EPA transmitted to President Bush its report on the state and local "boutique" clean fuel programs called for by the President's National Energy Policy report issued May 17, 2001. The Agency's report identifies several regulatory changes that can be made in the near term that could help to moderate gasoline price spikes during future transition periods when fuel producers switch from winter to summer grade cleaner-burning gasoline. During the transition period in both 2000 and 2001, gasoline prices rose sharply, particularly in the Midwest.
"I am concerned that when supplies fall short, due to increased demand or pipeline disruptions, the gasoline prices increase dramatically, as we saw this past summer. EPA requires the use of summer blend fuels to minimize air pollution during the hot summer months. While many factors contributed to the gasoline price spikes this year, we want to ensure that using summer blend fuel is not a contributor to price hikes," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman.
In conducting its study of boutique fuels, EPA analyzed the air quality benefits of clean fuels programs and assessed the impact of these fuels on the production and distribution system. EPA's report identifies two major issues related to boutique fuels. The first is the need for greater flexibility in the process by which fuel marketers make the transition from winter to summer grade reformulated gasoline (RFG). The second is the growing number of state and local boutique fuels programs and the challenges that this growth may present to the gasoline distribution system.
"EPA is prepared to act quickly on a set of administrative and regulatory actions to provide new flexibility to refiners in advance of next year's spring transition season, particularly in the Midwest," said EPA Administrator Whitman. "We are committed to protecting our environment while ensuring our nation's energy security."
The Agency's report to the President specifically outlines the actions that EPA will take in the near-term to provide for a more orderly transition from winter-to-summer grade RFG every spring. In summary, EPA will:
- Propose new regulations to ensure that terminals are able to
transition from winter to summer grade fuels more gradually. This
approach could help to avoid the temporary fuel shortages that,
in the past, have been associated with localized spikes in
- Allow fuel producers more flexibility in meeting fuel
specifications than they currently have for their initial
transition to summer fuel.
- Allow certain fuels types to be reclassified as RFG, thus
making it easier to address localized issues that arise when
there is an unexpected disruption in the distribution system.
- Propose to simplify certain RFG accounting and reporting
The second issue identified by the Agency is the growing number of state and local governments that have adopted their own fuel programs that are different from the federal RFG program. Despite the number of state and local fuel programs, EPA has found that the current gasoline production and distribution system is able to provide adequate quantities of boutique fuels, as long as there are no disruptions in the supply chain. If there is a disruption, such as a pipeline break or refinery fire, it can be difficult to provide gasoline supplies because of constraints created by these boutique fuel requirements. In addition, fuel providers are concerned that recently enacted state laws that ban the use of MTBE in future years may proliferate the number of boutique fuels and present new challenges to this country's fuel production and distribution system.
EPA staff have prepared a White Paper that explores a number of possible approaches that could reduce the total number of fuels in the longer term. This White Paper, which will be released for public review and comment, lays the groundwork for needed future study into these and other possible approaches. The Agency will publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing the availability of the White Paper and requesting public review and comment. The comment period will end 45 days after publication in the Federal Register.
The Agency's report to the President, the Staff White Paper, and
supporting documents are available at
DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME ENDS SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28, FOR MOST AMERICANS
Most of the nation will return to standard time at 2 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 28, when clocks will be set back one hour. The change will provide an additional hour of daylight in the morning.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta also reminds Americans to change the batteries in their smoke detectors when they change the time on their clocks.
"When changing your clocks, remember the old saying: 'Spring ahead, fall back,'" Secretary Mineta said. "It's also a good time to make sure your smoke alarm has a new battery."
Under law, daylight saving time is observed from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October. Next spring, the nation will return to daylight saving time starting Sunday, April 7.
The federal law does not require any area to observe daylight saving time. But if a state chooses to observe daylight time, it must follow the starting and ending dates set by the law.
In those parts of the country that do not observe daylight time, no resetting of clocks is required. Those states and territories include Arizona, Hawaii, the part of Indiana located in the Eastern time zone, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas. In December 2000, Congress established the ninth U.S. time zone, the Chamorro Time Zone, for Guam and the Northern Marianas west of the International Date Line. The zone, whose time is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, is named for the indigenous people of the region.
Daylight saving time is a change in the standard time of each
time zone. Time zones were first used in the United States in
1883 by the railroads to standardize their schedules. In 1918,
Congress made the railroad zones official under federal law and
assigned the responsibility for any changes that might be needed
to the Interstate Commerce Commission, then the only federal
regulatory agency. In the Uniform Time Act of 1966, Congress
established uniform dates for daylight saving time and
transferred responsibility for the time laws to the U.S.
Department of Transportation.
UPCOMING DEADLINES - CLEAN AIR ACT
November 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 previous quarter.
November 19. Sources subject to organic hazardous air pollutant
emission controls under 40 CFR 63, Subpart G, for synthetic
organic chemical manufacturing industry production processes must
submit semiannual report.
NEW CHILDREN'S ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH CENTERS ANNOUNCED BY EPA AND NIEHS
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences' Director, Dr. Kenneth Olden, announced four new children's environmental health research centers that will focus on childhood autism and such behavioral problems as attention deficit disorder. Whitman and Olden made the announcement during a visit to Children's Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio.
"These new centers - and the eight already in existence across the country - will continue to perform and apply research that can help shed light on the links between the environment and the health of our children," said EPA Administrator Whitman. "They can help us take children's health protection to a new level, and I am proud to be working with NIEHS and everyone at UC-Davis, University of Illinois, Robert Wood Johnson, and this wonderful Children's Hospital to make it happen."
The new centers will receive $5 million, or about $1 million per year for five years. EPA and NIEHS, part of the federal National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services, already fund eight children's environmental health research centers.
Children's Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati will work with community participants to assess the impact of reducing pollutants in the home and neighborhood on children's hearing, behavior and test scores. A center at the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana will assess the impact of exposure to mercury and PCBs among two groups of Asian-Americans in Wisconsin, whose diets are heavy in fish from the Great Lakes. At the University of California at Davis and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, researchers will study environmental factors that may be related to autism.
"These centers will help us understand whether environmental factors play a role in the progress of autism and other childhood disorders and illnesses," HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. "Ultimately the research conducted at these centers will allow us to better target our health and prevention efforts in order to do the most to improve the lives of America's children."
In jointly announcing the new center grants, NIEHS Director Kenneth Olden, Ph.D. said, "We all witness the miraculous development of newborns and young children as they undergo great physical and mental changes in just a few years. But sometimes a child tragically loses, or never attains, his or her ability to speak or interact socially. Other times, a child's development or concentration is impaired. We know that in some cases, lead exposure has been the culprit, so we as a nation have removed lead from paint and gasoline - and taken other steps so that kids today are testing smarter than youngsters a generation ago. But lead is not the only potential development toxin. We want to see what other environmental substances might trigger developmental problems - so that we can reduce the exposures and prevent the damage."
The four new centers join eight already established (in 1998) at
the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, the
University of California at Berkeley, the University of
Washington, the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan,
at Ann Arbor, the Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore,
Md., Columbia University, in New York City, and the Mount Sinai
Medical Center, also in New York City, in partnership with
community groups in East Harlem.
ALCOA RECOGNIZES ENVIRONMENTAL, HEALTH AND SAFETY ACHIEVEMENTS
A panel of prominent experts has honored 10 Alcoa locations from around the world with the company's 2001 Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Achievement Awards. The locations were honored for innovative projects ranging from the preservation of a nature area in Australia to sharing accident-prevention information with other Alcoa facilities worldwide via the Intranet from Lafayette, Ind.
"The annual EHS awards highlight Alcoa's efforts to promote safety and protect the environment, both in our facilities and in our communities," said Alain Belda, Chairman and CEO of Alcoa. "Renowned experts from outside the company served on the committee that selected these projects from the many EHS improvements that Alcoa makes each year throughout the world."
Alcoa created its EHS Achievement Awards in 1997 to honor individuals and teams who demonstrate exemplary commitment to EHS. The awards are the highest company achievements for outstanding environmental, health and safety performance. The judging criteria include overall impact, sustainability, creativity, innovation, integration into other business processes and the application of Alcoa Business System (ABS) principles.
Alcoa operating units earning Achievement Awards are:
- Alcoa Extruded Aerospace Products, Lafayette, Ind., Fatality
Prevention Web Page: A cross-functional team created a new web
site to allow Alcoa businesses worldwide to share their best
practices in preventing accidents.
- Alcoa Fujikura, Ltd. (AFL) (three locations)
- Torreon, Mexico, EHS Community Partnership: This Alcoa operation focused on improving the community's quality of life, raising awareness of EHS, and continuing EHS safety practices at home as well as at work.
- Juarez, Mexico, AFL Contractor Safety Program: A proactive program delivered more than 5,000 hours of EHS training to 74 contractors and contract services companies.
- Shelbyville, Ky., EHS Events Scheduling Board: A new scheduling board incorporates Alcoa Business System (ABS) principles into the EHS processes. It allows anyone in the plant to see what the EHS reporting requirements are and what EHS events are scheduled.
- Alcoa Latin America, Itapissuma, Brazil, Risk reduction through
ABS: Applying ABS principles at the Itapissuma extrusion plant
led to the elimination of four out of seven fork lift trucks and
two out of five jib cranes. This reduced the risk of injury at
the plant, since moving vehicles are a key source of injuries.
The process has been implemented at other Alcoa locations in
Brazil with similar success.
- Alcoa Primary Metals, Rockdale, Texas, Operation Lifesaver
Training and The Fire Safety House: Operation Lifesaver and The
Fire Safety House are two community-based safety programs
supported by volunteers from Rockdale Operations that have
presented safety tips to more than 21,000 people in the area.
- Alcoa Mill Products, Davenport, Iowa, Davenport Works Ergonomics
Program ? Succeeding Through Employee Involvement: Alcoa's
Davenport Works took a different approach to ergonomics by
focusing on employee involvement to reduce strain and sprains.
Several departments have had excellent results and creative
solutions from work teams are making the difference.
- Alcoa World Alumina Australia ? Anglesea Power Station,
Anglesea, Australia, The Anglesea Heath, Alcoa's "Jewel" for the
Future: Anglesea Power Station occupies about 7% of a
7,200-hectare crown-lease heath that is a haven for birds,
mammals and other creatures. Alcoa and a local agency, guided by
a community committee, manage the other 93% of the land as if it
were a state park.
- Chuck Bennett - Senior Research Associate, The Conference Board
- Robert Brady - Social Awareness Portfolio Manager, Salomon Smith Barney
- Rick Bunch - Director, Business Education, World Resources Institute
- John Mizroch - President, World Environment Center
- Dr. Gary J. Powers ? Vice President Design Sciences, Inc., and Professor, School of Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
- Recommend to carrier that a security plan be developed and
implemented. It should include:
- Personal Security
- Hazardous Materials and Package Control
- En Route Security
- Technical Innovations
- Management Prerogatives
- Readjustment Based Upon Current Conditions
- Recommend that management include all levels in security decisions.
- Ask officials to recognize that employees can be substantial security risks.
- Review a driver list with the official and, if possible, identify those drivers whose names can be linked to one the countries that have been identified that support terrorist activities.
- Ensure that detailed background checks have been performed on
these individuals as required by the regulations. Recommend more
detailed background checks for suspicious individuals. Look at
the following for indicators:
- Gaps in employment
- Frequent job shifts
- All names used by the applicant
- Type of military discharge
- Present and prior residence information
- Personal references
- Criminal history
- Verify U.S. citizenship for all employees.
- For those employees who are not U.S. citizens, verify that all immigration papers are on file and properly documented.
- Make sure that interviews are conducted when hiring new drivers/employees. Obtain information that will help to appraise the personality, character, motivation, honesty, integrity, and reliability and to judge his appearance and personnel characteristics face to face.
- Any information or suspicious activity discovered during the review of these files should be reported immedingely to your SD/DA for notification of the local FBI office.
- Is there adequate lighting for the facility grounds?
- Are HM storage areas at the carrier's facility secured in fences or buildings?
- Consider requiring personnel identification cards/badges for access to areas with HM.
- Check the adequacy of locks and other protective measures.
- Require records for removal of HM from secure locations.
- Does the company protect HM using alarms and/or other security systems?
- Reinforce with drivers the importance to remain aware of their surroundings at all times
- Consider if a guard force is appropriate (DOD Shipments, PIH, RAM, other).
- Recommend standard procedures on control of packages
- Educate all personnel on package control measures * Provide notices to employees on package control procedures. Post procedures prominently at appropriate locations
- Conduct security spot checks of personnel and vehicles
- Do not accept any hazardous materials shipments from unfamiliar shippers.
- Perform credit checks and use other readily available services to determine the authenticity of the business (shippers).
- Be familiar with vendors that service your facility
- Avoid high population centers, including downtown and/or metropolitan areas where possible.
- Use alternate routes that avoid high population areas.
- Ensure that all Hazardous Materials are delivered expeditiously.
- Instruct drivers to lock vehicles when stopped.
- Avoid tunnels and bridges where possible.
- Reinforce attendance and parking rules in 49 CFR Part 397.
- Consider if a guard is appropriate.
- Make yourself aware of technical innovations that could assist in security such as cell phones, satellite tracking, and surveillance systems.
- Look at state of the art locks and seals.
- Are access control systems appropriate?
- Consider tamper proof locking features for 5th Wheels (so that trailers can't be stolen).
- Consider use of blanket-type alarms that signal when blanket is moved (more appropriate for small carriers).
- Consider installing electronic engine controls that require a code, in addition to a key, to start a vehicle.
- Include fingerprinting and photographs of applicants in the employment process.
- Be aware of personal identify theft such as using stolen social security numbers, references, etc.
- Consider running criminal background checks on individuals with access to very sensitive materials (explosives, poison gases, biological agents)
- Consider implementing security training for employees that
- Company Security Objectives
- Specific Security Procedures
- Employee Responsibility
- Organizational Security Structure
- Develop a communications network with others in the industry in an effort to share information to determine if there is a pattern of activities that, when taken alone are not significant, but when taken as a whole generate concern.
- Develop a means of communication within the physical plant and the vehicle (cell phones, satellite tracking, radios, etc.) Is the system capable of reaching all key personnel?
- Security messages should be presented to employees in various methods such as newsletters, bulletin boards, etc.
- Emphasize that terrorist activities tend to happen in groups. Security should be heightened if new attacks begin.
- Increase security measures if U.S. begins military activity in foreign countries.
- Request that drivers watch for any suspicious activities in their vicinity. If drivers should witness any suspicious activities, they should immediately report it through 311 or 911.
A "Special Award for Environmental Product Innovation" went to Alcoa Technical Center, New Kensington, Pa., and Alcoa Extruded Heat Exchanger Products, Louisville, Ky., for Environmental Improvements in the Production Process of Aluminum Tube Stock Used in Heat Exchange Condensers for Automotive Applications. This Alcoa team contributed to improving the environment by eliminating the need for chromate conversion coating of aluminum tubing. A "Special Award for a Newly Acquired Location" was given to Howmet Exeter Casting, Exeter, England, for Chemical Treatment Using Carbon Dioxide. This Alcoa team changed the way wastewater was neutralized, moving from a process using sulfuric acid to one using carbon dioxide. As a result, health and safety risks were greatly reduced, the environmental impact was lessened, and treatment capacity was increased.
The selection committee was comprised of senior EHS managers from within Alcoa and a panel of external, independent experts, including:
Alcoa is the world's leading producer of primary aluminum,
fabricated aluminum, and alumina. It is active in all major
aspects of the industry -- technology, mining, refining,
smelting, fabricating and recycling. It has 142,000 employees in
FINAL VERSION OF THE HANDBOOK OF GROUNDWATER PROTECTION AND CLEANUP POLICIES FOR RCRA CORRECTIVE ACTION NOW AVAILABLE
The final version of the "Handbook of Groundwater Protection and Cleanup Policies for RCRA Corrective Action'' is now available. The Office of Solid Waste, in partnership with EPA Region III's Waste and Chemicals Management Division, developed this Handbook as part of the RCRA Cleanup Reforms efforts that EPA announced in July 1999 and January 2001. The primary objectives of these reforms are to promote faster, focused and more flexible cleanups, and foster creative solutions to improve program implementation. EPA's goal for this Handbook is that it will help meet these objectives by reducing time-consuming uncertainties and confusion about EPA's current policies concerning groundwater protection and cleanup at RCRA facilities.
Topics addressed in the Handbook include: groundwater protection and cleanup strategy; short-term protection goals; intermediate performance goals; final cleanup goals; groundwater cleanup levels; point of compliance; cleanup timeframes; source control; groundwater use designations; institutional controls; monitored natural attenuation; technical impracticability; reinjection of contaminated groundwater; performance monitoring; and, completing groundwater remedies.
The Handbook can be downloaded at http://www.epa.gov/correctiveaction/resource/guidance/gw/gwhandbk/gwhndbk.ht m
For a hard copy of the Handbook, call the RCRA Hotline at 800-424-0346 or TDD 800-553-7672 (hearing impaired). In the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, call 703-412-9810 or TDD 703-412-3323.
For more detailed information on specific aspects of document, or
to submit comments for future revisions, contact Guy Tomassoni,
Office of Solid Waste 5303W, U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460,
FMCSA OFFICIALS TO VISIT HAZMAT CARRIERS
Field officials with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will visit most of the nation's hazardous materials carriers in the coming months. Their mission is to increase the level of awareness of hazardous materials carriers to terrorist threats. These visits will not result in a compliance review or enforcement action. The information being provided by the field staff will be in the form of recommendations and suggestions except those regulatory requirements affecting the actual movement of hazardous materials.
Highlights of the issues to be covered are outlined below. These recommendations may not apply to all carriers, based on their size and scope of operation. Additionally, this list is not all-inclusive and will be changed based on future priorities to address terrorist threats.
GENERAL SECURITY INFORMATION
HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AND PACKAGE CONTROLS
EN ROUTE SECURITY
READJUSTMENT BASED UPON CURRENT CONDITIONS
NEW HAZARDOUS WASTE LAND DISPOSAL RESTRICTIONS GUIDANCE DOCUMENT AVAILABLE
EPA's Office of Solid Waste recently released a revised version of the document "Land Disposal Restrictions: Summary of Requirements" (EPA 530-R-01-007). The August 2001 version updates the previous version from 1991.
The revised document provides a usable summary of the land disposal restrictions (LDR) regulations and is organized in a convenient question-answer format. The publication clarifies the requirements of the LDR program and its applicability to generators and treatment, storage, and disposal facilities. In addition, it provides general regulatory explanations to assist facilities with LDR compliance.
The publication is available at http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/ldr/ldr-sum.pdf.
ANTHRAX-CONTAMINATED OFFICE GIVEN SUPERFUND STATUS
The Boca Raton, Fla. headquarters of American Media Inc. has been declared a Superfund site by EPA. The Superfund designation will allow the federal government to pay for the cleanup costs at the offices. The cost of decontaminating the building has not yet been determined.
EPA took possession of the building last weekend after the FBI finished processing the offices for evidence. The building was closed October 8 after anthrax spores were discovered in the mailroom and on the keyboard of a photo editor who died from the inhaled form of the disease. EPA will conduct more comprehensive environmental testing of the entire building. On Sunday, crews took 20 samples from the ventilation system on the first floor, the location of the mailroom. Results are pending.
EPA will be working on decontamination of the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington where an anthrax-tainted letter was delivered to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's office. Because EPA is not leading the cleanup there, that building has not been designated as a Superfund site.