On July 31, 2003, the DOT adopted the ICAO requirement to mark packages destined for air transportation as AIR ELIGIBLE. The intent of the marking is to confirm that the shipper has verified that the package complies with all applicable air transport requirements such as packaging, marking and labeling. Since publication of the final rule, ICAO has amended their regulations making the AIR ELIGIBILITY mark optional, and requiring instead that a shipper’s certification statement appear on the shipping paper.
DOT had adopted the AIR ELIGIBLE marking requirement and the effective date was intended to be October 1, 2004. Based on ICAO’s changes to their regulations, on April 19, 2004, the DOT adopted a final ruling extending mandatory compliance of the AIR ELIGIBLE marking requirement to October 1, 2006 so that there would be sufficient time to evaluate the rulemaking and allow public comment on the subject.
For more information see http://hazmat.dot.gov/whatsnew.htm#Apr19, contact Joan McIntyre at the Office of Hazardous Materials Standards (202)-366-8553 or Shane Kelley at International Standards (202)-366-0656.
New Report Showcases Innovation in Environmental Programs
Two years after releasing a comprehensive innovation strategy, EPA has issued a report on progress. "Innovating for Better Environmental Results: A Report on EPA Progress from the Innovation Action Council," highlights numerous innovations shaping the next generation of environmental policy. The report presents innovations designed to improve water quality, address the funding gap for water infrastructure, and reduce smog and greenhouse gas emissions. It also describes how Environmental Management Systems, market-based incentives, sector strategies and other tools are creating more options for environmental problem-solving. Many of the examples highlight collaboration with States, business groups, and communities, and offer models that can be used to improve results on a larger scale.
Copies can be obtained by calling the National Service Center for Environmental Publications at 1-800-490-9198 and requesting publication 100-R-04-001.
More information is online about the 2004 innovation report and the 2002 innovation strategy at http://www.epa.gov/innovation
EPA New England Focuses Attention on Hospitals
In an effort to improve environmental compliance at health care facilities, EPA New England Regional Administrator Robert W. Varney recently sent letters to more than 250 New England hospitals, offering compliance assistance support and warning that there will be more enforcement inspections at hospitals.
"Many hospital functions such as laboratories, power plants and vehicle maintenance facilities have the potential to cause environmental violations if not properly managed," said Varney, in the letter mailed earlier this month. "I strongly encourage you to identify and correct any such violations."
EPA New England is holding a workshop on May 20 in Tyngsboro, MA to help New England hospitals comply with environmental regulations. The all-day workshop, designed for environmental, health and safety staff, will be held at Boston University's Corporate Education Center. Registration information, including the agenda, can be found at http://www.epa.gov/ne/healthcare
Among the specific laws that will be discussed at the workshop are Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know (EPCRA), Spill Prevention Control & Countermeasure (SPCC), the Clean Air Act, Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) and Homeland Security.
EPA staff also will address stormwater requirements under the Clean Water Act, underground storage tanks and the agency's Audit Policy, including the framework for identifying environmental violations, disclosing those violations to EPA and voluntarily correcting them.
EPA NE decided to launch this effort after numerous violations at hospitals in the New York/New Jersey area were discovered.
The letter comes as EPA is working with 110 health care facilities in New England through the National Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) program to reduce the amount of mercury and solid waste generated by these facilities. EPA also recently awarded two grants worth $134,000 to H2E's Hanover, NH office, including $60,000 for a project to test new ways to reduce pharmaceutical waste in hospitals and to dispose of it more effectively.
EPA to Explore Benefits of Environmental Management Systems in Regulatory Programs
On April 12, 2004, Acting Deputy Administrator Steve Johnson signed a strategy that gives regulatory agencies, regulated entities and non-governmental organizations insight into how EPA might incorporate EMSs into the regulatory structure. The strategy will help EPA determine whether giving organizations that adopt EMSs regulatory options or benefits via rules and permits can lead to more efficient and effective regulations. The "Strategy for Determining the Role of Environmental Management Systems in Regulatory Programs" can be found at http://www.epa.gov/ems/policy
EPA Releases First Annual Report on the Resource Conservation Challenge
The first annual report on the Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC) details how companies, governments, and other organizations are working with EPA to significantly reduce waste. Under the RCC, diverse stakeholders collaborate to prevent pollution, promote recycling, reuse materials, reduce the use of toxic chemicals, and conserve energy. The RCC comprises veteran voluntary programs such as WasteWise and new ones such as the National Waste Minimization Program, the Coal Combustion Products Partnership, Plug-In to eCycling, and the GreenScapes Alliance. The annual report quantifies the achievements of these programs. In 2003, for example, consumers safely recycled 26.4 million pounds of computers and other electronic equipment at Plug-In to eCycling events.
For more information, visit http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/conserve
More Americans Look for ENERGY STAR, Survey Says
Public awareness of ENERGY STAR has jumped to 56 percent of U.S. households, according to a recent nationwide survey. This finding represents a 15 percentage point increase over prior years. In many major markets where local utilities and other organizations use ENERGY STAR to promote energy efficiency to their customers, public awareness of ENERGY STAR is even higher, averaging 67 percent. Other results from the survey include: one in five households selected an ENERGY STAR qualifying product in the past year, more than 50 percent of these households reported being favorably influenced by the ENERGY STAR label, and more than 60 percent of these households reported they are likely to recommend ENERGY STAR products to their friends. ENERGY STAR was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce air pollution through energy efficiency. Now with assistance from the Department of Energy, the ENERGY STAR label is found on products in more than 40 categories for homes and offices.
More information is online at http://www.energystar.gov