February 16, 2002

EPA published in the Feb. 13 and 14 Federal Register interim toxic air emission standards and revised compliance provisions for hazardous waste incinerators and cement kilns. These interim standards are the result of a consensus settlement between EPA and the environmental and business communities.

This action revises hazardous waste combustion regulations published Sept. 30, 1999, which were challenged by both industrial and environmental groups. The interim standards will be in effect until EPA issues replacement standards that satisfy the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. EPA expects the interim standards to make compliance easier for business and states, while still achieving significant emission reductions. The rule regulates emissions of dioxins, furans, mercury and other toxic metals and hazardous air pollutants. All hazardous waste combustion sources must comply with these interim standards by Sept. 30, 2003. These standards were based on Maximum Achievable Control Technology under the Clean Air Act.

For further information, see EPA's web page at: or call the RCRA Call Center at 1-800-424-9346 or 703-412-3323.



  • March 1, 2002 - Annual Tier I and Tier II Inventory Reports due


  • March 1, 2002 - Biennial (or annual in some states) reports due from hazardous waste generators and treatment, storage, or disposal facility owner/operators.
  • March 1, 2002 - Annual reports due from primary exporters of hazardous waste
  • March 1, 2002 - Annual groundwater monitoring reports due
  • March 15, 2002 - Annual report due from facilities conducting treatability studies


Courtney & Co. Inc., of Texas City, Texas, and its former president, Donald Ray Robertson of Hitchcock, Texas, pleaded guilty and were sentenced for illegally storing hazardous waste in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Robertson will serve six months home confinement and one year probation. Courtney & Co. was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine.

In 1997 and 1998, Robertson directed employees to store at the company facility approximately 1000 gallons (about 6500 pounds) of ignitable hazardous wastes including waste paint, toluene, xylene, methyl-ethyl ketone and waste paint solvents without a permit. Such action can create a fire hazard. EPAÆs Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission and the Pollution Control Division of the Galveston County Health District investigated the case. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Houston.


Gilbert Thurston of Naples, Fla., former chief mate of the S.S.Trinity, was indicted on a charge of misconduct, stemming from an incident in which a crew member died after exposure to the toxic chemical methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE).

Thurston allegedly allowed one of the ship's crew, Frederic A. Cambra, Jr., to enter the ship's cargo tank to clean out puddles of MTBE and sea water. The puddles had remained in the ship's tank after it had delivered a load of MTBE to New York. Thurston, who was supervising cargo tank cleaning activities that day, was allegedly aware that the air in the tank had previously tested unsafe and that the ship did not have a confined space entry permit to enter the tank. Despite this, Cambra was allegedly allowed to enter the tank without an air purification respirator and collapsed. Efforts to resuscitate him were not successful. An autopsy determined that the cause of death was toxic fume intoxication secondary to MTBE exposure.

If convicted, Thurston faces a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. EPAÆs Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI investigated the case with assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard and EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa.


EPA intends to select and provide technical assistance for up to five existing not-for-profit organizations to increase their ability to help public agencies interested in adopting environmental management systems. Environmental Management Systems (EMS) provide tools that can help organizations make decisions that are both environmentally and economically sound.

Local governments are faced with a diverse set of challenges ranging from operating and maintaining their physical plants, power, water and wastewater and transportation systems to managing solid and hazardous waste. EMS provide the tools and processes that can help organizations make decisions that are both environmentally and economically sound. The assistance provided to these organizations will include: helping with developing business plans, providing relevant EMS materials to facilitate each organization's existing assistance activities, "train-the-trainer" work sessions on ways to address the needs of public agencies and other marketing services. Each organization selected will also gain increased visibility, attention and recognition of the key role it can play in meeting the growing needs of public agencies interested in adopting environmental management systems.

Letters of application from interested organizations should be submitted no later than March 15 and should be submitted to James Horne, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Wastewater Management, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20460, Mail Code 4201M, 202-564-0571 and Craig Ruberti, Global Environment and Technology Foundation, 7010 Little River Turnpike, Suite 460, Annandale, Va. 22003.


EPA has proposed two separate but related rules to continue efforts to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) across the eastern United States. Nitrogen oxides are a primary ingredient in the formation of ground-level ozone pollution (smog). Facilities that emit NOx in upwind states can contribute to ozone formation in downwind states.

These proposals respond to recent decisions by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia relating to a Sept. 1998 EPA regulation (called the NOx SIP call rule) aimed at reducing unhealthy air in the eastern half of the country. One action (known as phase II of the NOx SIP call) proposes dates for 19 eastern states and the District of Columbia to submit to EPA all or portions of their plans for reducing air emissions of NOx. Additionally, the proposal provides definitions, levels of emission controls, geographic boundaries, revisions to statewide emissions budgets and dates for facilities to comply with EPA's NOx SIP call. The second action would remove a portion of the state of Michigan from requirements of another ozone reduction rule (the Section 126 Rule) to maintain consistency with the requirements of the NOx SIP call rule. When fully implemented, these two proposals will help states meet the national one-hour air quality standard for ozone, improving air quality for more than 100 million people.

When inhaled - even at very low levels - ground-level ozone can cause acute respiratory problems, aggravate asthma, reduce lung capacity, inflame lung tissue and impair the body's immune system.

For further technical information on the Phase II NOx SIP call, call Jan King of EPA's Office of Air Quality Planning & Standards at 919-541-5665. For further technical information on the Section 126 Rule, call Carla Oldham, also with EPA's Office of Air Quality Planning & Standards at 919-541-3347.


EPA is providing $25 million for data modernization and information integration efforts to further its working partnership with states and tribes. The National Environmental Information Exchange Grant Program is designed to address several key e-government challenges: improve the quality of environmental data; make the flows of data between EPA, states, tribes and other partners more efficient; reduce reporting burden; and improve access to environmental data. The goal of the Exchange Grant Program is to advance the National Environmental Information Exchange Network, which will transform and facilitate the exchange of information. The types of grants being offered include: grants to enable states and tribes to re-engineer their environmental reporting; grants to demonstrate progress in validating the Network; and challenge grants that pursue state or multi-state or tribal collaborative efforts to integrate environmental information. A copy of the Federal Register Notice and further information on the Exchange Grant Program are at