This action will remove what the agency describes as unnecessary regulatory costs while maintaining current levels of protection of human health and the environment.
EPA is proposing to expand the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act's Hazardous Waste Comparable Fuels Exclusion to encompass a new category of liquid hazardous waste-derived fuel known as emission-comparable fuel (ECF). ECF is produced from a hazardous waste but generates emissions when burned in an industrial boiler that are comparable to those from burning fuel oil. ECF would be subject to the same regulations that currently apply under the Comparable Fuels Exclusion but would be exempt from the specifications for certain hydrocarbons and oxygenates. It also would have to meet certain storage and burner conditions.
Oregon Passes E-Waste Bill
The Oregon Senate passed House Bill 2626, legislation that will provide for the proper disposal of old computers, televisions, and other electronic devices that could have detrimental environmental impacts if not handled correctly.
“With more and more electronics becoming obsolete, we need to make sure we handle this waste in an environmentally responsible way,” said Senator Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin). “This bill will make sure we dispose of electronics properly and keep toxic materials out of our water supply.”
Oregonians throw away thousands of computers and pieces of electronic equipment every year, most of which ends up in landfills. House Bill 2626 would require computer and television manufacturers to contract for a recycling program or set up one of their own. Access to recycling programs would be free to consumers.
“This legislation will make it easy on the consumer to dispose of their electronic devices,” said Senator Brad Avakian (D-Portland/Beaverton). “It will also continue the long tradition of environmental protection and recycling in Oregon.”
“It is exciting that after several years of effort, the Oregon Legislative Assembly today delivered on its commitment to cleaning up e-waste and keeping Oregon on the forefront of environmental responsibility,” said Senator Vicki Walker (D-Eugene).
“Representative Jackie Dingfelder’s leadership to craft recycling solutions for electronic waste has been exceptional, bringing together all parties to gain a 100 percent bipartisan solution. Great work!” added Senator Frank Morse (R-Albany/Corvallis). House Bill 2626 will now move to the governor’s desk for his signature.
California Prohibits Romic Site From Processing Bulk Hazardous Waste
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced last week that it has issued an enforcement order to Romic Environmental Technologies Corp. of East Palo Alto. The order charges Romic with such state violations as unsafe operations that resulted in a June 2006 release and reckless disregard for the risk of serious injury to an employee in March 2006. The order further alleges that Romic violated a civil judgment brought by DTSC and filed in April 2005.
The order prohibits Romic from handling, treating, and storing hazardous bulk liquid waste in containers greater than 85 gallons. In addition, the company is prohibited from storing bulk liquid waste in tanks. Romic has agreed to end these activities.
The order was issued as part of DTSC’s ongoing investigations of Romic and includes violations where two employees were seriously burned in May 2004 and March 2006, in addition to a 4,000 gallon chemical release of solvents at the facility in June 2006. “Our department has found that specific areas of Romic’s operations pose an unacceptable risk to public health and the environment,” said DTSC Director Maureen Gorsen. “Therefore, we are prohibiting Romic from handling, treating, and storing hazardous bulk liquid waste.”
Closure of Romic’s treatment operations has been sought by the East Palo Alto community for many years. DTSC hopes that Romic’s cooperative and prompt compliance with this order will allow for expedited remediation and redevelopment of the 10 acre bay front property.
Prior to this action, an order was issued to Romic on June 15, 2006 that prohibited fuel blending of any hazardous waste received from off-site in containers or tanker trucks at Romic’s East Palo Alto facility until DTSC completed its investigation of a chemical release earlier that month, on June 5. In this instance, 4,000 gallons of used mixed solvent began reacting inside the tanker truck and resulted in the release of a fine mist that settled over an empty lot owned by Romic, portions of Bay Road, and adjacent parcels that included a PG&E substation and wetlands area south of Cooley Landing. The tanker truck’s contents contained volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds including hydroxylamine, monoethanolamine, toluene, and acetronitrile. In addition, DTSC settled an enforcement case in April 2005 against Romic for $849,500 for hazardous waste violations occurring at the facility from 1999 to 2004, one the largest settlements DTSC has reached with a Bay Area company.
DTSC is continuing its investigation into the June 2006 solvent release. DTSC inspectors are also investigating an incident that occurred in Bakersfield in January 2007 during which leaking fuel from a truck containing drums being shipped from Romic subsequently shut down a highway exit ramp for several hours.
EQ to Buy Perma-Fix Hazardous Waste Facilities
Perma-Fix Environmental Services, Inc. announced last week that it has entered into a letter of intent to sell its Industrial Segment to EQ - The Environmental Quality Company (EQ). The letter of intent provides that EQ would purchase five of the company’s six industrial facilities for $9 million, subject to adjustment under certain conditions. The facilities to be acquired include Perma-Fix Treatment Services, Perma-Fix of Fort Lauderdale, Perma-Fix of Orlando, Perma-Fix of South Georgia, and Perma-Fix of Maryland. In addition, EQ would be granted an option to purchase the assets of Perma-Fix of Dayton. Upon exercise of the option, EQ would pay an additional purchase price of up to $2 million. The letter of intent is subject to EQ completing its due diligence and the parties entering into definitive agreements. EQ is a leading provider of comprehensive waste and environmental services, headquartered in Wayne, Michigan.
K-B Plating Fined for Hazardous Waste Violations
Ohio EPA reached a settlement with K-B Plating, Inc. for past hazardous waste violations and issued an administrative consent order on May 24, 2007. The following violations occurred at its facility located at 3685 E. 78th Street, Cleveland, Ohio.
- Stored hazardous waste in tanks and containers without a permit, in violation of ORC § 3734.02 (E) and (F)
- Failed to comply with the hazardous waste tank system requirements, in violation of OAC rules 3745-66-92 to 3745-66-98
- Failed to evaluate waste to determine if the waste was hazardous waste, in violation of OAC rule 3745-52-11
- Failed to store hazardous waste in containers that were closed, in violation of OAC rule 3745-66-73
- Failed to label and date containers of hazardous waste, in violation of OAC rule 3745-52-34 (A)(2) and (3)
- Failed to conduct inspections of emergency equipment and container accumulation areas, in violation of OAC rules 3745-65-33 and 374566-74
- Failed to have spill control equipment available for the hazardous waste tank system where the spent cyanide and spent acid are being accumulated, in violation of OAC rule 3745-65-32(B)
- Failed to have an adequate hazardous waste contingency plan for the Facility and failed to provide all emergency services with a copy of the contingency plan, in violation of OAC rules 3745-65-51 through 3745-65-53
- Failed to maintain all necessary land disposal restriction (LDR) forms on site, in violation of OAC rule 3745-270-07(A)(2)
- Failed to submit an annual hazardous waste report for 2003, in violation of OAC rule 3745-52-41
The settlement includes an $85,000 penalty of which $56,000 will be deposited into the state's hazardous waste cleanup fund. In lieu of paying the remaining $14,000 of the penalty, K-B Plating, Inc. will contribute $14,000 to the Ohio EPA Clean Diesel School Bus Program.
$6,150 Penalty for Failure to Obtain Storm Water Permit
A construction company in Holden, Mass., has paid a $6,150 penalty for failing to obtain coverage under EPA’s Storm Water Permit for Construction Activities as well as other storm water related violations. EPA conducted an unannounced inspection of the G.M. Bergeron, Inc. site in February 2007 and discovered that the company failed to have storm water permit coverage for the site, the storm water pollution prevention plan for the site lacked several required elements, and routine inspections of the site were not documented.
Storm water from the site discharges to storm drains which immediately discharge to the Warren Tannery Brook, which ultimately flows into the Wachusett Reservoir. At the time of the inspection, the site was frozen and there was no evidence of erosion, silt, or debris being carried to the brook.
"Storm water controls are very important in protecting New England's waters, especially among builders and developers whose construction activities can have significant environmental impacts if done improperly," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office.
Rainwater running off construction sites can carry sediments, oil, and various other pollutants into nearby streams, ponds, and rivers. Erosion from a one-acre construction site could discharge as much as 20 to 150 tons of sediment in one year if not properly managed. Sediments reduce the storage capacity of drains and waterways, causing flooding, and adversely affect water quality and fish habitat. Sediments and chemicals can also contribute to fish die-offs, toxic algae blooms, contaminated shellfish beds, and closed swimming beaches.
EPA is working to bring developers and builders into compliance with storm water runoff regulations. The effort includes extensive compliance assistance activities, including workshops and training materials, as well as an enforcement sweep.
EPA is developing written materials, web sites, workshops, and other products to help those involved in construction projects understand how to comply with storm water laws.
EPA Approves Latest Kansas Water Quality Standards
EPA has approved all of the provisions of the new and revised Kansas water quality standards submitted to EPA by the state. The approved provisions are now effective for implementation under the Clean Water Act.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) submitted new and revised Kansas surface water quality standards to EPA for review and approval last year, as required by the Clean Water Act.
Under the act, states must review their water quality standards every three years or sooner and submit new or revised standards to EPA.
EPA recognizes KDHE for its work in preparing the water quality standards revisions.
With this action, EPA is approving the following provisions of the new or revised water quality standards:
- 227 bodies of water newly designated for swimming that must be protected for that use
- 314 bodies of water newly designated for fishing and wading that must be protected for those uses
- 90 bodies of water newly designated for uses such as drinking water supply, irrigation, and livestock watering that must be protected for such uses
- The removal of 62 bodies of water from those classified as “waters of the state” or “waters of the United States” because they do not meet certain factors, such as the Kansas requirement for a minimum flow in a stream
City to Pay $250,000 for Clean Water Act Violations
The Town of Billerica, Mass., will pay a $250,000 penalty and undertake additional projects under the terms of a settlement for alleged violations of federal and state clean water laws and government-issued permits. The settlement was announced jointly by United States Attorney Michael Sullivan; Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for the EPA’s New England Office; Martha Coakley, Massachusetts attorney general; and Arleen O’Donnell, acting commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).
A civil complaint and consent decree were simultaneously filed in U.S. District Court in Boston. The commonwealth also moved to intervene and filed its own complaint. According to the EPA Complaint, the town discharged pollutants directly into the Concord River and into a tributary of the Concord River from its water treatment plant without a permit. The discharges contributed to degradation of water quality and impairment of the river habitat in the vicinity of the water treatment plant.
The town violated its discharge permit for its waste water treatment facility because it exceeded permitted effluent limits for phosphorus, fecal coliform bacteria, pH, and ammonia nitrogen. The town also failed to submit discharge monitoring reports, failed to comply with monitoring requirements, and failed to submit infiltration and inflow reporting. Billerica’s discharges of phosphorus contribute to the excessive aquatic plant growth that characterizes the river system. These conditions are the result of an overabundance of nutrients, primarily phosphorus, being discharged to the river.
In addition to the civil penalty of $250,000 contained in the consent decree filed, the town will implement two supplemental environmental projects at a cost of $50,000. Under the first project, the town will test for lead in school drinking water and take measures to address elevated lead levels if they are detected. Exposure to elevated levels of lead can result in adverse health effects, including developmental delays, especially in infants and young children. The second project calls for the town to evaluate, under MassDEP’s direction, whether a disinfectant byproduct (called “N-nitrosodimethylamine” or “NDMA”) is present in the water supply, and if so, determine the factors effecting its formation. NDMA is a probable carcinogen that is not currently regulated; more research is underway to determine if it is forming in drinking water supplies and, if so, at what levels. If NDMA is detected in Billerica’s water supply, the town will take measures as required by MassDEP to address its presence.
Also as part of the settlement, the town will conduct multi-media compliance audits of its waste water treatment facility and Department of Public Works facility and disclose and correct any violations. The town will also assess and address problems with its wastewater collection system in order to prevent unpermitted discharges of waste water.
Billerica, a community of approximately 40,000 residents, is located in northeastern Massachusetts. Though predominantly residential, Billerica is home to several high technology firms.
CertainTeed to Pay more than $50,000 for Air Permit Violations
EPA Region 5 has reached an agreement with CertainTeed Corp. on alleged Clean Air Act violations at the company's roofing materials manufacturing plant at 3303 E. Fourth St., Shakopee, Minn.
The agreement, which includes a $41,250 environmental project and a $13,750 penalty, resolves EPA allegations that CertainTeed failed to include two units of its manufacturing process in its state operating permit application and operated those units without a permit. EPA also alleged that another part of the company's manufacturing process was operated without the emission control efficiency required in the company's state operating permit.
For its environmental project, CertainTeed will buy and permanently retire sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxide emission credits. This will permanently reduce the emissions of one or both of these pollutants allowed under the Clean Air Act.
Because CertainTeed self-disclosed the alleged violations and satisfied eight of nine self-disclosure policy criteria required by EPA, the penalty proposed in the complaint was reduced by 75 percent. Self-disclosure is taken into consideration when penalties are assessed and during settlement discussions.
EPA Reaches Agreement on Clean Air Violations with Alcan Rolled Products – Ravenswood, LLC
EPA’s mid-Atlantic region has reached an agreement with Alcan Rolled Products – Ravenswood, LLC on alleged clean air violations at the company's secondary aluminum production facility on Century Road, Ravenswood, W.Va.
The agreement resolves EPA allegations that Alcan violated the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants that apply to its Ravenswood facility. The company’s alleged failure to timely submit or provide complete and adequate plans and notices regarding procedures for the operation, maintenance, monitoring, possible malfunction and other aspects of the plant, and its air pollution control systems, is a violation of the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants. Alcan will pay a $27,500 penalty as part of the agreement.
BP Penalized for Failing to Address Leaking Underground Storage Tanks
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has issued a series of demand letters to BP Products North America Incorporated, a subsidiary of BP P.L.C., formerly British Petroleum and Amoco Oil Company, for failing to submit required reports related to contamination from historical releases from leaking underground storage tank systems at eight formerly owned gasoline stations across Michigan. The letters notify BP that their failure to properly address these issues has resulted in $869,150 in penalties being issued against the company.
Michigan law states that after a release has been discovered, an owner and/or operator is required to submit reports to the DEQ describing the amount of product lost, how far the contamination has moved away from the release area, and whether the contamination is likely to impact human health. Further, they are required to develop and implement a plan for cleaning up the contamination, and the timely submittal of these required reports, within the deadlines prescribed by law, helps the DEQ ensure that contamination is being cleaned up as quickly and as cost effectively as possible prior to any potential risks to human health or the environment.
The DEQ is currently monitoring over 200 former gasoline stations where BP has reported releases from underground tank systems. A study conducted by the DEQ in January 2006, found a noncompliance rate of approximately 60 percent and that 47, or 63 percent, of BP's 74 highest risk sites have not complied with regulations in Michigan's Leaking Underground Storage Tanks (LUST) statutes.
The subset of sites selected to receive a penalty represents locations where significant risk is present and where BP has received written notification of the noncompliance but has yet to undertake the necessary investigation or cleanup and submit the required reports.
With nearly half of Michigan's population relying on groundwater for their drinking water source, contamination from LUST sites remains a significant problem for the state. Michigan ranks third in the nation, behind Florida and California, for the highest number of releases from LUST sites yet to be cleaned up, with more than 9,000 currently known.
Iowa Establishes a $100 Million Clean Energy Fund
Iowa Governor Chet Culver approved two bills on May 23 that establish a new state fund for clean energy research and development. The state will provide the new Iowa Power Fund with $25 million per year for the next four years. The fund will support research, development, commercialization, and deployment of biofuels, renewable energy technologies, and energy efficiency technologies, while also seeking to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The fund also will educate the public about these technologies and will aim to increase the demand for them. The $100 million fund will be run by an 18-member board, with oversight from a seven-member committee of legislative and university leaders.
To administer the Iowa Power Fund, the legislation also creates a new Office of Energy Independence. The new office will lead the state's outreach and public education efforts for clean energy and will coordinate and monitor all existing state and federal grants, programs, and policies relating to renewable energy, renewable fuels, and energy efficiency. By mid-December, the director of the office will also prepare an Iowa energy independence plan that will include cost-effective options and strategies for the state to achieve energy independence from foreign sources of energy by the year 2025. The director will provide an annual report on these goals every November and will update the energy independence plan every December.
The effort will complement a bill signed in April, establishing the Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council to consider and determine the best strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the state. It also establishes a greenhouse gas inventory and registry within the state.
Holbrook Inc. Penalized for Water Quality Violations
The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) issued a $15,000 penalty to an Olympia log yard operator for violating terms of its industrial storm water permit by allowing wood waste and oil to enter Budd Inlet.
Holbrook Inc. operates log yards at several Puget Sound ports including the Port of Olympia. Haulers bring logs in by truck and boat. Logs are stacked in the yard and readied for shipment elsewhere. The handling of logs causes bark, chips, and other woody debris to fall on the pavement where it is sometimes crushed into smaller pieces by heavy log yard equipment. Ecology inspected the Olympia yard in October 2006 and twice more in February 2007.
Inspectors found that Holbrook failed to submit all of its required monitoring reports and did not properly respond when discharge water samples exceeded allowable levels for "turbidity," or water cloudiness. Pollution prevention controls also were lacking, allowing large amounts of wood waste to accumulate in drainage ditches.
In February, an inspector witnessed an oily sheen throughout a drainage ditch. Absorbent boom was in the ditch, but floating bark had lifted it, allowing oil to flow into the discharge system that drains into Budd Inlet.
The Ecology inspector directed the log yard manager on site to immediately control the source of the leaking oil, which appeared to be from broken hydraulic lines and poorly maintained equipment. During a return visit the next morning, the inspector noted that oil continued to flow into the ditch and bypass the absorbent boom.
"The restoration of Budd Inlet is part of focused efforts to restore the health and vitality of Puget Sound. Because the stormwater discharges from Holbrook contained wood waste and oil, we are very concerned by these violations and the added impact of this pollution to the Inlet," said Steve Eberl, a water quality manager for Ecology.
Holbrook has 30 days to request relief from Ecology from the $15,000 fine or it may appeal the penalty directly to the state Pollution Control Hearings Board.
EPA Updates Air Quality Data
EPA has made several air quality maps available depicting the current air quality conditions of the Mid-Atlantic region. The AQI describes the daily extent of pollution in the air, what associated health effects might be present, and what health effects may be experienced a few hours or days after breathing polluted air.
OEPA Revises NOx Budget Trading Program
In accordance with Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 119.032 (5-year rule review), the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), Division of Air Pollution Control (DAPC) has reviewed rules in Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) chapter 3745-14, "Nitrogen Oxides - Budget Trading Program." These rules, 3745-14-01 to 3745-14-12, are related to Ohio’s NOx SIP call (NOx Budget Trading program) for the reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) during the ozone season from electrical generation units and large industrial boilers. OEPA’s preliminary review indicates that the following rules continue to be necessary and require changes:
OAC rules 3745-14-01, 3745-14-03, 3745-14-05, 3745-14-06, 3745-14-08, 3745-14-11 and 3745-14-12. DAPC is proposing these changes to incorporate minor amendments in the existing rules of this chapter, primarily in 3745-14-01 and 3745-14-05. The minor proposed changes in OAC rule 3745-14-01 resulted from comments received from US EPA during their review of a state implementation plan (SIP) revision submitted by Ohio EPA as a result of the promulgation of rule 3745-14-12 in 2005. The amendments in OAC rule 3745-14-05 resulted from Ohio EPA’s need to create a state account for the placement of un-allocated NOx allowances that resulted for the 2008 to 2012 ozone season for non-electrical generating units. The modifications to the remaining rules in this chapter consisted of various minor typographical and formatting changes.
OEPAs preliminary review also indicates the following rules continue to be necessary and without need for change: OAC rules 3745-14-02, 3745-14-04, 3745-14-07, 3745-14-09 and 3745-14-10.
As part of the rule-making process, DAPC is required by Section 121.39 of the Ohio Revised Code to consult with organizations that represent political subdivisions, environmental interests, business interests, and others affected by the rules. The DAPC is offering your organization the opportunity to comment on these rules before the division formally proposes them.
Send comments you may have to the changes that have been recommended by Monday, July 2, 2007.
California Universal Waste Workshop
The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) will host workshops on June 28, 2007 and July 11, 2007, to discuss concepts developed to finalize DTSC's three emergency regulations related to universal wastes (UWs), adopted pursuant to the California’s Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003, as amended (SB 20, Sher, Chapter 526, Statutes of 2003; SB 50, Sher, Chapter 863, Statutes of 2004) and existing regulations.
After review of the concept language, if you have questions that you would like to have addressed at the workshop, please submit them via email to email@example.com by June 21, 2007. Please include the workshop date that you plan to attend in the subject line of your email.
All interested parties are invited to participate in this public workshop. Space is limited to 100 attendees in Sacramento and 45 attendees in Glendale. Please confirm your interest in attending either workshop by sending an e-mail notice indicating which workshop location you will be attending to Linda Sargent via email at or by calling (916)-323-9219.
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EnviroFlash Debuts in New England
Previously, New Englanders interested in receiving air quality alerts relied on EPA’s manual email notification system called ‘Smog Alert’ which only sent out emails when a forecast of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups or higher was issued. In Maine, the manual Smog Alert was only available for coastal areas. EnviroFlash will cover the entire state of Maine.
EnviroFlash will allow the subscriber to specify at what Air Quality Index (AQI) category they wish to receive notification. This means that those who are very sensitive to air quality levels can receive emails whenever the air quality forecast in their area is moderate or above. All others are encouraged to sign up at the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” range. Anyone wishing to receive emails for more than one zip code will be able to create multiple subscriptions.
Maine’s Air Quality Meteorologist has worked with EPA to create zip code lists for the state. When Maine subscribers sign up they should click on the nearest city to them then enter in their zip code for which they wish to receive forecasts. Thereafter, whenever the forecast for that area reaches or exceeds the AQI level at which they wish to receive notifications, an email will automatically be sent to them. Emails are set to go out at 3:30 in the afternoon with the next day’s forecast. Additionally, if the forecast is revised early in the day the air quality meteorologists will have the ability to ‘push’ an email out to those affected by the change. Subscribers can sign up more than once if they wish to receive forecast alerts for more than one area.
For more information, go to DEP's toll free ozone hotline (1-800-223-1196);
New Report Shows California's Global Warming Act Will Reduce Pollution and Create Jobs
Just five months after California’s Global Warming Solutions Act became law, the state is off to a running start in devising the world’s most ambitious global warming pollution reduction plan and firmly placing the state at the epicenter of the fast-growing clean technology market, according to a new report released last week by business and conservation groups.
“This is the first report that shows how the pieces of the puzzle fit together in California’s first-in-the-nation law to limit global warming pollution,” said Eric Wanless, a sustainable energy expert with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and coauthor of the report. “The report can help California business leaders understand how they can take advantage of the growing market opportunities for pollution-cutting technologies.”
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, NRDC, and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) released the report at the Energy Summit 2007 conference, a gathering of entrepreneurs, business leaders, and energy experts in the heart of Silicon Valley.
“California is on the way to becoming the clean tech capital of the world,” said Carl Guardino, CEO of the Leadership Group. “Just as we led the hi-tech and bio-tech sectors, we are going to harness our vision and innovation to create the new clean energy economy, while solving the world’s most pressing environmental challenge.”
In fact, California is already in a strong position through a combination of regulatory and market-based policies and through business efforts that are proving to be a laboratory for clean technology development. The report outlines how the state’s plan to implement the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32, Nez-Pavley) is taking shape already, and offers case studies of companies developing clean technologies and adopting clean energy strategies on the ground.
“It’s no surprise that California has become a magnet for venture capital investment in the clean technology sector,” said Bob Epstein, E2 co-founder. “The state’s concrete policy to cut global warming pollution has created the clear signal that investors and entrepreneurs have been waiting for.”
The joint report, “A Golden Opportunity: California’s Solutions for Global Warming,” shows how specific strategies will enable the state to reduce carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollution to 1990 levels by 2020, a nearly 30 percent reduction compared to business as usual. The specific strategies include cleaner cars and trucks, low-carbon fuels, smart growth, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and cleaner power plants.
It also explains how market-based mechanisms designed to reward smart companies for quick action can reduce pollution, cut overall costs, and complement the state’s regulatory efforts.
Case studies of seven companies – Advanced Micro Devices, Better Energy Systems, Cisco, Johnson & Johnson, Miasol, New Resource Bank, and Pacific Gas and Electric – that are leading the way to the state’s clean technology future by reducing emissions at their facilities, delivering pollution cutting products and services to the marketplace, and demonstrating corporate leadership on global warming.
“As the world’s 11th largest emitter of global warming pollution, the reductions we achieve in California will make a difference,” said Devra Wang, a report co-author and director of NRDC’s California Energy Program. “But more importantly, the state’s efforts can serve as a model for the rest of the nation, as California has shown time and time again for more than 40 years.”
The Energy Summit 2007 was hosted by SunPower at Cypress Semiconductor in San Jose, Calif., with keynote speaker former Secretary of State George P. Shultz. The report, “A Golden Opportunity: California’s Solutions for Global Warming," is available at www.nrdc.org/globalWarming/ca/ca.asp.
The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members.
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, founded in 1978 by David Packard of Hewlett-Packard, represents 210 of Silicon Valley’s employers on issues, programs, and campaigns that affect the economic health and quality of life in Silicon Valley, including energy, transportation, education, housing, health care, tax policies, economic vitality and the environment. Leadership Group members collectively provide nearly 250,000 local jobs, or one of every four private sector jobs in Silicon Valley.
Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) is a national community of professionals and business people who believe in protecting the environment while building economic prosperity. Working with its environmental partner, the Natural Resources Defense Council, E2 works through bipartisan efforts to shape state and national policy. E2 serves as a champion on the economic side of good environmental policy by taking a reasoned, economically sound approach to environmental issues.
AutoZone to Pay $1 Million Penalty for Mishandling Hazardous Waste
Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo announced a statewide $1.5 million settlement with AutoZone, Inc. after its stores violated laws requiring the safe storage and disposal of hazardous waste, including motor oil. In addition, AutoZone stores were found to be advertising one price, but charging some customers more when items were scanned at checkout at stores across California. In doing so, AutoZone violated unfair competition laws and engaged in untrue/misleading advertising.
AutoZone has agreed to an injunction which calls for substantial changes in their handling of hazardous material and waste products. They also will make changes to their pricing policies which should protect consumers when they spend their money at one of these stores in the future.
The Monterey County District Attorney's Office joined with the California Attorney General and the Offices of the District Attorneys of San Bernardino, San Diego, and San Joaquin Counties to reach the agreement with AutoZone, Inc. in a civil environmental and consumer protection enforcement action against the company which was originally filed in June of 2005.
The original complaint alleged AutoZone violated provisions of the state Health and Safety Code requiring safe storage and disposal of hazardous materials and hazardous waste. Many of the violations involved AutoZone’s handling of used motor oil and abandoned waste products left in store parking lots and trash dumpsters. The State Department of Measurement Standards also discovered pricing errors by AutoZone’s cash register scanners which, in some instances, resulted in consumers being charged more than the shelf price.
Along with the new pricing policies, AutoZone will pay a penalty of $1 million, investigation and prosecution costs of $300,000, and will contribute $200,000 to environmental training programs. The total penalty and costs will be distributed to the above listed offices who pursued this prosecution. The Monterey County District Attorney’s office will receive approximately $200,000 as a result of the settlement. The above amounts are in addition to other costs associated with implementing AutoZone’s new environmental and consumer protection procedures.
AutoZone is a retailer of automotive products with about 400 stores in the State of California, three of which are located in Monterey County.
Sustainable Buildings Standard to Define Green Buildings
A proposed new standard that will provide minimum guidelines for green building practices is nearing completion. Applicable to new commercial buildings and major renovation projects, it will address energy efficiency, a building’s impact on the atmosphere, sustainable sites, water use efficiency, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.
Proposed Standard 189, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, is being developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) in conjunction with the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). This is the first such green building standard in the United States. The proposed standard has been released for public review. Comments will be accepted through July 9, 2007.
“Standard 189P will become the benchmark for all sustainable green buildings in the United States because it is being developed for inclusion into building codes,” said ASHRAE President Terry Townsend. “This means that owners and designers will have a consensus-based document that will set the minimum criteria that a building must satisfy in order to be considered a green building. The real impact of Standard 189P is that ASHRAE, along with IESNA and USGBC, are taking advanced energy conservation guidance mainstream for the general public's benefit.”
John Hogan, chair of the Standard 189 Project Committee, notes that the standard is not a building rating system but rather a compilation of criteria that must be met in order for local building code officials to provide a Certificate of Occupancy for a facility.
Energy efficiency will be a large part of the standard. The goal is to achieve a minimum of 30 percent reduction in energy cost (and carbon dioxide equivalent) above that in ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, which provides minimum energy efficiency design requirements for buildings except low-rise residential buildings and is the basis for building codes worldwide.
The standard shows leadership in renewable power generation on-site by having high-performance, green buildings avoid a total reliance on conventional energy sources. The committee that wrote the standard wants building projects to produce a minimum percentage of their peak electrical load through on-site generation such as by photovoltaic panels or equivalent solar water heating systems.
Another important part of the proposed standard will be water use efficiency. Hogan said the standard may require that interior water achieve a minimum of 25 percent reduction through improvements from the Energy Policy Act of 1992 for plumbing fixtures and strategies for reclaiming water in other areas. Exterior water systems would have more sophisticated controls and not use potable water, he said.
Hogan said one topic of interest to the committee is sustainable sites. Members are discussing requiring construction to take place appropriate sites where construction already exists or on a “greenfield” site that is close to high-density areas or has access to mass transit.
In the area of indoor environmental quality, the committee is considering requiring that supply outdoor air exceed the minimum requirements of ASHRAE 62.1-2007, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality. Also being discussed are the use of low-emitting materials and installation of CO2 sensors to monitor densely-occupied spaces.
The committee is also looking at requirements for a construction plan, a transportation management plan, and an indoor air quality (IAQ) management plan, according to Hogan, to reduce materials and energy consumption as well as to reduce carbon emissions.
Proposed Standard 189P will be available only during public review periods.
Pennsylvania Streamlines Stormwater Permits
In an effort to improve the quality and timeliness of stormwater discharge permit applications associated with construction, the Department of Environmental Protection has made several upgrades that also will expedite the review process.
“Our environmental protection requirements have resulted in a stronger economy and cleaner streams, but they have also dramatically increased the number and complexity of permits we must process,” said DEP Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty. “The high number of applications we continue to receive cover projects that promise future economic benefits for Pennsylvania, so we’ve put in place a system that will help us clear up the current backlog and provide prompt and effective reviews.”
Changes in the federal National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) requirements, as well as an increased need to better manage stormwater have increased demands on permit applicants and review staff. Consequently, DEP established an expedited review option for NPDES permit applications for stormwater discharges associated with construction activities. By reviewing applications through the expedited process, the department assures applicants that a determination will be made within 30 days of the public comment period’s completion. In addition, the permit application was revised to provide a more complete and user-friendly means of streamlining the permit process. The instructions and application form are now organized to support a logical process for planning projects and assuring consistency with local requirements. Improvements also provide a means to ensure that private consultants fulfill professional obligations to plan, oversee construction work, and certify final projects as meeting applicable engineering standards.
“As businesses expand and more people call Pennsylvania home, properly managing stormwater becomes more important in protecting downstream property and the quality of our streams and rivers,” McGinty said. The NPDES permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waterways. Point sources are discrete conveyances, such as pipes or man-made ditches. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal system, use a septic system, or do not have a surface discharge do not need an NPDES permit. Industrial, municipal, and other facilities, however, must obtain permits if discharges go directly to surface waters.
How Clean is Your Air?
Now, you can become an informed breather. EPA recently released “AirCompare,” a tool that compares air quality and related health concerns for up to 10 counties or 3 states at a time.
AirCompare uses EPA’s Air Quality Index to explain air quality and pollution from a health perspective to help people make informed decisions about moving, vacationing, or living in different areas of the country. A user selects criteria and a chart is created to show whether the previous year’s air quality was healthy or unhealthy for specific groups more susceptible to pollution, such as those with lung or heart disease or active outdoor lifestyles.
A person with asthma, for example, can use AirCompare to select various counties across the country to determine how many days the air was unhealthy for asthmatics last year in those specific counties. Or someone planning a trip can find out the healthiest time of year to visit a particular area, based on concerns about asthma, heart disease, outdoor activity, or just general interest.
$12,000 Penalty for Aboveground Storage Tank Violations
Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Secretary John A. Hughes has issued a notice of administrative penalty assessment and secretary’s order to Aero Taxi of New Castle for violations of Delaware’s aboveground storage tank regulations. The Order includes a cash penalty of $12,000 and an additional $900 as cost recovery reimbursement to the department for expenses associated with its investigation.
Aero Taxi owns and operates a 20,000-gallon capacity jet fuel aboveground storage tank (AST) located at the New Castle County Airport in New Castle, Del. Aero Taxi has failed to provide documentation of adequate financial assurance to pay for cleanup activities and third party liability claims related to accidental releases that may occur at their facility – specifically, $500,000 per occurrence and $1,000,000 annual aggregate of financial assurance required by DNREC regulations.
On May 17, 2006, DNREC issued a notice of violation (NOV) to Aero Taxi requiring that they submit documentation that they complied with the department’s financial assurance requirements, and otherwise come into compliance, within 30 days. Aero Taxi failed to take any of the required actions and remains out of compliance.
Not providing adequate financial assurance to pay for cleanup and third party liability claims is a serious problem because in the event of a spill, cleanup activities could be delayed and may have to be paid for using state funds rather than having the polluter pay for cleanup and associated damages.
The department will reduce the penalty to $6,000 if Aero Taxi submits their financial assurance documents and comes into compliance within 30 days. Aero Taxi has 30 days to request a public hearing regarding the penalty order before it becomes binding.
Safety-Kleen Fined $10,000 for Hazardous Waste Violations
The New Mexico Environment Department reached a settlement agreement with Safety-Kleen Systems in May 2007 for improper hazardous waste management practices at the company’s Albuquerque Service Center.
The department found several violations at the facility during an inspection in October 2005, including failure to perform annual cathodic protection testing on a hazardous waste storage tank, failure to post warning signs at the entrance to the active portions of the facility’s permitted storage unit, and failure to store containers of hazardous waste in a manner that allows the inspection in accordance with permit requirements.
The settlement requires Safety-Kleen to pay a civil penalty of $10,000 and take steps to correct the violations. In addition, Safety-Kleen has committed to performing two supplemental environmental projects. The first project, which is already completed, involved the removal of old, unneeded laboratory chemicals from the McCurdy School in Espanola. For the second project, Safety-Kleen will coordinate with the North Central Solid Waste Authority to conduct a household hazardous collection event in Espanola.
“As a professional hazardous waste management company, Safety-Kleen is ideally suited to perform these supplemental environmental projects that will lead to a cleaner Espanola,” said Environment Department Secretary Ron Curry. “This settlement will help ensure that hazardous materials that might otherwise be sent to local landfills are collected and sent to permitted hazardous waste facilities for recycling or proper treatment and disposal.”
“By working with NMED, Safety-Kleen has been able to provide a valuable service to the students and faculty of McCurdy School by completing the removal of potentially dangerous material from the school’s laboratory,” said Chip Duffie, assistant general counsel of Safety-Kleen. “We are looking forward to working with the citizens of Espanola to ensure the proper management of their household hazardous waste.”
Safety-Kleen’s Albuquerque Service Center is a permitted hazardous waste storage facility that receives and ships large volumes of hazardous waste annually. Safety-Kleen handles various wastes at the site, including spent solvents, ignitable wastes, and corrosive wastes. Waste at the site is stored in containers and an underground storage tank prior to shipment to off-site disposal and recycling facilities.
The department issued a notice of violation to Safety-Kleen on October 16, 2006. The department and Safety-Kleen have since been in negotiations on the alleged violations.
Trivia Question of the Week
According to an NPR story last week, recycled cans and bottles are being used to:
a. Fuel a new generation of automobiles
b. Produce roofing shingles
c. Sequester CO2
d. Make a movie