EPA Increases Penalties for Most Environmental Violations

December 15, 2008

EPA issued this final Civil Monetary Penalty Inflation Adjustment Rule on December 9, as mandated by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (DCIA), to adjust for inflation the statutory civil monetary penalties that may be assessed for violations of EPA-administered statutes and their implementing regulations. The Agency is required to review the civil monetary penalties under the statutes it administers at least once every four years and to adjust these penalties as necessary for inflation according to a formula specified in the DCIA. Laws, such as the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, that had maximum statutory civil penalties set at $25,000 were adjusted to $37,500.


New Hazardous Waste Exclusion for Comparable Fuels

The rule allows certain secondary material, called emission-comparable fuel (ECF), to be burned for energy recovery in industrial boilers. ECF generates emissions that are comparable to those from burning fuel oil when ECF is burned in an industrial boiler. The new final rule will be published in an upcoming Federal Register and will have an effective date that is 30 days beyond the date of publication in the Federal Register.

“This action recognizes that ECF should be managed as a commodity valued for its energy content,” said Susan Bodine, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “This action will remove unnecessary regulation to promote use and energy recovery, while maintaining protection of human health and the environment.”

EPA issued the Comparable Fuel Exclusion in 1998 to establish standards to exclude certain hazardous secondary materials from the regulatory definition of solid waste. These secondary materials have levels of hazardous constituents and properties that affect burning that are comparable to fossil fuels.

Under the final regulation, ECF is subject to the same requirements that currently apply under the Comparable Fuels Exclusion, with an allowance for ECF’s higher hydrocarbon and oxygenate content. Higher hydrocarbons and oxygenates levels are allowed as they contribute energy value to the fuel. The new regulation also requires certain storage and burner conditions for ECF.

EPA Takes Measures to Accelerate Phasing Out of Ozone-Depleting Chemicals

By issuing two new proposed rules, EPA is taking the next steps to eliminate harmful hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) emissions in an effort to help restore the ozone layer and address climate change.

 This proposal, which would take effect Jan. 1, 2010, would reduce the allowable amounts of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b and would also set allowances for other HCFCs for the first time. As a party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the United States will completely phase out HCFCs in 2030. For a fact sheet on the proposed rule and information on how to submit comments, click here.

“EPA is leading the way and working with the global community in helping to protect the environment for future generations with the phase out of HCFCs,” said Robert J. Meyers, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

These actions also will amend provisions concerning HCFC production for developing countries’ basic domestic needs and would clarify a ban on the sale and distribution of HCFCs through interstate commerce under the Clean Air Act. EPA will accept comments on the proposed rules for 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register.

Amendments Proposed to Air Emissions Regulations for Petroleum Refineries

EPA is seeking comments on a small number of technical amendments to the June 24, 2008, new source performance standards for petroleum refineries.

 If a refinery relies upon flaring more than expected, the facility would be required to take corrective action. These proposed amendments reflect additional data and information EPA received since issuing the current standards.

EPA will accept comments on the proposed amendments for 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. 

EPA Issues Final Rule Allowing Exemption for Reporting Hazardous Substance Releases from Farm Animal Waste

 The final rule will be effective 60 days from the date it is published in the Federal Register.

This rule will enable response authorities to better focus their attention on hazardous substance releases that require a response, while reducing reporting burdens on America’s farms. Notifications must still be made to response authorities when hazardous substances are released to the air from sources other than animal waste (e.g., ammonia tanks) and when hazardous substances are released to soil and water.

Administrative exemptions from particular notification requirements are authorized under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, also known as Superfund) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).

Under the Federal National Contingency Plan (NCP) regulations, farms and other facilities are required to report any releases of hazardous substances above an EPA-established level to the Coast Guard National Response Center and state and local emergency response authorities. However, EPA has never initiated a response based upon a notification of a hazardous substance release to the air from animal waste at farms. A number of states and localities also have indicated that they do not expect to take response actions as a result of a notification of releases of hazardous substances from animal waste at farms. Because of these findings, EPA is providing a full exemption to the reporting requirement under CERCLA and a limited exemption to the reporting requirement under EPCRA for releases of hazardous substances to the air from animal waste at farms.

The limited exemption under EPCRA is a result of EPA receiving comments on the proposed rule from state and local officials indicating that, although they did not expect to respond to notifications of air releases of hazardous substances from animal waste at farms, some still wished to receive notifications from large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). EPA has addressed these comments by requiring large CAFOs to continue submitting emergency notification reports under EPCRA.

New EPA Website for Cell Phone Users

The world is getting more mobile, with estimates of more than 250 million cell phones in use in the United States and EPA certainly recognizes that fact. The new website has been tailored to load fast on a small screen, providing EPA information that visitors might need when they are away from their large-screen desktop computer.

Services available on the new website include:

  • How to contact EPA—national and regional offices
  • Find environmental information by ZIP code
  • EPA news releases
  • “Greenversations” blog, including the question of the week
  • Links to other government mobile websites


Over the coming months, EPA will be adding more features. Users are invited to suggest improvements for the new website using a feedback form available on the website’s home page.

Website Tracks Environmental Fugitives

“Putting this information on the EPA’s website will increase the number of ‘eyes’ looking for environmental fugitives,” said Granta Y. Nakayama, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Two EPA fugitives were captured this year, and this website could help us find more fugitives in the future.”

The website includes photos of the accused, summaries of their alleged environmental violations, and information on each fugitive’s last known whereabouts. The alleged violations include smuggling of ozone-depleting substances, illegally disposing of hazardous waste, discharging pollutants into the air and water, laundering money, and making criminally false statements.

One of the 23 current fugitives is Mauro Valenzuela, 39, a former mechanic for Sabertech. Among his several charges, Valenzuela is alleged to have illegally transported hazardous materials on a commercial aircraft. In 1996, Valenzuela allegedly transported waste oxygen generators onboard ValuJet flight 592 without proper markings and other safety measures. The jet crashed, killing all 110 passengers and crew onboard. Valenzuela failed to appear in federal court nine years ago.

The website also lists EPA’s captured fugitives. Earlier this year, EPA found two men on the run. David Allen Phillips escaped prison four years ago after being convicted of Clean Water Act crimes in Montana. He fled to Mexico, was turned over to authorities by the Mexican government last March, and awaits further sentencing. David Ortiz fled after the appeal of his conviction for Clean Water Act crimes in 2004. He remained at large for almost four years until his capture last March in Colorado and is currently in prison.

Anyone who encounters a fugitive should notify EPA by submitting the “Report a Fugitive” form on the website. The information will be sent electronically to EPA’s national criminal investigation office in Washington, D.C. The public may also choose to report the information to their local police or, if outside the United States, to the nearest U.S. Embassy. Some fugitives may be armed and dangerous, and EPA warns the public against trying to apprehend them.

Many of the alleged violators listed on the website have fled the country. EPA depends on cooperation with Interpol and other international law enforcement agencies to locate their whereabouts.

The FBI, U.S. Secret Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms also maintain websites featuring fugitives from the law, but EPA is the first federal law enforcement agency to feature an environmental crimes fugitive website.

Note that criminal charges are only allegations of misconduct. Individuals who have been charged with environmental crimes are presumed innocent until they are found guilty through the appropriate legal system.

EPA Finalizes its Approach to Fugitive Emissions

For example, these emissions, also called fugitive emissions, can escape from equipment leaks or evaporation. 

Fugitive emissions are also included in determining whether a physical or operational change is a major modification only for industries designated through previous Clean Air Act rulemakings.

Affected industries include electric services, petroleum refining, industrial chemical products, and pulp and paper mills.

The NSR rule has been submitted for publication in the Federal Register. Once it is published in the Federal Register, it will become effective 60 days after the date it is published.

EPA’s SmartWay Transport Partnership Held December International Summit

The achievements of EPA’s SmartWay Transport Partnership have governments and other organizations around the globe sitting up and taking note. 

The conference was hosted by the U.S. EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership and the University of Michigan from December 2 to 4. Businesses worldwide want to reduce the environmental impacts of shipping their goods, and programs like SmartWay can help them reach their goals. During the summit, participants shared best practices and exchanged ideas on how to track greenhouse gas emissions and how to implement SmartWay-type programs overseas.

Australia, France, Japan, and New Zealand are now among countries establishing or strengthening similar programs to SmartWay. Additionally, with the volume of international trade, conference attendees are working to adopt a more consistent approach worldwide to measuring and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions from the global supply chain.

Launched in February 2004, the SmartWay Transport Partnership currently has more than 1,200 partners in the United States who are on track for 2008 to save about 540 million gallons of diesel fuel and greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and smog-forming chemicals.

North American Environmental Ministers Advance Cooperation on Chemicals

To strengthen the assessment and management of chemicals in North America, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson and his Canadian and Mexican counterparts have signed a statement of intent on North American chemical cooperation. The statement affirms the commitments made by President Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Mexican President Felipe Calderon at the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America’s Leaders’ Summit in Montebello, Quebec, in August 2007.

“Chemicals are used everyday in all types of settings—from science labs to our homes,” Johnson said. “The more EPA and our international colleagues know about the chemicals we use today, the more we can ensure a healthier, safer tomorrow.”

To date, the United States and Canada have completed and made public screening assessments on hundreds of chemicals. Mexico has made progress in the design and development of its chemicals inventory. Under this cooperative effort, the United States committed, by 2012, to assess and initiate action, as needed, on more than 6,750 chemicals produced above 25,000 pounds a year.

EPA also recently began posting assessments on moderate-volume chemicals, which are manufactured or imported at levels between 25,000 and 1 million pounds a year.

EPA expects to accelerate the pace of the ChAMP assessments in 2009 and beyond. By sharing expertise and resources and setting priorities among the three countries, EPA anticipates stronger protection for public health and the environment in North America.

Construction Sector Can Do More to Curb Carbon Emissions

Energy use in buildings accounts for one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, but the huge potential of the construction sector to combat climate change has not been realized, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

A new report by the UNEP says that only 10 out of some 4,000 projects in the pipeline of the UN-sponsored Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)—which finances initiatives that help slash emissions—are designed to curb energy use in buildings.

Dozens of surveys conducted worldwide show that up to a 30% reduction in emissions from residential and commercial buildings can be achieved by 2030 at a net negative cost.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), co-recipient of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, has warned that building-related emissions could nearly double from almost 9 billion tons in 2004 to nearly 16 billion in 2030. The surge will be driven in large part by construction booms in the next two decades in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.

“Report after report is now underlining the huge, cost-effective savings possible from addressing emissions from existing buildings alongside designing new ones that include passive and active solar up to low-energy heating and cooling systems and energy-efficient systems,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said.

The new study notes that today’s commercially available technologies allow for energy consumption to be halved in both new and old buildings relatively cheaply through measures such as improved ventilation and insulation, stepped up use of natural lighting, and the use of solar and other natural heat sources.

The sector remains virtually untapped because six years after the start of the CDM, very few building projects have managed to enter its pipeline because nearly half of all proposals were rejected during the registration phase.

The report, “The Kyoto Protocol, the Clean Development Mechanism, and the Building and Construction Sector,” cites high administrative costs and weak financial incentives as being among the barriers in projects being approved by the CDM. For example, eight projects proposed by a Brazilian supermarket chain were rejected because of difficulties in accounting for the projected 20,000 tons of annual carbon savings. Only $3,000 of carbon revenue would be generated by the store, which is less than the basic operating costs for the projects and would not cover the energy-efficient equipment necessary.

Glass Container Industry Sets Recycling Goal of 50% or Higher Recycled Content for Glass by 2013

The glass container industry, its companies, and thousands of employees, recognize the growing importance of protecting the environment and conserving valuable energy resources. In recognition of the environmental value of post-consumer cullet, or recycled glass, member companies of the Glass Packaging Institute (GPI) have agreed to the goal of using at least 50% recycled glass in the manufacture of new glass bottles and jars by 2013.

EPA data shows the glass recycling rate has already jumped to 28.1% in 2007, up three percentage points from 2006 (25.3%). With this new momentum, an estimated 3.2 million tons were recovered compared to 2.9 million in 2006. Using the EPA’s benefits calculator, GPI estimates energy savings from using 50% recycled content in all glass packages manufactured in the United States could save enough energy to power more than 45,000 households for a year.

“This is certainly a powerful statement by the glass industry about its intent to work with other stakeholders to improve cradle-to-cradle recycling,” said Rich Crawford, GPI’s board chairman and president of Global Glass Operations, O-I. “Like glass itself, this recycling goal is good for consumers and families as well as the environment.”

GPI has long been committed to and engaged in promoting recycling in the United States. Its member companies were early proponents of drop-off collection centers and then later, curbside recycling. The industry has actively supported efforts to improve single-stream curbside best practices that maintain glass containers as a viable commodity-grade product suitable for bottle-to-bottle recycling. GPI plans to accelerate support of legislative and regulatory measures that will dramatically improve glass recycling systems in order to reach these environmental goals.

Army to Buy Electric Cars for Local Use on Military Bases

Aiming to save fuel and advance alternative-energy plans, the Army intends to buy thousands of battery-powered, 35-mile-an-hour electric cars and light trucks to provide on-base transport, according to senior Army officials.

“The Neighborhood Electric Vehicle [NEV] will be at Fort Belvoir, [Va.,] before December 15. Our goal is to have the secretary [of the Army, Pete Geren] there to drive in one of the first ones,” said Paul Bollinger, deputy assistant Army secretary for energy and partnerships. “We are having bumper stickers put on and decals on the doors which say ‘Army Green, Army Strong.’”

The Army plans to order the street-legal NEVs from E-Z-Go, Native American Biofuels International and other electric-car makers. E-Z-Go, which is a subsidiary of defense giant Textron, makes golf carts that are listed online at about $1,300 each.

“We’re excited about this,” said James Cooke, CEO of Native American Biofuels International, Arlington, Va. “We’ve been working on alternative energy for about three-and-a-half years. We’ve innovated with Native American tribes all over the country.”

In 2009, 800 cars will be delivered with 4,000 more scheduled for delivery over the next three years. Ultimately, Bollinger hopes to grow the fleet to at least 10,000 vehicles overall.

“The good news is that the Air Force and Navy have come to us and said that they want to piggyback on the order. Previously, the Air Force was looking at low-speed vehicles, which are actually still gasoline vehicles. We’ve skipped that and we are going straight to electric. We are eliminating the fuel issue, period,” Bollinger said.

The Army is moving quickly; the purchase plans were unveiled last month as part of the service’s ambitious new energy strategy, which also calls for the construction of solar and geothermal facilities. “We will not be paying any more for the NEV than for a standard gasoline-powered vehicle,” Bollinger said.

Bollinger said each electric car would use an average of about $400 in electricity per year, compared to the roughly $2,400 in fuel needed to run a gas-powered car, citing General Services Administration figures. Additionally, the 4,000 electric cars will save 11.5 million gallons of fuel per year, he said.

The first batch of vehicles will likely be leased per year from Native American Biofuels International. The Army expects to continue to lease the electric cars on a yearly basis and possibly buy them down the road.

The NEVs, now powered by lead-acid batteries, may one day be operated by lithium batteries, which are able to store and dispense larger amounts of energy at a lighter weight compared with lead-acid batteries.

The Army hopes to inspire a broader market for electric cars and has been telling automakers about the plans. “Chevy is looking at making the Volt, a street vehicle that will go highway speeds. We don’t need that because the speed limit on our installation is 30 mph. We don’t need something that big or expensive, but we might need something that powerful. So in the future, if they are able to make it, that is great,” Bollinger said.

Daniel Goure, vice president of the Lexington Institute, a Va.-based think tank, noted that the price of fuel is nearly half of its record high earlier this year. “In a few months, the savings that they could have expected has dropped by half,” Goure stated.

Fines in Excess of $4 Million Issued in Relation to Minnesota Superfund Site

In accordance with Section 122 of CERCLA, the Department of Justice has published notice in a proposed Consent Decree in the case of the United States v. FMC Corporation and BAE Systems Land & Armaments. The consent decree was lodged with the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota on Dec. 3, 2008 ). This Consent Decree pertains to the Naval Industrial Reserve Ordnance Plant Superfund Site located in Fridley, Minn. In this action, the United States brought civil claims against FMC Corporation and BAE Systems Land & Armaments for recovery of response costs incurred and to be incurred by the United States at the site with a cited reimbursement cost of $4.14 million in payment of the Navy’s response costs and $460,000 in payment of EPA’s response costs.

The Department of Justice will receive comments related to this action for a period of 15 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.

TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $877,222

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has approved penalties totaling $877,222 against 69 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations.

Agreed orders were issued for the following enforcement categories: 1 agricultural, 1 industrial and hazardous waste, 2 multi-media, 3 municipal waste discharge, 3 field citations, 3 water quality, 4 municipal solid waste, 5 public water system, 17 petroleum storage tank, and 21 air quality.

In addition, default orders were issued for the following categories: one industrial and hazardous waste, one municipal solid waste, three dry cleaners, and three petroleum storage tank. A default and shutdown order was also issued in one petroleum storage tank enforcement action.

Included in the total were fines against BASF Fina Petrochemicals LP, in Jefferson County in the amount of $203,125 for various violations found during routine inspections, conducted between February 2006 and February 2007. Of the fine total, $101,562 will be used for a Supplemental Environmental Project to fund home energy audits and assist low income residents in the West Port Arthur, Texas area, through the Southwest Texas Regional Planning Commission.

Construction Company Fined $135,000 for Stormwater Discharge Violations

A Massachusetts developer constructing a public high school on 35 acres of land adjacent to the Aberjona River will pay a $135,000 penalty for discharging polluted stormwater from its Reading, Mass., construction site and four additional sites in Massachusetts.

An EPA inspection determined that TLT Construction Corporation discharged stormwater containing pollutants from the Reading Memorial High School construction site since construction began in May 2004 through February 2005. EPA alleged that the company did not apply for coverage under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities, as required by the federal Clean Water Act.

TLT also failed to amend its Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan when it was shown to be ineffective in eliminating pollutants in stormwater discharges from the site in April 2005, April, May and June 2007, and February 2008. From March 2005 through January 2007, TLT also failed to complete inspection reports and maintain records of stormwater erosion and sedimentation control inspections. In addition, EPA learned that TLT had failed to file for coverage under the General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities and had discharged stormwater containing pollutants at four additional sites: Pembroke High School in Pembroke, Mass., Needham High School in Needham, Mass., Jacobs Elementary School in Hull, Mass., and North Shore Bank, in Peabody, Mass.

The company obtained coverage under the Construction General Permit (CGP) and amended its Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), which describes the best management practices that the company will undertake in order minimize erosion and sediment runoff from the site. Construction of the high school in Reading was completed in August 2008. Construction at the additional four sites has also been completed.

Stormwater running off the site contains sand, dirt, sediment, suspended solids, and residues of construction material. Silt and sediment in the stormwaters ran off the site into the Aberjona River, thereby negatively affecting the river’s water quality. Construction activities that disturb one acre or more are regulated under the NPDES stormwater program. In Massachusetts, operators of regulated construction sites are required to develop and implement SWPPPs and to obtain permit coverage from the regulating agency prior to commencement of construction activity.

Hudson Lock Fined $70,000 for Hazardous Waste Violations

A key and lock manufacturing facility located in Hudson, Mass., will pay a $70,000 fine in a settlement resolving RCRA violations relating to the characterization, handling, labeling, and storage of hazardous waste.

Following a 2007 inspection, EPA alleged that Hudson Lock LLC was violating a number of different requirements regarding containers of hazardous waste located at its facility. The company failed to make adequate determinations about the nature and characteristics of its wastes. EPA’s inspector also observed that a number of the hazardous waste containers were leaking, with no associated containment structures or berms to prevent commingling or protect the surrounding environment from exposure. Incompatible wastes were also stored near one another without any means of separation to prevent the possibility of dangerous chemical reactions. Additionally, the containers were not properly labeled as hazardous waste.

Hazardous waste generators are required to evaluate their waste streams so that proper decisions can be made about how to handle these materials. Conducting proper waste determinations, as well as properly storing and labeling containers of hazardous waste, are methods to be used by facilities to enable them to store and handle these types of waste in a safe manner.

EPA Fines Bali Hai Villas Ltd. $63,000 for Stormwater Violations

EPA recently accepted a settlement with Bali Hai Villas Ltd., including $63,000 in penalties for failing to comply with Clean Water Act stormwater control requirements at its condominium construction project in Princeville, Kauai. The company failed to adequately and completely implement stormwater pollution controls outlined in its stormwater pollution control plan at the construction site. Construction work has since been completed at the site.

“As this company was previously cited for similar violations, they are paying a significantly larger penalty this time,” said Alexis Strauss, Water Division director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Construction projects must have pollution controls in place. Erosion and sedimentation cause severe pollution problems for our coastal waters, coral reefs, and marine ecosystems.”

In September 2007, EPA inspectors found the company had failed to install adequate control measures to prevent soil and sediment-filled stormwater from running off the site. Specifically, the inspectors cited deficiencies with the site’s sediment trap, silt fences, litter control, and other measures to control stormwater runoff.

The EPA then issued an order in January 2008 that required the company to install soil stabilization and erosion and sediment controls at all locations of exposed soil and at locations where stormwater runoff could leave the project site. The company also needed to repair its silt fence, protect soil stockpiles from runoff, provide a contained and lined concrete wash area, and clean up litter on the site. The company has complied with EPA’s enforcement order.

In 2004, EPA and Department of Health inspectors found similar violations at the site, and the company agreed to correct the violations and paid a fine of $15,000.

Advanced Resource Recovery Pays $23,262 for Chemical Inventory Reporting Violations

EPA Region 5 recently settled a case of hazardous chemical reporting violations involving Advanced Resource Recovery LLC, located in Inkster, Mich.

Under the SARA Title III law, authorities are to be notified of hazardous chemical storage. In the event of a fire or emergency, responders need to know what they are dealing with so that they can take steps to protect themselves as well as protecting people living or working in the area.

Advanced Resource Recovery has paid $23,262 to resolve the EPA notice that the company failed to submit to state and local authorities the required chemical inventory forms for sulfuric acid and ferric chloride.

Sulfuric acid is an extremely hazardous substance and must be reported if more than 500 pounds or more is stored at a facility at any one time. Ferric chloride is a hazardous chemical that must be reported at levels above 10,000 pounds. These chemicals are used at this facility in the treatment of used oil and other hazardous wastes.

Energy Star Leaders Grow in Savings and Numbers


They are avoiding more than 580 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions—equal to those from the electricity use of nearly 35,000 U.S. homes—and saving almost $50 million annually.

Sixty-five leaders comprised of school districts, commercial real estate companies, healthcare systems, supermarket operators, and hoteliers are recognized for energy-efficiency milestones in buildings they own and manage. These milestones include achieving portfolio-wide energy savings of at least 10%, 20%, or 30%. A fourth level “Top Performer” requires that an organization’s entire building portfolio perform at an exemplary level (based upon the average of the buildings in the portfolio).

This year’s leaders include 14 new organizations and 12 organizations recognized for higher levels of achievement than in earlier years.

Energy Star was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the Energy Star label can be found on more than 50 different kinds of products, new homes, and commercial and industrial buildings. Products and buildings that have earned the Energy Star designation prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the government. Last year alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved about $16 billion on their energy bills while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 27 million vehicles.

Arizona’s Environmental Business Leaders Recently Honored as ADEQ Initiates State-Wide Performance Track Program

EPA and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement on Arizona Performance Track and recognized seven members of the program.

 Only facilities with a record of sustained compliance with environmental requirements are eligible to participate in this program.

“The Performance Track program helps recognize and incentivize businesses and others who do the right thing and go above and beyond the minimum requirements of our environmental laws and regulations,” said Steve Owens, director of ADEQ. “It also enables us to focus our limited resources on those other entities that need attention to comply with the law.”

Since the 2000 launch of EPA’s Performance Track program, membership has grown to 547 members in 49 states and Puerto Rico. Members have set more than 4,000 goals to benefit the environment. As a result, Performance Track members have reduced energy use by 4.2 trillion BTUs, saved 3.7 billion gallons of water, cut VOC air emissions by more than 3,000 tons, reduced hazardous waste by more than 50,000 tons, and conserved nearly 17,000 acres of land, while helping to protect the local and natural environments. This recent Memorandum of Agreement was the 14th to be signed by EPA and state environmental regulatory agencies.

New TERP Grant Application Period Is Open

The Texas Emissions Reduction Program (TERP) is now accepting applications for a new round of grants that will help businesses to replace or upgrade heavy equipment in order to improve the air quality in Texas counties that are part of this program. 


Environmental News Links

Trivia Question of the Week

What environmental law has the highest civil monetary penalty?
a. Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
b. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
c. Clean Air Act
d. Safe Drinking Water Act