April 01, 2019
Today, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler will announce the Agency’s top priorities for 2020. According to an early release version of the Administrator’s prepared statement, next year’s priorities will include:
- Ensure that information used to support the Agency’s programs is scientifically valid and unbiased. Ensuring that members of science advisory boards are qualified recognized experts in the subject matter upon which they participate.
- Establish Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards at the levels required in 2012, which was 54.5 MPG by 2024
- Expand the definition of Waters of the United States to include waterways, tributaries, and their adjoining shorelines
- A re-proposal of the Clean Power Plan that would limit greenhouse gas emissions to levels established in the October 23, 2015 rulemaking
- Re-entry into the Paris Agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
- For major sources of air pollutants, replace site-specific permit conditions with a discharge fee calculated as 5% over the cost of the best available control technology
- Establish drinking water standards for all of the constituents on the Contamination Contaminant List, and proposing standards for substances on the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring List
- Evaluate DOT hazardous materials and OSHA hazardous chemicals to determine if they should be regulated as hazardous waste. Work with these agencies and international partners to establish a common approach to classifying hazards.
- Evaluate international REACH regulations to consider this approach for minimizing exposure to toxic chemicals
EPA Spokeswoman April Fools said, “We are excited to reinvigorate the agency’s mandate of protecting the environment. Prior administrations didn’t take this responsibility seriously and we will be doing all we can to make America’s environment great again.”
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Fraud Scheme Involving Environmental Company’s Improper Disposal of Light Ballasts
United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald announced the sentencing of Luminaire Environmental and Technologies, Inc., and co-defendants John D. Miller Jr., 61, and Joseph V. Miller, 59, for a $1 million fraud scheme involving the improper disposal of toxic waste. Defendants Luminaire and John Miller were sentenced before Judge Patrick J. Schiltz in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Defendant Joseph Miller was sentenced on March 5, 2019.
According to the defendants’ guilty pleas and documents filed in court, Luminaire Environmental and Technologies, Inc. provided recycling and waste disposal services to customers. Among other services, Luminaire offered to pick up customers’ fluorescent light ballasts containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), transport the PCB-containing ballasts to the Luminaire facility located in Plymouth, Minnesota, and remove and dispose of all the PCBs in accordance with the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). In exchange, Luminaire charged customers a fee of approximately $0.35 per pound of PCB lighting ballasts plus transportation costs. Because the PCBs contained in the ballasts are considered a toxic chemical, regulations promulgated by the EPA, pursuant to TSCA, mandate special procedures and documentation for the transportation and disposal of PCB waste.
According to the defendants’ guilty pleas and documents filed in court, between 2010 until 2015, John Miller, owner of Luminaire, and other Luminaire employees falsely represented to customers that Luminaire would properly transport and dispose of customers’ toxic chemicals. Instead, after picking up loads of PCB-ballasts from customers, John Miller instructed Luminaire employees to remove warning labels from the containers holding the PCB-ballasts, and then sell the PCB-ballasts as scrap metal to scrap yards and metal recycling facilities. In order to conceal the fact that the PCB-ballasts had not been received and processed at Luminaire’s facility, John Miller directed Luminaire employees, including Joseph Miller, to falsely certify on shipping manifests that the PCB-ballasts had arrived at Luminaire’s facility. At John Miller’s direction, Luminaire employees also sent copies of the falsified shipping documentation by mail to customers and to certain state environmental agencies.
In addition, John Miller instructed Luminaire employees to prepare and deliver falsified invoices to customers who, in turn, made payments to Luminaire. As a result of the scheme, Luminaire fraudulently collected more than $1,000,000 in fees and additional profits. He was sentenced to 36 months in prison, a $15,000 fine, and $1,049,848.78 in restitution.
Easy-to-Use Air Permit Application Forms Available for KY Permits
Kentucky’s Division for Air Quality (DAQ) recently revamped some two dozen forms used by permitted facilities in the Commonwealth. The updated forms have the same names as the old forms but are easier to use, and each is accompanied by its own instruction sheet.
In addition to the updated forms, new forms have been created for specific sources such as haul roads, engines, and control equipment.
“July 1, 2019, is the deadline for facilities to start using these new and updated forms,” said DAQ director Melissa Duff. “We encourage permit holders to start using them as soon as possible because the old forms will not be accepted after that date.”
The updated forms include 21 permit application forms and three compliance-related forms. All of the forms are in the “DEP7007” series.
The new forms are available online at the division’s new Air Permitting Forms & Information page. These and many other forms can also be found in the Department for Environmental Protection’s Forms Library
. A new search function allows you to type in any keyword or form number to quickly and easily locate specific forms and instructions.
Report Identifies Health Effects of Chemical Emissions from Refineries
California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has released a report
that includes a list of chemicals emitted from California refineries, and then prioritizes the chemicals according to their emissions levels and toxicity. The report covers emissions that occur routinely in daily operations, as well as accidental and other non-routine emissions.
The report identifies 188 chemicals emitted from California refineries, although there are large variations in the frequency, amounts and toxicity of the emitted chemicals. There is generally good information for understanding the toxicity of the identified emitted chemicals:
All of the chemicals with routine emissions greater than 10,000 pounds per year statewide (14 chemicals) have an OEHHA Reference Exposure Level (REL), which is a level of exposure that does not cause noncancer health effects. OEHHA did not attempt to determine whether or how often these exposure levels may have been exceeded in areas near refineries.
107 chemicals have at least one health guidance value from OEHHA or EPA and 94 chemicals have at least one emergency exposure value to evaluate the harm of large unanticipated releases. Overall, 46 of the listed chemicals have none of the types of health guidance values described here; however, the absence of health guidance values does not necessarily mean that the chemicals are not hazardous. In addition, these chemicals are generally released in much lower quantities than those with guidance values.
The ten most frequently reported routine toxic air contaminant emissions from California refineries from 2009-2012 (starting with the highest) were ammonia, toluene, formaldehyde, xylene, methanol, benzene, sulfuric acid, hexane, hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen chloride
Four Companies Sued by New Jersey for Environmental Contamination
NJ Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced the filing of four new Natural Resource Damage (NRD) lawsuits.
Two of the lawsuits focus on contamination allegedly caused by facilities owned by Delaware-based E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. and a chemical manufacturing company DuPont spun off in 2015, Chemours Co. The other two complaints name DuPont and Chemours as defendants as well, but they also name Minnesota-based 3M—the nation’s primary manufacturer of chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Each lawsuit asserts claims under both the State’s Water Pollution Control Act and its Spill Compensation and Control Act, as well as a variety of tort claims relating to the contamination.
Filed in New Jersey Superior Court, the suits each focus on a different DuPont/Chemours facility: the Chambers Works facility in Pennsville and Carney’s Point Township; the Parlin Site in Sayreville Borough; the Repauno Site in Greenwich Township; and the Pompton Lakes Works facility in Pompton Lakes. Attorney General Grewal and Commissioner McCabe announced the lawsuits at a press conference held at the Passaic County Office Building.
Two of the complaints, relating to the Chambers Works and Parlin facilities, center on PFAS contamination. PFAS are man-made chemicals manufactured in the U.S. since the 1940s that are used to make a variety of household and other products.
PFAS are classified as likely human carcinogens, with studies having shown that exposure to the chemicals may cause kidney, liver, and testicular cancer, as well as autoimmune and endocrine disorders in adults. PFAS have also been linked to developmental issues affecting fetuses during pregnancy and infants who breast-feed.
The other two lawsuits center on contamination of groundwater, surface water, and other natural resources caused by releases of volatile and semivolatile organic compounds, mercury, lead and other contaminants from DuPont’s Repauno and Pompton Lakes facilities. Exposure to volatile organic compounds has been associated with respiratory problems, as well as allergic and immune effects in infants and children. A variety of health issues have also been associated with exposure to lead and mercury contamination, including brain and kidney damage.
“The companies we’re suing today knew full well the risks involved with these harmful chemicals, but chose to foul our soil, waterways, and other precious natural resources with them anyway,” said Attorney General Grewal. “On our watch, polluters like these who put profit above public well-being now can expect to pay for the clean-up of their contamination, for their violation of State laws designed to protect our environment and health, and, where appropriate, to fully compensate the State and its citizens for the precious natural resources they’ve damaged or destroyed.”
“We continue to take aggressive actions to hold polluters accountable and protect public health and the environment,” Commissioner McCabe said. “It is imperative that these companies pay for the damages that they have caused and for the environmental risks they have created. We will continue to take strong measures such as these to protect the residents of the state, particularly those living in communities where the most harm has occurred.”
Nationally and in New Jersey, the health and environmental risks of PFAS contamination are an emerging concern. Because there are not yet binding federal standards governing the chemicals, New Jersey has been a leader among states addressing this important environmental issue. In addition to announcing the lawsuits, Attorney General Grewal and Commissioner McCabe noted that DEP has issued a statewide directive on PFAS against DuPont, Chemours, 3M, Solvay and Dow Chemical — the main users, manufacturers, suppliers, and dischargers of PFAS in New Jersey.
Issued last Monday, the Directive
orders these companies to pay for continued testing and treatment of PFAS-contaminated waters at and near the affected sites. It also orders them to pay for the additional treatment of private and public water supply wells, as well as the cleanup and removal of the contamination. Starting in the early 1950s, DuPont acquired a PFAS compound (perfluorooctanoate) from 3M and used it to manufacture its Teflon products. The State alleges that DuPont discharged massive quantities of PFAS-containing waste into water and on-site landfills at the Chambers Works site, and also released PFAS into the air.
The State also alleges that DuPont and 3M knew for decades about the health and environmental risks posed by PFAS, but that they continued to use it and release it into the environment anyway, without disclosing the risks to regulators or the public. 3M, for example, spent decades “obscuring the facts” surrounding PFAS, and actively suppressed scientific research on the dangers associated with the chemicals.
In addition to Chambers Works, DuPont used PFAS and other hazardous substances at the Parlin facility in Sayreville to manufacture photographic films, automotive paints, pigment, adhesives, thinners, finishes, and some specialty products like Teflon. The State alleges DuPont discharged large quantities of PFAS-contaminated waste and other hazardous substances, and sampling around the facility has confirmed that there are PFAS and other hazardous substances in on-site and off-site groundwater.
Meanwhile, in an action related to the Pompton Lakes lawsuit, Attorney General Grewal and Commissioner McCabe announced the issuance of a second state Directive. That Directive calls on DuPont and Chemours to pay for additional NRD assessment costs linked to pollution from the Pompton Lakes operation, and to pay for any additional sampling, testing and treatment that might be required as a result of the contamination. This Directive supplements an ongoing federal effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to assess the Pompton Lakes contamination. Importantly, the Directive expands the scope of the assessment to include areas of concern (i.e., groundwater) and other geographic areas (a nearby State Forest) that are not being addressed by the federal government.
The lawsuits mark the latest in a string of collaborative environmental actions between the Attorney General’s Office and DEP, and brings to nine the total number of NRD cases filed by the State since January 2018. In addition to a suit the State filed against ExxonMobil for harmful contamination found on and around its 12-acre-plus Lail property in Gloucester County, the Attorney General and DEP Commissioner filed eight environmental justice lawsuits across the State last December, one of which was an NRD action. These came on the heels of six environmental lawsuits filed on August 1, 2018, three of which are also NRD cases. Attorney General Grewal and Commissioner McCabe have also filed a number of other lawsuits in the past year challenging the federal government’s rollback of rules addressing (among other key issues) climate change, clean air, ozone pollution, and clean water.
New Interactive Map Shows Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Industry
The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) has launched a new interactive online map
focused on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of more than 84 times that of carbon dioxide, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. After carbon dioxide, methane is the most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the U.S. from human activities. Nearly one-third of those emissions come from oil production and the production, transmission and distribution of natural gas.
“NMED is offering this innovative mapping tool for the public and stakeholders to better understand the impacts of oil and natural gas on New Mexico’s air quality,” said Environment Department Secretary James Kenney. “As we add data to the map, it will also become apparent which oil and gas producers are going above and beyond to reduce methane emissions and which are falling behind.”
Represented on the map are the 4,000 oil and gas facilities – including oil and gas wells and tank batteries – regulated by NMED’s Air Quality Bureau. Methane emission estimates were calculated using reported volatile organic compound (VOC) emission rates. Other sources, such as pipelines, compressor stations and gas plants will be added to the methane map over time and as data sets become available.
In addition to emitting methane, oil and natural gas facilities also emit VOCs and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). Emissions of VOCs and HAPs are regulated by the state and reductions in these pollutants can also reduce methane emissions. NMED inspection data and concluded enforcement actions will be added to the map over time.
NMED’s methane map will assist in tracking progress toward meeting the objectives of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s executive order addressing climate change and energy waste prevention. This executive order calls for the development of a statewide, enforceable regulatory framework to ensure methane reductions from the oil and natural gas industry.
PFAS Use in U.S. Skyrockets
Despite growing evidence of the serious health and environmental harms of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, collectively called PFAS
, the number of new short-chain and other PFAS chemicals produced and imported in the U.S. is approaching new records, according to official figures posted
by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
Widely used in fire retardants, repellents, furniture, take-out containers and non-stick cookware, among many other applications, PFAS do not break down in the environment and bioaccumulate in the food chain. This class of chemicals is often referred to as “forever chemicals.” PFAS are associated with birth defects, developmental damage to infants, the liver, kidneys, and immune system, as well as a cancer risk. According to new research from Harvard University, more than 16 million Americans drink water contaminated with PFAS.
Because of their toxicity and bio-persistence, industry voluntarily agreed to begin phasing out one version of the chemical, PFOS, in 2002 and to phase out another, PFOA, by 2015. However, industry immediately began replacing PFOA and PFOS with new unregulated short-chain PFAS chemicals (a slight variation of chemical formula) and continue to do so at a high rate.
Data from EPA’s Chemical Data Reporting database
and analyzed by PEER shows that the number of new PFAS chemicals produced in volumes in excess of 25,000 pounds a site per year increased by 30 from 2012 to 2016. The data shows that there are now 118 PFAS chemicals made or imported in very large quantities, compared with just 76 in 2002.
“This rapid rate of PFAS substitution makes it impossible for public health agencies to keep up with toxicology assessments in time to protect the public,” stated PEER Science Policy Director Kyla Bennett, a scientist and attorney who formerly worked for EPA. “EPA lacks a coherent plan for keeping these chemicals out of our environment, our drinking water, or our bloodstreams.”
Last month shortly before his confirmation, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler offered a PFAS “Action Plan
” that offers no concrete commitments for action. The agency presently relies on a non-enforceable lifetime health advisory for exposure only to PFOA and PFOS (the two chemicals already being phased out) of 70 parts per trillion. Experts have repeatedly stated they believe the threshold for these chemicals should be much lower.
EPA claims to have regulatory authority to stop new uses of PFAS following a risk determination but apparently has not done so as PFAS use is ratcheting up sharply.
In light of this new data, PEER is calling on Congress to enact a moratorium on the manufacture and importation of new PFAS chemicals until there is sufficient scientific information on the toxic effects of these short-chain chemicals on humans and their persistence in the environment. In addition, the group urges Congress to require industries that manufacture or use these short-chain chemicals to contribute to a research fund for human health risk assessment by expert toxicologists without ties to those industries.
“It is clear that EPA has no handle on this mounting chemical crisis,” said Bennett, pointing out that EPA has been largely relying on industry-funded science on the chemicals. “Congress needs to step in and tell EPA to hit the pause button and to require industry to fund human health studies conducted by experts not on industry payrolls.”
Recycling Company Settles Allegations of Illegal Dumping and Destruction of Wetlands in Salisbury
A New Hampshire-based recycling and renewable energy company, its manager, and its operator have agreed to pay up to $175,000 in penalties and to restore acres of protected wetlands in Salisbury, NH after illegally dumping solid waste and storing hazardous waste on the property, NH Attorney General Maura Healey announced.
The consent judgment, entered in Suffolk Superior Court, settles a lawsuit
filed by the AG’s Office in June 2017 alleging that C&G Land Reclamation & Renewable Energy Solutions LLC (C&G Renewables), manager Clyde Holland, and operator William P. Trainor Sr. violated numerous environmental laws and regulations in their operation of an illegal solid waste disposal site at the C&G Renewables property on Lafayette Road in Salisbury, which is unfenced and located across the street from an elementary school.
The AG’s Office alleges the defendants altered and filled nearly 15,000 square feet of protected wetlands at the property with solid waste, destroying the wildlife habitat and vegetation in the area.
“Wetlands are valuable natural resources that must be protected, not used as dumping grounds,” AG Healey said. “Today’s settlement requires the restoration of acres of destroyed wetlands that serve as critical resources for flood prevention and habitats for our wildlife.”
According to the AG’s complaint, C&G Renewables, Holland, and Trainor dumped and stored large piles of concrete rubble, rebar bricks, and other construction debris throughout protected wetland areas without obtaining any required authorizations from state and local authorities, including the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), and despite multiple stop work orders issued by the Town of Salisbury.
“This law and rules are in place to protect public health and the environment,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “Failure to abide by these rules will lead to enforcement and penalties.”
The complaint also alleges that the defendants illegally transported drums of hazardous waste off-site and reburied others on-site, including waste oil and hydrochloric acid, and failed to report releases of hazardous material discovered at the property.
Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants will pay up to $175,000 in penalties to the state and restore nearly 15,000 square feet of wetlands, 75 feet of stream bank, and additional acres of associated buffer zone to their prior condition under the direction of MassDEP. The defendants also will remove all solid and hazardous waste at the property and report and remediate releases of hazardous materials found there.
MassDEP Penalizes Developer $22,500 for Improper Removal of Contaminated Soil at Cambridge Site
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has penalized 300 Putnam Ave LLC $22,500 for violations involving the removal of soil in May 2018 from a development site without prior notification. The company initially conducted an assessment in April 2016, prior to purchasing the Cambridge property at 300 Putnam Avenue, and removed the soil improperly in 2018.
The 2016 assessment recommended additional evaluation to identify the source of volatile organic compounds found at the site. However, the company, after purchasing the property on June 2, 2016, thereafter removed 1,200 cubic yards of soil without providing notification. In October of 2018, laboratory tests indicated that soil stockpiled on the site contained lead and the solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) above reportable concentrations.
“The initial assessment clearly indicated the need for further evaluation to identify whether contamination was present,” said Eric Worrall, director of MassDEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington. “This is a basic requirement that should have been followed to ensure protection of public health and the environment.”
The company notified MassDEP on November 2, 2018 of the measures it had taken. By failing to notify MassDEP of the release and by failing to submit a release abatement measure plan for approval prior to conducting remedial actions, the company failed to meet state requirements.
The company has subsequently provided documentation through a bill-of-lading that the contaminated soil removed from the site was transported to a hazardous waste landfill in Rochester, N.H. Under the terms of the agreement with MassDEP, 300 Putnam Ave LLC will pay $12,000 and the remaining $10,500 will be suspended pending continued compliance with state regulations.
NREL Pioneers Cleaner Route to Upcycle Plastics into Superior Products
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have discovered a method of plastics upcycling—transforming discarded products into new, high-value materials of better quality and environmental value—that could economically incentivize the recycling of waste plastics and help solve one of the world’s most looming pollution problems.
Published in Joule, “Combining reclaimed PET with bio-based monomers enables plastics upcycling,” describes how the NREL team chemically combined reclaimed polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic, in the form of single-use beverage bottles, with bio-based compounds to produce higher-value fiber-reinforced plastics (FRPs) that can be used in products from snowboards to vehicle parts to wind turbines. Not only are the resulting composites worth more than double the original PET, the FRPs exhibit twice the strength and improved adhesion to fiberglass when compared to the standard petroleum-derived FRP.
“Most recycling today is downcycling—there’s very little financial motivation,” said NREL Senior Research Fellow Gregg Beckham, one of the primary authors of the paper. “Knowing that 26 million tons of PET are produced each year but only 30% of PET bottles are recycled in the United States, our findings represent a significant advancement in enabling the circular materials economy.”
The NREL team also included staff polymer researcher Nic Rorrer, who has previously worked with bio-based muconic acid and breaking down reclaimed PET. “We are excited to have developed a technology that incentivizes the economics of plastics reclamation,” Rorrer said. “The ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of waste plastics in landfills and oceans.”
In addition, this process is more energy efficient and less hazardous than standard manufacturing processes for petroleum-based FRPs. NREL performed a supply-chain analysis of the FRP materials and found substantial energy savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions when compared to the process for producing petroleum-based composites. This research represents a potential step forward in sustainable methods to upcycle plastics into long-lasting, high-performance materials that could boost recycling efforts throughout the world.
The work reported in Joule was enabled by funding from NREL’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development program, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office.
Proposed Settlement Resolves Clean Air Act Claims Between EPA and South Portland, Maine Facility
A South Portland, Maine, facility that stores oil and asphalt will see a reduction in the amount of emissions it is allowed as a result of an agreement reached with federal agencies.
Under a proposed settlement
with the EPA and the US Department of Justice, Global Partners LP, Global Companies LLC, and Chelsea Sandwich LLC, all collectively known as Global, will take steps to help limit emissions of volatile organic compounds from heated tanks in South Portland that store asphalt and residual #6 fuel oil.
In addition, Global will install mist eliminator systems on the tanks to address local air impacts. Global also will invest at least $150,000 in a project to encourage the replacement or upgrades of wood stoves in the area. Finally, the company will pay a $40,000 penalty to settle charges by EPA’s New England office that it violated certain provisions of the Clean Air Act
Global owns and operates a petroleum product storage and distribution facility on Clark Road in South Portland. As part of its operations, Global stores and distributes #6 oil and asphalt, both of which are stored in heated tanks. Data from emissions testing indicates these tanks emit VOCs at substantially higher levels than previously estimated.
Under the agreement, Global will apply for a revised permit from Maine that will limit the amount of #6 oil and asphalt the company can pass through the facility and will limit the number of days it can heat the tanks and the number of tanks that can store #6 oil at any one time.
The wood stove replacement program will provide vouchers for owners of wood-burning stoves in the South Portland area to help cover the cost of replacing or retrofitting older residential wood‑burning stoves with cleaner-burning, more efficient heating equipment.
VOCs include a variety of chemicals that may produce adverse health effects such as eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, and damage to the liver, kidney, and the central nervous system. VOCs also contribute to the formation of ground level ozone. Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of health problems, particularly for children, the elderly, and anyone with lung diseases such as asthma. Ground level ozone can also have harmful effects on sensitive vegetation and ecosystems.
Jared Blumenfeld Confirmed as California Secretary of Environmental Protection
The California Senate has confirmed Jared Blumenfeld as Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA). Blumenfeld was confirmed with a bipartisan vote of 32-3.
“I’m honored to have been appointed as California’s Secretary of Environmental Protection by Governor Newsom and to have been confirmed by the Senate,” said Blumenfeld. “I look forward to equitably implementing CalEPA’s mission to ‘ensure public health, environmental quality and economic vitality.’ Through the effective use of science and the law, and by engaging communities transparently, we have the opportunity to improve the lives of millions of Californians.”
As Secretary, Blumenfeld oversees the state’s efforts to fight climate change, protect air and water quality, regulate pesticides and toxic substances, achieve the state’s recycling and waste reduction goals, and advance environmental justice. As a member of Governor Gavin Newsom’s cabinet, he also advises the governor on environmental policy.
During a Senate Rules Committee confirmation hearing earlier this month, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) praised Blumenfeld’s appointment. “I appreciate the experience, expertise and ability to engage that you bring to so many issues in California. We are very fortunate that the Governor was able to make this appointment.”
“Jared Blumenfeld is a great choice to lead California’s Environmental Protection Agency,” said U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with him on several issues, including improving the clarity of Lake Tahoe and restoring San Francisco Bay. His previous experience and dedication to public service will make him a strong steward for our state’s environment.”
Blumenfeld brings to CalEPA more than 25 years of environmental policy and management experience at the local, national and international levels. From 2009 to 2016, he served under former President Barack Obama as Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Pacific Southwest, a region that includes California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, the Pacific Islands and 148 tribal nations.
Previously, Blumenfeld was Director of San Francisco’s Department of Environment from 2001 to 2009, first under former Mayor Willie Brown and then under Gavin Newsom. He and Mayor Newsom worked effectively to make San Francisco “the most sustainable city in the nation” by developing a municipal Environment Code that includes mandatory recycling and composting, bans on Styrofoam and plastic bags, and a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Prior to government service, Blumenfeld led international campaigns for nongovernmental organizations. He led the habitat protection program for the International Fund for Animal Welfare and was Executive Director for the Natural Resource Defense Council’s Earth Summit Watch from 1993 to 1995.
Blumenfeld graduated from Cambridge College of Arts and Technology and earned a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of London and a Master of Laws from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.
Prior to his appointment, Blumenfeld founded a private consulting firm to advise clean-tech companies on strategic planning and market development. He also hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650-mile route that stretches from the U.S.-Mexico border to the U.S.-Canada border. He continues to host an award-winning podcast on environmental topics, called Podship Earth
“We face many challenges — from the worst air quality in the nation, to more than one million people lacking access to safe and affordable drinking water, to the legacy of toxic contamination in nearly every community, to the increasingly devastating impacts of climate change — that all require urgent action,” Blumenfeld said. “These seem like intractable problems. But if we listen to the voices of community members, adopt the innovative spirit of our business community, and work collaboratively across government agencies, we can make measurable progress.”
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