EPA Launches New Spanish-Language Campaign For Used Motor Oil Recycling

June 20, 2003
EPA has introduced a new Spanish-language campaign for the auto repair and service industry called the "You Dump It, You Drink It" campaign to encourage Hispanic consumers and auto workers to properly store and dispose of used motor oil. English and Spanish-language posters, brochures, and bumper stickers were distributed this week at the annual national convention of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in Orlando, Fla.

Research conducted by Delmar Learning of Clifton Park, N.Y., reveals that while about half of all auto mechanics in the United States are Hispanic, little, if any, Spanish-language material is available on the used oil recycling issue. On average, about four million people reuse motor oil as a lubricant for other equipment or take it to a recycling facility annually.

With approximately 115,000 members throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC is the largest and oldest Hispanic Organization in the United States. LULAC advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 600 councils nationwide. The organization involves and serves all Hispanic nationality groups. To learn more about LULAC, visit http://www.lulac.org/

"This campaign is a vital step toward making it easier for Hispanic Americans to become more aware of their impact on the environment," said Marianne Lamont Horinko, EPA's Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response. "Used motor oil from a single oil change can contaminate a million gallons of fresh water – a year's supply for 50 people. EPA wants to get the word out to let people know more about environmentally-safe ways to store or dispose of used motor oil."

Campaign materials include "You Dump It, You Drink It: Recycle Used Motor Oil," a brochure on how to change and dispose of used motor oil; "Managing Oil Spills," a display poster for gas stations; "Managing Used Motor Oil," a reference card for owners and managers of automotive repair and service shops with tips for properly managing and storing used motor oil; and bumpers stickers with the "You Dump It, You Drink It," slogan. This campaign is part of EPA's Resource Conservation Challenge, an initiative urging all Americans to embrace a resource conservation ethic of producing, purchasing and using products that are easy to recycle and consist of recycled materials. To learn more about the "You Dump It, You Drink It" campaign, visit http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/usedoil/index.htm. To order copies of the materials, call: 800-424-9346 (or 703-412-9810 in the Washington, DC metro area), or go to http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/publicat.htm

EPA Public Involvement Policy Issued

EPA Administrator Christie Whitman issued the new Public Involvement Policy on June 6. The updated policy gives clear guidance to EPA officials on effective ways to involve the public in its regulatory and program decision-making processes. The new policy reaffirms EPA's commitment to early and meaningful public involvement and to understanding the interests and concerns of affected people and entities.

The policy recommends seven steps for effective public involvement:

  1. plan and budget;
  2. identify whom to involve;
  3. consider providing assistance;
  4. provide information;
  5. conduct involvement;
  6. review and use public input and provide feedback; and
  7. evaluate public involvement.

The new policy recognizes new statutes and regulations, expanded public participation techniques, and media (e.g. Internet), emphasis on assuring compliance and increased state, tribal, and local government capacity to carry out delegated programs.

EPA also released "A Framework for Implementing EPA's Public Involvement Policy" and "EPA's Response to Public Comments on the Draft 2000 Public Involvement Policy."

The policy, framework and EPA's responses are posted at http://www.epa.gov/publicinvolvement/policy2003.htm.

The policy is not a rule and is not legally enforceable. It supplements (but does not replace) public involvement requirements under existing laws and regulations and enables EPA to implement those requirements in the most effective ways.

EPA Schedules Meeting on Draft Report On Health Effects From World Trade Center Disaster

On July 14 and 15, 2003, EPA will hold a peer review meeting in New York City on the draft report, "Exposure and Human Health Evaluation of Airborne Pollution from the World Trade Center Disaster," an evaluation of the environmental levels of air pollutants to which the public could potentially have been exposed as a result of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. The public is invited to observe the peer review conducted by an independent panel of scientific experts.

In December 2002, EPA released the draft report for public review, and all public comments received by EPA were provided to the peer reviewers. Both public review and expert scientific review are customary and important steps that the Agency takes to ensure full and open participation by interested parties and that reports conform to the highest scientific standards. The draft evaluation concluded that with the exception of people exposed immediately following the collapse and perhaps during the next few days, people in the surrounding community are not likely to suffer from serious long or short term health effects from the attack on the World Trade Center.

The draft document is available at http://www.epa.gov/ncea/wtc.htm. A Federal Register notice published Wednesday, June 18, 2003, provides logistical information on the meeting. Further information on attending the meeting is available at http://www.versar.com/epa/wtcpeerreview.htm or by calling Ms. Traci Bludis, Versar, Inc. at (703)750-3000, Ext. 449.

U.S. Reaches Settlement with SIGECO on Clean Air Act Power Plants Initiative

The Department of Justice and EPA announced a multi-million dollar Clean Air Act settlement with Southern Indiana Gas and Electric Company, Inc. (SIGECO). The settlement resolves the federal government’s claims that SIGECO violated the New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act at its F.B. Culley Station plant in Newburgh, Indiana by undertaking major modifications and increasing emissions of air pollution without also installing required air pollution controls. The settlement is expected to eliminate approximately 10,500 tons of harmful air pollutants annually from three coal-fired electricity generating units at the Culley Station.

This settlement is consistent with a series of cases pursued by the federal government to bring the coal-fired power plant industry into full compliance with the New Source Review requirements of the Clean Air Act, and is the first of those litigated cases to be resolved. The agreement requires SIGECO to install and/or upgrade state-of-the-art controls at two units and elect to shut down or re-power and control a third unit.

The agreement requires SIGECO, a public utility and wholly-owned subsidiary of Vectren Corporation, to install a state-of-the-art environmental control to significantly reduce particulate matter (PM) emissions. In addition, the agreement requires SIGECO to significantly reduce emissions from the Culley plant of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by continuously operating a control device designed to remove NOx emissions which the company would otherwise operate only during the summer ozone season. SIGECO will also reduce SO2 emissions by significantly improving the operation of existing pollution abatement equipment. By 2006, SIGECO will upgrade its oldest unit by repowering the unit with natural gas or installing new state of the art pollution abatement equipment, or permanently retiring the unit. These measures will result in a reduction of NOx from the Culley Plant of more than 4,000 tons a year and SO2 from the plant of more than 6,000 tons a year.

It is estimated that SIGECO will spend approximately $30 million to reduce emissions of NOx, SO2 and PM and come into compliance with the Clean Air Act. The company will also pay a civil penalty of $600,000 and will spend at least $2.5 million on an environmental project to install and operate technology to reduce emissions from the Culley plant of sulfuric acid, a chemical affecting air opacity in the vicinity of the plant.

With the SIGECO settlement, this string of consent decrees is extended to five significant power plant settlements during the past eighteen months. These enforcement actions will have been responsible for reducing approximately 125,000 tons of NOx and 325,00 tons of SO2, annually. Those five settlements, and the dates they were lodged with courts, are: PSEG (January 24, 2002) , Alcoa (April 9, 2003), Wisconsin Electric (April 29, 2003), VEPCO (April 21, 2003), and - now - SIGECO (June 6, 2003).

The SIGECO settlement was lodged June 6, 2003, for a 30-day public comment period in the United States District Court in Indianapolis, Indiana.

AMA Designs Curriculum to Standardize Emergency Response

The American Medical Association (AMA) this week announced the creation of emergency preparedness training courses to help train physicians for mass casualty events. Developed in cooperation with four major medical centers, the courses — entitled “The Basic Disaster Life Support (BDLS)” and “Advanced Disaster Life Support (ADLS)” — are designed to standardize emergency response nationwide.

“Currently, there is a tremendous amount of information out there on emergency response,” said James J. James, MD, director of the AMA Center for Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response (CDPER). “We need to be thinking of standardization and what is required in terms of basic skills and knowledge to make our health care providers and physicians more ready.”

The new curriculum covers issues such as natural and man-made disasters, traumatic and explosive events, nuclear and radiological weapon attacks and biological events. “The new BDLS and ADLS courses that we’re introducing will provide physicians and other health care workers with comprehensive training that will ensure a uniform and efficient response to emergencies involving mass casualties from unforeseeable events,” said AMA President Yank D. Coble Jr., MD.

The CDPER educational session, “Preparing physicians to effectively respond to public health emergencies and catastrophic events,” explained the new courses and how physicians and organized medicine can support federal agencies during catastrophic events.