Hazardous air pollutants, also known as air toxics, include benzene and other hydrocarbons such as 1,3-butadiene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein, and naphthalene. Air toxics emitted by motor vehicles and other moving sources (called “mobile source air toxics,” or MSATs) contribute significantly to the nationwide risk from breathing outdoor air toxics. will significantly lower emissions of benzene and the other air toxics in three ways: 1) by lowering benzene content in gasoline; 2) by reducing exhaust emissions from passenger vehicles operated at cold temperatures (under 75 degrees); and 3) by reducing emissions that evaporate from, and permeate through, portable fuel containers.
Health of Nation’s Water Supply May Be Found at the Head of River
Recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court have focused national attention on what bodies of water fall under federal jurisdiction for protection under the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The CWA includes many important water quality and pollution prevention programs, particularly for headwaters, bodies of water that often serve as the tributaries for rivers and streams. The latest issue of “Journal of the American Water Resources Association” focuses on this issue by enlisting some of the foremost experts on America’s waterways to determine what role headwaters play in the overall status and safety of the nation’s water supply by maintaining the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of downstream waters.
“It is not often recognized that a large proportion of fresh water movement happens in ways we can’t easily see, underground or via intermittent or ephemeral streams,” says Kenneth Lanfear, journal editor. “Through these often over-looked connections, compromised headwater streams can damage the integrity of downstream water supply and impact the ability of downstream waters to perform ecological functions.”
Lanfear hopes that this publication can assist policymakers in making wise, scientifically sound decisions regarding the protection of all bodies of water at the federal, state, and local level. “For the CWA to be effective, the whole picture of water movement and interaction needs to be considered,” says Lanfear. “Applying this expertly researched information to policy and management issues would be a step in the right direction.”
Multiple EPA Enforcement Cases Show Need to Follow Chemical Management and Accident Prevention Laws in New England
Over the past several months, EPA has taken aggressive enforcement actions against New England facilities that have violated federal chemical emergency response and prevention laws. These laws and regulations direct companies and organizations that use, store, and manage hazardous chemicals to develop comprehensive chemical risk-management plans, provide emergency responders with critical information about the presence of hazardous chemicals at their facilities, and follow guidelines to reduce the risk of accidents from hazardous chemicals.
Recent traumatic events, such as terrorist attacks, hurricanes, and accidental fires, have highlighted the importance of preparing for, preventing, and responding quickly to chemical releases in our communities.
Under this effort, EPA has taken legal action against 18 separate facilities throughout New England, including six municipalities that store bulk chemicals at their water treatment facilities. As a result of these cases, the facilities either face, or have paid, penalties and have spent millions of dollars in safety improvements. In one case, EPA’s enforcement action against NOVA Chemicals of Indian Orchard, Mass. will result in nearly $3 million in safety improvements to the facility’s polystyrene processes.
“If there is an emergency involving hazardous chemicals, first responders rely on chemical management databases to protect the surrounding community and themselves,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “This is not simply a paperwork exercise—by following proper accident prevention and reporting protocols and ensuring that emergency responders have up-to-date and accurate chemical information, we can prevent chemical accidents, save lives, and protect peoples’ health during emergency responses.”
A number of large and small chemical releases by local companies have led EPA’s New England office to intensify efforts to make sure facilities storing large amounts of chemicals follow procedures for reporting the presence of chemicals, follow steps to prevent chemical accidents, and immediately report releases to state and federal emergency responders. These practices are required by several federal environmental laws, including the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), the Clean Air Act (CAA), and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).
EPA has taken action to enforce chemical preparedness and reporting laws at the following New England facilities:
NOVA Chemicals Inc., Indian Orchard, Mass.
Callahan Co., Walpole, Mass.
Hallsmith SYSCO, Norton, Mass.
AGAR Supply Co., Taunton, Mass.
John B. Hull, Inc., Great Barrington, Mass.
North Atlantic Fish Company, Inc., Gloucester, Mass.
Atlantic Wire Company, LLC, Branford, Conn.
Atlantic Coast Polymers, Inc., Plainfield, Conn.
Barber Foods, Portland, Maine
Ocean State Power Company, Harrisville, Rhode Island
ChemArt Company, Lincoln, Rhode Island
Ellsworth Ice Cream Company North Springfield, Vermont
Glastonbury Wastewater Treatment Plant, Glastonbury, Conn.
Norwich Wastewater Treatment Plant, Norwich, Conn.
Lake Auburn Intake Facility, Lewiston and Auburn, Maine
Amesbury Drinking Water Treatment Plant, Amesbury, Mass.
Danvers Drinking Water Treatment Plant, Danvers, Mass.
Newport Wastewater Treatment Facility, Newport, Vermont
EPA also encourages companies to take advantage of its Audit Policy, a program that includes incentives for regulated entities to voluntarily disclose and come into compliance with federal environmental laws and regulations. Last fiscal year, approximately 30 facilities disclosed that they had failed to provide chemical inventory information to the proper state and local authorities, for which EPA deferred more than $3.2 million in penalties.
The deadline for filing hazardous chemical inventory information is March 1.
Fine for Operating Without a Storm Water Permit
Dependable Contracting, Inc., located in Priest River, Idaho, has reached a $7,500 settlement with the EPA for violating federal storm water permitting requirements.
Documents central to the case reveal the following violations:
- Operating without a required permit for four months
- Failure to have a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan
- Failure to stabilize a soil pile at a Priest River construction site
According to Jim Werntz, EPA’s Idaho state director, storm water inspections are an effective way to protect Idaho’s waters from sediment pollution that can choke rivers and lakes.
"While many builders and developers are doing a good job, there are some who are ignoring these important requirements,” said Werntz. “Builders and developers need to get the right permits and find out what’s required before they start work, or they will face fines.”
Storm water permits are part of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Construction General Permit (CGP) program.
Asbestos Contractor Charged in Connection With Abandoned Asbestos Waste in New Jersey
U.S. Attorney Patrick L. Meehan charged Randall G. Cone with violating the Clean Air Act in connection with the transportation of asbestos waste in 2000 and the discovery in 2005 that the asbestos waste had been abandoned in a trailer in Camden, N.J.
According to the charges, Cone was the owner and operator of R. Cone Environmental Services, Inc., an asbestos abatement firm. Cone, from Philadelphia, was hired in the spring of 2000 to remove and dispose of asbestos-containing material from a building at 800 North Broad Street in Philadelphia that was being converted into a charter school. Cone hired an individual to transport the removed asbestos material for disposal, but asbestos-containing material was eventually abandoned in a semitrailer at a parking lot on Ferry Avenue in Camden. Cone did not complete the required asbestos waste shipment record at the time of transport, as required by Clean Air Act asbestos regulations issued by the EPA. A company redeveloping the Ferry Avenue property discovered the trailer and its contents in 2005 and paid approximately $18,000 to dispose of the asbestos waste and trailer.
If convicted, Cone faces a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, two years supervised release, and a special assessment of $100.
The case was investigated by the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division. The case has been assigned to Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin Harrell of the EPA regional office in Philadelphia.
EPA Fines GWA for Spill Prevention Violations
The EPA fined Guam Waterworks Authority (GWA) $1,450 for oil spill prevention violations at its Fujita Pump Station in Tumon.
GWA also will need to develop a comprehensive spill prevention plan and implement procedures to prevent oil spills.
"It is critical that facilities such as GWA take the measures needed to prevent contaminating the environment,” said Norwood Scott, technical advisor for the EPA Pacific Southwest Region’s Pacific Islands Office. “Delicate coral reef ecosystems, marine species, and tourism are easily harmed by oil spills that could be prevented with proper planning and spill containment.”
In November, the EPA found that GWA failed to comply with the following federal spill prevention requirements:
- Having a comprehensive spill prevention plan
- Implementing adequate facility security measures
- Having records of drainage events from diked areas
- Testing the integrity of the petroleum tank and piping
The company has 30 days to pay the fine and correct the violations to avoid additional penalties of up to $11,000 per day per violation.
The Fujita Pump Station is less than a quarter mile from Tumon Bay and operates an 8,000-gallon diesel aboveground storage container. GWA has identified more than 90 other facilities that may be required to meet local and/or federal oil spill prevention requirements.
Oil spills and other contamination from onshore sources can pollute and harm coral and marine life. The EPA requires near-shore oil storage facilities to have their spill prevention plans and measures in place to prevent oil from being discharged into the ocean.
Fine for Selling Mislabeled Pesticides
Garratt-Callahan, located in Burlingame, Calif., manufactures disinfectants for use in cooling towers, boilers, and water treatment equipment. According to the administrative complaint the EPA filed against Garratt-Callahan, the products in question were missing various portions of the label text, including directions for proper use. One of the products, Formula 305, was missing text regarding the dangers of mixing the product with ammonia. In addition, it was lacking information on the reuse of the container and first-aid instructions.
The sale or distribution of a pesticide that is not properly labeled is a violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. This federal law requires specific labeling on pesticides before they can be sold or distributed.
“Improper labeling can result in harm to the user or the environment,” said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the EPA's Communities and Ecosystems Division for the Pacific Southwest region. “To ensure the safe use of pesticides, registrants are required to provide accurate product information and instructions, which should appear on the product label.”
The violations were discovered after an inspector from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation visited one of Garratt-Callahan’s manufacturing plants on Rollins Road in Millbrae in 2004.
EPA, DOJ Reach Agreement With WCI Steel on Wildlife Protection; $620,000 Penalty Assessed
The EPA and U.S. Department of Justice have reached an agreement with WCI Steel Inc., Warren, Ohio, on measures to protect migratory birds and other wildlife from oily waste found in impoundments (ponds, sludge containment areas, or lagoons) on its property. The company will also pay a $620,000 penalty through a related bankruptcy proceeding.
The consent decree resolves a 2002 order that required WCI to remove oily waste from, and permanently stop managing oily waste at, 11 impoundments. For some of the impoundments, WCI was given the option of installing netting. The order was based in part on inspections by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and EPA. The inspectors found 34 dead birds and bats at the site.
WCI Steel is a manufacturer of custom flat-rolled steel products and occupies 1,100 acres at 1040 Pine Ave. S.E., in Warren. The company recently reorganized under bankruptcy laws. The agreement includes the following wildlife protection measures: installing netting over two impoundments, implementing fire risk and oil management plans, removing sludge, and adding to the existing wildlife deterrent system at the facility. WCI has completely removed 8 of the 11 impoundments subject to the original 2002 order.
New Jersey Program Provides Instant Update on Permit Applications
For the first time, the public can use the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's website to get direct, up-to-the-minute information on the status of applications for DEP permits, Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson recently announced.
"Permit applicants can now find out immediately if the review process is right on track, and that kind of real-time information should make a positive difference in their decision-making."
The website tool provides at-a-glance details on permit applications from receipt to the final decision and specifies timelines for the entire review. It uses red text to denote when the permit-application review has been stopped for administrative or technical deficiencies and green text to indicate when information was received to correct the deficiency and to restart the review process.
Further, the electronic report identifies DEP staff members assigned to handle various aspects of the permit-application review and the dates those tasks were completed. It also offers a contact name and telephone number for answers to questions about pending permits.
EPA Settles Four Illinois, Michigan Cases, Files New Wisconsin Case
EPA Region 5 has recently settled four cases involving late notification of hazardous chemical releases. The facilities cited are located in Alsip, Chicago Heights, and Dwight, Ill., and River Rouge, Mich. EPA also announced a new case, citing a Kansasville, Wis., company for late notification of a chemical release.
Hondo Inc. (doing business as Coca-Cola Bottling of Chicago), 12200 S. Laramie Ave., Alsip, Ill., paid a $10,478 civil penalty. The facility was cited for failure to promptly report a 563-pound release of anhydrous ammonia to the National Response Center on March 20, 2006. The NRC was notified more than three hours after the company knew of the incident. The chemical was released from a faulty refrigeration system on the roof of the building.
Anhydrous ammonia is commonly used in commercial refrigeration systems. The chemical causes burns to the skin and irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat and may be fatal if inhaled for long periods of time. Anhydrous ammonia releases of more than 100 pounds must be immediately reported.
Alpharma Inc., an animal feed facility at 400 State St., Chicago Heights, Ill., paid a $5,000 cash penalty and will complete a $24,737 environmental project. The facility was cited for failure to promptly report a 13,277-pound release of sulfuric acid to the National Response Center on Oct. 31, 2005. The NRC was notified more than six hours after the company knew of the incident. The chemical was released when a storage tank leaked. Alpharma will install a remote monitor and alarm system on its sulfuric acid storage tank and upgrade the piping connected to the system.
Sulfuric acid causes burns to the skin and irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat. Releases of more than 1,000 pounds must be immediately reported.
Aldi Inc., which operates a refrigerated food warehouse at 1 Aldi Dr., Dwight, Ill., paid a $23,150 civil penalty and will complete a $23,150 environmental project. The facility was cited for failure to immediately notify the NRC, the state emergency response commission, and the local emergency response planning committee of a 600-pound anhydrous ammonia release on Aug. 22, 2005. The response agencies were notified more than eight hours after the company knew of the release. A required written follow-up report also was filed late, 32 days after the incident. The chemical was released when a pressure-relief valve opened prematurely. Aldi will purchase additional emergency response equipment for the Dwight Fire Department.
Detroit Edison's electrical power generation plant at 1 Belanger Park Dr., River Rouge, Mich., paid a $52,333 civil penalty. The facility was cited for failure to immediately notify the National Response Center of a 10,559-pound release of sodium hydroxide on May 6, 2003. Detroit Edison notified the NRC, the Michigan emergency response commission, and local emergency planning committee about an hour after it knew of the release. A required written follow-up report to the Michigan emergency response commission also was filed late, 10 days after the incident. A follow-up report to the local emergency planning committee was never filed. The incident occurred when a maintenance crew left a process valve open. The sodium hydroxide flowed through the process line and mixed with cooling water, which was then released from the facility.
Sodium hydroxide is commonly used in metal cleaning and processing. Exposure to it can irritate or burn the skin, eyes, and gastrointestinal tract. Inhaling large amounts can be fatal. Sodium hydroxide releases of more than 1,000 pounds must be reported immediately.
In the new case, EPA proposed a $80,596 civil penalty against Conserve FS Inc., doing business as Lake-Cook Farm Supply, 4304 S. Beaumont Ave., Kansasville, Wis. The facility was cited for failure to promptly report a 1,055-pound release of anhydrous ammonia to the Wisconsin Emergency Response Commission and the local emergency response planning commission on Oct. 11, 2004. The agencies were notified more than 17 hours after the facility knew of the release. The facility also failed to file a written follow-up report. The release was caused by a leaking valve on an ammonia tank.
Under federal law, facilities cited by EPA have 30 days to answer the complaint and may request a meeting to discuss settlement.
Contractor Fined $21,400 Penalty for Asbestos Violations
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) penalized the licensed general contracting company, Bond Brothers of Everett, $21,400 for violations of the state's asbestos removal and disposal regulations at Phillips Academy in Andover. Initially, MassDEP received a request from school administrators requesting a 'waiver' of the waiting period required for asbestos notifications.
That call prompted MassDEP to initiate an inspection of the active construction/demolition worksite and on July 21, 2005, found a stockpile of asbestos-containing material beneath a tarp outside the academy's Isham dormitory at 18 Old Campus Road. Dry asbestos was found in ripped trash bags along with pieces of ductwork with asbestos insulation still attached.
Bond Brothers contends it was told by school administrators that all asbestos had been removed. However, by removing the asbestos without the required notification, without the proper procedures, and without the necessary measures to control emissions, the contractor violated air quality regulations adopted to protect the public from the health hazards posed when asbestos fibers become airborne.
"Dry asbestos fibers can pose serious health risks if they become airborne and are inhaled," said Richard Chalpin, director of MassDEP's Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington. "MassDEP works every day to make sure that contractors involved in construction, renovation, and demolition projects, take the necessary steps before the removal and disposal of asbestos so it is done in way that is protective of public health and in compliance with state and federal environmental and safety regulations."
Bond Brothers has agreed to fully comply with all applicable asbestos regulations henceforth, and MassDEP has agreed to suspend $3,000 of the penalty, provided that all terms of the order are met.
Hawaii Joins EPA in Boosting Clean, Efficient Energy Use
Hawaii has agreed to work with EPA in developing its own action plan for clean energy.
Hawaii currently imports most of its fuel but, through its work with the partnership, hopes to reduce its dependence on these imports by increasing energy efficiency and using renewable energy sources.
"I am pleased to welcome Hawaii to the Clean Energy-Environment State Partnership," said Bill Wehrum, acting assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. "Each new partner increases our ability to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, strengthen our energy independence, and improve air quality."
"The state of Hawaii is at the forefront of clean energy and environmental initiatives. This partnership will strengthen the state's position as we undertake new programs promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy sources," said Maurice Kaya, Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism.
Under the partnership program, launched in February 2005, partner states agree to work with EPA to develop and implement a state-specific Clean Energy-Environment State Action Plan that contains one or more clean energy-environment goals. EPA provides partner states with a comprehensive technical assistance package of planning, policy, technical, analytical, and information resources, and it works to establish linkages to other federal programs that support clean energy-environment strategies. Partners also benefit by learning from their peers about successful programs and policies at work in other states, identifying themselves as environmental and clean energy leaders, and receiving EPA recognition for the environmental benefits that result from their efforts.
Hawaiian officials signed a Memorandum of Agreement with EPA at the National Association of State Energy Officials winter meeting in Washington, D.C.
The other states involved in the partnership are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah.
MassDEP Penalizes Bradford & Bigelow $33,345 for Air Quality and Hazardous Waste Violation
Bradford & Bigelow has agreed to a $33,345 penalty after an inspection by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) found air quality and hazardous waste violations at the company's facility in Danvers. The commercial printing company, located at One Industrial Drive, installed a heat-offset press without approval in 2003.
A heat-offset press has the potential to emit harmful air pollutants, including volatile organic compounds, which contribute to the buildup of ground-level ozone. State regulations require that significant sources of air pollutants (such as printers) must submit plans prior to installing equipment, such as a heat-offset press, in order to ensure that adequate emission controls are in place.
"Established businesses like this, which have already obtained permits or plan approvals from MassDEP, need to be vigilant about compliance and forthcoming when modifications are under consideration," said Richard Chalpin, MassDEP's northeast regional director. "Additionally, in terms of the hazardous waste, the possibility of problems increases significantly when storage, recordkeeping, and labeling requirements are not followed."
The specific violations involved the generation of hazardous waste in excess of what the company had registered; failure to submit air emission data from 2002 to 2005; and, failure to submit compliance certifications for 2003 and 2004 as required under MassDEP's Environmental Results Program.
The company has already submitted some of the missing reports and corrected the hazardous waste issues identified at the facility, and it has agreed to completely comply with all of the remaining terms of the order. MassDEP has agreed to suspend $15,800 of the total penalty if all the conditions are met within one year.
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.
Ohio EPA Orders Ohio Fresh Eggs to Correct Public Water System Violations
Ohio EPA has ordered Ohio Fresh Eggs to take measures to address drinking water violations at the company's Layer No. 1 and No. 4 in Croton. Ohio Fresh Eggs also will pay a $13,250 penalty.
Ohio EPA inspections over the last few years at Layer No. 1 and No. 4 documented numerous violations and poor operating conditions. These include:
- Connecting pond wells to potable water systems at Layer No. 1 and No. 4, which can result in cross-contamination of the potable system and contaminate an aquifer with surface water infiltration
- Not maintaining water softeners and chlorinators at Layer No. 1 and Layer No. 4
- Failing to monitor for total coliform (an indicator of water quality) at Layer No. 1 during the October–December 2005 quarter
- Failing to monitor for total coliform at Layer No. 4 during the April–June 2005 quarter
- Failing to collect four repeat samples within 24 hours of being notified of a total coliform positive sample at Layer No. 1 in August 2003 and Layer No. 4 in October 2004
- Failing to monitor for volatile organic chemicals at Layers No. 1 and No. 4 during the July-December 2003 quarters
- Failing to monitor for inorganic chemicals at Layer No. 4 during the July–December 2003 quarters
By May 1, 2007, operational violations are to be corrected and Ohio Fresh Eggs is required to comply with drinking water monitoring and reporting requirements. Of the penalty, $10,600 will go to Ohio EPA's drinking water program and $2,650 will go to Ohio EPA's Clean Diesel School Bus Fund.
Nearly $4 Million Pumped Into Projects That Will Cut Diesel Pollution in the Northeast
Projects to reduce diesel pollution in New York and New Jersey are among those receiving EPA funding, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson announced at a ceremony in New Haven, Conn. Johnson presented $3.8 million in funding to eight organizations in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont, to help reduce pollution from diesel vehicles operating in the Northeast. The funds are part of the Northeast Diesel Collaborative, a partnership of public and private entities in eight Northeastern states.
In New York, Erie County’s Department of Environment and Planning received $298,960 to retrofit up to 128 school buses with advanced pollution control technology. Six school districts will install EPA-approved retrofit technology, study the results, and help promote the emission reduction technology in nearby communities.
Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra said, “Erie County, New York, is looking forward to working with our local school districts to reduce toxic air emissions, improving air quality, and protecting our children's health, through this EPA grant to retrofit school buses.”
The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) received $171,040 to retrofit more than 1,000 school buses with a combination of technologies. This key partner also will aid with outreach as part of EPA's Clean School Bus USA.
Peter R. Smith, president and CEO of NYSERDA, said, “Each day, school children ride on buses that emit harmful greenhouse gases, pollute our air, and pose health risks. The grant will provide NYSERDA with additional resources to assist school districts in their efforts to make buses cleaner and help reduce dependency on fossil fuels. Partnering with the New York Association for Pupil Transportation and the New York School Bus Contractor’s Association in the grant submission process, NYSERDA plans to add this funding to the second round of the New York State Clean Air School Bus program, which will assist school districts with the cost to purchase and install emissions reducing technology. This multimillion dollar program will retrofit an estimated 1,300 school buses with diesel particulate filters (DPF), diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) mufflers, and Spiracle crankcase filters, which will lead to annual reductions in hydrocarbons, particulate matter, and carbon monoxide.”
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey received $125,000 to retrofit five New Jersey diesel locomotive utility track vehicles with idle reduction technologies to reduce diesel pollution. It also plans to add diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs) to two or more of these same locomotive engines. By deploying these technologies, the project seeks to reduce the impact of locomotive operations on the environment.
Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) received $299,406 to retrofit up to 100 school buses in five communities in four states, including, Syracuse, N.Y.; Brattleboro, Vt.; Cambridge, Mass.; Hamden, Conn.; and Springfield, Mass., with advanced pollution control technology. Communities also will be able to use funds to offset the cost of switching to a blend of biodiesel fuel.
"EPA's grants under the Collaborative banner not only fund important projects in key sectors, but also raise awareness of the problems associated with diesel exhaust and help bring the private sector into the conversation about strategies and funding," said Debbi Edelstein of NESCAUM, manager of NEDC. "We are especially pleased that this round of grants leveraged nearly twice as much in partnership funding, which will lead to significant improvements in local air quality."
Diesel exhaust particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and pose serious health risks, including aggravating the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory problems in healthy individuals. The Northeast has some of the highest asthma rates in the nation, including a childhood asthma rate above 10 percent in all six New England states and rates near 15 percent in areas of New York City.
Nationally, EPA has taken critical steps to ensure that the diesel engines manufactured in the future will be significantly cleaner than those operating today. However, diesel engines are very durable, and older models will continue to be used and could pose health and environmental risks for decades. Retrofitting existing diesel engines with pollution control technology is a relatively simple and cost-effective way to reduce this harmful pollution.
The grants are part of EPA's “National Clean Diesel Campaign,” which promotes regulatory and voluntary efforts to reduce emissions from new and existing diesel engines. The Northeast Diesel Collaborative combines the expertise of public and private partners in a coordinated regional initiative in the eight northeastern states. Established in 2005 by the U.S. EPA—the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) and the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont—the collaborative promotes regulatory and voluntary efforts to reduce emissions from new and existing diesel engines and encourages voluntary emissions reductions of existing fleet through retrofits, cleaner fuel, replacement, reduced idling, and other pollution-cutting measures.
New Jersey Governor Orders Reductions in Greenhouse Gases
Governor Jon S. Corzine signed an Executive Order to adopt proactive and ambitious goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in New Jersey. The order specifically calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, approximately a 20 percent reduction, followed by a further reduction of emissions to 80 percent below 2006 levels by 2050. New Jersey is one of the first states in the nation to adopt such aggressive goals.
“Today we have taken steps to preserve our planet for our children and grandchildren by adopting aggressive goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,” Governor Corzine said. “In the absence of leadership on the federal level, the burden has now fallen upon state executives and legislatures to lead the way on this issue and I’m proud that New Jersey is helping to blaze that trail.”
To reach this goal, the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will work with the Board of Public Utilities (BPU), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and other stakeholders to evaluate methods to meet and exceed the 2020 target reductions. The DEP Commissioner will make specific recommendations to meet the targets while taking into account the economic benefits and costs of implementing these recommendations. This evaluation will be done in conjunction with the state’s Energy Master Plan, which will incorporate the new greenhouse gas reduction goal.
The order calls on the DEP to develop a 1990 greenhouse gas emission inventory as well as a system for monitoring current greenhouse gas levels so that progress toward goals can be accurately tracked. DEP will report progress towards the target reductions no less than every two years and, if necessary, will recommend additional actions to reach the targets. To further reduce emissions, the order calls for the Director of Energy Savings to develop targets and implementation strategies for reducing energy use by state facilities and vehicle fleets.
The administration will call on other states to join in its efforts and will work closely with the Legislature to pass legislation to support and strengthen the targets set out in the Executive Order. Senator Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) and Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union) are currently working on a bill to accomplish that goal.
As a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cooperative effort of Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states working to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the Corzine Administration will set up a cap-and-trade program to help limit carbon dioxide pollution from electric power plants. Under this system, power plants that exceed a predetermined level of carbon dioxide emissions will be required to pay a fee for each ton of carbon emitted over the limit. Governor Corzine will work with the Legislature to dedicate up to 100 percent of these funds to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, as well as other projects that benefit electric users. Senator Bob Smith (D-Middlesex) and Assemblyman John F. McKeon (D-Essex) are currently working on legislation to accomplish this goal.
Illinois Governor Sets Goal to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced a statewide goal to slash the production of heat-trapping greenhouse gases (GHGs) to 1990 levels by 2020 and 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The GHG goals are part of a long-term strategy by the state to combat global climate change and builds on steps the state has already taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to protect the environment and public health.
The announcement comes as Governor Blagojevich’s Climate Change Advisory Group prepares to address the serious and urgent issue of global climate change. The governor charged the advisory group with recommending strategies to meet these GHG reduction goals. The advisory group, comprised of business leaders, labor unions, the energy and agricultural industries, scientists, and environmental and consumer groups from throughout the state, will meet over a six-month period to identify measures to cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gases.
“The impact of global warming in Illinois and around the globe could be devastating, and we can’t wait for the federal government to act because scientists worldwide have warned that we must address climate change within the next decade to avoid serious and irreversible consequences,” the governor said. “The international community recognizes that rising temperatures, melting glaciers, and unusual weather patterns are warning signs telling us that climate change is a reality. By committing ourselves to action in Illinois, we can help minimize the effects of climate change and ensure our children and grandchildren inherit a healthy world full of opportunity.”
The governor’s GHG reduction goals are similar to goals set by other states and those proposed by U.S. Senators Lieberman and McCain. Scientists argue that global reductions of this magnitude are needed to minimize the impact of climate change.
“The goals the governor has set will help the Climate Change Advisory Group identify the key strategies needed to make meaningful reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases statewide while improving the competitiveness of Illinois’ economy,” said Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott. “From the Governor’s Energy Independence Plan that will create thousands of jobs in the renewable energy sector, to powering state facilities with wind power, to the Illinois Conservation and Climate Initiative that helps farmers earn money by trapping carbon dioxide in the soil, Illinois is making a strong commitment to minimize the impact of global warming.”
“Illinois is stepping up to advance needed policy solutions to our global warming problems, while the federal government has lagged behind,” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “The Governor's Climate Change Advisory Group can help Illinois move to the forefront in developing more clean energy, cleaner cars, and more energy-efficient buildings that will help reduce global warming pollution. That provides benefits for our environment, our economy, and future generations.”
The Illinois Climate Change Advisory Group will be chaired by Doug Scott, director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Vice Chairs include Michael Carrigan, secretary/treasurer, Illinois AFL-CIO; Art Gibson, senior vice president, Baxter Healthcare; and Howard Learner, executive director, Environmental Law and Policy Center of the Midwest. The World Resources Institute will facilitate the Advisory Group meetings and provide technical assistance.
The announcement builds on steps already taken by Illinois to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:
- This month, the governor joined California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and executives from BP to launch the Energy Biosciences Institute to be based at the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign and the University of California, Berkeley. The $500 million effort funded by BP will invest in researching next-generation homegrown biofuels made from crops that will cut GHG emissions, boost America’s energy independence, and create new markets for Illinois farmers.
- In January 2007, Governor Blagojevich celebrated final approval of rules he introduced to improve air quality and protect public health by dramatically slashing mercury, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide emissions from the three largest coal-fired power plant companies in Illinois—Midwest Generation, Ameren, and Dynegy. The agreements include commitments to shut down three of the oldest, least-efficient boiler units, leading to a reduction of 2.1 million tons of CO2 annually.
- Last fall, the governor announced his global warming initiative to combat global climate change. As part of the global warming initiative, Illinois joined New Mexico to become only the second state in the nation to join the Chicago Climate.
- As a Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) member, the state makes a voluntary, but legally binding, commitment to reduce GHG emissions from state buildings and vehicle fleets.
- Last summer, the governor announced an ambitious plan to meet the state’s energy needs by investing in wind power and cleaner burning renewable fuels that will cut greenhouse gas emissions. The plan also includes a proposed pipeline to help capture carbon-dioxide emissions from new coal gasification plants.
- Last July, the governor announced that the state would begin powering 141 Springfield-based facilities under his control with clean renewable wind energy purchased from Springfield’s municipal utility company, City Water Light and Power.
- In early 2006, Illinois launched the Illinois Conservation Climate Initiative (ICCI) in partnership with CCX and the Delta Institute. ICCI offers farmers and other landowners the opportunity to earn and sell greenhouse gas emission reduction credits through CCX when they take steps to trap carbon dioxide and reduce methane emissions by using conservation tillage and planting grasses and trees. These practices keep carbon and plants in the soil instead of being released as carbon dioxide. Illinois is the first state to sponsor such a program. More than 200 landowners have enrolled 67,000 acres.
- The state has taken numerous steps to reduce GHG emissions from its vehicle fleet, including reducing the overall number of state vehicles by 11 percent, from 13,635 in 2003 to 12,100 now; increasing the number of flex fuel vehicles in the state fleet from 1,339 in 2000 (10 percent of fleet), to 1,944 now (16 percent of fleet); increasing the use of renewable and cleaner burning ethanol and biodiesel in the state fleet. More than 1 million gallons of biofuels have been consumed by state vehicles since April 2004.
Boxer Commends Companies on Roadmap for Addressing Global Warming
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, commended the businesses and environmental organizations that make up the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) for coming together to call for swift action to address global warming. Executives of USCAP member companies—DuPont, BP America, and PG&E—along with the environmental organization World Resources Institute appeared at a hearing before the full Environment and Public Works Committee.
Senator Boxer said: “I want to thank these companies for agreeing to a roadmap to address the global warming challenge. This is one of those moments in history when all sides are coming together for the common good. Now, the political will needs to coalesce as well.”
“These leading corporations have said that dealing with climate change will create economic opportunities, new markets, and new technologies. As business leaders who successfully compete in national and worldwide markets, they should know.”
“I continue to believe we should approach this problem with hope and not fear. I am an optimist, and I believe we can solve this problem, and that in doing so, we will be better for it in every way.”
The U.S. Climate Action Partnership (U.S. CAP) consists of market leaders Alcoa, BP America, Caterpillar, Duke Energy, DuPont, FPL Group, General Electric, Lehman Brothers, PG&E, and PNM Resources, along with four leading nongovernmental organizations—Environmental Defense, Natural Resources Defense Council, Pew Center on Global Climate Change, and World Resources Institute.
On Jan. 22, 2007, U.S. CAP issued “A Call to Action” report that called on the federal government to quickly enact strong national economy-wide legislation, including mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and warned against delay in action to control the pollution that causes global warming.
U.S. CAP’s report identifies both short-term and long-term targets for greenhouse gas reductions that are similar to the goals of the Sanders-Boxer Bill (S. 309) and the targets in California’s global warming program.
Tufts University Assessed $1,400 Penalty for Violating Industrial Wastewater Requirements
Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, which operates at 200 Westboro Road in Grafton, Mass., has paid a $1,400 administrative penalty to the commonwealth for violating Industrial Wastewater Management regulations.
During an inspection of the facility last July, personnel from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) determined that Tufts had been pretreating industrial wastewater without the benefit of a certified wastewater treatment plant operator. A recently finalized consent order between Tufts and MassDEP requires Tufts to obtain the services of a certified operator and pay the administrative penalty.
"When industrial wastewater must be pretreated to meet local standards before discharge to a municipal sewer system, that treatment must be overseen by a certified wastewater treatment plant operator who ensures that adequate treatment is occurring," said Lee Dillard Adams, deputy director of MassDEP's Central Regional Office in Worcester.
DOE Toolkit Used in Climate Simulations
In preparing the report, summary and the full report, to be issued in May, scientists used climate models from all over the world to simulate how climate has changed over the past century and how it might change in the future.
The CCSM is a fully coupled global climate model that provides state-of-the-art computer simulations of the Earth's past, present, and future climate states. The MCT is an open source software library for constructing parallel coupled models from individual parallel models. MCT is designed for high performance and portability. All the CCSM simulations used the MCT.
. "This is a very complex model of the Earth's climate and is used to predict climate change, leading to more detailed and accurate predictions of future climate.
The report, the fourth in a series, presents new projections of future global climate, as well as analysis of greenhouse gases and other factors driving climate change. It will be complemented by two other reports to be released this spring, one focusing on impacts and one on mitigation measures. "I'm proud of the role MCT played in these latest simulations," Jacob said. "We are already enhancing the toolkit to perform higher-resolution simulations in support of the next report, due out in 2013."
Minnesota to Focus on Energy Emissions and Climate Change
Every two years, the MPCA submits a report to the legislature to provide an update of Minnesota's air quality, air issues of primary concern, and opportunities to make improvements. The current report focuses on pollutants and climate change issues relating to energy production, with electricity and transportation being the two biggest contributors of air emissions. A key message is that moving toward an economy that is less dependent on burning fossil fuels will help ensure a healthier environment for all Minnesotans.
The report also shows that despite a 93 percent increase in Minnesota's gross product, the total amount of pollutants emitted, such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter, actually decreased by 15 percent from 1985 to 2004. Much of this decrease is a result of applying federal and state regulations to vehicles and industry.
While Minnesota meets all air quality standards, the report notes that the MPCA continues to be concerned about the health and visibility issues associated with fine particulate matter, most of which comes from burning fossil fuels.
In addition, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions have increased as Minnesota's population and economic activity have expanded. For example, from 1985 to 2004 the state's population grew 23 percent, but electrical energy consumption doubled to 46 percent, and the number of miles traveled grew by 70 percent. During this same period, Minnesota's emissions of carbon dioxide (a primary greenhouse gas) grew by more than 50 percent.
The agency recommends that more effort be focused on education and partnerships—as well as specific actions to encourage conservation, efficiency, and the use of cleaner renewable energy sources—to begin to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Increasing renewable energy production and reducing energy use will not only reduce carbon dioxide, but will also reduce many other pollutants such as fine particles, ozone, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide.
To address these issues, Governor Pawlenty has introduced his Next Generation Energy Plan that includes more renewable energy, more energy conservation, and less carbon emissions for Minnesota. The governor's proposal will move the state closer to his goal of 25 percent of all types of our energy coming from renewable sources by 2025, and reducing the use of fossil-fuel energy by 15 percent by 2015. The Next Generation Energy Plan also addresses Minnesota's climate change contributions by requiring any new fossil fuel electric generation facility serving Minnesota to offset its greenhouse gas emissions. It also specifies that a state climate change action plan be developed by 2008. Questions about the report should be directed to Kari Palmer at 651-296-7921 or toll-free at 1-800-657-3864.
U.S. Steel to Pay $350,000 to Resolve Wastewater Violations
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced that it has entered into an agreement with United States Steel to resolve violations of wastewater discharge permits issued by the DEQ for U. S. Steel's three facilities in Wayne County, known as the Great Lakes Works.
Since taking over the Great Lakes Works from the bankrupt National Steel in 2003, U. S. Steel has experienced more than 170 separate violations of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for their Zug Island, 80" Hot Strip Mill, and Ecorse Mill facilities that comprise the Great Lakes Works. The violations involve excessive zinc and ammonia discharges, as well as numerous sheens and discolorations observed on the Detroit River.
These violations are in addition to long-standing problems related to discoloration in the Detroit River stemming from discharges from the 80" Hot Strip Mill through a structure known as Outfall 009. The DEQ had previously attempted to resolve the discoloration issues with National Steel prior to its bankruptcy.
"I appreciate U.S. Steel's commitment to determining the source of the discharges and putting them to an end," DEQ Director Steven E. Chester said. "Through this settlement, both Michigan's environment and Michigan's economy benefit."
U. S. Steel also has agreed to pay a civil fine of $300,000 and will reimburse the DEQ for $50,000 in investigation costs.
Trivia Question of the Week
In the United States, who is the largest user of hydrogen as a source of energy?
a. Department of Defense