment for new tank and piping installations, requirements for the installation of tank top sumps as well as sumps under fuel dispensers, prohibited delivery of product into tank systems that are found to be significantly out of compliance, and requirements for operators to inspect their UST systems on a monthly basis.

In addition, changes are proposed to the regulations governing reporting, investigation and cleanup requirements after a “release” (leak) from an underground storage tank system occurs. These changes protect Delaware’s groundwater and meet new federal requirements contained in the 2005 Energy Policy Act.

The public workshops will be held as follows:

  • 10 a.m. to noon, Thursday, Sept. 14, DNREC Division of Air & Waste Management Office, Conference Rooms A and B, 391 Lukens Drive, New Castle
  • 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, DNREC Auditorium, Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover (presentations planned for 4 and 6 p.m.)
  • 10 a.m. to noon, Thursday, Sept. 21, Delaware Technical & Community College, Lecture Hall/Room 529, William Carter Partnership Center, Route 18, Georgetown


For more information about the draft regulations on underground storage tanks, please contact Jill Williams Hall, Tank Management Branch, at 302-395-2500.


Delaware to Enforce Anti-idling Regulations


DNREC’s Division of Air and Waste Management Enforcement Section will begin ticketing operators of heavy duty vehicles violating Regulation 45, Excessive Idling of Heavy Duty Vehicles, on September 1. The regulation prohibits owners of on-road vehicles over 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight to idle their engines for a period more than three minutes long. Violators are subject to a penalty of not less than $50 and not more than $500 for each offense. Subsequent violations carry fines of $500 - $1500.

According to Ali Mirzakhalili, Air Quality Management Section Administrator, the regulation continues DNREC’s efforts to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides, fine particulates, and other tailpipe pollutants from heavy-duty vehicles operated in the state. “Vehicle emissions contribute significantly to our overall air quality, and we are particularly concerned with diesel exhaust,” said Mirzakhalili. “Regulation 45 and our plans to enforce the anti-idling regulation of heavy duty vehicles are important in helping us reach our goals of improving air quality and protecting public health in Delaware.”

Heavy duty vehicles subject to this regulation include long-haul and delivery trucks, as well as transit and school buses. Emergency fire, rescue, and lifesaving vehicles are exempt from the regulation. Additional vehicle operating situations are exempt and are listed in the Exemption Section of the regulation. 

Since the regulation was adopted in April 2005, DNREC’s Enforcement Section completed education on the anti-idling rule. “We met with more than 30 trucking businesses potentially affected by the new regulation,” said Captain Chip McDaniel, Operations Manager with the Division’s Enforcement Section. “The Delaware Motor Transport Association, Delaware Transit Corporation and the Delaware Department of Education worked with us to develop the regulation and assisted with our educational efforts,” he said.

Delaware is among more than 25 state and city jurisdictions that have implemented regulations addressing idling time for heavy-duty vehicles. Currently, the city of Philadelphia, as well as New Jersey and Connecticut have maximum allowable idling time restrictions.

Citizens can report idling violations by calling the Air and Waste Management Enforcement Section’s 24 Hour Environmental Complaint Line in-state at 1-800-662-8802. In addition, Verizon Wireless customers can call #DNR from their cell phones to register a complaint.



Maryland Expands Air Quality Monitoring Network


To enhance Maryland’s nationally-recognized air pollution outreach program, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has added an additional ground level ozone air monitoring station within Baltimore City. The new ozone monitoring station is located at the Furley Recreation Center in the northeast part of the city. The Baltimore City Health Department worked closely with MDE and was instrumental in finding a secure location for the new ozone monitor, as previous ozone monitoring sites within the city had been repeatedly vandalized.

“The new ozone monitoring station will complement the existing fine particle and air toxics monitoring sites in downtown Baltimore City and most importantly, provide the public with more information about the air they breathe,” said Tad Aburn, director of MDE’s Air and Radiation Management Administration. Because of the complicated chemistry involved in forming ground level ozone, ozone levels in Baltimore City have historically been lower than levels recorded in downwind areas like Harford and Cecil counties.

The downtown air monitoring network, made up of six sites, now measures ozone, fine particles, air toxics, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. Within the network of air monitoring stations maintained by the state, there are 17 ozone monitoring instruments and 18 fine particle instruments and equipment that measures meteorological parameters and other air pollutants. Maryland has implemented one of the most comprehensive ambient air monitoring networks on the east coast.

Ground-level ozone and fine particles are Maryland’s most pervasive air pollutants though continued efforts on the part of the state in combination with regional efforts and federal programs have shown significant improvements to the air quality within Maryland over the past four years.

MDE forecasts daily ozone and particle levels and issues e-mails to the public, businesses, and the media via AirWatch. Hourly air pollution levels are collected from a comprehensive network of monitors throughout the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas and are displayed in an interactive map on AirWatch. The AirWatch program is a regional initiative aimed at developing environmental awareness for the citizens of the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan region about air pollution. More than 500 businesses and individuals currently receive air quality forecasts and in turn forward this information to thousands more throughout the region.

“Maryland still has significant air quality challenges ahead and is striving to work hard to meet these challenges and bring healthy air to the citizens of Maryland. The Healthy Air Act and Governor Ehrlich’s Clean Power Rules are the key to bringing Maryland into compliance with new federal ozone and fine particulate air quality standards by 2010 and will also help clean up the Bay,” said MDE Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick. “Maryland continues to be a national leader in air quality.”


Arleen O'Donnell Named Acting Commissioner of MassDEP


Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney today announced his appointment of Arleen O'Donnell as acting commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). O'Donnell replaces former Commissioner Robert Golledge, who has been named environmental affairs secretary.

"Arleen O'Donnell has been an important player in our efforts to deliver environmental results while streamlining the regulatory process," said Romney. "She is a career environmental professional who is well qualified to continue the innovative initiatives we have put in place."

O'Donnell has served at MassDEP for 17 years, most recently as the Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Planning. As Deputy Commissioner she oversaw policy and regulatory issues, strategic planning, information management and the Office of Research and Standards. From 1989 to 2000, she was Assistant Commissioner in charge of the Bureau of Resource Protection, where she managed water resources regulatory programs as well as the drinking water and wastewater State Revolving Fund program.

"I have worked closely with Arleen throughout my career at MassDEP and I know that her experience and leadership will serve the agency and its environmental goals well," said Secretary Golledge.

At MassDEP, O'Donnell helped to implement the voluntary dental mercury amalgam reduction program in conjunction with the Massachusetts Dental Society, successfully reducing the amount of mercury entering the environment. She also managed the promulgation of both the Rivers Protection Act and storm water regulations, helped to tighten rules for drinking water withdrawals and worked with the Secretary of Environmental Affairs on the Statewide Watershed Initiative.

"I am honored to serve as the commissioner of an agency that is vital to the protection of our Commonwealth's natural resources and the public health," said O'Donnell. "MassDEP has built an excellent record of environmental results over the past three and a half years, and I intend to continue those good works."

Prior to joining MassDEP, O'Donnell was Director of Education and Public Policy for the Massachusetts Audubon Society, where she worked on environmental policies and legislation. She also worked on regional and local environmental issues at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council in Boston and for the towns of Braintree and Concord.

O'Donnell graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with degrees in Zoology and Environmental Science and earned a Master of Science in Civil Engineering and Urban/Environmental Policy from Tufts University. She has received numerous awards for her environmental work, including the 2000 Public Servant of the Year from the Environmental League of Massachusetts and the 2000 Government Service Award from the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association.


Ohio EPA Extends Comment Period for Draft Rules Regulating Waste Disposal


To allow more time for public review and comment, Ohio EPA has extended the public comment period until Wednesday, November 1, for draft rules to regulate waste disposal in Ohio.

These draft rules would provide consistent, science-based requirements for protective liners at construction and demolition debris (C&DD) landfills, industrial waste landfill facilities and disposal lagoons.

Ohio EPA began evaluating its liner requirements in 2004 in response to concerns about disposal requirements for industrial waste. Some of the concerns about over-regulation were legitimate, Ohio EPA acknowledged. While Ohio EPA was researching possible alternatives, the Ohio General Assembly passed two bills to strengthen regulations for C&DD landfills.

HB 432 requires Ohio EPA to develop rules to create a ground water monitoring fee on disposal of C&DD. HB 397 requires Ohio EPA to adopt rules to govern ground water and leachate monitoring, closure and post-closure care of C&DD facilities: prohibit pulverized debris; and require compliance history disclosures. It also requires Ohio EPA to establish a permitting program for construction and demolition debris facilities, including expanded siting criteria.

Following extensive research using available science and Ohio-specific data, Ohio EPA has proposed a consistent approach to liner standards based on the potential environmental impacts of the facility independent of its legal classification. As a result, the draft rules include 14 liner options for lagoon systems, 12 options for industrial waste landfills and seven options for C&DD landfills. Requirements range from no liner at all to a five-foot thick recompacted clay liner combined with a dense plastic liner. Requirements for C&DD landfills range from a minimal recompacted soil liner to a five-foot thick recompacted clay liner combined with a dense plastic liner.



Ohio EPA will consider all comments submitted prior to November 1 before formally proposing these rules. When the rules are formally proposed, Ohio EPA will hold a public hearing and offer another public comment period before adopting final rules.


Pennsylvania Redoubling Its Purchase of Green Electricity


Governor Edward G. Rendell announced the commonwealth has redoubled its green electricity purchase to 20% from 10%, harnessing state resources to further develop markets for sustainable energy sources that will create jobs, enhance homeland security and provide significant environmental improvements in Pennsylvania.

“By leading the way to clean, renewable sources of energy produced from indigenous resources, Pennsylvania is providing solutions to some of our nation’s most compelling problems: creating reliable sources of affordable energy, cleaning our air and waterways and cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions, improving our homeland security, and putting thousands of our citizens to work in family-supporting jobs,” Governor Rendell said.

Through modifying its existing contract with Community Energy Inc., the commonwealth will purchase 200,000 megawatt hours a year, or 20% of state government’s electricity, from renewable sources such as wind and hydroelectric energy, all at a premium rate of only 0.34 cents per kilowatt hour.

The enhanced purchase makes Pennsylvania the largest state purchaser of green electricity and ranks Pennsylvania number 12 on the U.S. EPA’s Top 25 Green Power Partners list.

“Pennsylvania’s leadership on energy is unmatched,” said Brent Alderfer, Community Energy’s chief executive officer. “The latest purchase of clean energy continues to drive progress and sets the benchmark for other states. Pennsylvania’s commitment to action points the way to a secure, clean energy future nationally.”

The contract calls for electricity that is generated 40% from wind power and 60% from hydroelectric sources. Both produce electricity with zero emissions of air pollution. The 200,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy represent avoided emissions of 951 tons of sulfur dioxide, 271 tons of nitrogen oxide and 123,410 tons of carbon dioxide. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide contribute to acid rain, fine particulate pollution and regional haze, and nitrogen oxide is also a key component of smog. Carbon dioxide is one of the most potent greenhouse gases.


Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, one of the most progressive in the nation, ensures that 18% of all retail energy generated by 2020 comes from clean, efficient and advanced resources. Clean energy builds substantially on the state’s leadership in wind production east of the Mississippi, with wind sources providing enough clean energy to power some 70,000 homes.

The commonwealth is leading in other areas of advanced energy development and energy efficiency. Governor Rendell’s “PennSecurity Fuels Initiative” will produce and use 900 million gallons annually of clean, domestic fuel - an amount equivalent to what the state is expected to import from the Persian Gulf 10 years from now. The Governor is investing $30 million over the next five years to build re-fueling and production infrastructure to support wide distribution of the alternative fuels.

The Pennsylvania Energy Harvest Grant Program has awarded $15.9 million and leveraged another $43.7 million in private funds since its inception in May 2003 for projects using sources such as wind, solar, biomass, waste coal and recycled energy.

Pennsylvania is among the national leaders in energy efficiency with more than three dozen buildings certified by the U.S. Green Building Council under the internationally recognized Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. Eight of the certified buildings are state facilities. Another 129 Pennsylvania buildings are registered for LEED certification.


DOT to Propose New Safety Requirements for Rural Low-Stress and Gathering Pipelines in Unusually Sensitive Areas


Certain pipeline operators will have to meet new, more rigorous safety requirements, including cleaning and continuous monitoring, along more than 1,200 miles of pipelines under a proposed rulemaking announced August 31 by Acting Secretary of Transportation Maria Cino. If the proposed rule is finalized, the department would regulate additional pipelines that would pose a significant risk to human health and the environment.

“This rule will help restore public confidence in America's pipelines,” said Acting Secretary Cino. Cino noted that the proposed rule would prevent the kind of maintenance lapses that led to a partial shutdown of 22 miles of low-stress pipelines operated by BP in northern Alaska. Cino added that the proposed rule would impose requirements similar to those for high-pressure pipelines that already have added protections for drinking water, endangered species habitats and other areas defined as “unusually sensitive areas."

The proposed new rule will, for the first time, require companies that operate low-pressure pipelines in unusually sensitive areas, like Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to comply with federal safety regulations similar to those applied to high-pressure pipelines, which are established by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

Pipeline operators would have to develop comprehensive programs to regularly monitor pipelines. For example, operators would be required to assess integrity by methods such as running internal inspection devices through their pipelines and review any changes in crude oil quality that might contribute to corrosion. In addition, under the proposed rule, operators would be required to regularly check their pipelines for leaks.

“A strong and clearly defined pipeline safety program is an absolute minimum,” said PHMSA Administrator Thomas Barrett. Barrett noted that the agency began developing the rulemaking about three years ago as part of a broader effort to improve the safety of the nation’s pipelines. He added that the public will have 60 days to comment on the proposed rule.


Emissions of the most potent greenhouse gas, sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), could be history in less than four years, according to results of pilot tests conducted by the EPA and the magnesium industry. Preliminary results show that alternative technologies have the potential to replace SF6, which is used to prevent oxidation and burning of molten metal.

"By investing in innovative technologies, our country's environmental well being will improve," said Bill Wehrum, EPA acting assistant administrator for Air and Radiation. 

EPA's Magnesium Partnership is a cooperative effort between EPA and industry to reduce and eliminate emissions of sulfur hexafluoride from magnesium production and casting processes through cost-effective technologies and practices. Eliminating emissions from SF6 about three million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually is roughly equal to emissions from 500,000 vehicles per year.

In 2004, EPA’s voluntary partnerships prevented over 60 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to the annual emissions from over 40 million vehicles. EPA's climate programs continue to exceed the agency’s greenhouse gas emissions goals and are on target to meet the president's goal to reduce greenhouse gas intensity 18% by 2012.


Trivia Question of the Week

According to the National Association of Home Builders, environmentally responsible construction represented what percentage of all residential housing starts last year?

a. 1%
b. 5%
c. 7%
d. 15%