Clean Air Act
- April 30, 2002 - Fossil-fuel fired steam generating units subject to new source performance standards for electric utility steam generating units must submit quarterly reports for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and opacity emissions.
- May 15, 2002 - Seminannual reports due for sources subject to organic hazardous air pollutant emission controls under 40 CFR 63, Subpart G, for synthetic organic chemical manufacturing industry production processes
- May 26, 2002 - Employers subject to process safety management standards must update and revalidate the hazard analysis of their process conducted pursuant to 29 CFR 1910.110(e)(1)
EPA CONCLUDES ACTION AGAINST NEW HAMPSHIRE COMPANY OVER HAZARDOUS WASTE VIOLATIONS
EPA announced it has resolved a case against a Franklin, N.H. foundry for violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ? or RCRA ? that governs the generation, treatment, storage and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes.
The Franklin Non-Ferrous Foundry will pay a penalty of $8,500 to settle this case. This amount is based in part on information the company submitted to EPA about their ability to pay a penalty. The company could have faced penalties of as much as $27,500 a day for each RCRA violation.
Franklin is a metal castings manufacturer and its operations generate lead-contaminated waste, as much as one 55-gallon drum per month. EPA and New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services inspectors visited the company in January 2000 as part of the EPA's ongoing initiative on foundries.
The inspectors determined that the company, among other things, failed to get a permit to store hazardous waste for more than 90 days; failed to conduct weekly inspections of hazardous waste storage areas; failed to make hazardous waste determinations failed to provide hazardous waste training to employees; failed to submit an accurate hazardous waste annual report; failed to properly mark hazardous waste containers; and failed to accurately complete manifest records.
"Not following the basic RCRA requirements significantly increases the likelihood of a hazardous waste spill or human exposure to such waste. This action should substantially improve hazardous waste management at Franklin and encourage the same compliance at other foundries," said Ira Leighton, acting deputy regional administrator of EPA New England.
Leighton added that this settlement is expected to encourage the
reduction of lead waste into the environment and to promote
environmental compliance by other foundries.
$94K PENALTY FOR SCHOOL DISTRICT, PRINCIPAL FOR "FLAGRANT" PCB VIOLATIONS
The Northwest regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency filed a formal complaint against the Camas Valley School District and Principal/science teacher David Gianotti for serious violations of federal laws governing the handling and disposal of Polychlorinated Bi-Phenyls or PCBs. The EPA requests $94,600 in penalties for the violations.
The EPA discovered the violations after an anonymous informant urged the agency to investigate the handling of the school's leaky fluorescent light fixtures. Gianotti is also the Superintendent of the school district.
EPA investigators learned that during the week of January 8, 2001, a fire in a fluorescent light fixture in Room 22 -- the second & third grade schoolroom -- produced smoke and a strong odor that persisted for several weeks. A teacher and some students subsequently complained of illnesses. When Gianotti found that the light fixture was the source of the fire, he sent a letter to parents indicating that there were no health effects attributable to the light fixtures and that the fixture did not contain PCBs.
The EPA tested tar-like substances found on the carpet in the room and found PCBs concentrations as high as 52,000 parts per million (ppm). Tests on other light fixtures showed PCBs concentrations ranging from 2,800 ppm to 20,000 ppm. Tests on a light fixture in Room 20, the kindergarten classroom, showed concentrations of 400 ppm. Substances containing 50 ppm or greater PCBs are regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act and must be handled and disposed of in accordance with procedures outlined in the law.
The EPA investigators also discovered that Gianotti hired high school students to dispose of the PCBs-laden light fixtures but did not provide them with appropriate personal protection gear.
Gianotti acknowledged he was aware of the recent PCBs cases in other Oregon schools, and that he'd received information about proper handling and disposal of PCBs-laden light fixtures. The nine violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act total $94,600 in penalties.
"These are flagrant violations that deserve stiff penalties,"
said Rick Albright, the EPA Regional Director of the Office of
Waste and Chemicals Management. "It's unconscionable for someone
in this position, who knew what the law requires, to expose kids
EPA FINES CALNEV $204,396 FOR AIR POLLUTION VIOLATIONS
EPA fined the Calnev Pipe Line Company $204,396 for numerous Clean Air Act violations at its bulk gasoline terminal in Las Vegas.
Calnev increased the size of its piping and pumps to boost the flow of gas processed at its terminal on North Sloan Lane without first getting a permit that would have required the company to install controls on the new equipment. The additional gas flow increased the amount of volatile organic compounds being released into the air.
The permit would have also required the facility to obtain 145 tons of emissions offsets. The offsets are required to be real, quantifiable, permanent reductions in emissions obtained from other sources or from Calnev's own terminal.
Calnev also failed to test each tank truck for vapor leaks and failed to perform monthly inspections on the vapor collection and processing systems.
"This settlement results in improvements at the facility that will eliminate 85 tons of volatile organic compounds per year," said Jack Broadbent, the EPA's Air Division director for the Pacific Southwest office. "The EPA and Clark County worked closely together to reach a settlement with CalNev that will bring cleaner air to Las Vegas residents."
The EPA issued an order to Calnev in November 2000 requiring the facility to apply for a permit from Clark County and install a unit that recovers emissions from the gasoline loading racks instead of flaring it. Calnev installed the units in December 2001.
Clark County issued the permit in May 2001 requiring Calnev to install secondary seals on the storage tanks at the facility and obtain emission offsets.
The Calnev facility stores and reformulates gas that it receives from a pipeline. Storage tank VOC emissions are controlled by the type of roof installed on each tank. Loading rack emissions are controlled by vapor recovery units using carbon absorption or a flare to incinerate gas vapors.
Petroleum products emit VOCs, which are a major contributor to
ozone, or smog.
WHITMAN KICKS OFF PERFORMANCE TRACK EVENT, ANNOUNCES KEY ACTIONS TO SUPPORT LEADERSHIP PROGRAM FOR OUTSTANDING FACILITIES
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman recognized 280 facilities for their participation in EPA's National Environmental Performance Track program and their commitment to go beyond compliance in environmental performance. Whitman opened the 2002 National Environmental Performance Track Members Event by announcing several key actions in support of this unique leadership program.
During the program's annual meeting, Whitman announced that EPA would propose a rule to benefit Performance Track members. Members are top environmental performers -- companies and communities that voluntarily go beyond compliance with regulatory requirements to attain levels of environmental performance that benefit the environment, people and communities. In order to participate in Performance Track, facilities must have an Environmental Management System in place, demonstrate continued environmental improvements, conduct public outreach, report performance annually to the EPA and have a record of sustained compliance with environmental regulations.
The proposed rule making will simplify reporting requirements under the Clean Air Act's Maximum Available Control Technology program and for Publicly Owned Treatment Works regulated by the Clean Water Act. In addition, Performance Track members will be allowed to store waste on site for an additional 90 days if they have the added protection of secondary containment. Designed only for Performance Track members, the proposed rule will provide incentives for other businesses and organizations to achieve the strong environmental performance required for Performance Track membership.
"This proposal advances the principle that high-performing facilities should be recognized for their accomplishments -- by allowing them to focus more on environmental progress, instead of process," said Administrator Whitman.
During her remarks, Whitman also announced that she would sign memorandums of agreement (MOAs) with Colorado, Virginia and Massachusetts. The states participating in the MOAs offer their own state innovations programs that are similar in nature to EPA's Performance Track program. These MOAs will make it easier for members of each program to avail themselves of the benefits offered by both programs. Whitman will sign the MOAs during a meeting of the Environmental Council of States in Madison, Wis. A similar agreement was signed previously with Texas. Whitman will recognize Texas during a ceremonial signing of the MOA.
Finally, Whitman introduced EPA's new innovations strategy, "Innovating for Better Results," which provides a strategic framework for all of EPA's innovation driven programs. It calls for EPA to strengthen its partnership with states and tribes, to focus innovation efforts on a set of high priority problems, to diversify environmental protection tools and approaches, and to create a more innovation- friendly culture within the Agency. The strategy is a result of the Innovation Strategy Task Force formed early last year by Whitman. Last April, Whitman asked the Innovation Action Council (composed of Deputy Assistant Administrators and Deputy Regional Administrators) to formulate recommendations to update the strategy in order to leverage the experiences gained in voluntary and regulatory flexibility programs, and to target innovation on environmental priorities. The innovations strategy is available at http://www.epa.gov/innovation/strategy/
The National Environmental Performance Track, launched in June 2000, recognizes and rewards members for their commitment to sound environmental management, continuous environmental improvement, local community involvement and strong record of compliance. The 280 members have committed to reducing emissions of volatile organic compounds by 98,000 pounds; lowering green house gas emissions by 26 million pounds, and reducing solid waste by 225 million pounds. Member facilities represent small and large companies from the manufacturing, chemical, dry cleaning and automotive industries, among others.
This year's conference theme, "Partner Today, Preserve Tomorrow,"
focused on one of the goals of the Performance Track program --
to transform relationships among EPA, states, businesses and
local communities. The half-day event gave members a chance to
network with peers, exchange best environmental management
practices and share information about how they are meeting their
Performance Track commitments.
NEW ENGLAND COMPANIES/ORGANIZATIONS JOIN EPA'S COMMUTER CHOICE PROGRAM
EPA announced that 16 companies and organizations in New England, including Harvard University in Cambridge, have joined the Commuter Choice Leadership Initiative (CCLI). The participating facilities employ more than 20,000 workers.
Employers joining the program agree to provide multiple commuter benefits, such as transit subsidies, flex-time, vanpools, shuttle service to transit stations, bicycle facilities, ride-sharing, and a guaranteed ride home in case of an emergency.
"These employers are demonstrating that it is both beneficial and profitable to provide innovative commuting options so employees do not have to drive to work alone," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator at EPA's New England Office, which is among the 16 CCLI members. "We commend these organizations for their leadership in providing valuable commuter benefits to employees that also reduce traffic congestion and air pollution."
Launched last year, CCLI is a joint EPA and U.S. Department of Transportation Program that provides tools, guidance, public recognition and other incentives to help U.S. employers of any size incorporate commuter benefits into their standard benefits plan. Participating companies earn the designation "Commuter Choice Employer," a mark of excellence for environmentally and employee-friendly organizations.
Harvard University, the largest employer in the City of Cambridge, became a CCLI member on April 12. The university is spending more than $1 million annually to provide a 40 percent subsidy on public transit costs for its more than 12,000 employees. Harvard's CommuterChoice program features a new a web-based carpool, vanpool, and "bike pool" matching service for people who want to share their ride to work. The site (http://www.commuterchoice.harvard.edu/) also features a Commuter Cost Calculator that allows people to quantify the relative costs of various commute modes.
According to Holly Bogle, Manager of Harvard's CommuterChoice Program, "web-based rideshare matching is a relatively new technology. We were able to partner with a developer to produce a customized on-line solution that allows employees to find matches within minutes."
Wyeth BioPharma, a growing biopharmaceutical development and manufacturing company in Andover, joined the program April 19. The company offers its hundreds of employees among the most generous sets of commuter benefits in Massachusetts, including 100 percent subsidized commuter rail and MBTA passes, free door-to-door shuttle service from employee homes to work in four neighboring towns, and an innovative cross-state express bus from neighboring New Hampshire to its Andover campus.
"We are committed to working with our partners in the community to reduce traffic, improve air quality, and provide our growing employee population with the benefit of a cost-effective, safe and efficient option to commute to work," says Chris Perley, site manager of Wyeth BioPharma. "It's the right thing to do." The company expects to add 400 additional employees by year's end.
Also approved as new CCLI members are CARAVAN for Commuters Inc. in Boston, MetroPool in Stamford, CT and Wheels Transportation Services Inc. in Berlin, VT, three non-profit organizations dedicated to providing assistance to commuters, companies and Transportation Management Associations. These organizations work everyday to identify innovative ways to solve commuting challenges.
"Developing and promoting commuter alternatives to reduce ride-alone commuting are among the most significant ways we can decrease pollution, save fuel, lower costs and reduce traffic congestion," said Carolyn DiMambro, Executive Director of CARAVAN for Commuters, which provides services to 500 companies across Massachusetts. "Our customized mobility programs benefit the environment and help companies attract and retain employees, improve productivity and boost their bottom line."
CCLI is part of a larger comprehensive strategy by EPA New England aimed at boosting energy efficiency practices and reducing pollution both from power generation facilities and the transportation sector. Pollution from passenger vehicles has an enormous impact on New England's air quality, water quality and climate, accounting for approximately one-fourth of all smog-forming pollution and one-fifth of the nation's emissions of carbon dioxide ? a greenhouse gas.
To date, over 250 employers across the country have volunteered to participate in CCLI, providing benefits to over 500,000 commuters. These employers represent the full spectrum of the American workforce ? from large corporations with nearly 40,000 employees to small businesses with five employees.
If you are interested in providing commuter benefits to your employees, or enhancing the benefits you already offer, visit http://www.commuterchoice.gov or call Lucy Edmondson (617) 918-1004.