Kansas is First State to Reject New Power Plant Due to Carbon Dioxide Emissions

October 22, 2007


“After careful consideration of my responsibility to protect the public health and environment from actual, threatened or potential harm from air pollution, I have decided to deny the Sunflower Electric Power Corporation application for an air quality permit,” said Bremby. In making his decision, Bremby cited the authority provided to the Secretary of KDHE in K.S.A. 65-3008 and K.S.A. 65-3008a, which grant him the authority to affirm, modify, or reverse a decision on an air quality permit after the public comment period or hearing, and K.S.A. 65-3012, which authorizes him to deny or modify an air quality permit to protect the health of persons or the environment.

“I believe it would be irresponsible to ignore emerging information about the contribution of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to climate change and the potential harm to our environment and health if we do nothing,” said Bremby.

The U.S. Supreme Court found in Massachusetts v. EPA that carbon dioxide meets the broad definition of an air pollutant under the Clean Air Act. The Kansas Air Quality Act similarly has a broad definition of what constitutes air pollution.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recognized the need for public health agencies to take the lead on educating the public about the health impacts of climate change and has adopted priority health actions to prepare for, respond to, and manage the associated health risks of climate change.

The decision constitutes a first step in emerging policy to address existing and future carbon dioxide emissions in Kansas. “KDHE will work to engage various industries and stakeholders to establish goals for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and strategies to achieve them. This is consistent with initiatives underway in states leading the effort to address climate change,” said Bremby.

One such initiative currently being undertaken by eight northeastern states is the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a mandatory regional cap-and-trade program aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 10%, or approximately 12 million tons annually, by 2020. The expanded Sunflower plant was projected to release an estimated 11 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.

“Denying the Sunflower air quality permit, combined with creating sound policy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions can facilitate the development of clean and renewable energy to protect the health and environment of Kansans,” said Bremby.

Safety-Kleen Fined $80,000 for Hazardous Waste Violations

Arizona DEQ Director Steve Owens and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard announced that Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc., will pay an $80,000 penalty for hazardous waste violations at the company’s Chandler facility.

During an April 2006 inspection at Safety-Kleen’s plant, located at 6625 W. Frye Road in Chandler, ADEQ inspectors discovered that company officials had failed to submit to ADEQ 176 signed generator and transporter hazardous waste manifests. Safety-Kleen previously had been cited by ADEQ for similar violations discovered during a 2005 inspection at the facility.

During the 2006 inspection, ADEQ inspectors also found that two 3-inch flange plugs had not been properly tagged with air emission inspection tags and that inspection logs inaccurately stated that the flanges were in compliance with the company’s hazardous waste general permit. Safety-Kleen’s emergency contingency plan at the facility also contained inaccurate information, such as incorrect telephone numbers.

“These were serious violations of the hazardous waste laws,” Owens said. “The fact that Safety-Kleen had been cited for similar violations before makes the situation even worse.”

In addition to paying the $80,000 penalty, Safety-Kleen will conduct half-day training seminars for small-quantity generators of hazardous waste like auto repair shops and paint and body shops. That supplemental environmental project will cost the company more than $15,000.

Safety-Kleen treats and stores waste solvents, cleaners, antifreeze, paint wastes, photo-developing wastes, and dry-cleaning wastes collected off-site.

Senators Propose Climate Change Legislation

Senators Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT) and John Warner (R-VA), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Private Sector and Consumer Solutions to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection, recently introduced a bill that would achieve substantial, long-term cuts in U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions. America's Climate Security Act (ACSA) is cosponsored by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Bob Casey (D-PA).

On its own, the ACSA is projected to reduce total U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by as much as 19% below the 2005 level (4% below the 1990 level) in 2020 and by as much as 63% below the 2005 level in 2050. Lieberman and Warner presented their new bill as the core of a new federal program that Congress should pass to avert catastrophic global climate change while enhancing America's energy security.

ACSA controls compliance costs by allowing companies to trade, save, and borrow emission allowances, and by allowing them to generate credits when they induce non-covered businesses, farms, and others to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions or capture and store greenhouse gases.

The Act invests set-aside emissions credits and money raised by the auction of such allowances in advancing several important public policies, including, but not limited to:

  • Deploying advanced technologies and practices for reducing emissions
  • Protecting low- and middle-income Americans from higher energy costs
  • Keeping good jobs in the United States
  • Mitigating the negative impacts of any unavoidable global warming on low- and middle-income Americans and wildlife

This innovative bipartisan endeavor has already garnered praise from several leading business and environmental groups. National Wildlife Federation President and CEO Larry Schweiger said, "This is a bipartisan breakthrough on global warming that takes us a giant step closer to a historic vote in the United States Senate. I commend Senator Lieberman and Senator Warner for drafting a strong bill to protect wildlife from global warming."

Exelon Corporation Chairman and CEO John Rowe said, "As an early and vocal advocate for climate change legislation, Exelon applauds the bipartisan leadership of Senators Lieberman and Warner to introduce a bill that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address global warming as soon as possible. The legislation represents another important step towards developing the bipartisan consensus necessary to enact legislation this Congress. We are especially pleased that the bill recognizes the need to protect electricity consumers by allocating part of the allowances to local utilities for the benefit of their customers."

New Water Quality Trading Program Maps on the Web

Curious about where water quality trading is happening around the country? Check out EPA’s new water quality trading maps—now live on the Web. EPA has created two trading maps: The first map shows trading programs that have traded at least once as well as state-level trading programs. The second map shows trading programs that received EPA funding. Each map is clickable, just click on the state in which you are interested and it will take you to more information on that state’s trading programs. 

Company Ignores Permit, Receives Fine

The Washington Department of Ecology has fined Marine Floats of Tacoma $12,785 for water quality violations and ordered the company to correct them. Marine Floats designs and builds docks, floats, and boathouses. It is located on D Street in downtown Tacoma on the Wheeler-Osgood Waterway.

The company operates under a Washington state industrial stormwater general permit, which governs the release of stormwater. The permit requires companies to develop a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)  that describes the steps the company will take to protect surface and groundwater quality.

During a June 2007 inspection, a company representative admitted to Ecology staff that Marine Floats has never developed or implemented a SWPPP in the 13 years since it received permit coverage. The company has also ignored requirements in place since 2003 requiring companies to monitor their stormwater discharges and report them to Ecology each quarter. The company has been reminded of these requirements repeatedly but has failed to comply.

During the same visit, Ecology found evidence that Marine Floats is operating a boatyard without the required permit. The inspector noted vessels being repaired or painted at the site and a freshly painted barge moored to a floating dock owned by Marine Floats. The company also had a raft of treated wood poles floating in the waterway.

“Permits like these exist to help businesses operate in a way that keeps pollution from harming surface and underground water in our state,” explained Ecology Water Quality manager Garin Schrieve. “Marine Floats is one of thousands of Washington businesses that depend on our state’s beautiful waters. But by ignoring its responsibilities under the law, Marine Floats threatens to damage the very resource that sustains it.”

Ecology also issued an order directing the company to develop a SWPPP and put it into effect within 14 days. At the same time, the company must list practices it will follow to prevent water pollution, must remove the treated wood from the water within seven days, and must begin water-quality monitoring and reporting required under its permit.

The order also directs Marine Floats to immediately stop its boatyard operations. To operate a boatyard, the company must apply to be covered under a separate permit.

Lebanon Seaboard Corp. Fined for Misbranded Pesticides

Lebanon Seaboard Corp., a maker of lawn and garden care products headquartered in Lebanon, Pa., has resolved 14 violations of the federal law regulating the use of pesticides. The EPA cited the company for selling and distributing two mislabeled products for controlling weeds.

Lebanon Seaboard will pay a $29,000 fine for violations associated with the labeling and sale of its products Preen Garden Weed Preventer and Preen Garden Weed Preventer Plus Fertilizer. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) initially discovered the violations in April 2006 during routine inspections of retail stores. The labeling violations posed no harm to consumers.

NYSDEC discovered that Lebanon had included a sealed booklet over the EPA pesticide registration and establishment numbers on the labels of the two products. Although the booklets contained the correct numbers on an inside page, they were not visible on the booklet cover or the product label as required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and therefore are deemed to be misbranded products. Any sale or distribution of a misbranded pesticide product is a FIFRA violation.

In May 2006, EPA issued Lebanon a “stop sale” order for these misbranded pesticides, barring the sale or distribution until a sticker containing EPA’s establishment number and product registration number was added to the label.  In 2007, the NYSDEC inspectors found one of the products being sold at two retail stores without bearing a corrected label.

The 14 FIFRA violations include five sales or distributions in 2006 of each of the two misbranded products, two sales in 2007 of one of the products, and two violations of the May 2006 “stop sale” order.

Lebanon has certified that it is currently in compliance with all FIFRA requirements. The company has neither admitted nor denied EPA’s factual allegations.

Washington to Publish Rule Changes for Cleanups

Dioxins pose health risks to humans, including the threat of cancer. They are produced by a number of human activities and are byproducts of some industrial processes; elevated levels are found at or near locations where these types of processes are used.

“We based these changes on the best current science. They protect human health and the environment, and they provide more predictable cleanup levels,” said Jim Pendowski, manager of Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program. Ecology first proposed changes in the spring and presented them during public hearings in May in Seattle, Port Angeles, and Spokane. The department also received more than 300 public comments during a comment period from April 4 to May 25. The vast majority of comments backed Ecology’s changes. Details will be published November 7 in the State Register.

Pendowski said the changes won’t significantly alter cleanup requirements. But they should reduce administrative costs and cleanup delays by more clearly defining those requirements. Washington voters approved MTCA in November 1988. The law establishes basic authorities and requirements for cleaning up contaminated sites. Ecology originally adopted cleanup standards in February 1991 and made significant revisions to the standards in February 2001.

Under the 2001 revision, a person undertaking a cleanup action may use EPA’s toxicity equivalency factor (TEF) values and methodology when assessing dioxin and furan mixtures for cleanup. In November 2005, Rayonier Corp. sued Ecology over a guidance document that included procedures for applying the methodology when establishing cleanup levels. In April 2006, Ecology settled the lawsuit and agreed that Rayonier also proposed a plausible interpretation of the current MTCA rule. In the meantime, several environmental groups had asked Ecology to amend the rule to clarify the Ecology guidance.

Ecology’s changes include establishing cleanup levels for mixtures of dioxins, PAHs, and PCBs using a 1-in-1-million cancer risk level for the whole mixture and requiring cleanups to use the most current TEFs developed by the World Health Organization in 2005.

EPA Fines Willands Auto Tech $7,000 for PCB Violations

Willands Auto Tech, located in Ferndale, Wash., has reached a $7,000 settlement with the EPA to resolve alleged federal PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) violations.

The PCB violations were discovered by Emerald Recycling Service Inc., a Seattle used oil recycler, who received a shipment of 225 gallons of used oil from Willands on Feb. 12, 2007. Willands had not informed Emerald that the used oil contained PCBs. When Emerald examined the oil and found it to be contaminated with PCBs, they notified EPA’s Seattle office. Emerald then disposed of the entire amount of oil in the bulk storage tank as PCB-contaminated fluid.

According to Daniel Duncan, EPA’s Regional PCB Program Coordinator, facilities that handle used oil need to be aware of their notification, storage, shipping, and disposal obligations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) if the fluid contains PCBs at regulated levels. Facilities can use either a field-screening test kit or send a sample of their used oil to a laboratory for analysis to determine if the oil contains PCBs. It’s especially important to make this determination prior to sending the oil for energy recovery or disposal. If the oil is found to have PCBs, the facility should isolate the waste to keep it from further contaminating other used oil.

“The Toxic Substances Control Act is intended to protect human health and the environment from unreasonable risks posed by certain hazardous chemicals,” said Duncan. “It’s important that companies and communities comply with these regulations. If they don’t, they may face potential fines for noncompliance.”

The Willands violations included:

  • Failure to properly mark the contaminated oil container with a PCB label
  • Failure to notify EPA in advance of the shipment of this PCB waste
  • Failure to obtain an EPA identification number in advance of the shipment of the PCB waste
  • Failure of Willands to prepare a manifest for the shipment of this PCB waste

Concern over the toxicity and persistence in the environment of PCBs led Congress in 1976 to enact prohibitions on the manufacturing, processing, and distribution in commerce of PCBs, including “cradle to grave” (i.e., from manufacture to disposal) management of PCBs in the United States.

EPA Announces First Agricultural Advisory Committee

EPA has announced the establishment of the first-ever Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee. 

"We at EPA appreciate that agriculture isn't just the producer of the food, agriculture is the producer of environmental and economic solutions," said Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "This committee provides an opportunity to improve dialogue between EPA and the farming community. By sitting down at the same table, together we can do what's good for agriculture and good for our environment."

The committee will meet semiannually and is intended to consist of approximately 25 members representing: 1) large and small farmers, ranchers, and rural communities; 2) rural suppliers, marketers, and processors; 3) academics and researchers who study environmental issues impacting agriculture; 4) tribal agricultural groups; and 5) environmental and conservation groups. EPA's request for member nominations will be posted in the Federal Register. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and other federal agencies will also be invited to nominate members.

Initially, EPA will ask the committee to focus on the following three issues:

  • How EPA's policies and regulations on climate change and renewable energy will affect the agriculture community. The agricultural industry—through the development of renewable energy sources—can play a significant role in the nation's ability to reduce its dependence on oil imports, as well as be a source and repository of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • An environmental strategy for livestock operations that considers regulatory and voluntary approaches and provides tools for producers to attain superior environmental performance.
  • Development of a constructive approach to advancing sustainable agriculture and protection of the environment, addressing communication between environmental and agricultural interests and urban encroachment in rural areas.
  • The agency also announced a new website containing an easy and succinct look-up tool listing federal environmental regulations that could potentially apply to agriculture.

Rhode Island Company Fined for PCB and Clean Air Act Violations

A manufacturer of high-performance materials including coated fabrics, Cooley Inc., will pay fines for violations of polychlorinated biphenyl () regulations and the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) at its facility in Pawtucket, R.I.

After conducting a compliance inspection, EPA found that Cooley had violated the PCB regulations. Cooley used PCB-contaminated surfaces without meeting the required PCB cleanup standard and failed to comply with the requirements for the continued use of PCB-contaminated surfaces. Cooley will pay a fine of $43,845 for these violations. PCBs are persistent in the environment and are suspected carcinogens. Exposure to PCBs can cause liver problems and skin rashes.

Concurrently, Cooley Inc. is also settling a CAA violation with EPA for its inability to properly control emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) by the required 97%. The most common HAP used by Cooley is toluene. Low levels of toluene may affect the nervous system, whereas high levels may affect the kidneys. Cooley was unable to meet the required emission standard using its existing control device, a thermal oxidizer. The company has since installed a new oxidizer and is now in compliance. Cooley will pay a fine of $40,620 for this violation.

“PCBs and hazardous air pollutants pose a significant risk to public health,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “It is important that companies using these substances take measures to ensure they are complying with all environmental regulations. Cooley corrected its violations quickly and paid a substantial fine without going to trial—a good result for EPA and New England’s environment.”

The high-performance materials, which Cooley designs, develops, and manufacturers, are used in a variety of different applications, such as environmental containment liners, fuel and water tanks, medical products, roofing membranes, outdoor advertising, illuminated signs, and commercial awnings.

Rousseau Farming Company to Pay $80,000 for Failing to Report Chemical Release

The EPA recently settled with an ammonia facility to pay $65,045 in fines and spend $15,000 on protective gear for the Tolleson Fire Department for failing to immediately notify the proper authorities after a chemical release from its Tolleson, Ariz., facility.

Rousseau Farming Company failed to immediately notify the National Response Center, the State Emergency Response Commission, and the Local Emergency Planning Commission after an estimated 610–1,080 pounds of ammonia leaked from the facility located at 9601 W. Harrison St. on Nov. 26, 2006. The reportable quantity is 100 pounds.

“When companies fail to submit chemical inventory information and report chemical releases, the health of local responders and the public will be put at risk," said Keith Takata, EPA's Superfund director for the Pacific Southwest region. “The agreement reached with Rousseau will further protect the community by increasing the local fire department’s ability to respond to chemical releases.”

The release was a result of a pin-hole leak in a cooling coil that is part of the refrigeration system at the facility. Rousseau Farming reported the release to the NRC, the Maricopa Local Emergency Planning Commission, and the Arizona Emergency Response Planning Commission 10 days after the release. The company also failed to submit a required chemical safety information form and annual chemical inventory forms for years 2003–2005 to the state and local emergency planning commissions and the fire department.

Under the settlement, the company will spend $15,000 on 14 sets of turnout gear uniforms for fire fighters to use when responding to chemical fires.

Federal law requires immediate notification of a reportable release in order for emergency response teams to evaluate the nature and extent of a hazardous substance release, prevent exposure, and minimize consequences.

Dole to Pay More Than $100,000 for Failure to Immediately Report Ammonia Release

The EPA recently fined Dole Packaged Foods, LLC, $86,930 for failing to immediately report an ammonia chemical release and lacking written operating procedures for the refrigeration system at its Atwater, Calif., facility.

Also negotiated in this settlement, Dole will spend $53,000 on emergency response equipment for the Merced County Department of Environmental Health and the Merced County Fire Department and spend $12,000 to sponsor a one-day safety and compliance training on ammonia refrigeration systems for industry attendees.

“Today’s action goes beyond paying a penalty, it will provide emergency equipment to local emergency responders and valuable compliance information to the regulated community” said Keith Takata, EPA’s Superfund director for the Pacific Southwest region. “When a business fails to quickly provide critical information to authorities, a community's ability to respond during an emergency may suffer."

Dole failed to immediately notify the National Response Center, the California Office of Emergency Services, and the Merced County Department of Environmental Health after an estimated 477 pounds of ammonia leaked from the facility located at 7916 West Bellevue Rd. in July 2006. The reportable quantity is 100 pounds.

The release resulted from a pressure build up in a closed valve that was not opened after the refrigeration system had been shut down for maintenance. Dole reported the release more than three hours late and did not have written standard operating procedures for the ammonia refrigeration system where the release occurred—a violation of the Clean Air Act.

Federal law requires immediate notification of a reportable release to enable emergency response teams to evaluate the hazardous substance release and prevent exposure. Under the Clean Air Act, facilities are required to have procedures to prevent and mitigate potential accidental releases.


Delaware Issues Notice of Penalty to Eastern Shore Environmental, Inc., for Solid Waste Violations

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary John A. Hughes has issued a Notice of Administrative Penalty Assessment and Secretary’s Order to Eastern Shore Environmental, Inc. (ESE) for violations of the company’s solid waste permit and violations of Delaware’s regulations governing solid wastes. The order includes a cash penalty of $22,500 and an additional $3,375 as cost-recovery reimbursement to the department for expenses associated with its investigation.

The company conducted hauling and waste transfer operations at the solid waste transfer station located at 836 Postles Corner Road in Little Creek, Del. ESE was permitted to manage up to 660 tons per day of solid waste, including construction and demolition debris and commercial and industrial wastes similar to household waste.

On Sept. 7, 8, and 11, 2006 the department conducted a compliance inspection of the Little Creek transfer station and discovered eight violations of the company’s solid waste permit. The department found that ESE failed to conduct daily inspections of the facility’s operating and emergency equipment, failed to follow storage requirements and maintain general cleanliness of the site, failed to prevent the establishment of nuisance organisms, failed to restrict access during off hours, and failed to follow the company’s Plan of Operations regarding prohibited materials and waste screening. In addition, the company was in violation of its permit related to administrative recordkeeping requirements.

On Oct. 20, 2006, the department issued a Notice of Violation to ESE listing the violations documented during the inspection. Eastern Shore Environmental, Inc., has 30 days to request a public hearing.

DOE Tightens Efficiency Standards for Utility Transformers

DOE published a final rule on October 12 that sets new energy-efficiency standards for distribution transformers, the boxes or cylinders installed on utility poles that lower the voltage of electricity delivered to homes and businesses. The rule specifically applies to liquid-immersed transformers and medium-voltage, dry-type transformers. Utility transformers are already extremely efficient at delivering energy with minimal losses, but because they handle large amounts of electricity, small gains in efficiency can yield to large energy savings. According to the published rule, the new rule could raise the cost of liquid-immersed transformers by up to 12%, but it should decrease electrical losses by as much as 23%. It could also raise the cost of medium-voltage, dry-type transformers by up to 13%, but should decrease electrical losses by as much as 26%. See the final rule as published in the October 12 edition of the Federal Register.

Warning on Air Cleaners That Emit Ozone


Some air-cleaning devices, called ozone generators, have been shown to produce indoor ozone concentrations several times higher than the state's outdoor air quality standard. CARB's new regulation prohibits the sale of devices in California that produce enough ozone to harm human health. The standard of 0.050 parts per million will assure that concentrations remain below that level. Some devices exceeding these levels may be exempted but only for industrial use and where exposures are already regulated.

There are many types of air cleaners using a variety of technologies to remove pollutants from the air in homes and offices. Some produce ozone intentionally and others as a by-product of the electronics. The law mandating CARB Act, Assembly Bill 2276 signed into law in the autumn of 2006 targeted those consumer devices that produce large amounts of ozone.

"People with respiratory problems need to be protected from ozone," said Mary Nichols, chairman of the Air Resources Board. "Consumers bought these devices hoping to reduce suffering for themselves or a loved one, only to make the situation worse."

An ARB-funded survey by the University of California at Berkeley, found that in the last five years 50% of California households that purchased air cleaners did so to address asthma and allergy problems. Forty-five percent of those homes included children.

Ozone is the main ingredient of smog and is the primary target of numerous local, state, and federal health-protective measures. Very low exposure is tolerable to humans but at higher levels adverse and even dangerous health effects can result. Much research and analysis has led California to establish an outdoor ozone standard of 0.070 parts per million over an eight-hour period, and 0.090 parts per million over a one-hour period. Exposure beyond this level can lead to lung inflammation and impaired functioning, coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, worsening asthma symptoms, hospitalization due to respiratory issues, and potentially death. The new regulation will prevent this type of dangerous exposures to an estimated 500,000 Californians.

Some manufacturers of ozone generators have argued that ozone has the ability to reduce levels of indoor air pollutants. Research has shown that the opposite is true. Ozone reacts with certain indoor chemicals to form ultra-fine particles, which are respiratory irritants, and formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen. Manufacturers also alleged that ozone reduces odors and kills mold and bacteria in the air. However, while ozone can react with some odorous chemicals, it also irritates nasal passages and degrades one's sense of smell, thereby masking the smell rather than eliminating it. Ozone can kill microbes in the air but only at concentrations roughly 100 times greater than the amount allowable by this regulation.

Michael T. Kleinman, a professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of California at Irvine, supports the board's actions, "Ozone is associated with human deaths. It can cause irreversible changes such as fibrosis-like stiffening of the lung." Kleinman added, "In my opinion, the use of an ozone-generating device as an indoor air cleaner is dangerous, especially if occupants already have lung or heart diseases, or are elderly."

The new CARB regulation also requires all air cleaners to pass an electrical safety test for preventing fire hazards. They must also carry a specified label on packaging that helps consumers identify acceptable CARB-certified air cleaners. Any air-cleaning device designed for use in a single room, a whole house, an entire floor in a multi-story commercial building, inside cars, as well as "personal air purifiers" worn around an individual's neck is subject to this regulation.

New Mexico Approves Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Regulations

The New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board recently approved greenhouse gas emissions reporting rules that will require industry in the state—including power plants, oil and gas refineries, and cement plants—to report greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change.

The regulations, which were crafted by the New Mexico Environment Department, are a key component in Governor Richardson’s goal of addressing climate change. The rules will go into effect Jan. 1, 2008. “This is one of the most comprehensive mandatory greenhouse gas reporting programs in the nation,” Governor Richardson said. “I have committed our state to aggressive actions to curb the emissions that lead to global climate change, and a strong greenhouse gas reporting program is essential to that effort.” The rule requires industries that report emissions of other air pollutants, such as SO2, NOx, and particulates, to include greenhouse gas emissions in their emissions reports. The largest industrial facilities must begin reporting greenhouse gases annually for the year 2008. Industrial facilities that are smaller in size are required to report greenhouse gas emissions as early as the year 2009. The rules allow a phasing in of the greenhouse gases being reported, starting with carbon dioxide, followed by methane, and finally nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. “I ordered the Environment Department to develop these regulations, and with the Environmental Improvement Board’s action, soon industry will be required to report their emissions,” said Governor Richardson. “You must be able to measure and track emissions in order to reduce them.”

Pennsylvania Proposes Idling Regulation

A new regulation approved for public comment by the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) would limit the amount of time a diesel-powered commercial motor vehicle can idle its engine to no more than five minutes in a 60-minute period. The rule is aimed, primarily, at long-haul truckers, many of whom idle their vehicles during federally mandated rest periods to provide heating, cooling, and power to their bunks and cabs. It will also affect other vehicles, such as many delivery trucks, school buses, transit buses, and motor coaches.

The regulation must now be opened to public comment and be discussed in a public hearing before final consideration by the EQB. It then must be approved by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission, which reviews all proposed state regulations and, finally, the state attorney general.

Because of its extensive interstate highway system, there is a heavy volume of truck travel in Pennsylvania. The commonwealth has some 260 truck stops, 47 public rest areas, and more than 13,000 truck parking spaces—providing many convenient areas for heavy-duty diesel vehicles to idle.

According to a study by the commonwealth’s highway emissions consultant, Michael Baker Jr. Inc., total statewide idling related to truck travel rest is estimated to be more than 21 million annual hours. That total represents 96% of long-duration idling, or instances when the engine of a still vehicle is left running for more than 15 minutes. DEP estimates that 13,000 long-haul trucks idle in Pennsylvania each day. If each of these trucks used alternative means to provide drivers with power during rest periods, fuel use would be cut by more than 20 million gallons a year. Estimates are that a tractor-trailer uses about one gallon of diesel fuel per hour when idling, which means that truck idling related to travel rest in Pennsylvania consumes 21 million gallons of diesel fuel each year. At diesel’s current statewide average cost of $3.19 per gallon, truckers are spending nearly $67 million each year on fuel to idle their vehicles during rest periods.

Diesel-powered vehicles emit nitrogen oxide (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), both of which contribute to ground-level ozone, as well as fine-particulate matter. Both ozone and fine-particulate matter are pollutants that can cause or exacerbate breathing problems, especially in people with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. DEP says the new regulation—once fully enacted in 2010—will reduce annual emissions of NOx by about 1,610 tons, VOCs by about 45 tons, and particulate matter by about 30 tons. This rule will also help reduce carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. Under Governor Edward G. Rendell’s leadership, the commonwealth already has made investments to encourage alternatives to idling. It has awarded $1 million in grants to support the installation of alternative power sources to truckers, with more than another $1 million in grants to small trucking firms to help them buy on-board alternative power units.

Several exemptions are included in the proposed anti-idling measure, such as allowing a vehicle with a sleeper compartment to idle when the outside temperature is below 40F or above 75F when stationary idle reduction technology is not available. This exemption expires May 1, 2010. Other exemptions include idling for:

  • Active loading or unloading of passengers or property
  • Operating work-related mechanical or electrical operations other than propulsion
  • Maintenance, repairs, and inspections for safety-related purposes

Passenger and school buses may idle for up to 15 minutes during a 60-minute period to provide heating or cooling when non-driver passengers are on board. Pennsylvania joins 14 other states, including Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York in adopting anti-idling measures. The EQB will accept public comment on this proposed regulation for 60 days following the regulation’s publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. It will also hold three public hearings on the proposal.

Texas Changes Occupational Licensing Rule

Occupational licensing rules found in Chapter 30 of Texas Administrative Code were recently revised. These rules affect a wide range of operators including municipal solid waste, water treatment, wastewater, and on-site sewage, as well as landscape installers, leaking petroleum tanks project managers, and backflow prevention assembly testers.

The majority of revisions focus on municipal solid waste facility supervisors. The revisions address provisional letters, type of license needed based on facility, exemptions, renewals, training, and training providers. Supervisors have until September 2009 to obtain or renew their required license.

For further information on what type of license a municipal solid waste facility operator must have, see

Environmental News Links


Trivia Question of the Week

What percentage of China’s carbon emissions are created by goods manufactured and exported to Western consumers?

a. 10%
b. 25%
c. 50%
d. 75%