Hundreds of Changes to the DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations Proposed

December 03, 2018
The DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has proposed to amend the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR parts 171 to 180) to maintain alignment with international regulations and standards. In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, PHMSA proposed to amend the HMR to maintain alignment with various international standards.
PHMSA has proposed to incorporate by reference the newest versions of various international hazardous materials standards, including:
  • The 2019-2020 Edition of the International Civil Aviation Organization Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO Technical Instructions)
  • Amendment 39-18 to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code)
  • the 20th Revised Edition of the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UN Model Regulations)
  • Amendment 1 to the 6th Revised Edition of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria
  • The 7th Revised Edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)
  • References to the Transport Canada TDG Regulations to include: SOR/2016-95 published June 1, 2016; SOR/2017-137 published July 12, 2017; and SOR/2017-253 published December 13, 2017
  • Updated International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards
The proposal also includes a large number of amendments to the Hazardous Materials Table (HMT) to add, revise, or remove certain proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provisions, packaging authorizations, bulk packaging requirements, and passenger and cargo aircraft maximum quantity limits.
For articles containing dangerous goods, PHMSA proposed to add a classification system for articles containing hazardous materials that do not already have a proper shipping name. This proposal would address situations in which hazardous materials or hazardous materials residues are present in articles and authorize a safe method to transport articles that may be too large to fit into typical packages. Without these new provisions to package and transport these materials safely, these articles may be offered for transport under provisions that do not adequately account for the physical and chemical properties of the substances and may require the issuance of an approval by PHMSA's Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety.
Several amendments to the HMR relate to the testing and shipment of lithium batteries:
  • PHMSA proposed the inclusion of a lithium battery test summary requirement. The HMR require lithium battery manufacturers to subject their batteries to appropriate UN design tests to ensure they are classified correctly for transport and develop records of successful test completion. The proposed test summary would include a standardized set of elements that provide traceability and accountability, thereby ensuring that lithium cell and battery designs offered for transport meet the appropriate UN tests.
  • Baggage Equipped with Lithium Batteries: PHMSA proposed to amend the aircraft passenger provisions for carriage of baggage equipped with lithium batteries intended to power features such as location tracking, battery charging, digital weighing, or motors (sometimes referred to as smart luggage). Specifically, baggage equipped with a lithium battery or batteries would be required to be carried in the cabin of the aircraft unless the battery or batteries are removed.
  • Segregation of Lithium Batteries from Specific Hazardous Materials: PHMSA proposed requirements to segregate lithium cells and batteries from certain other hazardous materials, notably flammable liquids, when offered for transport or transported on aircraft. PHMSA is taking this action to promote consistency with the ICAO Technical Instructions and a recommendation (A-16-001) from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stemming from the investigation of the July 28, 2011, in-flight fire and crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 991 incident that resulted in the loss of the aircraft and crew. The investigation report cited as a contributing factor the flammable materials and lithium ion batteries that were loaded together either in the same or adjacent pallets.
PHMSA has proposed new alternative criteria for classification of corrosive materials: that will include non-testing alternatives for classifying corrosive mixtures that uses existing data on their chemical properties. Currently the HMR requires offerors to classify Class 8 corrosive material and assign a packing group based on test data. The HMR authorizes a skin corrosion test and various in vitro test methods that do not involve animal testing. However, data obtained from testing is currently the only data acceptable for classification and assigning a packing group. These alternatives would afford offerors the ability to make a classification and packing group assignment without the need to conduct physical tests.
PHMSA has also proposed to extend the sunset dates for provisions concerning the transportation of polymerizing substances from January 2, 2019 to January 2, 2021. This additional time will allow PHMSA to finalize research and analyze comments and data concerning the issue submitted to the docket for this NPRM. This information will allow the agency to have a more comprehensive understanding of polymerizing substances and further consider the most appropriate transport provisions for these materials.
Stay up to date with the latest hazardous materials regulations by attending Environmental Resource Center’s hazardous materials training.
Free Amazon HD 10 Tablet with RCRA and DOT Training
Annual hazardous waste training is required for anyone who generates, accumulates, stores, transports, or treats hazardous waste. Learn how to manage your hazardous waste in accordance with the latest state and federal regulations.  Learn how to complete EPA’s new electronic hazardous waste manifest, and the more than 60 changes in EPA’s new Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule.  Environmental Resource Center’s Hazardous Waste Training is available at nationwide locations, and via live webcasts.  If you plan to also attend DOT hazardous materials training, call 800-537-2372 to find out how can get your course materials on a new Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet at no extra charge.
One Fewer Clean Air Act VOC
On May 1, 2018, the EPA published a proposed rule seeking comments in response to a petition from DuPont Chemicals & Fluoroproducts requesting the revision of the EPA's regulatory definition of volatile organic compounds (VOC) to exempt cis-1,1,1,4,4,4-hexafluorobut-2-ene (also known as HFO-1336mzz-Z; CAS number 692-49-9). The EPA has now taken final action to revise the regulatory definition of VOC under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to add HFO-1336mzz-Z to the list of compounds excluded from the regulatory definition of VOC on the basis that this compound makes a negligible contribution to tropospheric ozone (O3) formation.
Higher Penalties for Hazardous Materials Violations
In accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, the DOT has issued inflation adjustment to civil penalty amounts that may be imposed for violations of certain DOT regulations. The effective date for the new fines was November 27, 2018.  The table below lists the former and new penalties.
Existing penalty
New penalty (existing penalty × 1.02041)
Violation of hazardous materials transportation law
Violation of hazardous materials transportation law resulting in death, serious illness, severe injury, or substantial property destruction
Minimum penalty for violation of hazardous materials transportation law relating to training
Maximum penalty for violation of hazardous materials transportation law relating to training
Appendix B (e)(1) Violations of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and Safety Permitting Regulations (transportation or shipment of hazardous materials)
Appendix B (e)(2) Violations of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and Safety Permitting Regulations (training)—minimum penalty
Appendix B (e)(2): Violations of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and Safety Permitting Regulations (training)—maximum penalty
Appendix B (e)(3) Violations of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and Safety Permitting Regulations (packaging or container)
Appendix B (e)(4): Violations of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and Safety Permitting Regulations (compliance with FMCSRs)
Appendix B (e)(5) Violations of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and Safety Permitting Regulations (death, serious illness, severe injury to persons; destruction of property)
Maximum penalty for hazardous materials violation that results in death, serious illness, or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of property
Minimum penalty for hazardous materials training violations
Maximum penalty for each pipeline safety violation
Maximum penalty for a related series of pipeline safety violations
Maximum penalty for liquefied natural gas pipeline safety violation
Maximum penalty for discrimination against employees providing pipeline safety information
Learn how to comply with the latest hazardous materials regulations, and avoid penalties by attending Environmental Resource Center’s hazardous materials training.
Use De-Icing Salt Sparingly to Protect Waterways
As the first snow of the season arrives, we start thinking about clearing snow and ice from pavement — sometimes with salt. But when the snow melts or it rains, the salt, which contains chloride, runs into storm drains and into nearby lakes, rivers, and groundwater. It only takes a teaspoon of salt to permanently pollute five gallons of water. There’s no feasible way to remove chloride once it gets into the water, and we are finding increasing amounts of chloride in waters around the state. Salty water harms freshwater fish and other aquatic wildlife.
Scatter patterns
Though no environmentally safe, effective, and inexpensive alternatives to salt are yet available, smart salting strategies can help reduce chloride pollution in state waters. You might think more salt means more melting and safer conditions, but it’s not true! Salt will effectively remove snow and ice if it’s scattered so that the salt grains are about three inches apart (see this illustration for a visual reference. If you publish the graphic, credit the Regional Stormwater Protection Team). A coffee mug full of salt (about 12 ounces) is all you need for a 20-foot driveway or 10 sidewalk squares (roughly 1,000 square feet). Consider using a hand-held spreader to apply salt consistently, and use salt only in critical areas.
And sweep up any extra that is visible on dry pavement. It is no longer doing any work and will be washed away into local waters. 
Additional tips for limiting salt use: 
  • Shovel. The more snow and ice you remove manually, the less salt you’ll have to use and the more effective it can be. 
  • 15oF and below is too cold for salt. Most salts stop working at this temperature. Use sand instead for traction, but remember that sand does not melt ice. 
  • Slow down. Drive for the conditions and make sure to give plow drivers plenty of space to do their work. Consider purchasing winter (snow) tires.
  • Hire a certified Smart Salting contractor. Visit the Smart Salting Training webpage for a list of winter maintenance professionals specifically trained in limiting salt use.
  • Watch a video. Produced by the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, it offers tools for environmentally friendly snow and ice removal.
  • Promote smart salting. Work together with local government, businesses, schools, churches, and nonprofits to advocate for reducing salt use in your community.
Learn more on the MPCA's Chloride webpage.
APC Paper Group Pleads Guilty to Violating Clean Water Act
APC Paper Group of New York, Inc., which operates a paper mill in Norfolk, New York, pled guilty today in federal court in Syracuse to negligently discharging wastewater into the Raquette River between 2013 and 2015, in violation of the Clean Water Act, and was sentenced to a fine of $125,000, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; Tyler Amon, Special Agent in Charge of the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division (EPA-CID) in New York; and Bernard Rivers, Director of Law Enforcement, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
In pleading guilty, APC Paper Group admitted that between January 2013 and September 2015, its paper mill in Norfolk repeatedly violated the daily maximum and monthly average limits of bio-chemical oxygen demand (BOD) in its wastewater discharges into the Raquette River. BOD is the amount of dissolved oxygen necessary for microorganisms in the water to break down organic material. BOD levels also provide an index for measuring the effect discharged wastewater will have on a body of fresh water receiving it. In this case, the paper mill’s Clean Water Act permit restricted the amount of BOD the paper mill could discharge through its wastewater on a daily and monthly basis. As part of the guilty plea, APC Paper Group admitted in court today that a former employee, Michael Ward, who previously pled guilty to similar criminal charges in federal court, was aware of the BOD exceedances, failed to report them to his superiors at APC Paper Group, and prepared false and fraudulent monthly reports that were submitted to DEC. APC Paper Group further admitted that it failed to meaningfully supervise Ward and failed to verify the accuracy of the discharge reports the company sent to DEC and that its negligence led to the illegal discharges of wastewater containing excessive amounts of BOD.
United States Attorney Jaquith said, “In pleading guilty today, APC Paper Group accepted responsibility for its paper mill’s negligent discharges of polluted wastewater into the Raquette River, and for its failure to supervise adequately the responsible employee.  Securing environmental compliance and appropriate corporate and individual accountability for illegal pollution are the key components of our continuing commitment to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to enforce vigorously the laws that protect our air, water, and land for the benefit of all.”
“New Yorkers expect their waterways to be clean and safe from excessive industrial discharges,” said Special Agent in Charge Tyler Amon of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division.  “APC violated their wastewater permit when they discharged above their approved limits, and then falsified their reports to cover up the violation.  EPA, along with its state and local partners, is committed to protecting the health and safety of our citizens and our environment.”
“By submitting falsified reports to DEC and negligently allowing contaminated water to be introduced into the environment, the company was risking the health and safety of the Raquette,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “I commend the work of DEC’s Bureau of Environmental Conservation Investigations Unit (BECI), as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their work in bringing this case to justice.”
In a signed plea agreement submitted to the Court prior to sentencing, the parties agreed to a recommended sentence of a fine of $125,000 and to an environmental compliance plan requiring specific actions on the part of APC Paper Group until January 1, 2020. United States Magistrate Judge David E. Peebles, who presided over the proceedings, imposed the recommended sentence, including the $125,000 fine.
This case was investigated by the  EPA-CID, the New York State DEC, Division of Law Enforcement and Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation Unit (BECI), and it was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael F. Perry.
Explo Officials Sentenced for Roles in Conspiracy that Led to Illegal Dumping of Munitions and Explosion at Camp Minden 
US Attorney David C. Joseph announced that officials of Explo Systems, Inc., were sentenced for their roles in a criminal conspiracy. “The defendants sentenced today used Camp Minden here in Northwest Louisiana as the largest illegal dumping ground of military explosives in the history of the United States – at over 15.6 million pounds of explosives,” United States Attorney David C. Joseph stated. “I want to thank our federal and state law enforcement partners for their commitment to protecting Louisiana’s citizens and environment.  Those who endanger the safety of our community to satisfy their own greed will be held accountable.”
US District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote sentenced the following defendants:
Co-owner David Alan Smith, 63, of Winchester, Kentucky, to 55 months in prison, three years of supervised release and $34,798,761 restitution for participating in the criminal conspiracy.
  • Vice President of Operations William Terry Wright,65, of Bossier City, Louisiana, to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release and $149,032.80 restitution for participating in the criminal conspiracy.
  • Director of Support Technology Charles Ferris Callihan,69, of Shreveport, to 24 months in prison, one year of supervised release and $207,599 restitution for making false representations in documents.
  • M6 Demil Program Manager Kenneth Wayne Lampkin,66, of Haughton, Louisiana, to 45 months in prison, three years of supervised release and $149,032.80 restitution for making false statements.
  • Traffic and Inventory Control Manager Lionel Wayne Koons,59, of Haughton, to 41 months in prison, three years of supervised release and $92,921 restitution for making false statements.
Explo Systems Inc., was a private company whose primary business operations involved the demilitarization of military munitions and the subsequent resale of recovered explosive materials for mining operations.  The U.S. Army awarded Explo an $8.6 million contract to demilitarize approximately 1.35 million propelling charges containing M6 propellant, a solid, granular, explosive material, to lawfully store them, and to handle the final disposition of the explosives.  Explo represented that it intended to sell and reuse the M6 propellant to third parties.  Upon the sale of the M6 propellant, the contract also required Explo to document the sale and certify to the Army its compliance of the sale with federal laws, by submitting official certificates to the Army.
The defendants conspired from January 2010 to November 2012 to defraud the United States by submitting false certificates to the U.S. Army, transporting hazardous wastes to unpermitted facilities, and improperly storing the explosives causing the government to pay money to the conspirators to which they were not entitled.  From June 2011 through October 2012, Explo officials submitted false certificates to the Army showing sales of demilitarized M6 propellant to third parties, when in fact the sales did not occur.  Explo officials, including Wright, also did not inform or notify the third-parties that Explo submitted the executed certificates to the Army as proof of sale of demilitarized M6.  Wright submitted the certificates with forged and or fabricated signatures.
As part of the conspiracy, Smith included false and misleading statements in the proposal for the demilitarization contract regarding, among other things, Explo’s storage capacity and ability to dispose of demilitarized M6 Propellant.  Wright, Koons, and others instructed lower level employees to move and improperly store M6 propellant in order to prevent government officials from discovering the improperly stored M6 propellant.  Wright and others also instructed lower-level employees to hide and conceal improperly stored reactive hazardous waste from government officials during inspections.  Furthermore, Callihan submitted false documents to landfills in Louisiana and Arkansas representing that the waste Explo shipped to the landfills was not hazardous, when in fact the waste was D003 reactive hazardous waste.  The landfills were not legally permitted to receive hazardous waste.
On October 15, 2012, an explosion occurred at a munitions storage bunker at Camp Minden, which was leased by Expo from the Louisiana Military Department.  The explosion contained approximately 124,190 pounds of smokeless powder and a box van trailer containing approximately 42,240 pounds of demilitarized M6 propellant.  The damage destroyed the bunker and trailer, shattered windows of dwellings within a four-mile radius, derailed 11 rail cars near the storage bunker and led to the evacuation of the town of Doyline, Louisiana.
 “Our nation’s environmental laws demand that hazardous wastes be handled safely and legally,” said Jessica Taylor, Director of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division.  “Protecting public health and safety is EPA’s core mission.  When businesses choose profit over safety, they often endanger not only the environment but American lives.”
“The fact that individuals would knowingly and willingly place the citizens of Louisiana in danger is indeed disturbing,” stated Colonel Kevin Reeves, State Police Superintendent. “The decision to sentence these individuals is the culmination of an exhaustive investigation by the Louisiana State Police Emergency Services Unit working directly with our local and federal partners.  I am appreciative of all their efforts.”
 “The sentencing of these five subjects should be a very clear warning to those who attempt to defraud the U.S. Government,” said Frank Robey, director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit. “Aside from the monetary fraud, these subjects wantonly placed the lives of so many at risk.  Our special agents, along with our federal law enforcement partners, not only recouped money, but may have just saved the lives of those working at the facility and the surrounding area from a larger disaster.”
“Today’s sentencings represent the results of an uncompromising and tenacious investigation by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), other agency partners, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said John F. Khin, Special Agent in Charge, DCIS-Southeast Field Office. “DCIS remains committed to pursuing Government contractors who choose profit and expediency over quality and safety and bringing to justice anyone who violates the law through fraud and deception to undermine the critical missions of the Department of Defense and threaten the safety of our communities.”
“We believe today’s sentencing sends a strong message to those responsible for properly handling and disposing of explosive material,” said Todd Damiani, Regional Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General.  “Working with our law enforcement and prosecutorial partners, we will continue our vigorous efforts to protect against those who would risk the safety of the public and the environment for personal gain.”
“The actions of these defendants in the Explo case resulted in millions of dollars of expense for state and federal agencies,” said Dr. Chuck Carr Brown, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.  “Hours of investigation went into their prosecution, and hundreds and thousands of man hours went into the resolution of the environmental disaster they created. When individuals willfully and knowingly commit crimes that endanger human health and the environment, they must face the strictest penalties under the law.  I applaud the work of the investigative team that brought the charges against these individuals and the attorneys who successfully prosecuted the case. This outcome should stand as a lesson to those who are tempted to flout environmental regulations and laws: there will be a reckoning.”
Smith pleaded guilty December 14, 2017 to the conspiracy count and one count of making a false statement; Koons pleaded guilty on April 24, 2018, to one count of making a false statement; Lampkin pleaded guilty May 14, 2018, to one count of making a false statement; and Callihan pleaded guilty on June 8, 2018, to a one-count bill of information charging false representations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
The EPA-Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation, Department of Defense Criminal Investigative Service, FBI, Department of Transportation-Office of Inspector General, Louisiana State Police-Emergency Service Unit, Webster Parish District Attorney J. Schuyler Marvin, and the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Earl M. Campbell and J. Aaron Crawford prosecuted the case.
Checking Water Quality at the Tap
When we turn on a faucet, we expect the drinking water that gushes out to be safe. A new report in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology found that U.S. public-supply tap water generally meets all enforceable standards. However, routine testing for most prospective contaminants is carried out before water is distributed, not where it’s used, and the report indicates some consumers are exposed to contaminant mixtures that aren’t commonly monitored.
Assessment at the tap is desirable because leaks, cross-connections, back-siphonage and corrosion in the distribution system can diminish water quality and harm public health. In addition, more than 40 million U.S. consumers depend on private wells. The EPA isn’t authorized to monitor private supplies, and few owners do so. To help gain more information about what’s going on at the point of water use, Paul M. Bradley and colleagues at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), EPA, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and Colorado School of Mines conducted a pilot-scale survey of tap water from 11 states.
The researchers collected one water sample from each of 26 home and office sites. Samples from private wells, public water supplies and a water cooler were checked for 482 organic and 19 inorganic compounds. The team detected 75 organic and 18 inorganic compounds. Only a water sample from one private well exceeded regulatory standards – in this case, the water was found to contain double the maximum recommended amount of uranium. However, lead was detected in 23 samples. Although none of these samples exceeded current lead regulations, the EPA drinking water goal of zero indicates that no lead exposure is considered safe. The organic compounds detected included pesticides, pharmaceuticals and numerous byproducts of typical water disinfection processes, such as chlorination. The researchers note that little is known about the cumulative health effects of exposure to these mixtures of low-level contaminants among vulnerable populations, such as children and pregnant or breast-feeding women. Tap water monitoring will provide the exposure data needed for public health researchers to address this gap.
The authors acknowledged funding from the Toxic Substances Hydrology and Contaminant Biology programs of the USGS Environmental Health Mission Area.
Fuel Retailer Fined $189,000 for Columbia River Biodiesel Spill
The Washington Department of Ecology fined Lewiston-based fuel retailer Coleman Oil $189,000 for spilling 3,840 gallons of biodiesel from a corroded underground pipe at its bulk oil plant in Wenatchee.
The fuel contaminated nearby soil and groundwater, and seeped into the Columbia River, creating a visible sheen that appeared off and on for more than a year. The property is now a toxic cleanup site.
Ecology cited Coleman Oil for negligence and not monitoring levels in the 20,000-gallon above-ground storage tank connected to the corroded pipe. Although Coleman Oil believed the underground pipe had been in place since 1935, the company did not follow its own inventory control procedures or industry guidance for buried piping.
“This spill happened over a long period of time and impacted the health of the river system,” said Dale Jensen, who manages the Department of Ecology Spills Program. “It could easily have been prevented if the company had been properly monitoring the fuel level in that tank.”
Ecology first responded to the site when the sheen was reported March 17, 2017. Its source remained a mystery until lab results came back identifying the pollution as biodiesel. Responders then traced the product to the Coleman Oil facility at 3 Chehalis St., near the river.
The company was cooperative throughout the spill response process and has worked with Ecology on cleanup under the provisions of the Model Toxics Control Act since October 2017. Groundwater monitoring wells are in place and are being sampled regularly to determine how much, if any, contamination remains in the groundwater. If fuel is found in the wells, it is being pumped out so it doesn’t reach the river. The next phase of the investigation is to find out if river sediments have been contaminated.
In addition to the fine, the company must reimburse the state $213,400 for its costs to respond to the spill. It is also faces a resource damage assessment, which may be an environmental restoration or enhancement project, or a payment into a fund that pays for such projects. The combined total of the state’s penalty, cost reimbursement and damage assessment are expected to total more than $1 million.
Funds collected from the penalty will go into the state’s Coastal Protection Fund. Coleman Oil also faces a potential resource damage assessment from tribes. Coleman Oil can appeal the penalty to the state Pollution Control Hearings Board.
EPA, Wheeler Rock Products Settle Clean Air Act Permit Violations
The EPA has settled a case it brought against Wheeler Rock Products, a rock crushing and concrete plant located on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Washington, for the company’s failures to comply with requirements of the Clean Air Act.
“Businesses that intend to emit pollution have a responsibility to comply with all applicable laws,” said EPA Region 10 Office for Compliance and Enforcement Director Ed Kowalski. “Compliance includes such basics as notifying regulators of your existence, applying for permits, and doing the required testing of your equipment. These simple requirements are critical toward preventing harmful air pollution from impacting the health of community residents.”
The company has agreed to pay a penalty of $40,000 for failing to apply for required permits, failing to notify the EPA of the construction of its rock crusher, and failing to conduct emission tests when required. Additionally, Wheeler Rock Products failed to submit its annual registration to EPA, as required by the EPA’s Federal Air Rules for Reservations. The company has now obtained the required permits and has conducted the required tests.
Wheeler Rock Products constructed and began operation of a rock crushing operation and concrete batch plant in June of 2015 at a gravel pit in Wapato on the Yakama Reservation, but did not notify EPA of the new facility or obtain an EPA permit to operate. The company came into compliance with Clean Air Act requirements after the EPA issued a notice of violation on June 16, 2016. As a result of these violations, EPA was not able to ensure that the rock crushing operation met emission control requirements or to establish emission limits necessary to protect air quality on the Yakama Reservation.
EPA directly administers and enforces the Clean Air Act in Indian County - including the Yakama Reservation - unless the tribal government has an EPA-approved program of its own. Obtaining a tribal business license or land-use permit does not satisfy federal Clean Air Act requirements on reservations and a facility may still need to obtain a Clean Air Act permit from EPA. Additionally, certain facilities with the potential to emit more than two tons per year of any air pollutant (e.g., particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides) must annually register their air pollution source with EPA. When a facility on a reservation fails to comply with the Clean Air Act requirements it may be subject to a federal penalty.
EPA, Developer Settle Case Over Stormwater Violations
The EPA has settled its case against Connell Development Company, owned by Colin Connell, a Boise-area developer the agency found had committed numerous violations of a federal Clean Water Act permit for stormwater management at Connell’s Eyrie Canyon project.
“Stormwater management is a critical part of maintaining water quality in the Boise River watershed” said EPA Region 10 Office for Compliance and Enforcement Director Ed Kowalski. “The release of sediment into tributaries can lead to downstream flooding, erosion of streambanks, degradation of fish and wildlife habitat, and damage to infrastructure.
“The Boise is emblematic of highly stressed streams throughout the West that must be protected from easily prevented insults like these kinds of egregious violations of the Clean Water Act,” continued Kowalski.
Connell has agreed to pay a $68,000 penalty for failing to comply with EPA’s Construction General Permit, which requires developers to implement stormwater controls to minimize the amount of sediment and other pollutants associated with construction sites from being discharged in stormwater runoff. Connell has also come into compliance with the permit and agreed to perform additional work beyond the requirements of the permit – such as more frequent inspections -- to ensure that he remains in compliance.
Stormwater runoff from the project flows to Sand Creek, either directly or through the Ada County Highway District Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System. Sand Creek flows into the Boise River.
After both the Ada County Highway District and the City of Boise issued numerous Notices of Violation and ‘Stop Work Orders,’ EPA was notified of the on-going problems at the site. EPA representatives inspected the project twice in January 2016, and again in September 2017, and found multiple violations of stormwater management requirements, including:
  • Failure to adhere to installation requirements of stormwater controls
  • Failure to adhere to erosion and sediment maintenance requirements
  • Failure to minimize disturbance on steep slopes
  • Failure to protect storm drain inlets
  • Failure to use proper stabilization techniques at all points that exit onto paved roads
  • Failure to minimize the amount of soil exposed during construction
  • Failure to complete and then document corrective actions for stormwater controls
  • Failure to provide effective means of eliminating the discharge of water from the washout and cleanout of concrete
  • Failure to comply with dewatering practices
  • Failure to restrict vehicle use to properly designated exit points
  • Failure to initiate soil stabilization measures immediately whenever earth disturbing activities have permanently or temporarily ceased
  • Failure to comply with maintenance requirements of the sediment basin.
The American Chemical Society: Action Needed to Address Climate Change
In light of the recent release of the Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume II, the American Chemical Society (ACS) urged policymakers to work together to address humanity’s role in climate change and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The report is deeply concerning, and it should move the administration and Congress to take immediate steps to deal with this growing crisis.
The report focuses on the increasing seriousness and frequency of weather-related events and their devastating impacts. Its findings represent a comprehensive look at the state of both climate science research and the effects of uncontrolled GHG emissions.
For nearly two decades, ACS has strongly supported the findings of the scientific community regarding anthropogenic climate change. As noted in the ACS policy position on Global Climate Change:
“The American Chemical Society (ACS) acknowledges that climate change is real, is serious and has been influenced by anthropogenic activity. Unmitigated climate change will lead to increases in extreme weather events and will cause significant sea level rise, causing property damage and population displacement. It also will continue to degrade ecosystems and natural resources, affecting food and water availability and human health, further burdening economies and societies. Continued uncontrolled GHG emissions will accelerate and compound the effects and risks of climate change well into the future.”
New Catalyst Material Produces Abundant Cheap Hydrogen
Queensland University of Technology (QUT) chemistry researchers have discovered cheaper and more efficient materials for producing hydrogen for the storage of renewable energy that could replace current water-splitting catalysts.
Professor Anthony O’Mullane said the potential for the chemical storage of renewable energy in the form of hydrogen was being investigated around the world.
“The Australian Government is interested in developing a hydrogen export industry to export our abundant renewable energy,” said Professor O’Mullane from QUT’s Science and Engineering Faculty.
“In principle, hydrogen offers a way to store clean energy at a scale that is required to make the rollout of large-scale solar and wind farms as well as the export of green energy viable.
“However, current methods that use carbon sources to produce hydrogen emit carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that mitigates the benefits of using renewable energy from the sun and wind.
“Electrochemical water splitting driven by electricity sourced from renewable energy technology has been identified as one of the most sustainable methods of producing high-purity hydrogen.”
Professor O’Mullane said the new composite material he and PhD student Ummul Sultana had developed enabled electrochemical water splitting into hydrogen and oxygen using cheap and readily available elements as catalysts.
“Traditionally, catalysts for splitting water involve expensive precious metals such as iridium oxide, ruthenium oxide and platinum,” he said. “An additional problem has been stability, especially for the oxygen evolution part of the process.
“What we have found is that we can use two earth-abundant cheaper alternatives - cobalt and nickel oxide with only a fraction of gold nanoparticles – to create a stable bi-functional catalyst to split water and produce hydrogen without emissions. From an industry point of view, it makes a lot of sense to use one catalyst material instead of two different catalysts to produce hydrogen from water.”
Professor O’Mullane said the stored hydrogen could then be used in fuel cells.
“Fuel cells are a mature technology, already being rolled out in many makes of vehicle. They use hydrogen and oxygen as fuels to generate electricity – essentially the opposite of water splitting.
“With a lot of cheaply ‘made’ hydrogen we can feed fuel cell-generated electricity back into the grid when required during peak demand or power our transportation system and the only thing emitted is water.”
“Gold Doping in a Layered Co-Ni Hydroxide System via Galvanic Replacement for Overall Electrochemical” was published in Advanced Functional Materials.
Climate Change and Air Pollution Damaging Health and Causing Millions of Premature Deaths
The 2018 Report of the research coalition The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change shows that rising temperatures as a result of climate change are already exposing us to an unacceptably high health risk and warns, for the first time, that older people in Europe and the East Mediterranean are particularly vulnerable to extremes of heat, markedly higher than in Africa and SE Asia. The risk in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean stems from aging populations living in cities, with 42% and 43% of over-65s respectively vulnerable to heat. In Africa, 38% are thought to be vulnerable, while in Asia it is 34%.
The report also states that ambient air pollution resulted in several million premature deaths from ambient fine particulate matter globally in 2015, a conclusion from IIASA researchers confirming earlier assessments. Since air pollution and greenhouse gases often share common sources, mitigating climate change constitutes a major opportunity for direct human health benefits.
Leading doctors, academics and policy professionals from 27 organizations have contributed analysis and jointly authored the report. Alongside IIASA, the partners behind the research include the World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO), University College London and Tsinghua University, among others.
IIASA researcher Gregor Kiesewetter led a team from the Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases research program that estimated the dangers of air pollution to human health. A new and important finding this year was the global attribution of deaths to source. Kiesewetter and the team found that coal alone accounts for 16% of pollution-related premature deaths, around 460,000, which they state makes phasing out coal-use a “crucial no-regret intervention for public health”.
Kiesewetter and the team used the GAINS Model, developed at IIASA, which calculates the emissions of precursors of particulate matter based on a detailed breakdown of economic sectors and fuels used. 
Large contributions to ambient air pollution come from the residential sector, mostly from solid fuels like biomass and coal. Industry, electricity generation, transport, and agriculture are also important contributors. While coal should be a key target for early phase-out in households and electricity generation as it is highly polluting, it is not all that should be done.
“The attribution shows that unfortunately an approach targeting a single sector or fuel won’t solve the problem – air pollution is a multi-faceted issue that needs integrated strategies cutting across many sectors, which will differ from country to country. This is what we typically do with the regional and local GAINS model: giving advice to policymakers on the most efficient approaches to tackle air pollution in their specific settings,” says Kiesewetter. 
The report contains a number of other headline findings: - 
  • 157m more vulnerable people were subjected to a heatwave in 2017 than in 2000, and 18m more than in 2016.
  • 153bn hours of work were lost in 2017 due to extreme heat as a result of climate change. China alone lost 21bn hours, the equivalent of a year’s work for 1.4% of their working population. India lost 75bn hours, equivalent to 7% of their total working population.
  • Heat greatly exacerbates urban air pollution, with 97% of cities in low- and middle- income countries not meeting WHO air quality guidelines. 
  • Heat stress, an early and severe effect of climate change, is commonplace and we, and the health systems we rely on, are ill equipped to cope.  
  • Rising temperatures and unseasonable warmth is responsible for cholera and dengue fever spreading, with vectorial capacity for their transmission increasing across many endemic areas.
  • The mean global temperature change to which humans are exposed is more than double the global average change, with temperatures rising 0.8°C versus 0.3°C. 
Hugh Montgomery, co-chair of The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change and director of the Institute for Human Health and Performance, University College London says: “Heat stress is hitting hard – particularly amongst the urban elderly, and those with underlying health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. In high temperatures, outdoor work, especially in agriculture, is hazardous. Areas from Northern England and California, to Australia are seeing savage fires with direct deaths, displacement and loss of housing as well as respiratory impacts from smoke inhalation.”
The report, which looks at 41 separate indicators across a range of themes, says urgent steps are needed to protect people now from the impacts of climate change. In particular, stronger labor regulations are needed to protect workers from extremes of heat and hospitals and the health systems we rely on need to be better equipped for extreme heat so they are able to cope. But the report also stresses that there are limits to adapting to the temperature increases, and if left unabated, climate change and heat will overwhelm even the strongest of systems, so the need for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is critical.
2018 has been an even hotter year in many parts of the world and the World Weather Attribution Study for northern Europe showed this summer’s heat wave was twice as likely to have happened as a result of man-made climate change. Of the 478 global cities surveyed in the report, 51% expect climate change to seriously compromise their public health infrastructure.
“The world has yet to effectively cut its emissions. The speed of climate change threatens our, and our children’s lives. Following current trends we exhaust our carbon budget required to keep warming below two degrees, by 2032. The health impacts of climate change above this level above this level threaten to overwhelm our emergency and health services,” says Anthony Costello, co-chair of The Lancet Countdown.
Other findings of the report include: a new indicator mapping extremes of precipitation that identifies South America and southeast Asia among the regions most exposed to flood and drought and, on food security, the report points to 30 countries experiencing downward trends in crop yields, reversing a decade-long trend that had previously seen global improvement. Yield potential is estimated to be declining in every region as extremes of weather become more frequent and more extreme. 
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