May 13, 2002

Clean Air Act

  • 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)


To help the public prepare for summertime air pollution, when ground-level ozone (smog) is usually at its worst, EPA is expanding its efforts to provide localized "same day" and "next day" smog forecasts, along with "real-time" maps.

EPA's updated AirNow website provides forecasts and easy-to-understand maps updated on an hourly basis on ozone air quality information from monitors in 39 states and Washington, D.C. (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin). Within the next month, Idaho, New Mexico and Colorado are expected to be added. The expanded website will also include same day and next day forecasts for over 160 cities across the country.

These forecasts are based on EPA's Air Quality Index (AQI), which uses a color-coding system to rate air quality as good (green), moderate (yellow), unhealthy for sensitive groups (orange), unhealthy (red), very unhealthy (purple) or hazardous (maroon); the AQI also provides cautionary health statements for each rating. EPA shares the AQI forecasts for all major cities in the United States with weather service providers who make the information available to newspapers, television and radio.

Smog is created by a chemical reaction between nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight. When inhaled - even at very low levels - smog can cause acute respiratory problems, aggravate asthma, reduce lung capacity, inflame lung tissue and impair the body's immune system.

For additional information on AirNow, visit the website at http://www.epa.gov/airnow or call Chet Wayland at 919-541-4603 (wayland.richard@epa.gov).


EPA's 10 national Compliance Assistance Centers have proven to be highly beneficial to the regulated community. Use of the centers increased by 23 percent last year, with over 501,000 visits in 2001. Respondents to a recent survey indicated that more than 90 percent agreed or strongly agreed that the centers help them understand environmental regulations. In addition, 73 percent of those polled noted that use of the centers helped them take environmentally beneficial action such as reaching compliance with a regulation or changing the handling of wastes or emissions.

EPA sponsors the centers in partnership with industry, academic institutions, environmental groups and other agencies to provide innovative solutions for environmental challenges affecting eight industry sectors and the local and federal governments. The Internet poll measured how the regulated community and technical assistance providers use and apply the information and resources of the centers.

Of the technical assistance providers who responded to the survey, 71 percent said the centers assisted them in helping clients reach compliance, identify pollution prevention opportunities, or obtain a permit or certification. The survey also revealed that 85 percent of the respondents said actions taken resulted in reduced waste, wastewater, air emissions, and environmental harm and risk, or conserved water, energy and other natural resources. Cost savings were realized by 69 percent of the survey respondents who were able to assess costs.

The centers support the printing, metal finishing, automotive services and repair, agriculture, chemical manufacturers, paints and coatings, transportation, printed wiring board manufacturers, local governments and federal facilities sectors. Through Internet sites, telephone assistance, fax-back systems and e-mail discussion groups, the centers help the regulated community and assistance providers understand environmental requirements and develop pollution prevention methods. Additional information is available at http://www.assistancecenters.net/


On Earth Day, April 22, 2002, NC DENR Sec. Bill Ross announced a new program, the Environmental Stewardship Initiative (ESI). The ESI establishes incentives to stimulate business, industry, government agencies and nonprofits to develop and implement programs that use pollution prevention and other innovative approaches to meet and exceed their regulatory requirements. This program seeks to reduce the impact on the environment beyond measures required by any permit or rule, producing a better environment and a stronger economy and conserving natural resources.

Participants can become involved at one of two levels. The "Environmental Partner" level is designed for adoption by a broad range of organizations that are interested in beginning the process of developing a systematic approach to improving their environmental performance through an environmental management system (EMS). Partners must set environmental performance goals that include pollution prevention and are appropriate to the nature, scale and environmental impact of the organization.

The "Environmental Steward" level is for those organizations that already display a commitment to exemplary environmental performance beyond what is required by law and have a functioning EMS in place. Stewards will be required to set aggressive environmental performance goals that include pollution prevention, a commitment to exceed compliance, and annual improvements to performance. These goals should result in reductions of an organization's environmental impact consistent with sustainability principles.

Both partners and stewards must agree to report annually on progress towards the organization's environmental performance goals, net reductions of releases, emissions and disposal, net reductions in the use of energy and water, and any reportable non-compliance events.

Applications for the first round of this program will be accepted until July 31. An announcement of those accepted into the program is expected by late October. For more detailed information or to apply for the program, visit the Environmental Stewardship Initiative web site at http://www.p2pays.org/esi or contact Beth Graves of the Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance, at (919) 715-6506 or beth.graves@ncmail.net.


The Multi-State Working Group on Environmental Management Systems (MSWG) announces its annual workshop "Learning Together Workshop 2002: Moving to Higher Environmental Performance Using EMS and Other Tools" to be held June 3-4 in Orlando, FL.

This hands-on event hosts EMS practitioners from across the U.S. James Connughton, Chairman, President's Council on Environmental Quality will give the keynote presentation and John Paul Woodley, Jr., Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Environment will give the luncheon address.

Sessions will highlight industry and agribusiness EMS case studies, U.S. EPA's Performance Track program as well as state innovation programs, accreditation and certification topics, and issues related to EMS implementation in the Dept. of Defense.

MSWG is an organization that convenes government, non-government, business and academic interests to conduct research, promote dialogue, create networks and establish partnerships that improve the state of the environment, economy and community through systems-based public and private policy innovation. For more information, please go to http://www.mswg.org.