EPA has released for public comment a background paper on a 90-day review of its program for controlling new industrial and utility sources of air pollution. The paper, which makes no conclusions or recommendations, provides information on the electricity generating and petroleum refining industries.
The program, called New Source Review (NSR), requires that an air pollution source install the best pollution control equipment available when it builds a new facility or when it makes a major modification that increases emissions from an existing facility. The NSR was designed to ensure that new and modified sources do not impede progress toward cleaner air.
Since 1977, when it was first incorporated into the Clean Air Act, the NSR program has been an important part of EPA's efforts to protect air quality. For several years, EPA has been exploring options designed to simplify the program, reduce the length of the review process, and remove any barriers it may pose to innovation and improved energy efficiency.
In its May 2001 report, the energy task force headed by Vice President Cheney recommended that EPA, in consultation with other federal agencies, review NSR regulations to determine the impact of those regulations on investment in new utility and refinery generation capacity, energy efficiency and environmental protection.
The paper contains background information on the NSR program and asks for comments on whether the program should be changed to encourage more efficient use of our nation's energy resources while maintaining air quality. The final report, due to the President on August 17, is expected to include recommendations on how to improve the NSR process.
EPA's 90-day NSR review is separate and apart from the one being conducted by the U.S. Justice Department. That review is considering whether existing NSR enforcement actions are consistent with the Clean Air Act regulations.
The background paper and instructions for submitting comments are
available at http://www.epa.gov/air/nsr-review. A special public
docket will be created to give the public access to all NSR
QUESTIONS ON THE PCB ANNUAL REPORT?
A number of our readers had questions on the PCB annual report after seeing the deadline in last week's tip. For those of you who may still be wondering what the facts are, here's the scoop:
Each owner or operator of a facility used for the commercial storage or disposal of PCBs and PCB items must submit to the EPA regional administrator an annual report prepared from the written document log that contains the information specified in 40 CFR 761.180 (b)(3)(i)-(vi) for PCBs and PCB items handled as PCB waste during the previous calendar year.
To see if or how this impacts you, see 40 CFR 761.180(b)(3); 63
FR 35461 6/29/98
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act - July 31:
Voluntary revisions to the Form R and Form A submissions should be submitted by this date.
Safe Drinking Water Act:
Sulfate must be included on the list of drinking water contaminants for which a determination to regulate must be made. (SDWA Section 1412(b)(12)(B)(ii))
EPA SETTLES WITH PEPSI-COLA BOTTLERS
EPA Region 5 settled an administrative complaint with Pepsi-Cola General Bottlers in Munster, Ind., for alleged violation of federal laws on the reporting of a hazardous chemical release. The company will pay a civil penalty of $23,435 and pay for environmental projects valued at $145,150.
EPA's September 1999 complaint alleged that, on Nov. 16, 1997, the Pepsi facility, 9300 Calumet Ave. in Munster, failed to promptly report the release of about 3,150 lbs. of anhydrous ammonia from a pressurized refrigeration system. Though no injuries were reported, the facility was evacuated, and the release migrated beyond the Pepsi property to a nearby hospital.
All releases above 100 pounds must be reported promptly to the National Response Center (NRC), and to the state and local emergency planning committees. The facility eventually notified the NRC and the Lake County Emergency Planning Committee more than 14 hours after the incident. In addition, a written follow-up report was also filed late.
The settlement includes a Supplemental Environmental Project,
valued at $145,150, in which the facility will install upgraded
ammonia monitoring equipment, and a new pumped system for
ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE UPDATES ITS SCORECARD
On July 2, 2001, Environmental Defense updated the hazardous air pollutants component of its online "Scorecard" guide to local environmental info using 1996 data, the latest available from EPA.
Results vary by county, but ED estimates that the nationwide average cancer risk is about eight times higher than projected with the previous dataset (from 1990). Almost all of this increased risk is attributed to diesel emissions, which were not included in 1990. The 40 other substances common to both datasets show little change. ED will also update the Toxic Release Inventory risk assessment component of Scorecard by mid or late July 2001.
For more information on the scorecard, see http://www.scorecard.org/env-releases/hap or call Bill Pease, 510-540-4772 x101.
EPA is still finalizing its risk estimates in its National-Scale
Air Toxics Assessment, the source of much of the data used in
Scorecard. This probably will include detailed projections of
individual exposures in numerous microenvironments.
EPA FINALIZES PROGRAM TO HELP REDUCE THE COST OF GASOLINE IN THE MIDWEST
Administrator Christie Whitman signed a final rule to help reduce costs for blending ethanol into gasoline, an action that formalizes the Agency's March 15 decision.
The rule makes it easier for oil refiners to use ethanol in cleaner-burning gasoline supplied to the Chicago and Milwaukee areas, while continuing to achieve air quality benefits in the reformulated gasoline (RFG) program. It provides flexibility for refiners and helps reduce costs for blending ethanol into gasoline by adjusting the volatile organic compounds (VOC) standards for ethanol reformulated gasoline, which should also help boost supply.
In March, EPA issued an enforcement discretion for these areas, allowing the adjustment to take place prior to this rule being made final.
This action recognizes the environmental benefits of ethanol and ensures that it will continue to play a significant role in the cleaner-burning RFG program. The action is specific to Chicago and Milwaukee because they are the only areas of the country that use ethanol exclusively in RFG. Increased VOC emissions can occur from combining RFG made with the oxygenate methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and RFG made with ethanol in automobile gasoline tanks.
For the first time the Midwest refiners will receive credit
toward their carbon monoxide reduction as recommended to the
Agency by the National Academy of Science. The final rule and
supporting documents can be found at
EPA TO APPROVE ILLINOIS' OZONE AIR QUALITY PLAN
EPA Region 5 is proposing to approve an Illinois plan to attain the health-based 1-hour outdoor ozone air quality standard in the Chicago area that meets all Clean Air Act requirements.
"The Illinois plan is well-developed and will improve air quality for millions of Chicago-area residents," said Acting Regional Administrator David A. Ullrich. "When combined with pollution control plans for Northwest Indiana and Milwaukee, it will help the Chicago-Northwest Indiana-Milwaukee area achieve the health-based 1-hour ozone air quality standard by 2007."
The Chicago-Northwest Indiana-Milwaukee area is a severe ozone nonattainment area. It is required to meet the air quality standard by 2007. EPA is also proposing to approve similar Indiana and Wisconsin plans. All three states, members of the Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium, worked together to develop the areawide plan.
Many of the controls in the Illinois plan, such as the vehicle inspection and maintenance program, cleaner gasoline, transportation control measures, retail gasoline refueling and more stringent control technology on industrial sources, have been implemented for several years. These controls have resulted in continuous improvement in air quality.
The plan EPA is proposing to approve recognizes the contribution
from these already implemented measures, as well as contributions
from new controls. The most significant new control is the
reduction of oxides of nitrogen from electric generating units
like power plants, industrial boilers and cement kilns.
SELF-DISCLOSURE FOLLOWING AUDITS RESULTS IN 100% PENALTY REDUCTION, IN SOME CASES
The goal of EPA's Audit Policy is to enhance the protection of
human health and the environment by encouraging you to
voluntarily discover, promptly disclose, and expeditiously
correct violations of federal environmental requirements. Several
facilities in EPA Region 5 have recently had their potential
penalties cut to zero by self-disclosure. The companies involved
and their violations can be found at
http://www.epa.gov/region5/orc/audits/audit_r5cases.htm. A copy
of the policy can be downloaded at
NEW YORK MEN GET PRISON SENTENCES FOR WATER AND HAZARDOUS WASTE VIOLATIONS
Francis Kindel of Orchard Park, N.Y. was sentenced to 28 months imprisonment and Robert Zilliox of Buffalo N. Y. to 29 months for violating the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
Both men worked for Tri-Electronics of Cheektowaga, N.Y. and were each convicted of dumping hazardous waste onto the ground and into sewers and conspiring to commit these acts while employed at Tri-Electronics. In addition, Kindel was convicted of illegally storing hazardous waste.
The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, New York State's Attorney General and Department of Environmental Conservation, with assistance from the U.S. Customs Service and the Internal Revenue Service. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Buffalo.