SPCC Rule Amended Again, Effective January 14, 2010
EPA has published a new final rule concerning amendments to certain requirements for facilities subject to the Oil Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule. The final rule was published in the November 15, 2009, Federal Register. This rulemaking marks the completion of the SPCC action, which was proposed on October 15, 2007, finalized on December 5, 2008, and for which EPA requested public comments again on February 3, 2009.
On November 5, 2009, EPA Administrator Jackson signed a notice amending certain requirements of the SPCC rule in order to address additional areas of regulatory reform that have been raised by the regulated community. This action promulgates revisions to the December 5, 2008 amendments as a result of EPA’s review of comments and consideration of all relevant facts.
The amendments published on December 5, 2008, clarify regulatory requirements, tailor requirements to particular industry sectors, and streamline certain requirements for a facility owner or operator subject to the rule. With these changes, EPA expects to encourage greater compliance with the SPCC regulations, thus resulting in increased protection of human health and the environment.
On April 1, 2009, the Federal Register published EPA’s delay of the effective date of the December 5, 2008, Oil Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure final rule. This delay is in response to public comments and the Office of Management and Budget’s January 21, 2009, memorandum regarding regulatory review.
The final rule does not remove any regulatory requirement for owners or operators of facilities in operation before August 16, 2002, to develop, implement, and maintain an SPCC plan in accordance with the SPCC regulations. Such facilities continue to be required to maintain their plans during the interim until the applicable date for revising and implementing their plans under the new amendments.
In this new, November 2009 final rule, EPA has promulgated revisions to the December 2008 amendments. EPA either retained or provided minor technical corrections for the majority of the December 2008 provisions. EPA removed provisions that excluded farms and oil production facilities from the loading/unloading rack requirements, exempted certain produced water containers at oil production facilities, and provided alternative qualified facilities eligibility criteria for oil production facilities.
Therefore, with the November 2009 final rule, the following provisions from the December 2008 final rule will become effective on January 14, 2010 without further modification:
- Exemptions for hot mixed asphalt (HMA) and HMA containers, pesticide application equipment and related mix containers, and heating oil containers at single-family residences, including those located at farms
- Amended definition of “facility” to clarify the existing flexibility associated with describing a facility’s boundaries
- Amended facility diagram requirements to provide additional flexibility
- New definition of “loading/unloading rack” to clarify the oil transfer equipment subject to the provisions for facility tank car and tank truck loading/unloading racks, as well as amended provisions for this equipment
- Amended general secondary containment requirements to provide more clarity
- Exemption of non-transportation-related tank trucks from the sized secondary containment requirements
- Amended security requirements
- Amended integrity testing requirements to allow greater flexibility in the use of industry standards
- Amended integrity testing requirements for containers that store animal fats and vegetable oils (AFVOs) and meet certain criteria
- Amended definition of “production facility”
- Clarification that drilling and workover activities are not subject to the provisions at §112.9
- Exemption for certain intra-facility gathering lines at oil production facilities from the SPCC requirements
- More prescriptive requirements for a flowline/intra-facility gathering line maintenance program for all production facilities and an alternative compliance option for flowlines and intra-facility gathering lines for contingency planning in lieu of all secondary containment
- Alternative compliance option for flow-through process vessels at oil production facilities to comply with the general secondary containment requirements and additional oil spill prevention measures in lieu of the sized secondary containment requirements
- Definition of “produced water container” and alternative compliance measures for these containers which require general secondary containment, a process or procedure certified by a professional engineer (PE) designed to remove free-phase oil on the surface of the produced water in these containers and compliance with additional oil spill prevention measures in lieu of sized secondary containment requirements
- Clarification of the definition of “permanently closed” as it applies to an oil production facility
- Technical corrections provided in the December 5, 2008
With the November 2009 final rule, the following provisions from the December 2008 final rule that will become effective on January 14, 2010, with technical corrections include:
- Exemption for underground oil storage tanks that supply emergency diesel generators at nuclear power generation facilities
- Designation of a subset of Tier I qualified facilities with a set of streamlined SPCC rule requirements for which the owner or operator has the option to complete a self-certified SPCC Plan template in lieu of a full SPCC Plan
- Compliance date for new oil production facilities changes to November 10, 2010, to align with the current compliance date
With the November 2009 final rule, the following provisions finalized in the December 2008 final rule that have now been removed include:
- Exclusions for oil production facilities and farms from loading/unloading rack requirements
- Alternative qualified facility eligibility criteria for an oil production facility
- Exemption for certain produced water containers
For more information, see EPA’s web page about the SPCC rule or click here for additional information about the 2009 amendments to the SPCC Rule. The new rule is effective January 14, 2010.
EPA Requests Comments on Survey for Stormwater Rule
The EPA is proposing a survey to help strengthen stormwater regulations and reduce stormwater discharges from newly developed and redeveloped sites. Stormwater discharges can harm water quality through increases in stormwater volume and pollutant loadings into nearby waterways.
Generally, as sites are developed, less ground area is available for rain to soak into, which increases stormwater volume. This stormwater flows across roads, rooftops, and other surfaces picking up pollutants that then flow into waterways. The draft survey would require detailed information about stormwater management and control practices, local regulations, and baseline financial information. EPA plans to propose a rule to control stormwater from newly developed and redeveloped sites and to take final action no later than November 2012. In support of this rulemaking, EPA is proposing to require three different groups to complete questionnaires about current stormwater management practices: 1) the owners, operators, developers, and contractors of newly and redeveloped sites; 2) the owners and operators of municipal separate storm sewer systems; and 3) states and territories.
The proposed survey will be open for public comment for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.
Study Reveals Widespread Contamination of Fish in U.S. Lakes and Reservoirs
A new EPA study shows concentrations of toxic chemicals in fish tissue from lakes and reservoirs in nearly all 50 U.S. states. For the first time, EPA is able to estimate the percentage of lakes and reservoirs nationwide that have fish containing potentially harmful levels of chemicals such as mercury and PCBs.
“These results reinforce Administrator Jackson’s strong call for revitalized protection of our nation’s waterways and long-overdue action to protect the American people,” said Peter S. Silva, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “EPA is aggressively tackling the issues the report highlights. Before the results were even finalized, the agency initiated efforts to further reduce toxic mercury pollution and strengthen enforcement of the Clean Water Act—all part of a renewed effort to protect the nation’s health and environment.”
The data showed mercury concentrations in game fish exceeding EPA’s recommended levels at 49% of lakes and reservoirs nationwide, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in game fish at levels of potential concern at 17% of lakes and reservoirs. These findings are based on a comprehensive national study using more data on levels of contamination in fish tissue than any previous study.
Burning fossil fuels, primarily coal, accounts for nearly half of mercury air emissions caused by human activity in the U.S., and those emissions are a significant contributor to mercury in water bodies. From 1990 through 2005, emissions of mercury into the air decreased by 58%. EPA is committed to developing a new rule to substantially reduce mercury emissions from power plants, and the Obama Administration is actively supporting a new international agreement that will reduce mercury emissions worldwide.
The study also confirms the widespread occurrence of PCBs and dioxins in fish, illustrating the need for federal, state, and local government to continue efforts to reduce the presence of these harmful chemicals in our lakes and reservoirs and ensure that fish advisory information is readily available.
It is important that women of child-bearing age and children continue to follow the advice of EPA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on fish consumption as it relates to mercury. This study is also a strong message to state and local governments to redouble their efforts in looking for opportunities to reduce mercury discharges, as well as developing fish advisories, especially to reach those in sensitive and vulnerable populations.
Results from the four-year National Study of Chemical Residues in Lake Fish Tissue show that mercury and PCBs are widely distributed in U.S. lakes and reservoirs. Mercury and PCBs were detected in all of the fish samples collected from the nationally representative sample of 500 lakes and reservoirs in the study. Because these findings apply to fish caught in lakes and reservoirs, it is particularly important for recreational and subsistence fishers to follow their state and local fish advisories.
EPA is conducting other statistically based national aquatic surveys that include assessment of fish contamination, such as the National Rivers and Streams Assessment and the National Coastal Assessment. Sampling for the National Rivers and Streams Assessment is underway, and results from this two-year study are expected to be available in 2011. Collection of fish samples for the National Coastal Assessment will begin in 2010.
More information on local fish advisories is available here.
Wisconsin is First State with Lead-based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program
EPA Region 5 has announced that two of Wisconsin’s lead-based paint programs have been federally authorized. These programs are the Lead-based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting program, and the Pre-Renovation Education program.
Wisconsin is the first state authorized to administer and enforce the Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule which mandates training and licensing in lead-safe work practices for construction contractors, property managers, and others that work in homes and child-occupied facilities built before 1978. Gov. James E. Doyle has certified that the Wisconsin programs, to be administered by the Division of Public Health, are at least as protective as EPA’s and provide adequate enforcement.
The Lead-based Paint Pre-Renovation Education program requires construction contractors, property managers, and others that perform renovations for compensation to distribute the lead pamphlet titled “Renovate Right; Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers and Schools” to owners and occupants before starting renovation work.
“We commend Wisconsin for taking the initiative to prevent further lead poisoning by ensuring that work that disturbs paint is done in a lead-safe manner,” said Bharat Mathur, acting administrator for EPA Region 5.
“We are very pleased to be implementing these lead-safe renovation programs in Wisconsin,” said Karen Timberlake, Wisconsin Department of Public Health secretary. “Renovators and rental property owners play a big part in protecting children from lead-based paint hazards in their homes. With the training and lead-safe work practices implemented with these programs, they will make even more, older Wisconsin homes safe for children.”
Lead contaminated dust is the most significant source of lead exposure for children. Lead exposure can cause reduced IQ, learning disabilities, development delays, and behavioral problems in young children.
Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips by disturbing lead-based paint, which can be harmful to adults and children. Lead-based paint was used in more than 38 million homes until it was banned for residential use in 1978.
You can learn more about protecting against lead-based paint hazards by going to EPA’s lead program Web site or by contacting the National Lead Information Center at 800-424-LEAD (5323). For more information about Wisconsin’s new program, including information on applying for certification or locating training, contact the Wisconsin Lead Program at 608-261-6876, or visit the state Web site.
EPA Seeking Public Comments of the Draft Strategy for Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration
EPA has announced the availability of a draft strategy for restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay and requests public comment. The announcement was included in the November 9, 2009, Federal Register.
The document was prepared pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13508 of May 12, 2009, Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration. This E.O. requires that the draft strategy be published for public review and comments.
Comments on the draft strategy must be submitted on or before January 8, 2010. Comments may be submitted electronically using the Regulations.gov Web site, or may be submitted in writing.
To submit comments electronically, go to Regulations.gov and enter Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2009-0761. After entering the docket number, click on the draft strategy document, you will see the page for this specific document on which you wish to comment. Click the “Submit a Comment” button at the top right of the Web page, then follow the online instructions.
See the Federal Register notice for information about submitting comments in written form.
EPA Orders Testing of Chemical Pesticides for Their Effects on Endocrine Systems
EPA has ordered the first group of chemical pesticides to undergo testing through the agency’s Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program for the potential effects of pesticides on the human/animal endocrine systems. On October 21, EPA issued test orders to manufacturers of 67 chemicals and will eventually order testing of all chemical pesticides. EPA will evaluate the data, the potential of endocrine interaction, and whether additional testing is necessary to guide further regulation. The program is the result of an effort that includes validation of the science through a scientific review process with the goal to protect human health and the environment. More information about the screening program is available here.
Carbofuran Pesticides May Not be Applied to Food Crops after December 31
EPA is moving forward to protect public health by revoking tolerances for the pesticide carbofuran, stating that dietary exposures to carbofuran do not meet the current rigorous food-safety standards. Since the tolerances are being revoked, EPA reminds growers that carbofuran should not be applied to any food crops after December 31, 2009, and encourages growers to switch from carbofuran to safer pesticides or other environmentally preferable pest control strategies. Use of carbofuran after this date could be subject to enforcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
John Wieland Homes Will Pay $350,000 to Resolve Stormwater Violations
John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods Inc., and John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods of the Carolinas Inc., based in Atlanta, Georgia, have agreed to pay a $350,000 civil penalty to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Justice Department and EPA have announced.
The companies have also agreed to implement company-wide stormwater compliance programs at their construction sites that go beyond current regulatory requirements. EPA estimates that the agreement will keep approximately 37 million pounds of sediment from polluting the nation’s waterways each year.
“The Clean Water Act requires environmental controls in order to protect nearby waterways from pollutants that commonly are found on construction sites,” said John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This settlement requires these companies to now take steps beyond the law to protect public health and the environment.”
John Wieland Homes and Neighborhood, Inc., and John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods of the Carolinas, Inc., primarily build homes in the southeast including Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Along with the federal government, the state of Tennessee has joined the settlement. The state will receive a portion of the penalties based on the number of sites located within the state.
The government complaint alleges a common pattern of violations that was discovered by reviewing documentation submitted by the companies and through federal site inspections. The alleged violations include not obtaining permits until after construction had begun or failing to obtain the required permits at all. At the sites that did have permits, violations included failure to prevent or minimize the discharge of pollutants, such as silt and debris, in stormwater runoff.
The settlement requires the companies to develop improved pollution prevention plans for each site, increase site inspections and promptly correct any problems that are detected. The companies must properly train construction managers and contractors, and are required to have trained staff present at each construction site. They also must implement a management and internal reporting system to improve oversight of on-the-ground operations and submit annual reports to EPA.
Improving compliance at construction sites is one of EPA’s national enforcement priorities. Construction projects have a high potential for environmental harm because they disturb large areas of land and significantly increase the potential for erosion. Without onsite pollution controls, sediment-laden runoff from construction sites can flow directly to the nearest waterway and degrade water quality. In addition, stormwater can pick up other pollutants, including concrete washout, paint, used oil, pesticides, solvents, and other debris. Polluted runoff can harm or kill fish and wildlife and can affect drinking water quality.
The CWA requires that construction sites have controls in place to prevent pollution from being discharged with stormwater into nearby waterways. These controls include basic pollution prevention techniques such as silt fences, phased site grading, and sediment basins to prevent common construction contaminants from entering the nation’s waterways.
This settlement is the latest in a series of enforcement actions to address stormwater violations from construction sites around the country. Similar consent decrees have been reached with companies like Home Depot and multiple home building companies.
Pickelner Fuel Co. Fined $15,000 for Storage Tank Testing Violations
The Pennsylvania DEP has fined Pickelner Fuel Co. Inc. of Williamsport, Lycoming County, $15,000 for failing to inspect the underground storage tank and pipes at its facility in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, for one year. Pennsylvania’s Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act, as well as state regulations, require monthly tests to ensure underground tanks and pipes are not leaking, which could contaminate groundwater.
In November 2008, a DEP-certified professional inspected underground storage tank (UST) operations at the facility and determined that the required tests had not been conducted in each of the previous 12 months.
“This is the third time that Pickelner has been cited for the same violations at the Lock Haven business, which is inexcusable,” said DEP Northcentral Regional Director, Robert Yowell. “The company must immediately and dramatically improve its environmental management system.”
DEP sent Pickelner a notice of violation letter in January, but did not receive information that the required testing was being done properly until late May. A department inspection in June confirmed the information.
The fine was paid to the Storage Tank Fund that is used to pay for cleanups across the state.
Rancho Harvest Inc. Fined $21,675 for Air Emissions Violations
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has fined a Santa Maria, California, based company $21,675 for failing to inspect its diesel trucks at a Salinas fleet center for compliance with the state’s smoke emissions standards. ARB investigators found that Rancho Harvest, Inc., failed to conduct diesel truck smoke tests in 2006 and 2007 at the Salinas facility, as required by state law.
“Our number one goal is compliance,” said ARB Enforcement Chief James Ryden. “This violator immediately recognized and rectified the problem, allowing them to avoid more costly fines.”
Under the penalty, Rancho Harvest must:
- Ensure that staff responsible for compliance with the diesel truck emission inspection program attend diesel education courses and provide certificates of completion within one year
- Instruct vehicle operators to comply with the state’s idling regulations
- Complete heavy-duty diesel engine software and control technology upgrades in compliance with regulations
- Supply all smoke inspection records to ARB for the next four years
- Properly label engines to ensure compliance with the engine emissions certification program regulations
The California Air Pollution Control Fund, established to mitigate various sources of pollution through education and the advancement and use of cleaner technology will receive $16,256 with $2,709 going to the Peralta Community College District to fund diesel education classes and $2,709 going to the California Air Pollution Control Financing Authority.
Failure to inspect diesel vehicles can lead to an increase in harmful airborne particles that Californians breathe. In 1998, the ARB listed diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant in order to protect public health. Exposure to diesel emissions can increase the risk of asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory diseases.
Diamond Hard Chrome Co. Fined $15,000 for Failing to Implement RCRA Closure Plan
EPA Region 5 has reached an agreement with Diamond Hard Chrome Co. Inc., in Cleveland, Ohio, for alleged violations of the authorized Ohio Resource Conservation and Recovery Act financial assurance requirements for hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities. The chrome plating business has agreed to pay a penalty of $15,000 to settle the violations.
In documents filed by Diamond Hard Chrome related to its facility closure at 6300 Kinsman Ave., the company failed to show it had the financial resources or an adequate plan to complete the closure properly and pay for post-closure actions to protect the environment. The company will submit a revised RCRA post-closure plan to Ohio EPA that includes a ground-water monitoring plan with cost estimates and financial assurance.
EPA Cites 14 Municipalities for Stormwater Violations
EPA has cited 14 municipalities in Pennsylvania and Maryland for stormwater violations, nine of which are within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
“EPA, in partnership with the states, is taking clear steps to protect the water quality of local streams and rivers,” said Jon M. Capacasa, director of the Water Protection Division for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region. “Because many of these municipalities are in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, this action, along with others will also help protect and restore the Bay.”
Urbanized areas contain large portions of impervious surfaces such as roads, rooftops and parking lots that channel stormwater directly into local streams, rivers, and other water bodies. Improperly managed stormwater runoff from urbanized areas often contains high levels of nutrients, sediment, toxic metals, volatile organic compounds, and other pollutants.
EPA requires the cited municipalities to correct problems with their respective municipal separate storm sewer (MS4) programs and come into compliance with their state-issued discharge permits. MS4s are publicly owned drainage systems designed to collect and convey stormwater from urbanized areas.
In Pennsylvania, EPA issued orders to Birdsboro Borough and Ontelaunee Township in Berks County; Mechanicsburg Borough in Cumberland County; Atrim Township in Franklin County; East Donegal Township, Terre Hill Borough, Pequea Township, Akron Borough and East Earl Township in Lancaster County; Myerstown Borough in Lebanon County; and, Monaghan and Newberry Townships in York County.
In Maryland, EPA issued orders to Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County.
Several of the municipalities have already taken steps to comply with the orders.
FedEx Expands Hybrid Vehicle Fleet
FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., has announced it will purchase 51 additional gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles from Azure Dynamics Corporation. The FedEx fleet of hybrid electric and electric vehicles will total 325 when all 51 hybrid step-vans are delivered during November and December of 2009. Most of the new FedEx gasoline-electric vehicles will be put into service at a Bronx, New York, station, making it the first FedEx all-hybrid facility with about 100 trucks in total.
“Even during a challenging fiscal year, FedEx has continued to make investments in hybrid electric and electric vehicles a priority because of the long-term value in vehicle technologies that reduce fuel costs and pollution,” said John Formisano, vice president of Global Vehicles, FedEx Express. “FedEx now operates seven different hybrid or electric truck models around the globe, demonstrating that commercial delivery vans can reduce pollution and increase efficiency without any sacrifice in performance and durability.”
“The tough driving and delivery conditions of New York City, mainly the stop-and-go-traffic, is an ideal environment to prove that efficient and cleaner transportation technologies are a viable alternative to conventionally equipped trucks,” said Mitch Jackson, director of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability, FedEx Corp. “FedEx continues to advance clean truck technology, and is pleased that our ongoing leadership enhances the industry’s interest and development of hybrid commercial vehicles.”
With its electric-launch assist, engine-off at idle, and regenerative braking, the FedEx Azure gasoline-electric step-vans are well-suited for the tough start-and-stop conditions endured in the everyday traffic of one of the world’s busiest cities. As a result, FedEx expects a fuel efficiency improvement of 30% while also reducing its carbon footprint.
Twenty FedEx Azure Balance Hybrid Electric gasoline step-vans are already in service across the FedEx Express delivery network in California. Overall, FedEx currently operates 274 hybrid electric and electric vehicles around the globe, and 1,780 alternative fuel vehicles and equipment. The addition of these 51 vehicles takes FedEx to a total of 325 hybrid electric and electric vehicles, and more than 1,800 alternative fuel vehicles and equipment. The FedEx hybrid fleet has logged more than four million miles of revenue service since being introduced in 2004, reducing fuel use by 150,000 gallons and carbon dioxide emissions by 1,521 metric tons.
This announcement is the third significant advancement in FedEx’s alternative vehicle fleet in recent months. In June 2009, FedEx converted 92 existing trucks to hybrid-electrics in its delivery fleet—the first of its standard FedEx delivery trucks retrofitted to hybrid-electric systems. In late August, FedEx completed the rollout of ten new state-of-the-art electric commercial vehicles for use in the United Kingdom. With zero tailpipe emissions, the FedEx electric vehicles will save around 11 tons of CO2 a year compared to a similar-weight diesel vehicle.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) plans to provide a grant to FedEx for the Azure hybrids in part to maintain momentum for the State’s efforts to develop competitive markets for energy efficiency.
EPA Approves Alternative Test Procedures for Analysis Drinking Water Contaminants
EPA’s has announced their approval of alternative testing methods for use in measuring the levels of contaminants in drinking water and determining compliance with national primary drinking water regulations in a November 10, final rule, published in the Federal Register. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) authorizes EPA to approve the use of alternative testing methods through publication in the Federal Register. EPA is using this streamlined authority to make 25 additional methods available for analyzing drinking water samples required by regulation.
This expedited approach provides public water systems, laboratories, and primacy agencies with more timely access to new measurement techniques and greater flexibility in the selection of analytical methods, thereby reducing monitoring costs while maintaining public health protection.
This action was effective November 10, 2009.
EPA Extends Comment Period for Alabama’s Proposed Revisions to the Visible Emissions Rule
EPA has extended the public comment period for the proposed rule titled, “Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Alabama: Proposed Approval of Revisions to the Visible Emissions Rule and Alternative Proposed Disapproval of Revisions to the Visible Emissions Rule.” The proposed rule was initially published in the Federal Register on October 2, 2009.
Written comments on the proposed rule were to be submitted to EPA on or before November 16, 2009, with EPA now extending the public comment period until December 16, 2009.
Final Rule Issued on California SIP for the San Joaquin Valley and South Coast Air Quality Management Districts
EPA has issued a final rule approving revisions to the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District (SJVUAPCD) and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) portions of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). These revisions were proposed in the Federal Register on June 26, 2009, and concern particulate matter (PM) emissions from open burning, wood burning fireplaces and heaters, and the storage, handling, and transportation of coke, coal, and sulfur.
This final action approves the local rules that regulate these emission sources under the Clean Air Act (CAA) as amended in 1990. This rule is effective on December 10, 2009.
Window to Submit Proposals for the 2010 Environmental Education Grants Remains Open
The Request for Proposals period to apply for a 2010 environmental education grant opened on October 28, with a deadline of December 15, 2009. This is a competitive grants program providing financial support for innovative projects that design, demonstrate, or disseminate environmental education practices, methods, or techniques. The grant projects submitted promote environmental stewardship and help develop knowledgeable and responsible students, teachers, and citizens. EPA’s 10 regional offices fund projects that request EPA funds for amounts from $5,000 to $50,000. Headquarters funds projects that range from requests of $50,001 to $200,000. Instructions to submit an application are provided at the following link.
Mars Snackfood Fined for Air Pollution Control Act Violations
Pennsylvania DEP has fined Mars Snackfood $165,572 for exceeding the permitted hours of operation on two roaster systems at its chocolate liquor and candy manufacturing facility in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.
According to DEP, limiting the hours of operation helps control emissions of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that are associated with the chocolate odor frequently noticed in the surrounding community. The company exceeded operating hour restrictions on its Barth cocoa bean roasting system from 2005 to 2007 and on its Jetzone I cocoa bean roasting system in 2007 and 2008.
By operating the plant machinery more than its permit allowed, Mars risked emission releases in excess of federal standards. VOCs can contribute to ground-level ozone.
The Barth violations were corrected by February 2007 and the Jetzone I violations were corrected by May 2008, however, this information was not conveyed to DEP until Mars provided an updated estimate of historic operating hours for the systems in April.
Much of the penalty is based on the increased economic benefit the company realized by operating the machines for additional time. The facility has been in compliance with its operating hour restrictions since May 2008.
Environmental News Links
National and International Environmental Trends
Courts Split Over Liability of Former Operators Under RCRA
U.S. State Department Special Envoy for Climate Change: Is there a Successor to the Kyoto Protocol?
EPA Submits Final Proposal on Dangers of CO2 and other Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Climate Bill Likely on the Shelf for Rest of Year
Managing Expectations: The Run-Up to Copenhagen Climate Talks
Senators Seek Tweaks in Carbon Permit Plans
Japan and China Sign Major Green Agreements
U.N. Official says Leaders want Fast Climate Deal
European Environment Agency Proposes Carbon Ration Account System for All
As Nations Haggle over CO2 Cuts, Measurement is Tough
Climate Finance Gap will be 32 Billion Euros in 2020
Economists Agree on Threat of Warming
Emission Reductions Equals Profits
Study Suggests Peat CO2 Credits more Valuable
U.S. Trucking Industry Feeling Pressure from Greener Trains
Congress Finally Accepting Idea of Geoengineering—Large-scale, Deliberate Manipulation of the Climate System to Counteract Climate Change
Taiwan Solar Firm sees 2010 Shipments up 30%
New Study: Green Building to Support Nearly 8 Million U.S. Jobs Over Next 4 Years
Federal Regulatory Activity
EPA to Overhaul Air Pollution Standards
EPA Seeks Former Atomics International, Rocketdyne, Rockwell, Employees for Santa Susana Field Lab Radiological Study
Small Business Panel to Reconsider Regulatory Exemptions for Insect Repellents
Proposed CAA Consent Decree Filed Against Lennar Communities Development, Inc., Includes $38,425 Civil Penalty and Implementation of $144,094 Supplemental Environmental Project
Public Comment Period Extended on CAA Violations at the Gateway Generating Station, a Natural Gas Fired Power Plant Near Antioch, California
EPA Orders Termination of Products Containing the Pesticide Sodium Dimethyldithiocarbamate Pursuant to Section 6(f)(1) of FIFRA
Congress Tells EPA to Study Hydraulic Fracturing
State and Regional News
Former Florida DEP Leaders Oppose EPA Water Settlement
EPA’s Trailblazer Awards Honor Six Maryland Hospitals
Western Massachusetts Group Receives EPA Grant for Construction Debris Reuse
Houston and Maersk Line Partner with EPA as First Port and Shipping Company to Demonstrate Fuel Switching in the Gulf of Mexico
Health Care Accounts for 8% of U.S. Carbon Footprint
Philadelphia Announces the Tallest LEED Certified Building in U.S.
Owens Corning and SunEdison Activate 440 Kilowatt PV Solar System in Kearny, New Jersey
Washington Electroplater Pays $34,000 Settlement for Mishandling Dangerous Waste
Washington Groups Continue Work on National and Regional Programs to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Teleconference Meeting of the National Drinking Water Advisory Council’s Climate Ready Water Utilities Working Group on November 23, 2009
Teleconference for Discussion of the Draft Advisory Report of the Risk and Technology Review (RTR) Methods Review Panel
Association of American Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO)/State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group (SFIREG) Full Committee in Arlington, Virginia
Peer-review Workshop on IRIS Draft Toxicological Review of Trichloroacetic Acid Scheduled for December 10 in Arlington, Virginia
Peer-review Workshop on IRIS Draft Toxicological Review of Hydrogen Cyanide and Cyanide Salts Scheduled for December 14 in Arlington, Virginia
Peer-review Workshop on IRIS Draft Toxicological Review of cis- and trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene Scheduled for December 17 in Arlington, Virginia
2010 Conference on Environmental Justice, Air Quality, Goods Movement, and Green Jobs: Evolution and Innovation, January 25-27, New Orleans
News of Note
EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Program Hits Major Milestone: One Million Energy Star Homes Built in the United States
Developing and Implementing an Airport Recycling Program
In Six Weeks’ Time, Five States & One City Launch Green Lodging Certification Programs
LG Electronics USA, Inc. and Waste Management, Inc. Announce Recycling Program for Hotels Responsibly Dispose of Outdated Television Sets and Computer Monitors
Wind Farm all but Disappears in Coastal Simulation
Samsung, LG Touting Ultra-Thinner TVs
Largest Single-Site Solar Industrial Installation in California and One of the Largest in the U.S.
Marriott Announces Plan for Expedited Green Hotel Development
MotionPower-Heavy—New Method to Capture Kinetic Energy from Heavy Vehicles
Organic Rankine Cycle—New Method to Capture Energy from Sources of Low-level Heat
Southern Company Breaks Ground on Biomass Plant
G.E. Markets First ‘Smart Appliance’
Japan Plans Giant Solar Power Station in Space
Trivia Question of the Week
The lifecycle energy savings of recycling rather than landfilling one aluminum can is equivalent to the energy use of a laptop for how long:
a. 15 minutes
b. 1 hour
c. 5 hours
d. 5 days