On August 14, the Federal Register will publish a final Department of Transportation rule under Docket HM-226 entitled "Hazardous Materials: Revision to Standards for Infectious Substances." The final rule, which will become effective on October 1, makes the following changes to the hazardous materials regulations (HMR):
- New classification criteria for infectious substances based on defining
criteria developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and consistent
with standards contained in the United Nations (UN) Recommendations and the
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions.
- Revised packaging requirements for Division 6.2 materials consistent with
international performance standards.
- Revised materials of trade exceptions to include certain diagnostic
specimens, biological products, and regulated medical waste (RMW).
- New packaging and hazard communication requirements for shipments of
diagnostic specimens consistent with international requirements. Diagnostic
specimens transported in dedicated motor vehicles by private or contract
carriers are excepted from most requirements of the HMR.
- Modification of the current exception from requirements in the HMR for
biological products. The exception is limited to biological products,
including experimental products, subject to Federal approval, permit, or
licensing requirements, such as those required by Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- New bulk packaging options for the transportation of RMW, based on
current exemption provisions.
- New hazard communication requirements for bulk shipments of RMW to assist
emergency responders to identify such shipments.
The final rule is effective October 1, 2002.
EPA ANNOUNCES NEW WEB SITE FOR INVENTORY UPDATE RULE
EPA has announced that the web site for the 2002 Inventory Update Rule (IUR) collection is up and available for interested parties (http://www.epa.gov/oppt/iur ) . This web site contains the reporting database (ready to run Access version), instructions for use of the database and reporting for the IUR in general, document delivery instructions and a Questions and Answers document. This site also joins, in one easy site, the previous pages from the 1998 and the 1994 collections. In addition, the EPA has incorporated a Regulatory Advisor to assist potential reporters in determining whether they are required to report under the IUR.
Reporting under the Inventory Update Rule takes place at four-year intervals
that began in 1986. The rule requires manufacturers and importers of certain
chemical substances included on the TSCA Chemical Substances Inventory to
report current data on the production volume, plant site, and site-limited
status of these substances. The 2002 reporting period is from August 26,
2002 to December 23, 2002. Interested parties may contact the TSCA Hotline
at 202-554-1404 with any
MEASURING POLLUTION PREVENTION EFFECTIVENESS
Measuring results is an essential component of any successful pollution prevention (P2) program. EPA's Pollution Prevention Division recently created an overview of current programs' efforts to measure the effectiveness of their P2 programs. This new section of the P2 web site provides information and examples on ways to identify appropriate measures and data collection methods for your P2 program activities. This collected information is intended to help the P2 programs understand the different methodologies to track outputs to better capture results and environmental improvements. It not designed to be prescriptive nor is it being presented to enable comparison of the activities or effectiveness of state and local P2 programs. Rather, it is intended to make the user think about the types of results they are currently measuring and to invite further dialogue and inquiry about outcome-based measurement.
The site is at http://www.epa.gov/p2/resources/p2meas.htm
EPA would like to add other examples of outcome-based evaluations to the
site and is currently collecting information for the various types of P2
program activities. Specifically, EPA is looking for specific examples of
measuring program effectiveness in written materials, assistance phone
lines, Web sites, regulatory integration, and grants award programs. If you
would like to share specific examples of evaluations that you have conducted
to assess the effectiveness of your P2 program activities, please contact
Christopher Kent at (202) 564-8842 or submit your information by email at
PBT PROGRAM "RACES" AHEAD ON ALKYL LEAD NATIONAL ACTION PLAN
EPA recently announced the availability of a final National Action Plan for Alkyl-lead under the Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxics (PBT) Program. Alkyl-lead compounds are one of the twelve substances on the Agency's PBT Strategy.
Alkyl-lead compounds are used as a fuel additive to reduce engine "knock" and to help lubricate internal engine components. Currently, the only significant uses for these compounds in the US are in gasoline for general aviation (piston-engine) aircraft and racing gasoline.
One key voluntary action outlined in this Plan is that the National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing (NASCAR) and their primary fuel supplier will work together to identify safe, non-lead fuel additives. EPA will provide technical assistance. NASCAR is taking a leadership role and it is expected that other racing car organizations will follow. Work will also continue with FAA and appropriate private parties to identify substitutes for alkyl-lead compounds in aviation gasoline.
For more information on the new alkyl-lead rule and other rules involving
PBTs, please contact Sam Sasnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OCEAN'S BLUE SHOWCASES ONLINE GREEN MEETINGS TOOL
Anyone who has ever organized a conference or meeting knows the monetary and environmental costs involved in such an undertaking. In an effort to incorporate green purchasing into more public settings, EPA's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Program recently supported the Oceans Blue Foundation in the development of an online Green Meetings Tool .
The tool, available at Oceans Blue Foundation's website at
http://www.bluegreenmeetings.org , shows hosts, planners and suppliers how
to incorporate green principles into every aspect of conference and meeting
planning. Starting with 10 Easy Tips to Greening your Meeting, the guide
takes users step by step through every part of the planning process from
accommodation selection to transportation to food and beverage options. Also
included is a tool for gauging how green your meeting is through an
interactive quiz that informs users how their choices affect the greenness
of their meeting. Finally, the online tool offers user a broad list of other
links and resources to other green meeting sites from around the world,
allowing the user access to a comprehensive resource that saves time, money
and most importantly, the environment.
For further information contact Russell Clark at email@example.com or
Julie Shannon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FHWA ADMINISTRATOR TELLS CONGRESS TRANSPORTATION, ENVIRONMENT ARE COMPATIBLE GOALS
Federal Highway Administrator Mary E. Peters told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that the U. S. Department of Transportation¦s efforts to improve mobility and the safety of surface transportation while protecting the environment and enhancing the quality of life for all communities are compatible goals.
"As a nation, we have made remarkable strides in reducing air pollution that comes from transportation-related sources," Peters said. "Where transportation is a significant source of pollutants, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that ozone, carbon monoxide and particulate matter have all decreased substantially since 1970."
These reductions in emissions were accomplished during a period of 33 percent increase in population, 147 percent growth in gross domestic product, and 143 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled. The automotive, fuels, highway, and transit communities have managed to achieve this success in improving air quality while at the same time working to address increasing demands to improve mobility.
The downward trend achieved in emissions is expected to continue into the future. Engines and fuels will become even cleaner under recent EPA-issued regulations for emissions standards and cleaner fuel requirements. Between 2004 and 2007, more protective tailpipe emissions standards will be phased in for all passenger vehicles, including sport utility vehicles (SUVs), minivans, vans, and pick-up trucks. This regulation marks the first time that larger SUVs and other light duty trucks will be subject to the same national pollution standards as cars. In addition, the EPA tightened standards for sulfur in gasoline, which will ensure the effectiveness of low-emission control technologies in vehicles and reduce harmful air pollution.
When the new tailpipe and sulfur standards are implemented, Americans will benefit from the clean-air equivalent of removing 164 million cars from the road. These new standards require all passenger vehicles sold after the phase-in period to be 77 to 95 percent cleaner than those on the road today and will reduce the sulfur content of gasoline by up to 90 percent.
Motor vehicle emissions will be reduced as new heavy-duty vehicles that meet the 2004 emissions standards for heavy-duty engine standards enter the fleet. Beginning with the 2007 model, heavy-duty engines for trucks and buses must meet even tighter emissions standards, and the level of sulfur in diesel fuel must be reduced by 97 percent by mid-2006. As a result, after a phase-in period, each new truck and bus will be more than 90 percent cleaner than current models.
In addition to tighter standards, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has been working with industry to develop and demonstrate low- and zero-emissions advanced propulsion technologies for transit buses, including hybrid-electric, battery electric, and fuel cell-powered buses. Under FTA/DOT leadership, a national program is underway to accelerate the development and commercial viability of these advanced technologies.
"The American public demands and deserves both mobility and clean air, and
we must remain focused on providing the highest level of service and
environmental protection that we can provide," Peters said. "The Department
of Transportation is committed to continuing the progress made over the last
thirty years in reducing motor vehicle emissions and strongly supports the
goals of the Clean Air Act¦s transportation conformity provisions."
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE PLEADS GUILTY TO ATLANTIC OIL DUMPING
In the seventh major case against a cruise line for dumping at sea, Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd. (NCL), pleaded guilty on July 31 and agreed to pay a $1 million fine and an additional $500,000 to environmental community service projects in South Florida.
In its plea, NCL admitted to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships by misleading the U.S. Coast Guard. For several years, NCL concealed the illegal discharge of oil-contaminated bilge waste into the Atlantic Ocean from the SS Norway and at least one other ship by making false statements in the ships' oil record books. After an NCL employee reported the dumping to EPA, the company conducted an internal audit and has cooperated with the government's investigation.
Dumping oily bilge waste into the ocean can harm fish and other aquatic life. In several previous cases, the Royal Caribbean and Holland America Cruise Lines both paid multi-million dollar penalties for releasing oil into the sea.
EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Coast Guard Investigative
Service, the United States Department of Transportation-Office of Inspector
General, the FBI, the Miami-Dade Police Department Environmental
Investigations Unit and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Criminal Investigation Division investigated the NCL case. The case is being
prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's office in Miami and the Environmental
Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
CLEAN AIR ACT (CAA)
- August 14, 2002 - Each producer, importer, or exporter of a Class II
controlled substance must submit a report to EPA providing information on
the production, imports, and exports of such chemicals during the previous
- August 29, 2002 - Existing sources subject to organic hazardous air pollutant emission controls under 40 CFR 63, Subpart G, for synthetic organic chemical manufacturing industry production processes must submit quarterly report to EPA.
TOXIC SUBSTANCES CONTROL ACT (TSCA)
- August 25, 2002 - Quadrennial reporting period begins for chemical manufacturers and importers to submit current data on the production, volume, plant site, and site-limited status of certain substances listed on the TSCA chemical substances inventory.