EPA Urges Americans to "Change a Light, Change the World" This Fall

October 03, 2003

The ENERGY STAR program is launching the 2003 Change a Light, Change the World campaign, which challenges Americans to switch to lighting products, specifically bulbs and fixtures to save energy, money, and protect the environment.

"We are committed to promoting energy efficiency, and the Change a Light, Change the World campaign is a great way to get Americans thinking about ways to conserve energy, save money and help the environment," said EPA Acting Administrator Marianne Horinko. "If each household in the U.S. switched the lighting in just one room to ENERGY STAR, we'd save enough energy to light more than 34 million homes and prevent one trillion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. By replacing the five most frequently used light fixtures at home or bulbs with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR, a household can save more than $60 a year in energy costs while enjoying the latest in style, design, convenience and efficiency."

EPA, working with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is launching the national campaign with an energy-efficient lighting makeover at the Thomas Edison Winter Home in Fort Myers, Florida. The home's outdoor lampposts and porch lights are being changed to bulbs and fixtures that have earned the ENERGY STAR. This change coincides with the upcoming 125th anniversary of Edison's own light bulb invention. ENERGY STAR is working with TV's renovation and design expert Steve Thomas to conduct this change-out.

ENERGY STAR qualified lighting lasts six to ten times longer than traditional lighting, and operates on two-thirds less energy. In addition, lighting products that have earned the label generate about 70 percent less heat than incandescent lighting, which means they're cool to the touch and help reduce energy costs associated with cooling the home.

During October and November, EPA and DOE are partnering with hundreds of manufacturers, retailers, state governments, utilities, and regional energy efficiency organizations throughout the United States to make finding and buying energy-efficient light bulbs and fixtures easier. Local, regional, and national activities include lighting change-out events and special offers from participating retail, manufacturer, and regional utility partners to help consumers save on light bulbs and fixtures that have earned the ENERGY STAR.

The ENERGY STAR label can now be found on more than 35 product categories for home and office. The products prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy-efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and DOE. For more information, call 1-888-STAR-YES or visit http://www.energystar.gov.

Hazardous Waste Inspector's Checklist

If a RCRA inspector was waiting in the lobby right now, would you be ready? The Vermont Waste Management Division has published the checklist used by its enforcement personnel when conducting inspections. The checklist is helpful to hazardous waste generators in Vermont or any other state to use as a self-audit tool. You can find a copy of the checklist at http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/wastediv/rcra/ceicheck.pdf.

U.S. Reaches Settlement with ALLTEL Corporation for Environmental Violations

The Department of Justice and EPA announced that ALLTEL Corporation, a leading provider of communications and information services, has signed an agreement to carry out cross-cutting environmental compliance audits at its facilities nationwide. The agreement settles claims that ALLTEL violated the Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA), and/or the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) at 205 of its facilities in 18 states.

ALLTEL provides wireless, local telephone, long-distance, Internet and high-speed data services to residential and business customers in 26 states. In this action, the government charged that ALLTEL Corporation applied late or failed to obtain permits to construct or install standby generators at 105 facilities in two states as required by CAA state implementation plans; violated SPCC plan requirements at 45 facilities in 13 states by failing to prepare plans as required by the CWA; and either failed to submit or submitted late reports to states informing them of the presence of sulfuric acid and/or diesel fuel, as required by EPCRA, at 56 facilities in 14 states.

In addition to the environmental compliance audits that will occur at over 7,500 facilities, the company will pay a $1,058,000 civil penalty under the settlement filed in the U.S. District Court in Little Rock.

This settlement follows EPA's compliance incentive effort under its Audit Policy, which seeks to ensure compliance with environmental laws by the telecommunications industry. Unlike many of its competitors, ALLTEL failed to self-disclose its violations under the policy and therefore received a larger penalty.

Since EPA reached its first Audit Policy settlement with a telecommunications company in 1998, more than 25 telecommunications businesses have disclosed violations of the EPCRA, CWA, CAA, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Companies that have disclosed violations and corrected them have brought more than 430 facilities into compliance with the Clean Air Act regulatory requirements. This has enhanced facility and emergency response personnel's capabilities to react to hazardous chemical emergencies at almost 2,900 facilities, with over 700 facilities instituting spill prevention, control, and countermeasure plans where none existed.

Under the CAA, states are required to take steps to ensure that ambient air quality standards are met, including requiring sources to obtain permits before constructing certain stationary sources of air pollution. The CWA's Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure requires facilities to prepare plans that help prevent or mitigate spills and keep hazardous chemicals from polluting streams and other water bodies. EPCRA was enacted to help states and local communities protect public health, safety and the environment from chemical hazards. Disclosure of the presence of hazardous substances ensures the safety of emergency personnel and first-responders in chemical releases.

The proposed settlement will be published in the Federal Register for 30 days for public comment, and must be approved by the Court.

Emery Worldwide Airlines Pleads Guilty to Criminal Hazmat Transportation Violations

The Department of Justice and DOT announced that Emery Worldwide Airlines, Inc. has pled guilty to twelve (12) felony counts for violating the Hazardous Material Transportation Act and agreed to pay a criminal penalty of $6 million and develop a compliance program to detect and deter future violations.

Emery, a wholly owned subsidiary of CNF, Inc., provides air and land transportation services for business-to-business shippers of heavyweight cargo. Its major operation hub is near the Dayton International Airport in Vandalia, Ohio.

Emery's operation includes the transportation of freight designated as hazardous material under regulations issued by DOT. The regulations require the operator of the aircraft to give the pilot-in-command of the aircraft, prior to departure, written notification of hazardous material boarded on the plane.

By its plea, Emery is admitting that on twelve (12) occasions between November 1998 and July 1999 it transported hazardous material on aircraft leaving its hub without providing the required written notification to the pilot-in-command of the aircraft that hazardous material had been placed on board the aircraft. The type of hazardous material involved included freight classified as miscellaneous dangerous goods, non-flammable gas, flammable liquid, and explosive and radioactive material. Without written notification of hazmat, pilots would not have the information they need to properly respond to on-board emergencies, such as fires or spills.

U.S. Announces Major Clean Air Act Settlements Under Petroleum Refinery Initiative

The Justice Department and EPA announced comprehensive Clean Air Act settlements with Coastal Eagle Point Oil Company (CEPOC), CHS Inc. (Cenex), Ergon-West Virginia Inc. and Ergon Refining Inc. (Ergon). These companies have a collective production capacity of approximately 285,000 barrels per day and will reduce air emissions by more than 3,900 tons per year under the terms of settlements being filed with U.S. District Courts in New Jersey, Montana and Mississippi.

These agreements, which will affect three percent of domestic refining capacity, address nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate emissions, pollutants that can cause serious respiratory problems and exacerbate childhood asthma. The refiners will also reduce other emissions of hazardous air pollutants, including benzene, at refineries located in Vicksburg, Miss., Laurel, Mont., Westville, N.J., and Newel, W.Va.

The four refineries will install and implement innovative control technologies to reduce emissions from their largest emitting units. These activities will reduce annual emissions of sulfur dioxide by approximately 2,800 tons and nitrogen oxide by approximately 1,100 tons. In addition, each refinery will significantly upgrade its leak-detection and repair practices, implement programs to minimize the number and severity of flaring events and adopt new strategies for ensuring continued compliance with benzene waste requirements under the Clean Air Act's National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants.

These refiners will pay civil penalties totaling more than $2.9 million and implement supplemental and other environmental projects valued at over $1.6 million to reduce idling truck emissions in New Jersey and provide improved equipment for first responders in Mississippi and West Virginia. The States of Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey and West Virginia actively participated and are joining in these settlements.

Experience under previous global refinery consent decrees suggests that flaring at these refineries may be reduced by more than 50 percent. Flaring is a common concern for communities in the vicinity of refinery operations, often affecting minority and low income populations. Flaring is a high temperature oxidation process used to burn combustible components of gases produced by refining operations.

These settlements are the latest in a series of multi-issue, multi-facility settlements being pursued by EPA under its Petroleum Refinery Initiative. In the past three years, several major refiners have entered into global settlements that reflect similarly comprehensive approaches for addressing compliance concerns across the industry. The latest consent decrees, together with those covering Koch Petroleum, BP Exploration & Oil, Motiva, Equilon and Deer Park Refining, Marathon Ashland Petroleum, Conoco, Navajo Refining and Lion Oil settlements, account for 37 refineries and 35 percent of domestic refining capacity.

The Justice Department and the EPA also announced a separate, narrower agreement with National Cooperative Refining Association (NCRA). NCRA will pay a penalty and implement supplemental environmental projects collectively valued at over $1.8 million. The State of Kansas participated and will join in this settlement.

After lodging, each settlement will be open to public comment for 30 days.