Clean Air Act
- August 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
- September 15: Reformulated gasoline standards detailed under 40 CFR
80.78(a)(1)(v) expire until the following summer.
Safe Drinking Water Act: August 6
Each state must report to the EPA administrator on the success of
enforcement mechanisms and initial capacity development efforts
in assisting public water systems.
Sulfate must be included in the list of drinking water
contaminants for which a determination to regulate must be made.
BUSH ANNOUNCES NEW VAMPIRE SLAYER
Move over, Buffy. In a speech to Department of Energy employees,
President Bush announced Energy Secretary Spence Abraham will
also be the administration's new vampire slayer. The federal
government will lead a major conservation effort to bring
American homes, government and industry to a new energy saving
standard for "vampire" devices -- machines that drain energy even
when not in use.
Energy vampires are standby power devices that draw excessive
energy even when not in use. Vampires typically consume anywhere
from 4-7 watts per hour. Vampires can be found in almost every
household appliance including televisions, telephones, fax
machines, washers, and dryers. Vampires make sure that the
appliance is "instantly" functioning when you want to use it;
they are also used to maintain memory functions in these devices.
Some vampires, such as cell phone chargers, draw energy when
plugged in even if they are not connected to the device they
normally charge. Approximately 26 power plants are needed just to
power these energy vampires.
"Vampire Slayers" are energy-efficient standby power devices that
use one watt or less of energy per hour. If more devices used
vampire slayers, we could save billions of kilowatt-hours per
year without sacrificing performance. If the nation as a whole
moved to one-watt standby power devices, we might need 20 fewer
power plants to power these devices than we do currently. Vampire
slayers often cost as little as 50 cents more than the
inefficient energy vampires, and can pay for themselves through
reduced energy bills. In the aggregate, households across the
nation would save from $1 to $2 billion on their energy bills if
they adopted appliances that utilize vampire slayers.
The President will direct procurement officers to purchase --
whenever practicable and cost-effective to do so -- off-the-shelf
appliances and devices that use energy-efficient standby power
devices. This directive will further ensure that the federal
government is doing its part to reduce unnecessary energy use.
The federal government is the largest single user of electricity
in the U.S. and the President wants to take the lead on
The President will direct DOE and EPA to include within the
"Energy Star" program a 1-watt standard for standby power
devices, where that standard would be technologically feasible
and economically worthwhile for consumers. The Energy Star label
is the symbol that alerts consumers to their best energy value in
the marketplace. Consumers will be able to make more informed
decisions about the savings that could be reaped.
The President will also challenge American businesses, both in
their manufacturing decisions and in their purchasing decisions,
to look to the vampire slayer as a means of conserving energy and
saving money. He also will direct the DOE to develop a process to
track industry's move to a 1-watt standard, to recognize
companies that do so, and to hold workshops where technical
issues could be addressed. Businesses can follow the
Administration's example and save energy and increase their
EPA RELEASES NEW DATA FOR COMMENT ON COAL REMINING
EPA is taking comments on new data it has received concerning
"remining" practices that retrieve remaining coal from abandoned
Last year, on April 11, 2000, EPA proposed to establish Clean
Water Act effluent limitations guidelines on remining operations
that will encourage the extraction of coal from abandoned mine
lands while at the same time encouraging the cleanup of acid mine
drainage. EPA is releasing new data and comments on the April
2000 proposal for public review and further comment.
When remining, the operator must reclaim the abandoned mine land
and implement pollution control technologies designed to reduce
the pollution caused by acid mine drainage. Thus, remining has
the multiple benefits of improving water quality, removing
hazardous conditions and utilizing remaining coal.
Acid mine drainage from abandoned coal mines is the number one
water quality problem in the Appalachian states. It is estimated
that there are over 1.1 million acres of abandoned coal mine
lands, over 9,000 miles of streams polluted by acid mine
drainage, and many miles of dangerous embankments, highwalls, and
surface impoundments. Prior to 1977, reclamation of mine lands
was not a federal requirement. Many coal mines were left in an
abandoned state and continue to degrade the environment and pose
health and safety risks. In addition to having severe
environmental and safety problems, abandoned mine lands can
contain large amounts of coal. Modern surface mining techniques
now provide mining operators with more economical means of
"remining" to extract remaining coal reserves.
EPA's April 2000 proposal addressed regulatory disincentives and
encouraged remining activities that will reduce acid mine
drainage and improve water quality. It would significantly
increase the rate at which abandoned mine lands are reclaimed,
allowing remining at up to 61 additional sites, reclaiming
1800-2500 acres a year. It would require coal remining operators
to develop a site specific pollution abatement plan designed to
reduce the pollution load from pre-existing discharges.
At the same time that EPA proposed the coal remining subcategory
to the effluent guidelines, the agency also proposed a Western
Alkaline Coal Mining subcategory.
The notice and supporting documents that describe this rule are
available on the Internet at: http://www.epa.gov/ost/guide/coal.
EPA expects to publish a final rule by the end of the year.
TENNESSEE COMPANY, TWO OFFICIALS SENTENCED FOR WASTE VIOLATION
On July 13, Simpson Construction Company of Cleveland, Tenn.,
Claude S. Simpson, Simpson Construction's President, and Ralph E.
Hicks, company foreman, were sentenced for violating the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act. Simpson Construction and Claude
Simpson were ordered to pay $867,320.83 in fines and in support
of environmental improvement projects.
Simpson Construction specializes in the construction of roads and
bridges. The defendants illegally burned hazardous solvent and
paint wastes in a pit at the company's facility.
The case was investigated by a task force composed of EPA's
Criminal Investigation Division and regional staff, the FBI, the
Tennessee Valley Authority Office of Inspector General, the
Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Bradley County
Sheriff's Department, the Tennessee Highway Patrol's Criminal
Investigation Division, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
and Department of Environment and Conservation. It was prosecuted
by the U.S. Attorney's office in Knoxville.
MISSOURI POULTRY FIRM RECEIVES $5 MILLION ENERGY PROJECT GRANT FROM EPA
U.S. Senator Kit Bond and Acting EPA Regional Administrator Bill
Rice (Region VII) announced on July 28 a $4,989,000 grant to the
Gas Technology Institute of Des Plaines, Ill. The award will help
support the development of a demonstration food processing
facility for use by the Butterball Turkey Co. in Carthage, Mo.
This project may eventually help the food industry to adopt an
efficient and profitable process for converting poultry wastes
into useful, high-value energy products without discharging air
pollutants that pose odor and human respiratory problems.
This demonstration facility will use a new process, called
thermal depolymerization (TDP), to dispose of all types of
poultry waste. TDP is a "green" alternative that converts wastes
into useable energy and other useful products, such as industrial
chemicals. Traditional disposal methods can produce odors in the
local community and generate air pollutant emissions. For
example, disposing of waste in landfills has the potential for
leaching contaminants into the groundwater and also generating
significant quantities of global warming gases.
For further technical information on the grant, contact Jim
Durham of EPA's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards at
WHITMAN DECIDES TO DREDGE HUDSON RIVER
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman moved forward on a decision to
clean up PCB pollution from the upper Hudson River. The Agency is
circulating for interagency review a draft proposal that in major
respects tracks the plan proposed last December that would dredge
as many as 2.65 million cubic yards from the river.
"The Administration is committed to cleaning up the Hudson River
in a manner that is environmentally sound and is responsive to
the concerns of the affected communities," said Whitman.
To that end, EPA intends to incorporate the draft cleanup plan
with a series of performance standards by which the cleanup will
be evaluated regularly. The performance indicators being
considered will include measuring PCB levels in the soil, and the
water column as well as measuring the percentage of dredged
material that gets re-suspended. Based on these objective
scientific indicators, EPA will determine at each stage of the
project whether it is scientifically justified to continue the
cleanup. PCB levels in fish will be monitored throughout the
project as well.
PCBs are polychlorinated biphenyls, and some 1.1 million pounds
are thought to be deposited in the river. The substance has been
linked to cancer in humans and bioaccumulates in fish. The
chemical was banned in 1977 but prior to that time General
Electric had been dumping the chemical for more than 35 years.
Since the initial cleanup proposal last year, the Agency has
received more than 70,000 comments from a variety of interested
parties regarding the proposed plan. Many of these comments came
from individuals who live along the upper Hudson River and who
are concerned about the environmental and economic impacts of
dredging. In addition, recent studies conducted since last
December by the National Academy of Sciences and the United
States Geological Survey raise questions about the impacts of
river dredging. The plan is expected to ensure the proposal for
cleaning up the river will not put individuals at greater risk of
Several performance criteria will be included in the final Record
of Decision, which is expected in late September, with others to
be developed during the design phase and in consultation with the
communities. Following the issuance of the Record of Decision,
EPA will establish a community involvement program that will
provide the public with continued opportunity for early and
meaningful input during the remedial design phase, which will
include siting and other local impacts. This enhanced community
involvement program will remain active throughout the phases of
SENATE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE GIVES CONTROVERSIAL ENFORCEMENT NOMINEE THE GREEN LIGHT
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted to
confirm Donald R. Schregardus of Ohio for the position of
assistant administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency's
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. Four senators
voted against Mr. Schregardus's confirmation: Senator Boxer of
California, Senator Clinton of New York, Senator Corzine of New
Jersey, and Senator Wyden of Oregon. If confirmed by the full
Senate, Mr. Schregardus will take charge of the national
environmental enforcement program.
Both national and Ohio environmental organizations raised
numerous concerns over Schregardus's nomination, which has been
particularly controversial due to questions raised concerning his
enforcement record as director of the Ohio Environmental
Protection Agency. Mr. Schregardus's administration at Ohio EPA
is currently the subject of a federal investigation by EPA to
determine whether to revoke Ohio's authority to implement federal
environmental programs for failure to enforce federal
environmental laws in the state.
In addition to the EPA's federal investigation of Ohio progenms,
environmental groups have taken issue with several other aspects
of Schregardus's track record as director of Ohio EPA, including:
- Schregardus's role in Ohio EPA's decision to disregard a
federal mandate that called for the reduction of nitrogen oxide
emissions from utilities.
- A ruling by a US Administrative Law Judge that found
Schregardus and other Ohio EPA officials guilty of violating the
whistleblower provision of seven federal environmental statutes
and of misrepresenting possible threats to human health at a
contaminated site in Marion, Ohio.
- During Schregardus's tenure at Ohio EPA, legal actions brought
by the agency to force polluters to clean up contaminated sites
fell by more than 50 percent.