In response to EPA Administrator Christie Whitman's request to review public health risks, costs and benefits associated with regulating arsenic in drinking water, two of three expert panels convened last spring have completed their analyses.
The National Drinking Water Advisory Council, Arsenic Cost Working Group completed and forwarded its cost analysis to the Administrator on August 24. The report indicates that EPA produced a credible estimate of the cost of compliance for the January 2001 arsenic rule and made a number of recommendations to improve further cost estimates. Last week, the Science Advisory Board released its benefits analysis report.
Administrator Whitman thanked the groups for their contribution, expertise and hard work in producing the detailed reports on an expedited schedule. The cost report is available on EPA's drinking water web site at http://www.epa.gov/safewater , under "What's New." SAB's benefits report is available on their web site at http://www.epa.gov/sab/fiscal01.htm.
Next month, the National Academy of Sciences, National Research
Council is expected to issue their report updating
arsenic-in-drinking water health risks based on data available
since they issued their first report in March l999. EPA then will
issue a Federal Register notice summarizing the three reports and
requesting further comment.
Clean Air Act
- September 15: Reformulated gasoline standards detailed under 40 CFR
80.78(a)(1)(v) expire until the following summer.
- September 21: Existing pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities subject to the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants for pharmaceuticals must comply with 40 CFR 63, subpart GGG.
Clean Water Act
- September 21: Existing sources subject to effluent guidelines and standards for the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry under 40 CFR 439 must meet pretreatment standards.
MISSISSIPPI COMPANY, EMPLOYEES CHARGED WITH CONSPIRACY
Truck Trailer and Equipment, Inc., of Pearl, Miss., the company owner and president, James W. Fielder, a manager, Edgar A. Fielder, and another employee, Carlos A. Lindsey, were indicted on Aug. 23 for conspiring to violate two federal laws, the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. In addition, the company and James Fielder are each charged with four additional counts of dumping.
The indictment alleges that spent solvents and other wastes were dumped from truck cleaning activities into a wetland and a Pearl River tributary bordering its facility. It is further alleged that when ordered by public safety officials to stop the dumping, the defendants arranged to dump the caustic wastes into an outlying area in Rankin County.
The dumping of caustic wastes into wetlands can have significant detrimental effects on fish and wildlife. If convicted, each individual defendant faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine on each conviction. The company faces a maximum fine of up to $500,000 on each count, if convicted.
The investigation was conducted by EPA's Criminal Investigation
Division, the FBI, the Mississippi Department of Environmental
Quality and Pearl, Miss. city officials. The case is being
prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Jackson, Miss.
SOUTH CAROLINA COMPANY, PRESIDENT PLEAD GUILTY TO VIOLATIONS IN SIX STATES
James Edward Adams of Inman, S.C., and his firm, Carolina Upgrading of South Carolina, Inc., each agreed to plead guilty on Aug. 26 to 15 violations of federal law. In their plea agreement, the defendants admitted that they conspired and falsified more than 1,500 tests of underground storage tanks to gasoline stations and state and federal facilities in Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Federal law requires that underground storage tank owners periodically have their tanks inspected to test for leaks of petroleum or other products. Petroleum leaks from underground storage tanks can release benzene into groundwater, and benzene is a known cause of cancer.
If accepted by the Court, the plea agreement calls for Adams to spend 27 months in prison and pay up to $250,000 in fines on each of the 15 felony counts. Carolina Upgrading faces a maximum penalty of a $500,000 fine on each of the 15 counts.
The investigation was conducted by EPA's Criminal Investigation
Division, the South Carolina Department of Health and
Environmental Control, and the North Carolina State Bureau of
Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by the Environmental
Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington,
D.C., and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Greenville, S.C.
$319,997 IN GRANTS FROM EPA AND DOE TO BETTER COORDINATE WORK OF STATE ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL OFFICIALS
EPA and DOE have awarded $319,997 to the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) in Alexandria, Va., to promote more cooperative energy and environmental policies and regulations among state energy and environmental agencies.
Traditionally, energy and environmental concerns have been addressed by separate state government agencies, operating under separate authorities and without much coordination. But as electricity restructuring, air quality requirements and power reliability issues continue to converge, policy makers are beginning to see a greater need for working across government agency lines and state borders.
The actions that states take in the context of restructuring and addressing energy and environmental issues are critical components of a sustainable national energy strategy. There is, however, still a need for federal agencies to provide for guidance and infrastructure to ensure that states get the best ideas from around the country on strategies for integrating clean air and energy approaches.
Therefore, EPA and the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) are jointly funding a two-year NASEO project to develop harmonized approaches to air quality and energy at the state and regional level. The project will follow through on three key objectives enumerated at an EPA-DOE sponsored meeting last September in St. Louis, at which over 250 state, local and national decision-makers from the energy, utility and environmental sectors discussed how they could work together to develop coordinated approaches on key issues. The three objectives are building partnerships, establishing closer coordination between state energy and environmental decision makers, and demonstrating the benefits of integrated approaches to environmental management.
NASEO will use EPA funding to conduct regional workshops to foster collaboration among states and to develop an electronic clearinghouse or database to share information on best practices, pilot projects, case studies, and integrated approaches to addressing energy and air quality issues.
NASEO is a non-profit organization made up of Governor-designated energy officials from each state and territory. For more than a decade, NASEO has advised regional, state and federal government officials on energy's pivotal role in the economy and environment.
NEW WEB SITE ESTABLISHED FOR JOINT EPA AND STATE SIGNIFICANT INFORMATION PRODUCTS
EPA, working with the Environmental Council of States (ECOS), has launched a new web site called the Information Products Bulletin that will provide a resource for private and non-profit organizations and state, local and territorial environmental agencies.
The new web site is a joint effort by EPA and ECOS, a national, non-profit, non-partisan association of state and territorial environmental commissioners. A key benefit will be having access in one central place to significant information products in the pipeline such as complex computer modeling tools, large data bases and major reports. It will be updated every four months and will also identify opportunities for stakeholders and other citizens to provide comments during development of some of these products.
The bulletin is available at http://www.epa.gov/ipbpages, as well
as through EPA's fax-on-demand system at 202-651-2084. Additional
information is available at 202-260-8694 or by e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Information on ECOS is available at
MODEL ELECTRONIC REPORTING, RECORD KEEPING ESTABLISHED
EPA is establishing a model system for electronic reporting and record keeping that will result in a more efficient process and reduced paperwork in the implementation of regulations across all agency programs. The system will be an optional means of fulfilling any reporting or record-keeping requirement with EPA.
The proposed rule governing this system, known as the Cross-Media Electronic Reporting and Record-keeping Rule was signed by Administrator Christie Whitman on Aug. 23. The rule potentially could affect all agency environmental compliance reporting, including delegated states programs. In cases where the implementation of Federal laws has been delegated to states, the responsible agencies will be required to adhere to technical criteria proposed in the rule for electronic submissions.
The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on Aug.
31. The public comment period will extend through 90 days after
publication, during which time public hearings will be held in
Chicago and Washington, D.C. Information on the hearings is
available at 202-260-8791 or 202-260-2710. Further information is
available at http://www.epa.gov/cdx.
EPA PROPOSES PROCUREMENT GUIDELINES FOR 11 NEW PRODUCTS
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman has proposed to designate 11 recycled-content products that government agencies are required to purchase. By purchasing these recycled products, government agencies provide a strong incentive to manufacturers to expand their use of recovered materials.
The action, known as the Comprehensive Procurement Guideline, covers five product categories, including: vehicular, construction, transportation, non-paper office products, and miscellaneous products. Specifically, EPA is proposing to designate rebuilt motor parts, roofing materials, piping, cement and concrete containing both silica fume and cenospheres, nylon carpet, modular threshold ramps, tires, office furniture, bicycle racks, and blasting grit. These items contain materials commonly recovered in municipal recycling programs such as glass, metals, plastics, and wood.
In a related action, EPA is making available a Recovered Materials Advisory Notice containing the Agency's recommendations for purchasing the designated items. For most of the designated items, the recovered materials notice includes recommended recovered materials content levels.
Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and E.O. 13101, federal agencies are required to purchase EPA-designated items containing recovered materials whenever those products meet their performance specifications and are available at a reasonable cost. RCRA also applies the buy-recycled requirement to state and local government agencies that use appropriated federal funds to purchase a designated product and purchase $10,000 or more worth of any designated item.
For further information and copies of the procurement guideline or recovered materials advisory notice, call the RCRA/Superfund Hotline at 800-424-9346 or visit http://www.epa.gov/cpg.