EPA proposed the first standards issued for any industry under the residual risk provisions of the Clean Air Act. These provisions were intended by Congress to reduce, if necessary, any health risks remaining after a category of industrial sources has fully implemented EPA technology-based emissions standards for toxic air pollutants.
This first set of residual risk standards will apply to coke oven batteries, which convert coal to coke to produce iron at steel mills and foundries (a battery consists of a group of ovens connected by common walls). This proposal would apply to coke oven emissions from nine batteries at five coke plants throughout the country.
In 1993, EPA issued technology-based emissions standards for these batteries, requiring them to utilize maximum achievable control technology (MACT) to reduce toxic air emissions.
EPA will accept public comment on the proposed amendments for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. To read a copy of the proposal and a fact sheet summarizing the action, visit http://www.epa.gov/airlinks/airlinks3.html
EPA Deputy Administrator Appointed
Stephen L. Johnson was sworn in as Deputy Administrator of EPA by Administrator Michael Leavitt on August 2, 2004. Johnson was formally appointed Deputy Administrator by President George W. Bush on July 30, 2004. Johnson has served in the position of Acting Deputy Administrator for the past year.
“I count on Steve to manage the day-to-day operations of the Agency,” said Administrator Leavitt. “He does this with tremendous talent and grace, applying his leadership skills, knowledge of the issues, and appreciation for EPA employees to make our work better.”
Prior to serving as Acting Deputy Administrator, Johnson was the Assistant Administrator of the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances. He has over 20 years of service at the EPA, principally in the area of pesticide programs. Before joining EPA, Johnson held positions as the Director of Operations at Hazelton Laboratories Corporation and Litton Bionetics, Inc.
“I appreciate the trust and confidence in my abilities shown by President Bush and Administrator Leavitt,” Johnson said. “It is an honor to serve the American people and to work with my EPA colleagues as we continue to strengthen public health and the environment while growing the nation’s economy.”
Johnson earned a B.A. in biology from Taylor University in Indiana and an M.S. in pathology from George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
International Methane to Markets Partnership to Enhance Clean Energy Sources and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
U.S. EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt announced that the United States will join efforts with Australia, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, United Kingdom, and Ukraine to develop and promote cooperation on the recovery and use of methane. Methane is a clean-burning fuel that is the main component of natural gas and is also the second most prevalent greenhouse gas from human sources. The Methane to Markets Partnership will deliver significant energy, safety, and environmental benefits through the recovery and use of methane, while reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. The Partnership will focus on deploying cost-effective technologies in landfill gas-to-energy projects, methane recovery projects at coal mines, and improvements in natural gas systems.
Significantly reducing methane emissions is one of the most cost-effective ways to realize immediate environmental benefits due to methane’s potency as a greenhouse gas and short atmospheric lifetime. In addition, capturing and using recovered methane provides a valuable, clean-burning energy source that improves quality of life in local communities. This Partnership has the potential to reduce net methane emissions by up to 50 million metric tons of carbon equivalent annually by 2015 and continue at that level or higher in the future. To give a sense of scale of the level of reductions, this would be the carbon equivalent of removing 33 million cars from roadways for one year or eliminating emissions from fifty 500 MW coal-fired power plants.
The U.S. will commit up to $53 million over the next five years to facilitate the development and implementation of methane projects in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. EPA will play a central role in the Partnership by building on the success of the Agency’s voluntary domestic methane partnership programs. Since 1993, EPA and other U.S. Agencies have been working collaboratively with industry to identify and implement cost-effective methane emission reduction technologies and management practices. These programs have helped bring total U.S. methane emissions in 2001 to more than 5% lower than emissions in 1990, in spite of significant economic growth over that time period. Other Departments will also play a central role in the Partnership. These include the Department of State, which leads on international climate change policy and activities; the Department of Energy, which has valuable expertise in natural gas and coal mine methane technologies; and the U.S. Agency for International Development, which provides important technical expertise in the economic reform of energy sectors to create markets that support private sector projects in developing countries and those with economies in transition.
Countries participating in the Methane to Markets Partnership are expected to undertake activities aimed at reducing and capturing methane emissions at landfills, coal mines, and oil and gas systems. It is anticipated that developed countries will work with developing countries in undertaking these efforts. The specific details of the Partnership will be established and formalized through further discussion between participating member countries.
The Methane to Markets Partnership will be officially launched by developed countries, developing countries and countries with economies in transition with large methane emission sources or special expertise at a Ministerial Conference in November 2004 in Washington, D.C.
For more information visit http://www.epa.gov/methane/international.html
EPA Adds Corporate Level Recognition to Performance Track
For the first time, EPA is recognizing corporations for environmental leadership under the National Environmental Performance Track program.
The new designation will recognize companies that have shown their commitment to Performance Track through multiple facility memberships and have demonstrated environmental excellence such as reducing water, energy and solid waste use. The benefits of joining may include linking the Performance Track Web site to each company's environmental Web site and recognition of their environmental efforts. To qualify, at least five of the company’s facilities must be Performance Track members, and 25 percent of the company’s operations must be Performance Track members and/or members of similar performance-based state programs. Selected companies designated as Performance Track Corporate Leaders will commit to improve their environmental performance and that of their suppliers and/or customers, and increase their level of membership in the current program to at least 50 percent of their U.S. operations within five years of designation. Companies that meet these criteria will be asked to nominate themselves by Aug. 13, 2004. From this list of companies, EPA intends to ask up to three that appear to be the strongest candidates to apply, with applications due by Oct. 29, 2004. EPA will then designate the initial Performance Track Corporate Leaders and notify them of their selection in the fall.
For more on Performance Track, visit http://www.epa.gov/performancetrack
Meetings to be Held on Improved Public Access to Federal Rulemaking
To expand public involvement in the regulatory process, EPA will hold a “Forum on Public Access to Federal Rulemaking Through the Internet” in August 2004.
EPA is the managing partner for E-Rulemaking, an E-Government Initiative to foster greater participation in federal rulemaking by the public and regulated entities with a better, easier way to read and comment on rules electronically. EPA will hold public meetings seeking input on this cross-agency initiative established under the President’s Management Agenda. The first component, “Regulations.gov,” was launched in January 2003, consolidating government rules open for public comment (from over 160 agencies) into a single, user friendly website.
When a rulemaking is announced in the Federal Register, a docket is also created to hold related documents, such as reports and public comments. The second component now being developed is E-Dockets, a government-wide centralized docket management system. E-Dockets will allow the public to access and search all publicly available regulatory material.
During these meetings, EPA will ask for feedback on the usability, features, and capabilities of the existing Regulations.gov and the planned E-Dockets. The upcoming public meetings are scheduled for:
Aug. 9, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
• Aug. 12, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at the Department of Labor, Washington, D.C.