December 21, 2001

EPA issued notices of violation on Dec. 20 to the Sunoco Corp. and the ExxonMobil Corp. for violations of the Clean Air Act at four refineries in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas and Louisiana.

The notices of violation issued to Sunoco are for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act 's Prevention of Significant Deterioration Rules, New Source Performance Standards, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for benzene waste, and other requirements of the Act related to the control of emissions at refineries in Marcus Hook, Pa., Philadelphia, Pa., and Toledo, Ohio.

The notices of violation issued to ExxonMobil are for alleged violations of Prevention of Significant Deterioration Rules at the company's Beaumont, Texas, refinery and of New Source Performance Standards and Leak Detection and Repair Rules at the company's Chalmette, La., refinery.


The Arizona Emergency Response Commission will host "GATKEEPER 2002", their 12th Annual Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Workshop in January, 2002. The workshop will be held in conjunction with the Arizona Emergency Services Association mid-year meeting on January 16th and 17th, 2002 in Phoenix, AZ. Visit http://www.dem.state.az.us/azserc and check out the "events/workshop" link for more information.


Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act

January 1: Suppliers must give notice to each recipient of affected mixtures or trade name product containing toxic chemicals with the first shipment of the calendar year.

Clean Air Act

January 1 - The production of methyl chloroform is prohibited.


The U.S. Justice Department and EPA announced two comprehensive environmental settlements with Conoco Inc., Navajo Refining Company and Montana Refining Company that are expected to reduce harmful air emissions from seven U.S. petroleum refineries by more than 10,000 tons per year. The states of Louisiana, Oklahoma, Montana, Colorado and New Mexico are joining the settlements, which are part of EPA's national effort to reduce air emissions from refineries.

Navajo Refining and Montana Refining are subsidiaries of Holly Corporation, which is based in Dallas. Conoco Inc. is headquartered in Houston.

A consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Houston, Texas, will require Conoco to spend an estimated $95-$110 million to install the best available technology to control emissions from stacks, wastewater vents, leaking valves and flares throughout its refineries. Another consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, N.M., requires Navajo and Montana Refining to spend an estimated $16-$21 million to undertake similar projects. The terms of the agreements provided the companies with the operating and design flexibility to continue meeting the public's demand for fuel and to increase production capacity, while significantly reducing harmful pollutants, and ensuring continuing compliance with the Clean Air Act rules.

Under the negotiated settlements, Conoco, Navajo Refining, and Montana Refining will cut emissions by using innovative technologies, incorporating improved leak detection and repair practices, and making other emissions-control upgrades at each of their refineries. The agreement with Conoco will affect refineries located in Lake Charles, La.; Ponca City, Okla.; Commerce City, Colo.; and Billings, Mont. The agreement with Navajo and Montana Refining will affect refineries located in Artesia and Lovington, N.M., and Great Falls, Mont. These refineries comprise more than 3.5 percent of the total refining capacity in the United States.

Conoco also will pay a $1.5 million civil penalty under the Clean Air Act and spend about $5 million on environmental projects in communities around the company's refineries. The states of Louisiana, Montana and Oklahoma will share in the cash penalty. Navajo and Montana Refining will pay a $750,000 civil penalty and spend about $1.5 million on environmentally- beneficial projects. The states of New Mexico and Montana will share in the cash penalty.

The new environmental projects at Conoco's refineries will reduce annual emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) by approximately 3,210 tons, sulfur dioxide (SO2) by approximately 4,000 tons, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by approximately 100 tons and particulate matter (PM) by approximately 400 tons.

The new environmental projects at the refineries owned by Navajo and Montana Refining will reduce annual emissions of NOx by approximately 250 tons, SO2 by approximately 2,350 tons, and VOCs and PM by approximately 100 tons each.

Because Conoco, Navajo Refining and Montana Refining negotiated in good faith, these settlements were reached without litigation.

The United States has reached similar agreements over the past year with Motiva Enterprises, Equilon Enterprises, Deer Park Refining Limited Partnership, Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC, Koch Petroleum Group, BP, Amoco and Atlantic Richfield. Together, these settlements provide for a comprehensive, cooperative approach to addressing environmental problems across the industry.

This effort is the result of state and federal enforcement agencies working together with participating companies to address serious environmental problems, to produce settlements that provide for comprehensive relief and assure continuing compliance with Clean Air Act requirements. Collectively, they address more than 30 percent of domestic refining capacity, require over $1.4 billion in new pollution controls and reduce emissions by more than140,000 tons per year.

The proposed consent decrees are subject to a 30-day public comment period.


DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it has identified more than 300 cargo tanks equipped with rear-end protection devices that do not comply with specifications in the federal hazardous materials regulations and required that these tanks be removed from hazardous materials transportation service. The rear-end protection devices in question were designed and certified by Chemical Transportation Equipment Consultants (CTEC), Lubbock, TX, which is no longer in business.

These certified designs were sold to Bulk Truck and Transport in Hanover, IN and Eagle Fabrication and Repair, Oak Harbor, OH. These companies subsequently used the designs to manufacture rear-end protection devices and install them on cargo tanks. The cargo tanks are being prohibited from being used to haul hazardous materials because their rear-end protection devices, built to CTEC's designs, do not meet minimum regulatory requirements. These tanks primarily transport anhydrous ammonia, propane and other compressed gases. Failure of the protection devices in a rear impact collision may cause the cargo tanks to leak, which could result in serious injury, death and property damage.

The FMCSA is notifying the owners of these tanks that they are no longer authorized to transport hazardous materials in the tanks unless they are modified to meet federal safety standards. FMCSA also is requesting documentation from the owners of these tanks showing that modifications have brought these cargo tanks into compliance or that the tanks have been removed from hazardous materials service.

The notice is in the December 12 Federal Register. Photos of cargo tanks with rear-end protection devices built to CTEC designs are on the Internet at http://www.dot.gov/affairs/cargo.htm.


EPA has requested that the National Academy of Sciences conduct an expeditious review of the complex scientific and ethical issues posed by EPA's possible use of third-party studies which intentionally dose human subjects with toxicants to identify or quantify their effects.

EPA will ask the Academy to furnish recommendations regarding the particular factors and criteria EPA should consider to determine the potential acceptability of such third-party studies. Recently, most submissions to the Agency have concerned toxicity testing of pesticides, such as studies used to establish a No Observed Adverse Effect Level or No Observed Effect Level for systemic toxicity of pesticides. The Academy is also being asked to provide recommendations on whether internationally accepted protocols or the Protection of Human Subjects Rule ("the Common Rule," which details the protection of human subjects of EPA-conducted or supported research) could be applied to develop the scientific and ethical criteria for EPA to evaluate such studies. These third-party studies that will be the focus of the Academy review are those that have not been conducted or funded by a federal agency in compliance with EPA's Common Rule, or its equivalent.

The Agency will ask that the Academy incorporate early in its review an open, public and participatory process through which all interested parties may raise their concerns and ideas for consideration. Following the Academy's review, EPA will engage in an open and participatory process involving federal partners, interested parties and the public during its policy development and/or rule making regarding future acceptance, consideration or regulatory reliance on such human studies.

During the Academy's consideration of the issues and until a policy is in place, the Agency will not consider or rely on any such human studies in its regulatory decision making, whether previously or newly submitted. Should EPA be legally required to consider or rely on any such human study during this interim period, the Agency will assemble a Science Advisory Board subpanel to review and comment on scientific appropriateness and ethical acceptability of the study in question, and the Agency will provide an opportunity for public involvement. This external review would occur prior to consideration of the study and would allow the Science Advisory Board to review all available information on the study.

Notwithstanding the interim policy, existing provisions of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act, continue to require industry to report any adverse effects information from such studies. In any instance where third-party human testing data suggests a public health concern, the Agency would promptly consider that information.


Under a Dec.15 deadline, EPA made a final decision not to regulate dioxin in sewage sludge that is incinerated or placed in sludge landfills or containment ponds. EPA based its decision on an evaluation of the risk of exposure for people most likely to be exposed to dioxin from these sources. EPA concluded that existing regulations for incinerators, landfills or containment ponds adequately protect human health and the environment by limiting exposure to pollutants, including dioxins. The agency continues to discus the final schedule for issuing a separate decision for dioxin in sewage sludge that is land applied.

Dioxins are a group of highly toxic persistent compounds which are a byproduct of certain combustion and chemical manufacturing processes. Sewage sludge is the byproduct of the treatment processes which purify wastewater before it is released into local waterways.

For more information about this decision, visit http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/biosolids/ . For more information on dioxins, visit http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/pbt/dioxins.htm .


A Manchester, N.H. man and his company pleaded guilty in federal court in connection with a lead poisoning case involving the death of a two-year-old girl in Manchester in April 2000.

James T. Aneckstein and his company, JTA Real Estate Brokerage and Property Management, pleaded guilty to charges of obstructing justice, making false statements to investigators and failing to provide prospective tenants with lead-based paint (LBP) disclosure information as required by federal law. The victim and her mother were tenants in a Bridge Street apartment managed by Aneckstein.

The case against Aneckstein and his company is the first case in the nation in which a corporation has been criminally prosecuted for failing to provide federal LBP disclosure information to residential tenants. This case was investigated by civil and criminal investigators from EPA in Boston and ultimately was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Hampshire.

The investigation began after the Manchester Health Department announced in November 2000 that the girl's lead poisoning was "most likely" caused by lead paint and lead-contaminated dust in and around her apartment.

On Nov. 21, 2000, EPA inspectors visited JTA's office in Manchester to determine if Aneckstein complied with the federal Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rule ? the "lead disclosure rule" ? when he leased an apartment to the victim's mother.

Aneckstein gave EPA investigators ? and later a federal grand jury ? forged and fictitious documents falsely certifying the victim's mother, as well as other tenants living in the Bridge Street apartment building, had been given the required federal LBP disclosure information.

The lead disclosure rule requires property owners and their agents to provide tenants with an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet that contains information to protect families from LBP hazards in their homes. The law also requires property owners and their agents to disclose knowledge of lead-based paint and hazards in buildings constructed before 1978 and to provide a list of any records or reports available about LBP paint and hazards. Property owners and agents must have tenants and purchasers sign an acknowledgment that they have received the information and keep those acknowledgments for three years.

Lead was widely used in paint up until 1978. Although lead naturally occurs in the environment it is a highly toxic metal. Young and unborn children are most at risk to lead poisoning, which affects the body's many organs and systems. It is recommended that all children under three years old be tested for exposure to lead.

There are hundreds of lead poisoning cases a year. However cases like this are very rare. The death of the Manchester girl was the first in the U.S. since 1990.

For more information on this case, log onto http://www.epa.gov/region01/topics/pollutants/lead.html

For more information on how to comply with the Federal Lead Disclosure Rule, log onto http://www.epa.gov/region1/compliance/enflead.html

For specific questions about LBP and LBP hazards, call the National Lead Information Clearinghouse at 1-800-424-LEAD (TDD 1-800-536-5456).