As a follow-up to recommendations to promote the use of combined heat and power in President Bush's National Energy Policy Report, EPA joined with 17 Fortune 500 companies, city and state governments and nonprofits in Washington, D.C. to announce the Combined Heat and Power Partnership, a more efficient, clean and reliable alternative to conventional electricity generation.
Combined heat and power (CHP), also known as co-generation, is a highly efficient form of electric generation, which recycles and utilizes heat that is normally lost under traditional power combustion methods. CHP captures this leftover heat, providing a source of residential and industrial heating and air conditioning in the local area around a power plant.
"Combined Heat and Power is not only better than conventional electricity generation at reducing air pollution and fuel consumption, it's more reliable and costs less to do so," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. "Founding partners in this program are leading the way toward a cleaner future."
At the kick-off event at EPA Headquarters, partners in the program agreed to work with the Agency to develop and promote the benefits of new CHP projects. EPA will provide public recognition of projects and benefits to the company, public and the environment. EPA will also support accelerated development of new projects, through education, streamlined permitting and provision of technical tools and services.
In fact, CHP systems are already being used by the 17 founding partners: Abbott Laboratories, Archer Daniels Midland, Bethlehem Steel, Caterpillar Energy Products Group, Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil, General Motors, International Paper, Real Energy, Solar Turbines, Texaco Power and Gasification International, Trigen Energy, U.S. Steel, Verizon Communications and Weyerhaeuser, the College of New Jersey in Ewing, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Partnership also includes "endorsing" organizations: Gas Technology Institute, International District Energy Association, Midwest Application Center for CHP for Buildings, Midwest Cogeneration Association, Northeast-Midwest Institute, and the U.S. Combined Heat and Power Association. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is also a partner.
These existing CHP projects of the founding partners represent more than 5,800 megawatts of power generating capacity, an amount capable of serving almost six million households (about the size of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area). The projects annually reduce the main global warming gas, carbon dioxide, by more than 8 million tons above what would achieved from traditional generation methods; in addition, the annual energy savings equal 19 million barrels of oil more than would be attained under conventional combustion.
In addition to establishing the CHP Partnership, EPA is working to implement several other actions to promote co-generation in the United States. EPA will be publishing soon in the Federal Register draft guidance clarifying the Clean Air Act requirements for constructing CHP facilities, to speed permitting and ensure that environmental benefits are fully realized. In another action, EPA will evaluate CHP applications under its Brownfields program. Brownfields helps communities to reduce the potential health risks and restore the economic viability of abandoned, idled or under-used industrial and commercial properties. By the end of the year, EPA will put up a special website for Combined Heat and Power Partnership.
For additional information, contact Joe Bryson at 202- 564-9631
AIR REPORT SHOWS CONTINUED IMPROVEMENT, REMAINING CHALLENGES
Air quality in the United States maintained its steady improvement through the year 2000, according to EPA's annual summary of air quality trends. This trend toward cleaner air has continued since EPA's formation in 1970, while during the same time, the gross domestic product increased 158 percent, miles traveled by cars and trucks increased 143 percent, and energy consumption increased by 45 percent.
"The Bush Administration is committed to building on the clean-air progress of the last 30 years," EPA Administrator Christie Whitman said. "One way we're going to accomplish this is to work with Congress on a proposal for multi-emissions legislation that will further reduce air pollution from power plants while providing that industry the flexibility it needs to produce clean, efficient energy.
"We will also work with the states," said Whitman. "The National Governors Association recently adopted a policy that is a remarkable step forward to reach national consensus on this issue. EPA intends to follow the path toward common ground identified by the nation's governors in their energy policy."
The NGA has called upon Congress to establish a flexible, market-based program to significantly reduce and cap emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury and provide market-based incentives such as emissions trading credits to help achieve the required reductions.
The report focuses on national long-term trends in air pollution, not the air quality status of individual cities.
The report shows the following air quality trends from 1991-2000 for the six major national air pollutants regulated by EPA under the Clean Air Act:
- Lead concentrations decreased 50 percent;
- Carbon monoxide concentrations decreased 41 percent;
- Sulfur dioxide concentrations decreased 37 percent;
- Particulate matter concentrations decreased 19 percent;
- Nitrogen dioxide concentrations decreased 11 percent; and
- Smog (one- hour concentrations) decreased 10 percent.
Despite continuous air quality improvements, certain types of air pollution continue to present a challenge for some areas of the country. Progress has been slowest for smog and fine particles. While overall smog levels have decreased in the past 10 years, amounts have increased in the southern and north-central regions of the United States.
EPA has taken several steps this year toward cleaner air, including a rule to reduce emissions from large trucks and buses, and sulfur levels in fuel. The Agency also proposed a rule that will improve views in America's national parks by controlling emissions from older power plants and industrial facilities that contribute to haze. In addition, many private companies and other organizations are working to effectively reduce their emissions in voluntary partnerships through such programs as EPA's Energy Star consumer product labeling initiative for energy efficiency.
Air pollution can cause a variety of health problems, from burning eyes and irritated throats, to birth defects, brain and nerve impairment and long-term damage to the lungs. Smog, for example, can irritate the respiratory system, aggravate asthma and inflame the lining of the lung.
The report titled, "Latest Findings on National Air Quality: 2000
Status and Trends," and additional detailed information can be
found on www.epa.gov/airtrends.
COMMENT SOUGHT ON DRAFT STANDARDS FOR REGULATORY INFORMATION DISSEMINATION
Public comment is being solicited on two draft standards dealing with data and other information on permitting and enforcement and compliance. The draft standards consist of a list of data elements, definitions for them, notes and explanatory language. They are an essential element in improving the exchange of such data among partners and secondary data users to further appropriate understanding, interpretation and use of the data.. The draft standards were developed by the Agency's Environmental Data Standards Council and representatives from states and Tribal Nations.
Further information is available at
www.epa.gov/edsc/announcements.htm. Information also is
contained in the Federal Register notice, Oct. 4 (page 50644).
Comments can be submitted until Nov. 19 by e-mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org or can be mailed to OEI Docket, USEPA,
Washington, D.C. 20460, Attn: Docket Number OEI-10010:FRL 6723-3.
WHITMAN ALLAYS FEARS FOR WATER SECURITY; POSSIBILITY OF SUCCESSFUL CONTAMINATION IS SMALL
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman allayed fears for the security of the nation's water systems during a visit to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission Consolidated Laboratory in Silver Spring, Maryland. She said EPA believes the possibility of successful contamination of a water system is small.
"As someone who drinks water at home from the tap -- as does my family -- this is a concern I certainly understand. People are worried that a small amount of some chemical or biological agent?a few drops, for instance?could result in significant threats to the health of large numbers of people. I want to assure people that scenario just can't happen," said Whitman.
"It would take large amounts of contaminants to threaten the safety of a city water system. Because of increased security at water reservoirs and other facilities around the country?and because people are being extra vigilant as well?we believe it would be very difficult for anyone to introduce the quantities needed to contaminate an entire system."
"For more than 80 years, our mission has been to supply safe, clean water to our customers," said WSSC General Manager John R. Griffin. "Since our nation's recent tragedies, we've strengthened our already solid foundation of safety and security measures. Our modern water quality laboratory helps to ensure we fulfill that crucial mission."
The Administrator explained that systems already in place for treating drinking water before it comes out of the tap will, in many cases, remove the immediate threat to public health. EPA has worked with partners like the Association of Metropolitan Water Authorities, (AMWA), to make sure water utilities receive information on the steps they can take to protect their sources of supply and their infrastructure. Diane van de Hei, Executive Director of AMWA, joined the Administrator at the event.
In addition, Sandia National Laboratories is working with EPA to develop training materials for water companies so they can conduct thorough assessments of their vulnerable points. Sandia representatives Robert Eagan, Vice President Energy, Information and Infrastructure Surety Division and Peter Davies, Director Geoscience & Environment Center, also took part in the press conference.
"Several weeks ago I directed that these materials, originally scheduled to become available next year, be put on a fast track. I'm pleased to announce that training using these materials will begin for water system operators early next month," Whitman explained.
Another step EPA has taken to protect water systems was to work with the FBI to advise every local law enforcement agency in the country of steps they can take to help watch for possible threats to water systems.
"In addition, later today, I will be holding a conference call with governors from around the country to discuss how we can help them and how they can support and enhance our efforts," said Whitman.
The Administrator explained that despite small probabilities and
stepped-up prevention, there are no "iron-clad guarantees."
Should an attack succeed, EPA is ready to respond immediately.
"Our experts are ready to provide guidance. Our federal labs are
ready to provide analysis. And our specialists are ready to
assist in recovery," said Whitman. "It's also important to
remember that America's water utilities are not interconnected."
FORD SIGNS AGREEMENT TO DEVELOP TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE FUEL ECONOMY
EPA and the Ford Motor Company announced a cooperative effort to develop a unique hybrid, high-efficiency vehicle that uses hydraulic fluid to store and provide energy to power the car.
"This is the first-ever cooperative agreement with an automobile company targeted to develop EPA-patented automotive technology," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. "I am very excited about the potential for this technology to make a major and cost-effective contribution toward achieving the President's long-term energy and environmental goals. This is a very good example of a public/private partnership working to help consumers and to benefit the environment."
"The hydraulic hybrid research project complements Ford Motor Company's commitment to develop and implement technologies providing high-volume solutions to address societal concerns," said William Clay Ford Jr., Ford Motor Company chairman. "While we are working hard to implement proven technologies on our vehicles today, we must at the same time push forward with advanced research that holds a bright promise for tomorrow," he said.
"Recognizing that significant hurdles remain in development and prove-out, hydraulic hybrid technology holds great promise for our customers and for our society," said Gerhard Schmidt, Ford Motor Company vice president ? Research.
The technology to be developed and tested under this agreement has the potential to significantly improve the fuel economy of light-duty trucks and sport utility vehicles, which could reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save consumers money at the pump.
While it will take time for this technology to be introduced into the marketplace, Ford is committed to spending significant resources to further develop this technology for commercial production. In this agreement, Ford has committed to invest to further develop this proprietary technology, with an aim toward putting a pilot fleet of vehicles on the road by the end of the decade.
The basic technology was originally developed and patented by EPA's National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and refined under a cooperative agreement with Ford. The advanced powertrain features a high-efficiency engine and a unique hydraulic hybrid propulsion system. The hybrid system uses hydraulic pumps and hydraulic storage tanks to store energy, in the place of electric motors and batteries used in electrical hybrid vehicles. Like other hybrid systems, energy saved when applying the brakes is used to help power the vehicle. This hydraulic power system could have cost and power advantages over electric hybrid systems.
Ford and EPA will be working with FEV Engine Technology, Inc.,
one of the world's leading advanced automotive engine and
powertrain research and development firms, and Eaton, a major
supplier to the worldwide auto industry, to build and test the
FORMER LOUISIANA LABORATORY OFFICE MANAGER PLEADS GUILTY
Jennifer Alexander, former Office Manager for Enviro-Comp Laboratories, Inc., of Baton Rouge, La., pleaded guilty on Sept. 28 to committing perjury before a federal grand jury in a case involving accreditation by a state environmental agency.
The charges stem from an investigation of Enviro-Comp in its efforts to obtain accreditation from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ). The accreditation was sought to perform water tests for clients who were required to meet state environmental regulations under an EPA delegated program. While preparing for an LDEQ pre-accreditation audit, Enviro-Comp's owner, Shawn Decareaux-Kilgarlin, knowingly made false statements in Enviro-Comp's log books and in certification analysis about water testing for the purpose of misleading the LDEQ auditor. In addition, she influenced Ms. Alexander to provide false information.
Ms. Decareaux-Kilgarlin was convicted and is currently serving
her sentence. Ms. Alexander faces a maximum sentence of up to
five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 when
sentenced. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal
Investigation Division, LDEQ, the Louisiana Department of Justice
and the Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office. The case is being
prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Baton Rouge.
WORLD'S LARGEST MEATPACKER REACHES AGREEMENT WITH U.S. TO RESOLVE ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS THROUGHOUT MIDWEST
IBP Inc, the world's largest meatpacker, has agreed to pay the United States $4.1 million in penalties for violating the nation's environmental laws. Under the settlement, IBP has committed to construct additional wastewater treatment systems at its Dakota City, Nebraska plant to reduce its discharges of ammonia to the Missouri River, and has agreed to continue and expand operational improvements ordered last year that will significantly reduce hydrogen sulfur air emissions.
The agreement filed by the Justice Department on behalf of the EPA resolves charges that IBP violated the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and other environmental laws at its 200-acre complex of facilities located near Dakota City, Nebraska, as well as additional violations at IBP facilities in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Texas. Each day, some 5,000 head of cattle are slaughtered and between 4,000 to 5,000 hides are tanned at the facility. In addition, approximately 4 million gallons of contaminated wastewater are treated at the plant and then discharged into the Missouri River.
"This agreement secures IBP's future compliance with our nation's environmental laws and penalizes its past violations," said John Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Environment and Natural Resources. "This agreement further demonstrates our commitment to vigorous enforcement. The right of the people to clean air and water cannot be compromised."
"We are pleased to partner with Nebraska and other states to enforce the laws that protect our environment and public health," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. "This partnership will further ensure the environment is not put at risk from excessive air and water pollution."
The Complaint alleges that IBP's discharge of large quantities of ammonia in its wastewater violated its state-issued Clean Water Act permit. Excessive discharges of ammonia are of particular concern because of their potential to harm aquatic life in the Missouri River. There is substantial evidence of an ongoing and persistent toxicity problem stemming from the ammonia in IBP's discharges, dating to 1988.
The United States also asserts that IBP failed to install required air pollution control equipment as the company expanded its complex from 1989 to 1995, and as a result, illegally emitted an excessive amount of hydrogen sulfide into the air. The government further alleges that IBP regularly failed to report its known releases of hydrogen sulfide in excess of 100 pounds per day, as required by law. In October 1999, IBP reported that it continuously emits as much as 1,919 pounds per day from its Dakota City facility. The complaint finally alleges that IBP improperly disposed of spent stun gun cartridges containing lead.
Under this agreement, IBP will pay $4.1 million in civil penalties, and also will spend approximately $10 million in improvements to resolve its violations at the Dakota City facility and for additional projects to further reduce its discharge of pollutants to the air and water. Specifically, IBP has agreed to construct additional wastewater treatment systems at the complex to dramatically reduce its discharges of ammonia to the river. The systems to be installed by IBP exceed those required to meet the requirements of IBP's current permit, issued in 1995, and are designed to allow the company to meet the anticipated stricter requirements of a new permit to be issued by EPA under the Clean Water Act. IBP further agrees not to contest EPA's authority to issue that permit.
IBP also will expand a water treatment project designed to strip its incoming well water of sulfates, thereby further reducing the plant's generation of hydrogen sulfide. The company finally will perform clean-up and plant closure work at its former facility in Palestine, Texas, to resolve Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act violations stemming from its operation of certain wastewater lagoons and its disposal of spent stun gun cartridges containing lead at that facility.
The agreement lodged in U.S. District Court in Omaha, Nebraska, finally resolves the entirety of IBP's violations at the Dakota City facility and is joined by the State of Nebraska, which will direct its $1.85 million share of the penalty to the local school system. It further resolves Clean Water Act violations at IBP facilities in Gibbon, Nebraska, and Palestine, Texas, along with violations of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, and the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, for late reporting of known releases of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia at IBP facilities in Holcomb, Kansas; Storm Lake, Iowa; Columbus Junction, Iowa; West Point, Nebraska; Denison, Iowa; Council Bluffs, Iowa; Madison, Nebraska; Storm Lake, Iowa; Emporia, Kansas; Perry, Iowa; Lexington, Nebraska; Waterloo, Iowa; and South Hutchinson, Kansas. A similar reporting violation at IBP's facility in Joslin, Illinois, is being resolved simultaneously under an administrative settlement, for an additional $200,000 penalty.
On May 24, 2000, an interim agreement was reached that required IBP to cover lagoons and control hydrogen sulfide emissions at the Dakota City facility to resolve findings by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality that the air around the IBP complex contained levels of hydrogen sulfide that frequently exceeded state health standards. The injunctive relief in the settlement was valued at $13 million. The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry is currently completing a study of the potential health effects of hydrogen sulfide exposure on the residents of Dakota City and South Sioux City, Nebraska.
The improvements required under the interim agreement are now complete. Air monitors installed under the agreement show dramatic reductions in hydrogen sulfide in the surrounding community since the improvements came on-line this past Spring. IBP is currently applying for a permit from the State of Nebraska to govern its hydrogen sulfide emissions and has agreed in this settlement not to contest the necessity of having such a permit in any future state proceedings.
IBP, founded in 1960 as Iowa Beef Packers, is the world's largest producer of fresh beef, pork, and related products, and operates 40 plants in North America. IBP was acquired by Tyson Foods Inc on September 28, 2001 and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Tyson.
"IBP's Dakota City facility has been the source of persistent environmental problems for many years," said Mike Heavican, United States Attorney for the District of Nebraska. "We look forward to the company becoming a better neighbor to Nebraska citizens in the future."
Comments on this Consent Decree will be received for 30 days.
UPCOMING DEADLINES - CLEAN AIR ACT
November 14. 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 quarter.
November 19. 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 semiannual report.
NEW HAZARDOUS WASTE LAND DISPOSAL RESTRICTIONS GUIDANCE DOCUMENT AVAILABLE
EPA's Office of Solid Waste recently released a revised version of the document "Land Disposal Restrictions: Summary of Requirements" (EPA 530-R-01-007). The August 2001 version updates the previous version from 1991.
The revised document provides a usable summary of the land disposal restrictions (LDR) regulations and is organized in a convenient question-answer format. The publication clarifies the requirements of the LDR program and its applicability to generators and treatment, storage, and disposal facilities. In addition, it provides general regulatory explanations to assist facilities with LDR compliance.
The publication is available at www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/ldr/ldr-sum.pdf.