December 02, 2019
EPA has proposed corrections
that will update identifiers, formulas, and names for certain TRI-listed chemicals described in the CFR. This proposal will:
- Remove chemical names for those chemicals that have been delisted or moved to other listings,
- Incorporate listings in 40 CFR 372.65(b) for chemicals that are listed in 40 CFR 372.65(a) but are not listed in 40 CFR 372.65(b),
- Correct inaccurate Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Numbers (CASRNs),
- Correct errors in chemical category definitions,
- Remedy other known errors in the CFR chemical lists,
- Remove leading zeros from CASRNs,
- Correct errors in the list of lower thresholds for chemicals of special concern, and
- Revise the list of chemical names to include only the TRI primary name and the EPA registry name (if different from the TRI primary name) as a synonym.
In addition, EPA has proposed to replace an existing outdated cross- referenced regulatory citation and modify the text of the de minimis exemption, without changing the substance of the exemption itself. Learn more
about TRI reporting and your other EPCRA reporting requirements.
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Lawyer Indicted for Perjury and Obstructing Justice in Clean Air Act Case
John Lee, an attorney who once represented Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas LLC, was arraigned Nov. 21 on an indictment issued on Oct. 8, for knowingly making false statements while testifying under oath before a federal grand jury and for obstructing justice.
The indictment relates to Lee’s work for Hyundai, which entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to pay a criminal fine for violating the Clean Air Act and conspiring to defraud the United States on Nov. 14, 2018. Hyundai has satisfied its liability in that matter.
The case against Lee is about testimony he gave under oath and pursuant to a privilege waiver issued by Hyundai. The indictment includes three perjury charges and one obstruction of justice charge. It alleges that during his testimony before a grand jury, Lee denied giving Hyundai employees advice about submitting a “TPEM” report that contained false information to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding Hyundai’s compliance with Clean Air Act regulations.
The indictment goes on to allege that this was a false statement because Lee both received the TPEM report by electronic mail and approved its filing. Lee is also charged with falsely denying that he directed Hyundai employees to use their personal email accounts—rather than work accounts—to discuss Hyundai’s regulatory issues, and falsely denying that he received emails about the regulatory issues on his own personal email account.
Lastly, the indictment alleges that Lee knowingly failed to produce relevant emails in response to a grand jury subpoena, in an effort to impede the grand jury investigation.
“Lying to the grand jury, concealing information, and obstructing a federal investigation undermines the public’s trust in the criminal justice system and will not be tolerated,” said Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The Department of Justice will aggressively investigate and prosecute those who seek to cover up or obstruct a federal investigation.”
“In order to safeguard the environment, it is essential that governments receive accurate and honest information,” said Susan P. Bodine, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This indictment sends a clear message that EPA and its law enforcement partners will continue to hold companies and their employees fully accountable for illegal conduct that jeopardizes environmental protection.”
The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division. Senior Counsel Krishna S. Dighe of the Department of Justice, Environmental Crimes Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Kitchens of the Northern District of Georgia are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely a formal charging document and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Time to Phase Out Mercury-Added Products Has Arrived
Parties to the Minamata Convention decided to move forward with their agreement in phasing out the use of products which contain mercury and to promote alternatives at the Third Conference of the Parties, that closed in Geneva after a one-week meeting from 26 to 29 November 2019. Delegates representing 113 parties decided to undertake the review regarding the reduction on the use of mercury in manufactured products. Parties also agreed on how to use custom codes for mercury-added products that would permit to gather reliable information and therefore facilitate trade, including the banning of products containing mercury.
Batteries, switches, fluorescent lamps, cosmetics, pesticides, barometers and thermometers containing mercury have their days numbered. By 2020 the manufacture, import and export of these products is no longer allowed. The good news is that a wide range of safe and high-functioning alternatives to mercury-added products have been developed. Thus, it’s just a matter of time before mercury-free alternatives fully replace their more toxic counterparts
As it was emphasized during the opening session on Monday, the road map for effectiveness evaluation agreed at the second meeting of the Parties resulted now in a framework, which will help in defining how effective the Convention is by 2023.
“This COP has a key role to play in establishing the framework for the first evaluation of the effectiveness of the Convention, set for 2023. Strengthening legal frameworks and institutional capacity is also a basic requirement for the implementation of the Convention”, said Inger Andersen, the UN Environment Executive Director.
In the same line, the Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention, Rossana Silva Repetto, admitted that “it is our common wish that the results of such evaluation reflect that our convention is proving to be effective. For this to happen, we need to work on the implementation of the convention at all levels in order to yield the fruits that indicate, in the data that will be collected, that we are on the right path towards attaining the objective that you, yourselves established for the Minamata Convention”.
Meanwhile, Parties have an obligation to submit their first national reports by December 2019 on the measures they have taken to implement a number of provisions of the Convention, on the effectiveness of such measures and on possible challenges in meeting the objectives of the Convention, as was agreed at the first meeting.
Other key decisions adopted at the Minamata COP3 include the program of work and budget for the biennium 2020-2021, terms of reference for the Implementation and Compliance Committee, guidance on the management of contaminated sites, releases and waste thresholds. Parties reiterated their wish to continue to enhance cooperation with international organizations in areas of relevance to the Convention, towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.
Donors announced voluntary contributions to the Specific International Program to support capacity building and technical assistance, which is one of the components of the financial mechanism of the convention, being the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) the other one.
COP3 has also been the opportunity for consolidating the substantial progress made so far at the previous COPs. At the first and second meetings, the COP took decisions that were key for the ongoing implementation of the Convention. Several guidance documents were adopted in relation to trade, best available techniques and best environmental practices in relation to emissions, and artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) National Action Plans (NAPs).
The events at the COP included a special session on mercury science highlighting the linkage between policy and science. Among the other 26 side events broader issues were discussed such as the linkages between chemicals management and biodiversity, artisanal and small-scale gold mining, trade, contaminated sites, chemicals and waste management beyond 2020, and global community’s efforts to protect human health and the environment from the negative effects of mercury.
Since the convention entered into force in 2017, meetings of the conferences of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury have been held during a one-week period every year in late September (COP1) or November (COP2 and COP3) at the seat of the Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. From now, next COPs will be convened every two years. 2021 will be the turn of Indonesia to host the fourth Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention in Bali, to keep making mercury history.
The Minamata Convention on Mercury is the most recent global agreement on environment and health, adopted in 2013. It is named after the bay in Japan where, in the mid-20th century, mercury-tainted industrial wastewater poisoned thousands of people, leading to severe health damage that became known as the “Minamata disease”. Since it entered into force on 16 August 2017, 113 Parties have been working together to control the mercury supply and trade, reduce the use, emission and release of mercury, raise public awareness, and build the necessary institutional capacity.
Comments Changes to Nebraska Air Permit Conditions I and II Invited
NDEE is conducting a periodic review and update of the standardized Conditions I and II used in air quality construction permits (CP) and air quality operating permits (OP). These changes are intended to unify permit conditions and streamline the CP and OP permitting processes. The draft restructured conditions language can be found at the bottom of this webpage.
NDEE is soliciting comments from interested parties during the comment period ending January 17, 2020. Comments received during the period will be considered by NDEE as the agency continues to streamline standardized air quality permit Conditions I and II.
To submit comments, you may contact the NDEE by email email@example.com
or by mail submitted to the attention of David Christensen, NDEE Air Quality Division, P.O. Box 98922, Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-8922.
Below are draft restructured standard conditions:
Diamond Chrome Ends Use of TCE Following State Order
Diamond Chrome Plating has informed the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) that it will no longer use trichloroethylene (TCE) and is removing the compound from its Howell facility.
EGLE – in collaboration with partners the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the Livingston County Health Department, and the EPA – is committed to thoroughly reviewing alternatives proposed by the company in order to ensure protection of public health and the environment.
Previous air sampling last week found high levels of TCE in the area around the Diamond Chrome Plating
facility at 604 S. Michigan Ave., creating a public health hazard. Following a notice to cease releases of TCE from the facility on November 18, 2019, Diamond Chrome stopped operation of its degreaser, the suspected source of the TCE emissions.
Nebraska NPDES Laboratory and Wastewater Operator Training Online
The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy will present a National Pollutant Elimination Discharge System (NPDES) laboratory and wastewater operator training webinar Tuesday, Dec. 17, 11 am to noon. This webinar is intended for facilities that have wastewater labs that need guidance on what to document. The webinar will cover some basic wastewater tests and reporting processes.
This is the seventh event of a series of monthly webinars planned through December 2019, and is part of a new outreach effort that is the result of input received from stakeholders through the spring 2019 public outreach and program participation survey.
The NPDES laboratory webinar will bridge the gap between wastewater analysis and provide guidance on what to file for inspections. The webinar will cover Title 119 and break it down so operators can use the information.
- Go to DEE Laboratory and Wastewater Operator Training Webinar
- Click "Register"
- On the registration form, enter your information and then click "Submit"
Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email message with instructions on how to join the event. For assistance, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
$229,950 Clarion Boards, LLC Fined $229,950 for Air Pollution Violations
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that Clarion Boards, LLC, a subsidiary of Kronospan, has agreed to a Consent Assessment of Civil Penalt
y in the amount of $229,950 for operation violations that occurred between 2017 and February 2019 at the Clarion Boards facility in Paint Township, Clarion County.DEP found violations of the facility’s hourly and yearly limits on the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOC). In addition, Clarion Boards had data availability issues with the facility’s continuous emission monitoring system and operated plant equipment in a manner that was inconsistent with terms and conditions of the facility’s operating permit.
“Violation of daily and yearly emission limits are significant violations and are easily prevented through proper oversight of operations. This penalty is appropriate, given the potential impacts associated with an exceedance of emission limits,” said Jim Miller, director of DEP’s Northwest Regional Office. “DEP appreciates Clarion Boards’ acknowledgment of the violations and efforts to correct and prevent similar violations in the future.”
The payment will go into the Pennsylvania Clean Air Fund.
The company has corrected the violations and has recently installed new equipment at the facility, including a new dust burner system, new Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer to better control VOC emissions, and four engines to produce on-site power.
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