On June 26, the United States Supreme Court agreed to review a federal appeals court case involving the federal regulation of greenhouse gas pollutants, which cause global warming. In March, a coalition of 12 states, led by Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly, asked the court to review a decision issued last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. EPA. That ruling let stand the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's refusal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. The Supreme Court agreed to grant a hearing in the case.
"For too long, EPA has used its own research and data to support its actions -- doing nothing to regulate our greenhouse gas emissions," Reilly said. "Global warming is not a myth, and the Supreme Court has seen the importance of this case and will now have an opportunity to address the most significant environmental issue of our generation." The parties involved with this case, including Reilly, will file briefs this summer and the case will be argued before the court some time next fall.
The plaintiffs argue in the petition that "this case goes to the heart of EPA's statutory responsibilities to deal with the most pressing environmental problem of our time." The petition goes on to argue that the D.C. Circuit's ruling is at odds with Supreme Court precedent on statutory interpretation because it allowed EPA to refuse to regulate greenhouse gases based on policy considerations outside the scope of the Clean Air Act.
"Delay has serious potential consequences," the petition states. "Given that air pollutants associated with climate change are accumulating in the atmosphere at an alarming rate, the window of opportunity in which we can mitigate the dangers of climate change is rapidly closing."
Government studies and reports confirm that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that accumulate in the atmosphere are causing global warming and other significant climatic changes. In 2005, the National Academies of Science from 11 countries, including the United States, issued a joint statement confirming that "the threat of climate change is real and increasing."
For many years, the states and environmental groups have fought hard for regulation of greenhouse gases. In 1999, various environmental groups filed an administrative petition requesting that EPA set motor vehicle emission standards for greenhouse gases. The EPA denied that petition in August 2003, saying that it had no statutory authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. At that time, EPA also said it would not regulate greenhouse gas emissions even if it had the authority to do so under the Clean Air Act.
In October 2003, Massachusetts, represented by Attorney General Reilly, and 29 other parties challenged that ruling in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In July 2005, the D.C. Circuit by a 2-1 vote let EPA's ruling stand. Massachusetts and several other parties requested the full D.C. Circuit rehear the case, which the Court denied in December 2005.
This March, Massachusetts and 28 other parties filed a petition requesting Supreme Court review. On June 26, the Supreme Court agreed to review the federal appeals court case. Among the parties that filed the petition are 11 other states, three cities and 13 environmental groups.
EPA Finds Underground Storage Tanks Violate UST Standards
The U.S. EPA, working with Guam EPA staff, inspected and fined five facilities for underground storage tank violations. The agencies conducted 28 inspections throughout Guam, found 19 violations and issued the five field citations for a total of $2,150 in penalties.
The EPA cited the Guam Waterworks Authority $900 for three violations that included failing to permanently close or upgrade a temporarily closed tank system after a year, and failing to comply with temporary closure requirements for underground tanks.
Shell Oil was assessed a $1,200 penalty for lacking proper spill buckets at two locations. Shell’s Upper Tumon and Mangilao locations did not have proper spill buckets and were requested to conduct a site assessment at each facility. Spill buckets surround the fill pipe where fuel is deposited into an underground storage tank.
“Gasoline can spill into the environment and potentially contaminate groundwater if a facility does not have proper spill buckets. Shell has been very cooperative in determining if there has been contamination at these sites,” said Eric Magnan, underground tank inspector for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “The federal field citation program helps bring underground storage tanks into compliance quickly without putting a financial hardship on the business.”
A December 1998 federal deadline required regulated underground storage tanks to have spill and overfill equipment, corrosion protection, and release detection methods to prevent releases.
The EPA frequently conducts unannounced tank inspections. Owners and operators who are cited are required to correct the violations, submit documentation, and pay the settlement amount within 30 days. Failure to comply may subject them to penalties of up to $11,000 per violation per tank per day in addition to the added cleanup costs for leaking tanks.
Sikorsky Aircraft Fined $176,000 Fine for CFC Violations
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. will pay a fine of $176,000 to settle an EPA complaint for violations of the federal stratospheric ozone protection regulations and two federal hazardous air pollutant standards.
Sikorsky, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., is a helicopter manufacturer with a major plant in Stratford, Conn. EPA’s complaint alleged that Sikorsky violated leak repair and follow-up testing requirements for two industrial refrigeration units that used chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or other ozone-depleting substances as refrigerants.
“A healthy ozone layer helps to protect all of us from the sun’s harmful rays,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Sikorsky corrected its violations and paid a substantial fine without going to trial -- a good result for EPA and New England’s environment.”
Certain types of refrigerants are known to destroy the thin layer of ozone in the upper part of the atmosphere known as the stratosphere. Most of these refrigerants are being phased out and replaced with safer alternatives.
Since late 2005, EPA has pursued several other cases against New England companies for violations of the stratospheric ozone protection program. Last December, EPA brought cases for such violations against Kraft Foods in Woburn, Mass., and against U.S. Surgical in North Haven, Conn. In March, EPA filed its complaint against Sikorsky. Most recently, EPA filed a complaint in April against Cambridge Brands, Inc., a candy maker in Cambridge, Mass. Apart from the settlement with Sikorsky, EPA has settled its case against U.S. Surgical for a $56,320 fine.
EPA’s case against Sikorsky also involved violations of a federal chromium standard for failing to properly operate emission filtration equipment, and violations of an aerospace manufacturing standard for failing to shut down paint booths when emission-controlling waterwalls lacked proper water pressure.
Proposed Changes to Ohio Drinking Water Rules
EPA Region 5 is seeking comments on its tentative decision to approve five changes to Ohio's drinking water regulations that will enhance protection of public health and increase information provided to the public about drinking water. The changes are required under amendments to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. As EPA adopts new drinking water regulations, states such as Ohio that administer their own programs must adopt rules at least as stringent. Ohio plans to adopt:
- The revised definition of a public water system to include systems that provide drinking water through conduits other than pipes
- The consumer confidence report rule, which requires public drinking water systems to provide their customers with annual reports on the quality of their drinking water
- The revised public notification rule that emphasizes the consumer's right to know about the quality of their drinking water and sets guidelines for the form, manner, frequency and content of public notices
- The interim enhanced surface water treatment rule which improves public health by increasing protection against waterborne pathogens such as cryptosporidium
- The stage 1 disinfectants and disinfection byproducts rule that minimizes exposure to disinfectants which are added to drinking water and byproducts that can form in water distribution systems
If there is sufficient interest, EPA will hold a public hearing on the proposed changes. Comments and requests for a hearing should be postmarked by July 12 and sent to EPA Region 5, Ground Water and Drinking Water Branch (WG-15J), 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604 or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Documents on the proposed changes are available for review at the Ohio EPA, Division of Drinking and Ground Water, 122 S. Front St., Columbus, OH 43215 and at EPA's regional office in Chicago.
Brown Goes Green: New UPS Vehicle is World’s Most Fuel Efficient
. It also lowers greenhouse gas emissions by 40% compared to UPS’s conventional diesel delivery trucks.
Laboratory tests show that this hybrid technology has the potential to dramatically improve the fuel economy for package delivery vehicles, shuttle and transit buses, and trash pickup vehicles. More than 1,000 gallons of fuel each year could be saved per vehicle. EPA estimates that upfront costs for the hybrid components could be recouped in fewer than three years for a typical delivery vehicle. The net savings over the vehicle’s lifespan could exceed $50,000, assuming current fuel prices.
The vehicle features a full hydraulic hybrid power train and a unique hydraulic hybrid propulsion system integrated with the drive axle. Hydraulic motors and hydraulic tanks are used to store energy, in contrast to electric motors and batteries used in electric hybrid vehicles. Like other hybrid systems, energy saved when applying the brakes is reused to help accelerate the vehicle. Following a road tour of EPA regional offices, the vehicle will be delivering UPS packages across Michigan this summer.
This partnership is occurring through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, which Congress established to facilitate technology transfer of patented inventions from national laboratories to industry and the marketplace. Partners on the project are Eaton Corporation, UPS, International Truck and Engine Corporation, U.S. Army – National Automotive Center, and Morgan-Olson. Major technical support was provided by FEV Engine Technology, Inc. and Southwest Research Institute.
U.S.,Mexican and Canadian Environmental Leaders Reaffirm Commitment
Continuing efforts to strengthen environmental policy and collaboration in North America, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson last week convened the 13th Council Session of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation . This organization was created by Canada, Mexico and the United States to address regional environmental concerns.
Administrator Johnson hosted Jose Luis Luege Tamargo, Mexican Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, and Rona Ambrose, Canadian Environment Minister, as well as other officials in Washington, D.C. During the meeting on June 28, the council formally endorsed the development of a new strategic approach to the management of chemicals in North America. In addition, new policies and procedures were established to ensure that all CEC publications are based on sound science, both in their findings and in their analytical methods.
The delegation reviewed progress on implementation of the CEC’s five-year strategic plan. Projects include efforts to promote the North American renewable energy market and to produce guidelines for assessing the risk from invasive alien species. In addition, projects will also include further development of a public-private initiative to “green” the automotive manufacturing supply chain throughout North America by improving environmental performance in the production process.
The CEC was established to improve the coordination of environmental and trade policy in North America. This partnership complements the environmental provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
EPA Fines Landowner $5,000 for Alaska Wetlands Violations
EPA announced that it has issued an administrative complaint against Jody Vick, a private landowner, for unauthorized fill activities that occurred in August 2004 at his property in Douglas, Alaska. EPA is seeking a penalty in the amount of $5,000.
The complaint alleges that Mr. Vick placed fill material within the intertidal area of Gastineau Channel at his property without a Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 permit, in violation of CWA Section 301.
Mr. Vick had a violation in July 2002 when he used heavy earthmoving equipment to place approximately 2,000 cubic yards of rock and soil onto approximately 0.27 acres of intertidal area at the site without obtaining a permit.
“Intertidal areas serve important functions such as providing habitat for fish and wildlife,” said Marcia Combes, Director of EPA’s Alaska Operations Office in Anchorage. “Landowners need to take protection of these areas seriously. One way they can do this is by checking with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that they have the proper permits in place before they start conducting work.”
JLM Chemicals Cites for LDAR Violations
EPA Region 5 has cited JLM Chemicals Inc. for alleged Clean Air Act violations at the company's chemical manufacturing plant in Blue Island, Ill.
EPA alleges that JLM, which produces phenol and uses benzene, cumene and acetophenone in its manufacturing process, failed to comply with leak detection and repair requirements at the plant. Leak detection and repair regulations require regular monitoring of connectors, valves and pumps. If leaks are found, they must be repaired promptly.
In addition, EPA alleges JLM failed to operate its thermal oxidizer in the manner required by federal and state regulations and its state operating permit. Thermal oxidizers are used to destroy hazardous air pollutants and volatile organic compounds emitted by industrial processes. Regulations require that they be operated at temperatures that ensure efficient destruction of these pollutants.
EPA discovered the alleged violations during plant inspections in February and March.
"EPA's mission is to protect public health and the environment," said Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur. "We will take whatever steps are needed to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act."
These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the company. JLM has 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.
Phenol, benzene, cumene and acetophenone are hazardous air pollutants and volatile organic compounds that can contribute to the formation of smog. Hazardous air pollutants may cause serious health effects including birth defects and cancer. They may also cause harmful environmental and ecological effects.
Stationary Diesel Engines to Dramatically Reduce Emissions
The New Source Performance Standards will limit emissions of nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons from new or reconstructed stationary diesel engines to the same stringent levels required by EPA's non-road diesel engine regulations. The stationary compression ignition internal combustion engines are used at facilities such as power plants and chemical and manufacturing plants to generate electricity and to power pumps and compressors.
The requirements will take effect in three increasingly stringent stages beginning in 2007. At full implementation in 2015, EPA estimates that 81,500 new stationary diesel engines will be covered by the requirements and will reduce their air pollutant emissions by more than 68,000 tons each year. The standards also limit the amount of sulfur in the diesel fuel used to run the engines.
EPA Fines Saipan Company $23,650 for Hazardous Waste Violations
EPA officials inspected the company’s auto and bus service shop in June 2003 and March 2004, and found improperly stored and labeled containers holding used oil and solvents. PDI also failed to respond to and clean up a spill of used oil.
“We are pleased the company has taken responsibility for its violations and corrected them,” said Jeff Scott, the EPA’s director for the waste management programs in the Pacific Southwest region. “All companies, even small quantity generators of hazardous waste, must follow the rules to protect the environment.” The waste has since been shipped for disposal to a proper hazardous waste disposal facility.
EPA Penalizes Four Northwest Facilities for Risk Management Violations
The EPA recently issued three penalties to four facilities in Washington and Idaho for federal Clean Air Act Risk Management Program violations. The penalties, ranging from $800 to $7,275, were levied against facilities that handle toxic and flammable chemicals.
The penalties were assessed under Section 112(r) of the federal Clean Air Act. This section requires the development of risk management plans (RMPs) for all public and private facilities that manufacture, process, use, store or otherwise handle flammable gases and toxic chemicals such as chlorine, propane, sulfur dioxide and formaldehyde. Facilities’ RMPs are used by local emergency planners and responders to protect the public from accidental releases of flammable gases and/or toxic chemicals.
“RMPs are required to be fully updated and resubmitted a minimum of every five years,” said Kelly Huynh, EPA’s RMP Coordinator Region 10 in Seattle. “The plans are essentially checklists indicating that a program has been developed. The quality of the program is compared against the program regulations during an inspection.”
The Risk Management Program requires an emergency response strategy, evaluation of a worst case and probable case chemical release, and a prevention program that includes operator training, a review of the hazards associated with using toxic or flammable substances, operating procedures and equipment maintenance.
There are 469 facilities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska that must meet the RMP and program requirements.
Some examples of covered facilities include:
- Wastewater/Water Treatment Plants
- Cold Storage Facilities
- Chemical distributors
The following facilities entered into settlement agreements with EPA between February and April and have corrected their violations:
- The City of Spokane Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, $7,275 penalty for an inadequate risk management program
- Soda Springs Elevator Inc., located in Soda Springs, ID, for their Government Dam and Hopper Avenue facilities, $800 penalty for refiling their risk management plans late
- BHS Marketing, located in Nampa, ID, $1,200 penalty for refiling their risk management plan late
All of these penalties were conducted under EPA’s Expedited Settlement Agreement process. The EPA has the option to use the Expedited Settlement Agreement process for easily correctable violations.
EPA Settles with Langkilde Service Station in American Samoa over Underground Storage Tank Violations
The EPA recently settled with the Langkilde Service Station for a fine of $10,000 over alleged federal underground storage tank violations at its facility in Malaloa Village, American Samoa.
The EPA alleges that Langkilde Service Station failed to meet federal requirements by conducting line tightness tests or using monthly leak detection monitoring on its petroleum piping. The company’s facility includes five underground tanks, three of which are temporarily closed, with unleaded fuel and kerosene stored in its two operating tanks.
“We expect tank owners to properly maintain their tanks to prevent them from leaking,” said Jeff Scott, director for the EPA Pacific Southwest Region’s Waste Division. “Taking this action will help ensure American Samoa's fresh water supply and coral reefs are not damaged by negligence.”
The EPA has inspected the service station several times and given the facility numerous opportunities to bring its tanks into compliance, but the company failed to do so. In a December 2004 letter to the company, the EPA reminded Langkilde that by July 2005 it needed to either install sump sensors designed to detect piping leaks or conduct a line tightness test to determine whether the petroleum piping was sound. In October 2005, the EPA found the company failed to do either.
The EPA frequently conducts unannounced tank inspections
EPA Cites Facilities in Hawaii for Failure to Update Risk Management Plans
EPA has recently settled with three facilities in Maui County that requires them to pay a collective $5,700 for failing to review and update risk management plans for hazardous chemicals by June 2004.
“Facilities need to update their risk management plans to protect workers, the community and the environment from accidental chemical releases,” said Keith Takata, director for the EPA Pacific Southwest region’s Superfund Division. “Maui County has completed the updates to their plans to meet our requirements.”
The Wailuku/Kahului, Lahaina and Kihei wastewater reclamation facilities settled under the agency’s expedited settlement agreement policy with reduced penalties. One-ton cylinders of chlorine are used in quantities reported at 16,000 pounds or more at each site.
In 2004, an EPA inspector found the deficiencies after an inspection at the Wailuku facility and review of the three facilities’ risk management plans. The Lahaina and Kahului facilities were each assessed $1,525, while the Wailuku/Kahului facility was assessed $2,650 in penalties.
The Clean Air Act requires a registered facility to include any new information in its risk management plan, and to review and update the plan in five years. Due to changes in the law, all registered facilities were required to update and resubmit their plans by June 2004.
EPA Fines Tronox for Failure to Update its Risk Management Plan
The EPA recently settled with Tronox LLC, formerly Kerr-McGee Chemical LLC, of Henderson, Nev., for failing to review and update by June 2004 its risk management plan for hazardous waste storage.
As part of a new enforcement policy, the EPA offered the company a reduced penalty after it acted quickly to update its risk management plan and pay the fine. The company paid a $1,400 fine.
“This company has a responsibility to provide prompt and accurate information about the chemicals it is storing,” said Keith Takata, the EPA’s Superfund Division director for the Pacific Southwest. “Without this information, state and local emergency responders cannot be adequately prepared to protect communities in the event of a chemical release.”
The EPA's regulations require all facilities using hazardous substances above specified threshold quantities to develop chemical risk management plans.
The plan must include an assessment of the potential effects of an accidental release, history of accidents over the past five years and employee training. The plan must also include an emergency response program that outlines procedures for informing the public and response agencies, such as the police and fire departments, in the event of an accident.
Lobster and Bait Fish Facility Cited for Water and Chemical Notice Violations
EPA New England has reached settlement with a New Hampshire facility which has agreed to pay an $86,000 penalty for Clean Water Act (CWA) and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) violations.
Little Bay Seafood, LLC and Lordco Pier Associates, Inc. (Little Bay) own and operate a lobster pound and bait fish operation at their facility in Newington, N.H. on the Piscataqua River. The facility regularly discharges wastewater containing pollutants from four outfalls to the Piscataqua River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
“While recognizing that there were significant past Clean Water Act and right-to-know violations in this case, the company responded quickly and committed itself to compliance to address EPA’s concerns,” noted Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “We appreciate that Little Bay turned its attention to environmental concerns and is voluntarily undertaking a comprehensive environmental management and planning effort.”
The settlement also resolves violations stemming from past lobster trap dipping operations that were cause for environmental concern. Until recently, Little Bay dipped its wooden lobster traps into a mixture of tributyltin (TBT) and mineral spirits to preserve and protect the traps from marine organisms. TBT is a chemical that is extremely toxic to aquatic life. This process resulted in TBT dripping onto the ground and mixing with stormwater that would run into the Piscataqua River.
Approximately five years ago, Little Bay began phasing out the use of its 15,000 wooden lobster traps, converting entirely to metal traps which do not require TBT treatment. The facility notified EPA that it has completely removed the TBT trap dipping operation in January 2006.
In addition, EPA determined that Little Bay had violated EPCRA by failing to file the required emergency and hazardous chemical inventory forms under EPCRA with the local and state emergency planning authorities from 2002 through 2004. Little Bay was required to file chemical inventory forms based on the use of anhydrous ammonia, an EPA extremely hazardous substance.
New EPA Water Permits for Aquaculture Facilities & Fish Processors in Idaho to Feature “Pollutant Trading” Option
A new general permit is also being proposed for Idaho’s four fish processors. The new permits contain a pollutant trading option aimed at achieving water quality improvement more efficiently than through a traditional permitting approach.
According to Jim Werntz, Idaho state director for EPA, the purpose of these permits is to improve water quality in streams that don’t meet state water quality standards and to protect streams that already meet standards.
“The proposed permits will reduce pollutants discharged to Idaho’s rivers and streams,” Werntz said. “They will cover all aquaculture facilities in Idaho that produce more than 20,000 pounds of fish per year. The net benefit will be a 40% reduction in phosphorus discharges from mid-Snake producers. We’re hoping that by offering permitees a pollutant trading option, we’ll see streams getting healthier in a shorter time horizon.”
Most of the facilities are located in the Twin Falls area on the mid-Snake River and its tributaries. High levels of nutrients cause excessive aquatic plant growth that chokes streams. Permits help limit discharges of nutrients and wastes to the affected stream or river.
Permit highlights include:
- Pollutant trading is allowed for phosphorus discharges in the mid-Snake
- Limits are based on pollutant loads assigned by the state to improve water quality in seven watersheds
- Copper monitoring is required when used to control diseases or algae growth in facilities
- PCB monitoring is required for facilities with painted raceways or caulking
Proposed Revisions to CAFO NPDES Rule
EPA is proposing to revise the NPDES permitting requirements (Section 122) and effluent limitations guidelines (Section 412) for CAFOs in response to the order issued by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Waterkeeper Alliance et al. v. EPA, 399 F.3d 486 (2nd Cir. 2005). This proposed rule responds to the court order while furthering the statutory goal of restoring and maintaining the nation's water quality and effectively ensuring that CAFOs properly manage manure generated by their operations.
First, EPA proposes to require only the owners and operators of those CAFOs that discharge or propose to discharge to seek coverage under a permit. Second, EPA proposes to require CAFOs seeking coverage under a permit to submit their nutrient management plan (NMP) with their application for an individual permit or notice of intent to be authorized under a general permit. Permitting authorities would be required to review the plan and provide the public with an opportunity for meaningful public review and comment. Permitting authorities would also be required to incorporate terms of the NMP as NPDES permit conditions. Third, this action proposes to authorize permit writers, upon request by a CAFO, to establish best management, zero discharge effluent limitations when the facility demonstrates that it has designed an open containment system that will comply with the no discharge requirements.
This proposed rule also responds to the court's remand orders regarding water-quality based effluent limitations (WQBELs) and pathogens. EPA proposes to clarify that WQBELs are available in permits with respect to production area discharges but are statutorily unavailable in permits for large CAFOs with respect to land application discharges because the only available discharge from a land application area is due to agricultural stormwater which is by statute exempt from permitting requirements. Finally, EPA proposes to clarify its selection of BCT technologies for pathogens (fecal coliform), and reaffirm its decision to set the BCT limitations for fecal coliform to be equal to the BPT limits established in the 2003 CAFO rule.
Comments are due for this proposed rule by August 14. See the preamble and regulatory text for details on how to comment on the revised CAFO Rule.
California Smog Rules May be Used Nationwide
The federal government may use California's strict pollution rules for lawnmowers and other small-engine machines as a national standard, a top EPA official has said.
California aims to cut smog emissions from the highly polluting engines by about 35%.
Margo Oge, director of EPA's office of transportation and air quality, said implementing California's standard nationally could work well, though no final decision has been made.
"We believe harmonizing with California will be cost-effective, good for the environment, good for the industry, good for all the stakeholders," Oge said after a hearing on California's request for an EPA waiver so it can implement the rules.
"We are concerned that as other sources are being controlled, this source is going to continue to be a bigger source for air pollution, so we are pretty interested in finishing our work and putting forth cost-effective standards for the country," she said. "... A strong option that we're considering is harmonizing with California."
EPA is considering California's waiver request even as it works to write the national small-engine rules. Both decisions are expected by year's end, after lengthy delays because of opposition from Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo.
Missouri is home to two factories owned by Briggs & Stratton Corp., the nation's largest small engine maker. Briggs & Stratton has resisted California's approach, which would require adding catalytic converters to the small engines that power lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chain saws and other devices.
The company says adding catalytic converters would be so costly that jobs would have to be sent overseas, and also has contended there could be fire safety risks. An EPA study mandated by Bond rejected any safety risk when it was released in March, but Bond and the small-engine industry have criticized that finding, and the industry is funding its own separate safety study.
No one from Briggs & Stratton testified Thursday, and officials from Honda and Kohler said they supported California's rules.
But Bill Guerry of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, and industry group, said the results of California's rules would be less availability of power equipment in the state. He said the industry has decided not to try to block California from implementing its rules, but that many in the industry don't want to see those regulations apply nationally.
"A lot of my members are very concerned," Guerry said after the hearing. "What they're going to do to comply in California is eliminate half of their product line."
California officials testified that the rules were necessary so the state could meet federally mandated clean air attainment goals. Environmentalists and regulators from other states also testified in favor of giving the state a waiver to implement its rules and pave the way for national standards.
"I consider this regulation of major importance in our efforts to achieve clean air," said Robert Sawyer, chairman of the California Air Resources Board.
Without new rules, pollution from small engines is expected to account for 15% of mobile source pollution nationally by 2020. California contains more areas with high air pollution than any other state.
Chlorinated Solvents in Groundwater
The USGS collected or compiled data on select chlorinated solvents in samples of groundwater, source water, and drinking water. The water samples were collected during 1993-2002. Data on solvents in groundwater and source water were available for the contiguous United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. Data on solvents in drinking water only were available for 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The occurrence and distribution of four solvents were examined, including: methlyene chloride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, tetrachloro-ethene, and trichloroethane.
Illegal Dumpers Given Three-Year Sentence
The efforts of Ohio EPA, the Ohio Attorney General and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation have resulted in Richard Sherman and Sherman Recycling Services, Inc., 1001 East Main Street, Newark, being sentenced June 19 in Licking County Court of Common Pleas for open dumping and burial of solid waste on the property.
Sherman Recycling had contracts with local businesses to collect their solid waste in large roll-off boxes. The local businesses were paying Richard Sherman to properly dispose of their solid waste at a licensed solid waste landfill when, in fact, he was illegally burying the solid waste on his property.
Sherman Recycling Services, Inc., received a sentence of three years’ community control and a $25,000 fine. The corporation also was ordered to pay $71,099.27 in restitution, with $56,314.88 going to Ohio EPA and $14,784.99 going to the Ohio Attorney General.
Richard Sherman was sentenced to four years in a state penitentiary, a $5,000 fine and three years of post-release control. He also was held personally responsible for $71,099.27 in restitution. Judge Marcelain stated that he would consider release after six months incarceration if Sherman met all the requirements of his sentence.
The sentencing stems from the dumping and burial of waste at the East Main Street site in late June and early July 2004. Ohio EPA and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation observed several truckloads of trash being dumped and buried at the site. A search warrant revealed further evidence of the dumping and burial activity.
In addition, both defendants are ordered to clean up the property in compliance with Ohio EPA and Newark Health Department regulations.
Department of Defense Perchlorate Handbook
Intended users of this document include DoD remedial project managers (RPMs), contractor project managers, and field-sampling personnel.
TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $537,494
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) approved penalties totaling $537,494 against 57 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations.
The TCEQ's commissioners approved agreed orders in the following enforcement categories: 13 air quality, two Edwards Aquifer, five multi-media, three municipal solid waste, six municipal waste discharge, 13 petroleum storage tank, three public water system, one agricultural, one sludge, one industrial waste discharge, one licensed irrigator, two on-site sewage facility installers, one on-site sewage facility authorization, and two water quality. The commissioners approved one field citation for petroleum storage tank violations. The commissioners also approved two petroleum storage tank default orders.
Included in the total fine figure is a penalty of $138,320 against U.S. Ecology Texas in Nueces County. The agreed order resulted from violations found during investigations in 2004. The 23 violations consist of a variety of waste violations, including failure to properly sample groundwater wells, failure to maintain hazardous waste containers in good condition, failure to properly conduct inspections, failure to obtain required engineers’ certifications, failure to follow the waste analysis plan, and other violations. As a condition of the agreed order, U.S. Ecology will contribute $69,160 of the fine to the Texas Association of Resource Conservation and Development Areas, Inc., as a supplemental environmental project (SEP). The SEP will pay for direct costs of providing assistance to low-income homeowners in Nueces County whose on-site wastewater treatment systems are failing, to enable repair or replacement of their systems.
The TCEQ's next agenda meeting is scheduled for July 12.
EPA Settles Clean Water Act Violations with Two Alaska Seafood Processors
EPA has reached settlements with two Alaskan seafood processors. Atka Seafoods (Atka Island, AK) and Pacific Star Seafoods (Kenai, AK) were both cited following inspections for violations of their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits under the federal Clean Water Act.
According to Kim Ogle, Manager of EPA’s NPDES Compliance Unit, routine inspections and taking enforcement actions as needed are critical to protecting Alaska’s water quality.
“Seafood processors need to obtain and follow federal discharge permits or face penalties,” said EPA’s Ogle. “EPA and the citizens of Alaska expect better compliance and more responsible operation in the wake of these settlements.”
Overviews of the cases are below:
Atka Pride Seafoods, Inc. - Penalty: $65,500
Violations stem from the discharge of seafood processing waste into Nazan Bay, Alaska, from 1998 through 2004, without the required NPDES permit. Nazan Bay is adjacent to the Bering Sea. The plant, which operates seasonally from May through October, is located on Atka Island, which lies approximately 350 miles west of Unalaska and is the western most populated island in the Aleutian Chain.
Pacific Star Seafoods, Inc. – Penalty: $6,400
Violations included the failure to route all seafood processing wastes through a waste conveyance system, the unauthorized discharge of seafood process waste, and the failure to conduct required monitoring. The business was sold to new owners on May 13, 2005. After the sale, the new owners substantially upgraded the facility and settled the violations with EPA.
Looking for Environmental Insurance?
This study provides a summary of environmental insurance products, available as of 2005, that are useful to those involved in the revitalization of brownfields. The data presented are based on a detailed survey administered to representatives of nine insurance companies and in-depth interviews with the representatives. Drafts of chapters based on the information gathered were sent to the insurers for validation of accuracy (February 2006, 58 pages).
More Stringent Air Emission Standards Approved for Florida
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) received approval from the state’s Environmental Regulation Commission to implement more stringent air emission standards that will improve Florida’s air quality. The new standards will help the state meet the requirements of the EPA’s Clean Air Interstate Rule and Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR).
“These regulations will ensure that Florida continues to meet all national air quality standards by reducing harmful emissions,” said DEP Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs and Energy Mike Sole. “By continuing to update technology at power plants and investing in alternative energy, we can ensure that future generations of Floridians enjoy cleaner air and an improved quality of life.”
CAIR addresses pollution that crosses state lines and, according to the EPA, will achieve the largest reduction in air pollution in more than a decade. Florida is one of 28 states introducing the new federal emission standard, which must be submitted to the EPA this fall. CAMR is the first-ever federal rule to permanently reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants nationwide.
As part of CAIR, Florida’s power plants will be required to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, which contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone. CAMR will build on CAIR regulations to reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. Florida’s plan for implementing CAMR will result in greater mercury reductions than those required by the EPA.
In the initial phase of the CAIR program, sulfur dioxide emissions will be reduced by approximately 55% or an estimated 218,000 tons per year, and nitrogen oxides emissions will be reduced by approximately 75% or an estimated 69,000 tons per year. Mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants will be reduced by approximately 45% or an estimated 1,030 pounds per year. If approved by EPA, the new regulations will go into effect by 2010.
Florida was one of the first states to achieve major emission reductions from power plants through the federal Clean Air Act. More than 20,000 megawatts of clean electrical-power generating capacity has been added or approved since 1998 – enough to continually power more than four million homes. The state has worked with utilities to reduce emissions from all Florida power plants, including those that burn coal. From 1999 through 2004, sulfur dioxide emissions were reduced by approximately 350,000 tons and nitrogen oxides emissions were reduced by 40,000 tons.
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It currently holds listings for 2,445 information resources such as documents and website links, 48 funding programs and 178 R&D projects. EUGRIS has 1,590 registered users who are able to post information of likely interest to the remediation community.
Three recent resources:
1. "The Definition of Waste. Developing greenfield and brownfield sites” – The purpose of this guide is to assist those involved in construction works, including remediation and building on greenfield and brownfield sites, in determining whether or not they are handling waste, and if so, their legal obligations. Environment Agency of England and Wales Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs(2006)
2. "Valuing Our Natural Environment” – The objectives of the study are to: collate existing valuation research; evaluate different valuation methods; identify how they compliment and conflict with each other; to examine how they can be and are used in decision making; and to review different measures of prosperity.
3. "EU Funding in Brief 2007-2013” – Latest on Framework 7 program (which is open to US collaboration)