On Wednesday, September 25th, EPA released the PBT Profiler, an on-line chemical screening tool developed jointly by the Agency, the American Chemistry Council, The Chlorine Chemistry Council, The Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association, and with contributions from Environmental Defense.
The Profiler screens for potential persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBTs) chemicals - toxic substances that persist for extended periods in the environment and build up (bioaccumulate) in humans and animals. This new tool allows companies to screen for PBT chemicals faster than traditional methods, thus providing time for companies to select safer alternatives to PBTs for use in new and existing products.
This innovative approach actually incorporates pollution prevention into the chemical development process. More than 120 chemical companies and other parties participated in testing the PBT Profiler, including: Dupont, PPG Industries, S.C. Johnson, and Eastman Kodak.
Since1999 EPA has required certain additional persistent bioaccumulative toxic chemicals to be reported under Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) using a lower reporting threshold than the other TRI chemicals.
CLEAN AIR ACT (CAA)
- October 21, 2002 - Existing and new pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities
subject to the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants for
pharmaceuticals must comply with 40 CFR 63, subpart GGG.
- October 22, 2002 - Existing sources subject to organic hazardous air
pollutant emission controls under 40 CFR 63, subpart H, for equipment leaks
from Groups II and IV chemical process units must submit a semiannual report
CLEAN WATER ACT (CWA)
- October 28, 2002 - Owners and operators of industrial facilities in EPA
Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, or 10 subject to the terms and conditions of
EPA's NPDES storm water multi-sector general permit must submit compliance
monitoring results from the second year of the permit to EPA.
SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT (SDWA)
- October 10, 2002 - Unfiltered public water systems must submit a summary
report to the state for the previous year.
UNITED STATES AND EXXONMOBIL OIL SETTLE FOR $4.7 MILLION
The U.S. Department of Justice, together with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA and the California Department of Fish and Game, announced a settlement under which ExxonMobil Oil Corporation will pay the United States and the state of California $4.7 million in compensation for a spill of crude oil from a pipeline operated by the former Mobil Oil Company. The bulk of the money will go towards restoration of natural resources injured by the spill; the remainder will be paid as federal and state civil penalties and other damages.
The spill occurred when a segment of pipeline beneath the Valencia Golf Course in Valencia, Los Angeles County, Calif., ruptured in 1991. The oil flowing from the ruptured pipeline fouled a 15-mile stretch of the Santa Clara River between Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. The Santa Clara River and surrounding habitat are home to a rich abundance of plant and animal life, including numerous endangered and threatened species, protected under federal and California law.
Despite Mobil's prompt response to the spill, damages to flora and fauna in and along the river were unavoidable. This settlement resolves past violations by the former Mobil and will pay for habitat restoration and preservation projects in and along the Santa Clara River to compensate for the natural resources injured by the oil spill.
In May, the United States filed a civil suit against Shell Pipeline Company LP and Olympic Pipeline Company in connection with the June 1999 gasoline pipeline rupture near Bellingham, Wash. The complaint alleges that the rupture was caused by gross negligence or willful misconduct in the operation and maintenance of the pipeline. The rupture resulted in the discharge of over 230,000 gallons of gasoline into two creeks and caused the deaths of three young people, as well as severe property and environmental damage.
Similarly, in March, the United States reached a settlement with Texaco Exploration and Production, Inc., that requires the company to make major upgrades to its leaking pipelines at its production field in Aneth, Utah, on Navajo Nation land, to pay a civil penalty and to carry out supplemental environmental projects to provide adequate drinking water to nearby residents.
The settlement was lodged Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles
and is subject to a 30-day public comment period.
EPA RELEASES NEW ONLINE TOOL FOR GREEN OFFICE PURCHASES
EPA's Environmental Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Program recently partnered with the EPA's Office of Acquisition Management's (OAM) Purchase Card Team to create an on-line ordering system for office supplies.
The ordering system is the result of an upcoming Blanket Purchasing Agreement (BPA) that will soon be mandatory for EOA offices nationwide. The system will emphasize the purchase of environmentally preferable (or "green') products in accordance with Executive Order (E.O.) 13101(which says government purchasers must purchase environmentally preferable products when they are available) and the Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG) which require the purchase of products containing recycled content. The BPA will allow EPA Purchase Card holders that order office supplies to quickly and easily access a large variety of green products via a customized on-line catalogue of office supplies and next day delivery of all products.
The new online ordering system provides a step up from the past methods in several ways. Besides receiving training from the EPA on how to use the new system, purchasers and their offices will be able to track their green purchases. Whereas before, there was no central, organized method for staying informed on the volume of purchases in all categories of products, the new system provides thorough and up-to-date tracking information so that offices can adjust their purchasing volume so as to decrease wasted money and the high volume of wastes generated from too much supply of a given product.
For more information on environmentally preferable purchasing, visit
http://www.epa.gov/oppt/epp . To access contract specifications for over 600
product categories which specify the purchase of greener products or
services visit http://www.epa.gov/oppt/epp/database.htm . To get free
technical assistance in greening a contract or find out about any aspect of
EPP call the EPP team at 202-564-8861.
FMCSA REQUIRES TRUCKERS TO MEET NEW SET OF STANDARDS FOR INSPECTING, TYING DOWN CARGO
DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a requirement that all interstate commercial motor vehicles (CMV) comply with a new single set of performance standards. Meeting these standards will help to ensure that all CMV loads are properly secured and to reduce the number of accidents caused by cargo shifting or falling from trucks.
This final rule sets new cargo securement standards based on the North American Cargo Securement Standard Model Regulations. It reflects the results of a multi-year, comprehensive research program to evaluate current U.S. and Canadian cargo securement regulations; the motor carrier industry's best practices; and recommendations presented during a series of public meetings involving U.S. and Canadian industry experts, federal, state and provincial enforcement officials, and other interested parties.
Canada and Mexico also are considering adopting provisions of the North American model regulations. This would enable the three neighboring countries to have compatible cargo securement regulations for heavy trucks.
The final rule clarifies how to determine the working load limit of cargo securement systems and the way carriers should use these tie down devices to secure cargo so it does not leak, spill, blow, or fall from a CMV.
The rule establishes new performance standards that apply to cargo securement systems used in transporting general freight and loads that require specialized or unique methods. It also establishes commodity-specific securement standards for the transportation of logs, dressed lumber, metal coils, paper rolls, intermodal containers; cars, light trucks and vans; heavy vehicles, equipment and machinery; flattened or crushed cars; roll-on/roll-off containers; and large boulders. In the process of developing these standards, participants in the public meetings identified these commodities as being the most difficult to secure.
The final rule is effective Dec. 26, 2002 and can be viewed by searching for
docket number FMCSA-97-2289 at http://dms.dot.gov/. It gives motor carriers
until Jan. 1, 2004, to comply with the new requirements. Training materials
for motor carriers and enforcement officials are being developed and will be
available from the FMCSA before the compliance deadline for the final rule.
ADDRESS CHANGE FOR THE SUBMISSION OF RISK MANAGEMENT PLANS
This week, EPA announced a new address to which Risk Management Plans (RMPs) are to be sent. Risk Management Plans submitted to EPA should be mailed to:
Risk Management Plan (RMP) Reporting Center
P.O. Box 1515
Lanham-Seabrook, MD 20703-1515
Courier deliveries and express mail should be addressed to:
RMP Reporting Center c/o CSC
Suite 300, 8400 Corporate Drive
New Carrollton, MD 20785
NEW U.S. - MEXICO BORDER ENVIRONMENTAL PLAN NOW AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC COMMENT
EPA and Mexico's Secretariat for Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) on Sept. 20 joined the 10 U.S.-Mexico border states and U.S. tribes in proposing a new 10-year program designed to protect public health and the environment along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border. Public comments on this draft program will be accepted until Nov. 22, 2002, and the final plan will be completed by early 2003.
The proposed Border 2012 program will focus on decreasing pollution and lowering the risks of exposure to pesticides and other chemicals, and it aims to achieve measurable improvements in air, water and soil quality in the border region by 2012. During the past 20 years, the population of the border region has grown to 11.8 million people, and it is expected to reach 19.4 million by 2020. This trend underscores the need to take concrete actions to protect public health and the environment in the border region.
The Border 2012 program was developed in cooperation with other federal agencies in both governments, the 10 U.S.- Mexico border states, and 25 U.S. tribal partners. It proposes a bottom-up approach with active participation of local communities, state and local governmental agencies, and U.S. tribes. Building upon past binational programs and comments from numerous stakeholders, Border 2012 will focus on achieving concrete, measurable results, and emphasizes public participation, transparency, and timely access to information.
The focus of Border 2012 is to address environmental issues at the local level by decentralizing the decision-making and priority-setting processes, with implementation driven by four Regional Workgroups, three Border-wide Workgroups and three Policy Forums.
The four Regional Workgroups (California-Baja California; Arizona-Sonora; New Mexico-Texas-Chihuahua; and Texas-Coahuila-Nuevo Leon-Tamaulipas) will deal in a multi-disciplinary manner with specific environmental issues affecting specific sub-regions. Three Border-wide Workgroups will address binational and transboundary aspects of environmental health, emergency preparedness and response, and cooperative enforcement and compliance. Three Policy Forums will focus on broad issues concerning air and water quality, and the effective management of hazardous and solid waste and toxic substances. Task Forces will be created to implement projects at the local level consistent with the needs of the region and the goals of the program.
Requests for hard copies of the plan also may be made to the following EPA and SEMARNAT offices:
- EPA El Paso Border Office, 4050 Rio Bravo, Suite 100, El Paso, TX 79902Telephone: (915) 533-7273 or 1-800-334-0741; Fax (915) 533-2327
- EPA San Diego Border Office, 610 West Ash Street, Suite 905, San Diego, CA 92101 Telephone: (619) 235-4765 or 1-800-334-0741; Fax (619) 235-4771
- SEMARNAT, Unidad Coordinadora de Asuntos Internacionales, Av. San Jeronimo 458, Col. Jardines del Pedregal, A.Obregon C.P. 019000, D.F. Telephone: (52-55) 5490-2194
EPA, SEMARNAT and the 10 U.S. - Mexico border states will jointly conduct a series of public meetings in U.S. and Mexican border communities during the comment period lasting. A detailed meeting schedule will be available on the websites and from the offices listed above. These meetings will provide those interested with an opportunity to learn about the Border 2012 program, to ask questions and to submit formal written comments. In addition, written comments may be submitted to the EPA and SEMARNAT offices listed above, or electronically through the EPA or SEMARNAT websites.