EPA Revises Notification Procedures for Air Permits

October 24, 2016

EPA is revising the public notice rule provisions for the New Source Review (NSR), title V and Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) permit programs of the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act) and corresponding onshore area (COA) determinations for implementation of the OCS air quality regulations. This final rule removes the mandatory requirement to provide public notice of a draft air permit (as well as certain other program actions) through publication in a newspaper. Instead, this final rule requires electronic notice (e-notice) for EPA actions (and actions by permitting authorities implementing the federal permitting rules) and allows for e-notice as an option for actions by permitting authorities implementing EPA-approved programs.

When e-notice is provided, the final rule requires, at a minimum, electronic access (e-access) to the draft permit. However, this final rule does not preclude a permitting authority from supplementing e-notice with newspaper notice and/or additional means of notification to the public. The EPA anticipates that e-notice, which is already being practiced by many permitting authorities, will enable permitting authorities to communicate permitting and other affected actions to the public more quickly and efficiently and will provide cost savings over newspaper publication. The EPA further anticipates that e-access will expand access to permit- related documents.

San Diego Hazardous Waste and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management in California and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in San Diego, CA, on November 1–3 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Williamsburg RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Williamsburg, VA, on November 8–10 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Orlando RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Orlando, FL, on November 15–17 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

New Policy on Management of Pharmaceutical Waste at Healthcare Facilities in Washington

The Washington State Department of Ecology’s Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction Program (HWTR) recently revised the “Interim Enforcement Policy – Pharmaceutical Waste in Healthcare” (pub. # 07-04-024). It was updated to more closely match EPA’s 2015 proposed Hazardous Waste Pharmaceutical Rule, and to line up with Ecology’s draft Dangerous Waste Pharmaceutical Rule. The publication is renamed the “Interim Pharmaceutical Waste Policy – Pharmaceutical Waste Management in Healthcare”. Following state administrative procedure act requirements, an announcement notice was filed for posting in the state register. The notice is available at the HWTR dangerous waste rulemaking website.

Texas Seeks Comments on Renewal of the Construction Stormwater General Permit

The TCEQ has begun the process of renewing the 2013 Stormwater Construction General Permit, which will expire on March 4, 2018, at midnight.

Stakeholders have the opportunity to provide comments on the existing permit. Comments are due Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Please submit your comments electronically to the Stormwater and Pretreatment Team at swgp@tceq.texas.gov, subject line “2018 CGP Renewal.”

For a list of proposed changes, please visit the Stormwater Stakeholders Group web page and click on the CGP Renewal Proposed Changes document.

EPA Solicits Comments on Draft Technical Materials to Support 2016 Selenium Criterion Recommendations

EPA is releasing draft technical support documents for public comment in conjunction with the recently published final Clean Water Act (CWA) section 304(a) selenium water quality criterion recommendations. These documents assist states and authorized tribes in adopting the new selenium criterion, monitoring fish tissue, assessing and listing waters under CWA section 303(d), and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting. The 2016 national recommended chronic aquatic life criterion for selenium in freshwater reflects the latest science, which indicates that toxicity to aquatic life is driven by dietary exposures. EPA recommends states and authorized tribes adopt the selenium criterion into their water quality standards.

Selenium is a naturally occurring element present in sedimentary rocks, shales, coal, and phosphate deposits and soils. Selenium can be released into water resources by natural sources via weathering, and by human activities such as surface mining, coal-fired power plants, and irrigated agriculture. Selenium is an essential element for animals in small amounts, but toxic at higher concentrations.

Task Force Issues Recommendations to
Increase Safety and Reliability of U.S. Natural Gas Storage

The Interagency Task Force on Natural Gas Storage Safety, established in the wake of last year's massive natural gas leak at California's Aliso Canyon site, issued a new report intended to help reduce the risk of future such incidents. The report chronicles lessons learned from the Aliso Canyon leak and analyzes the nation's more than 400 underground natural gas storage wells. It provides 44 recommendations to industry, federal, state, and local regulators and governments to reduce the likelihood of future leaks and minimize the impacts of any that occur. The full report is available here.

Overall, the report finds that "while incidents at U.S. underground natural gas storage facilities are rare, the potential consequences of those incidents can be significant and require additional actions to ensure safe and reliable operation over the long term." In particular, the report recommends that, except under limited circumstances, facility operators phase out "single point of failure" designs that contributed to the inability to swiftly control and repair the Aliso Canyon leak. The report recommends natural gas storage facility operators conduct risk assessments, develop and implement transition plans to address high-risk infrastructure, and apply robust procedures to maintain safety and reliability while the transition to modern well design standards is occurring.

The Task Force was co-chaired by Franklin Orr, Under Secretary for Science and Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); and Marie Therese Dominguez, Administrator of the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

"Natural gas plays an important role in our nation's energy landscape, and we need to make sure the associated infrastructure is strong enough to maintain energy reliability, protect public health, and preserve our environment," said Orr and Dominguez, who both visited the site of the Aliso Canyon leak shortly after it was controlled. "No community should have to go through something like Aliso Canyon again. Companies operating natural gas storage facilities should adopt the recommendations as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of future leaks."

The Task Force pursued three primary areas of study: integrity of wells at natural gas storage facilities, public health and environmental effects from natural gas storage leaks, and energy reliability concerns in the case of future leaks. Three public workshops were held throughout the summer to hear from local and state level stakeholders, including gas storage operators and state regulators. These activities helped to inform the report. The report's 44 recommendations are separated across the three areas of study and are summarized in a fact sheet available here.

After providing Administration-wide support to the state response effort, in early 2016, the White House convened the Interagency Task Force on Natural Gas Storage Safety following the nation's largest ever natural gas leak at California's Aliso Canyon facility. This task force is consistent with the requirements codified by Congress in the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016, signed into law by President Obama in June 2016. The legislation created a task force led by the Secretary of Energy that consists of representatives from the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Commerce, the Department of the Interior, and from state and local governments. The work of the task force builds on the recommendations outlined in the Administration's 2015 Quadrennial Energy Review, which emphasized the urgent need to replace, expand, and modernize transmission, storage, and distribution infrastructure.

Natural gas provides heat to millions of American homes and is expected to provide one-third of our nation's total electric power generation this year. Gas storage facilities are key components of a large and complex natural gas delivery infrastructure serving homes, offices, power plants, and industrial facilities. As noted in the report, there are approximately 400 active underground natural gas storage wells operating in 25 states of which, about 80% were constructed before 1980. Older wells are more likely to have "single point of failure" designs, which offer less protection against leaks compared to more modern designs.

PHMSA plans to issue interim regulations regarding underground natural gas storage in the coming months, incorporating API Recommended Practices 1170 and 1171. The Task Force's report is intended to inform PHMSA's phased rule-making process and to provide guidance to industry so that companies can begin implementing changes immediately.

Dana Container Fined $12,000 for Hazardous Waste Violations

Dana Container, Inc., the owner and operator of a railcar cleaning and refurbishing facility in Wilmington, Del., will pay a $12,000 penalty to settle alleged hazardous waste storage violations of regulations designed to protect public health and the environment, the EPA announced recently.

EPA cited the company for violating federal and state safeguards governing the storage of hazardous waste. The federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Delaware’s hazardous waste regulations are designed to protect public health and the environment, and avoid costly cleanups, by requiring the safe, environmentally sound storage and disposal of hazardous waste.

The hazardous wastes, which were generated at the facility from the cleaning of railcars, included benzene, vinyl acetate and waste solvent. Alleged violations focused on how the materials were stored, and included failure to ship wastes offsite in a timely manner, failure to maintain proper records, and failure to maintain an adequate contingency plan.

As part of the settlement, the company has not admitted liability, but has certified that it is now in compliance with the requirements cited by EPA.

EPA Protects Children from Pesticide Exposure at Pueblo of Acoma School

EPA has fined a New Mexico company for improperly applying pesticides at the Sky City School in the Pueblo of Acoma. B&Y Pest Control had been contracted to address a prairie dog infestation at the school in June 2015. An EPA inspector found the company failed to use tamper-resistant bait stations to minimize exposure to children, pets and non-target pests, and used a restricted-use pesticide on tribal lands without a federal license, in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

“Protecting the health of children is one of EPA’s top priorities, especially preventing their exposure to potentially harmful materials,” said Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “Companies must follow the law to ensure our schools are safe environments for learning and growing.”

B&Y agreed to a consent agreement and final order to settle the case and paid a civil penalty of $14,000. The company has since come into compliance with FIFRA by acquiring the proper federal licenses, which any person or company applying restricted-use pesticides on tribal lands must have.

FIFRA governs the registration, distribution, sale and use of pesticides in the U.S. The law requires companies and individuals to apply and use pesticides only according to instructions on a product’s EPA-approved label. While pesticides can safely be used in schools, EPA also encourages schools and day cares to use integrated pest management (IPM) tools and techniques. IPM focuses on pest prevention and using pesticides only as needed for a more effective, environmentally sensitive approach. IPM techniques emphasize removing conditions that attract pests, such as potential sources of food, water and shelter.

Leaking Underground Storage Tanks Led to $100,000 Fine for Knight Enterprises

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) recently announced it has entered into a consent order with Knight Enterprises, Inc. (Knight) to resolve a civil complaint filed against the company in Oakland County Circuit Court for noncompliance with state law covering leaking underground storage tank sites.

The complaint alleged that Knight failed to comply with the reporting and corrective action requirements of Part 213, Leaking Underground Storage Tanks (LUST), of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act to address environmental contamination at a Knight site located in Dearborn Heights.

MDEQ sought a court order to compel compliance with Part 213, payment of assessed administrative penalties, assessment of civil fines, and reimbursement of the state’s past and future corrective action costs associated with the Dearborn Heights site, as well as the costs of litigation.

The consent order provides Knight with a clear path forward to achieve closure on 21 LUST sites across Michigan, including the Dearborn Heights site. Additionally, under the terms of the consent order Knight will pay $100,000 to MDEQ to resolve past corrective action costs, and will pay all future corrective action costs incurred by the department related to the 21 sites.

Pennsylvania DOT Settles Underground Storage Tank Violations with EPA

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PADOT) will pay a $26,066 penalty for underground storage tank violations in Brownsville and Franklin, Pennsylvania, where facilities stored diesel fuel. The settlement addresses compliance with environmental regulations that help protect communities and the environment from exposure to oil or potentially harmful chemicals.

At the facilities, the PADOT allegedly did not conduct proper monitoring or testing of detectors on pipe lines for leaks and did not maintain proper monitoring records regarding the underground tanks. None of the violations included any type of release or leak from the tanks or pipes.

The Brownsville facility is located at the intersection of Routes 40 and 88, and the Franklin facility is at 1460 Pittsburgh Road.

With millions of gallons of petroleum products and hazardous substances stored in underground storage tanks throughout the country, leaking tanks are a major source of soil and groundwater contamination. EPA and state regulations are designed to reduce the risk of underground leaks and to promptly detect and properly address leaks thus minimizing environmental harm and avoiding the costs of major cleanups.

1,4-Dioxane Test Results Reported by MDEQ for Ann Arbor Neighborhood

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) recently released test results for shallow groundwater in Ann Arbor, near the area of contaminated groundwater known as the Gelman Sciences plume. The results show the concentrations of 1,4-Dioxane in 16 temporary test wells in the neighborhoods west and southwest of West Park in the City of Ann Arbor (City) do not exceed MDEQ screening levels protective of indoor air.

“Our initial testing shows concentrations of 1,4-Dioxane detected in shallow groundwater in a limited area of the city do not exceed proposed screening levels protective of indoor air,” said Mitch Adelman, MDEQ District Supervisor.

The testing was conducted in response to public concerns regarding the presence of contamination in shallow groundwater in close proximity to homes and business. City residents communicated their concerns earlier this year to MDEQ officials at an April 18 town hall meeting organized by Representative Jeff Irwin.

Migration of contaminants from groundwater into indoor air is a new pathway of exposure in connection with the Gelman Sciences plume that the DEQ is looking at very closely.

The chemical 1,4-Dioxane is an industrial solvent that has been linked to human health concerns at certain concentrations given long-term exposure. The MDEQ and the citizens of the City have been focused on the drinking water standard as it pertains to the Gelman contaminant plume. The Gelman 1,4-Dioxane plume encompasses approximately three square miles of groundwater beneath the City and parts of Ann Arbor and Scio Townships.

“The MDEQ’s first priority is to protect public health,” Adelman said. “We are committed to open communications and transparency of our actions in affected communities. We will work with local stakeholders to ensure residents are informed and supported as this process moves forward.”

EPA Fines Hammer and Hand Inc. for Lead Paint Violations at Home Renovations

The EPA has fined a Portland, Oregon, based remodeling firm, Hammer and Hand, Inc., $69,398, for failing to comply with federal lead-based paint rules. EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule protects the public from lead-based paint health hazards during repair or remodeling activities in housing built before 1978. Hammer and Hand failed to follow lead-safe work practices while performing renovation work on two older homes in Portland last year.

According to Ed Kowalski, Director of EPA Region 10's Office of Compliance and Enforcement, “Making sure that lead-based paint is properly removed and handled helps protect people's health during repairs or renovations in older homes, particularly where children live. This case shows that EPA is serious about making sure companies that break the law are held accountable when they ignore the rules and put public health at risk.”

Hammer and Hand is a general contracting and remodeling firm with offices in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington. In 2015, EPA inspectors found multiple violations during renovations the firm conducted at two older homes in Portland. Specifically, the firm failed to: determine if lead-based paint was present; perform on-the-job training on lead-safe work practices; post warning signs about lead-based paint renovation works and hazards; cover the ground with plastic sheeting to collect falling paint debris; contain paint chips and waste to prevent release of lead-contaminated dust and debris; and perform post-renovation cleaning.

The Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, which is a part of the Toxic Substances Control Act, is intended to ensure that owners and occupants of housing built before 1978 or any child-occupied facilities, receive information on lead-based paint hazards before renovations begin, and that workers performing renovations are properly trained, certified by EPA, and follow specific work practices to reduce the risk of lead-based paint exposure.

Lead-based paint was banned in 1978 but still remains in many homes and apartments across the country. Lead dust hazards can occur when lead-based paint deteriorates or is disturbed during renovation and remodeling activities. Lead exposure can cause a range of health problems, from behavioral disorders and learning disabilities to seizures and death. Young children are at the greatest health risk because their bodies and nervous systems are still developing. A blood lead test is the only way to determine if a child has a high lead level. Parents who think their child has been in contact with lead dust or other sources of lead should contact their child's health care provider.

Renovation firms that are certified under the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule are encouraged to display EPA’s “Lead-Safe” logo on worker’s uniforms, signs, websites and other material. Consumers can protect themselves by looking for the logo before hiring a renovation firm. Consumers can learn more about the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule and hiring a certified firm by calling the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD or visiting www.epa.gov/lead.

MassDEP Penalizes Tree Service Company $7,590 for Failing to Provide Notification of a Diesel Fuel Spill

Tracy Gleason of Spanky's Tree Service in Orange has been penalized $7,590 by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) for failing to notify MassDEP of an estimated 20-gallon diesel fuel spill that occurred on East Main Street in Orange.

On December 3, 2015, the Orange Fire Department notified MassDEP that a spill of diesel fuel occurred at a gasoline station facility parking lot on 25 East Main Street, Orange and on roadways in the vicinity of the facility. At the time of the call, the party who caused the release was unknown. MassDEP personnel responded and determined that a release of diesel fuel, likely up to 20 gallons, had occurred. MassDEP provided oversight of the cleanup of impacted paved surfaces by an emergency response cleanup contractor; the cleanup was completed that day.

Based upon an investigation, including video security footage, MassDEP determined that the release emanated from the bed of a pickup truck operated by Tracy Gleason. The video footage also indicated that Mr. Gleason was aware of the spill. Mr. Gleason failed to notify the Town of Orange's public safety agencies or MassDEP of the spill. Massachusetts regulations require that MassDEP be notified as soon as possible, but in no case greater than two hours after a responsible party becomes aware of a spill of fuel exceeding 10 gallons.

MassDEP made numerous attempts to contact Mr. Gleason in order to resolve the violation through a negotiated settlement, but was unsuccessful.

"Mr. Gleason did not provide notification to the appropriate agencies, including MassDEP, and left the scene of the spill," said Michael Gorski, director of MassDEP's Western Regional Office in Springfield. "Furthermore, he failed to respond to numerous attempts to resolve this matter, resulting in the issuance of this penalty."

EPA Honors 2016 Green Power Leaders

The EPA recently announced its 16th annual Green Power Leadership Awards, recognizing 16 Green Power Partners across the country—including Apple, Cisco Systems, Goldman Sachs, BNY Mellon, Jackson Family Wines, Kohl’s, and SUNY Buffalo –for achievements in advancing the nation’s renewable energy market and helping to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change.

“Green power is becoming more affordable and mainstream because of leaders like the Green Power Leadership Award winners,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “I commend the work they do to grow the renewable energy market and spur innovation, and as we continue to act on climate, I encourage them to continue to set a high bar for others to achieve.”

The award winners were recognized for their efforts in expanding the domestic renewable energy market. From using enough green power to meet 100% of electricity needs to signing long-term contracts to enable new renewable energy projects, these organizations are demonstrating leadership by furthering the case for accessible, affordable green power use.

The 2016 Green Power Leadership Awards were presented at the annual Renewable Energy Markets Conference in San Francisco, California. The winners for each of the five award categories are:

Excellence in Green Power Use Award: Biogen, Inc. (Cambridge, Massachusetts); BNY Mellon (New York, New York); Forest County Potawatomi Community (Crandon, Wisconsin); Goldman Sachs (New York, New York); Government of the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.); Intel Corporation (Santa Clara, California); SC Johnson (Racine, Wisconsin)

  • Biogen, Inc. procured all of its U.S. electricity from renewable sources in 2015 and the previous year achieved carbon neutrality across its entire value chain.
  • BNY Mellon met all of its annual electricity demand with green power in 2015 and became carbon neutral for its emissions that year.
  • Forest County Potawatomi Community used 100%renewable energy in 2015 and installed a portfolio of solar photovoltaic systems at 15 tribal facilities.
  • Goldman Sachs used green power for 100% of its U.S. operations and achieved carbon neutrality in 2015 for its emissions.
  • Government of the District of Columbia finalized a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) to provide renewable electricity from a wind farm in Pennsylvania and executed two solar PPAs on 50 District government sites.
  • Intel Corporation purchased 100% green power for its domestic operations and installed more than 60 on-site renewable energy projects to directly supply facility power needs.
  • SC Johnson procured 44% of its U.S. electricity from renewable sources and owns and operates its own landfill gas system and wind turbines, which generated 16 and 7.6 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, respectively, in 2015.

Green Power Partner of the Year Award: Cisco Systems (San Jose, California); Jackson Family Wines (Santa Rosa, California); University at Buffalo, the State University of New York (Buffalo, New York)

  • Cisco Systems more than doubled its green power use in 2015, representing 97% of its total U.S. consumption and encouraged its vendors, business partners, and supply chain to reduce emissions.
  • Jackson Family Wines purchased 100% green power for the company’s annual electricity use and increased green power use to 35% for winemaking operations by installing on-site solar across nine wineries.
  • University at Buffalo (UB), the State University of New York procured more than 212 million kilowatt-hours of wind-sourced renewable energy, making it one of the largest purchasers of green power of any New York State agency and the largest college and university purchaser in the nation. UB also has on-site solar installations on its campus.

Sustained Excellence in Green Power Award: Apple Inc. (Cupertino, California); Kohl’s Department Stores (Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin)

  • Apple used 100% renewable energy for its entire U.S. operations and is the second largest user of on-site renewables in EPA’s Green Power Partnership. Apple’s renewable energy generation projects include solar PV in North Carolina, Nevada and Arizona, micro-hydro facilities in Oregon, and industry-leading partnerships with utilities and providers of grid-purchased green power.
  • Kohl’s Department Stores procured 1.4 billion kilowatt-hours of green power in 2015 through more than 60 long-term solar PPAs, Kohl’s-owned solar systems that generate green power on-site, and by purchasing renewable energy certificates. Kohl’s also installed three new solar trees at its Innovation Center and achieved net-zero emissions for its Scope 2 electricity use through 2015.

Direct Project Engagement Award: General Motors/GM Orion Assembly Plant (Lake Orion, Michigan); Google Inc. (Mountain View, California); HARBEC, Inc. (Ontario, New York)

  • General Motors/GM Orion Assembly Plant generated more than half of the facility’s total electricity usage from its on-site landfill gas system. Gas that would have been flared at a nearby landfill is now redirected and piped to the facility to create electricity for building vehicles, notably the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
  • Google Inc. signed 15 long-term PPAs with wind and solar projects totaling more than 2,000 megawatts of installed capacity, making Google one of the largest non-utility purchasers of renewable energy in the country, as of December 2015. Google also pilots renewable energy technologies on its campuses.
  • HARBEC, Inc. integrated on-site wind generation with a combined heat and power plant into a microgrid that uses renewable energy; the company’s two wind turbines provide approximately 60% of the company’s electrical power.

Green Power Community of the Year Award: Maplewood Community, MO (Maplewood, Missouri)

  • Maplewood Community, Missouri’s support of green power increased by more than 300%, resulting in more than five percent of the community-wide total electricity use last year.

EPA’s Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that goes above and beyond regulatory requirements and encourages organizations to use green power as a way to help reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use. EPA defines green power as electricity that is generated from renewable sources, including solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, and low-impact hydroelectric sources. Green power does not produce GHG emissions that contribute to climate change.

Renewable energy production continues to increase substantially in the United States. Since President Obama took office, solar electricity generation has increased 30 fold, and solar technology continues to become more affordable as this trend continues. In 2015, the United States also remained the second-leading market in terms of cumulative wind energy capacity, and was the leading country in wind power production.

From installing green power on-site to innovative purchasing, these award winners are helping lead the way in advancing the green power market. The awardees were selected based on a multitude of criteria, including the size and scale of their green power use, leadership and innovation in purchasing and generating green power, internal and external communications efforts, as well as organizational strategy for investing in green power.

Minnesota Federal Agencies Win EPA Green Challenge Award

The EPA has honored the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, Minnesota National Guard, and U.S. EPA Mid-Continent Ecology Division, Duluth, with the agency’s Federal Green Challenge award. EPA selected the Minnesota federal agencies in recognition of their innovative energy saving and other environmental practices.

The Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Healthcare System diverted more than 367 tons of construction and demolition waste out of 450 tons generated in 2015. This is compared to 66 tons out of 150 tons generated the year before. These results reflected an 80% increase of recycling construction and demolition waste. The Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Healthcare System also continued to add electric vehicles to its fleet, adding two this year.

The Minnesota National Guard reduced natural gas use from 121,628,235 cubic feet in 2014 to 96,582,662 cubic feet in 2015, resulting in a 20% reduction. Additionally, they reduced their energy use intensity, or energy used per square foot, by an average of 4%.

EPA’s Mid-Continent Ecology Division reduced the amount of paper purchased from 2,450 lb in 2014 to 2,200 lb in 2015 for a 10% reduction and increased the number of green meetings by 900%. Additionally, the Duluth-based office improved pollinator habitat for butterflies and bees by removing non-native species and adding native flowers and grasses. This landscaping change saves energy as three and a half acres are no longer mowed.

EPA’s Federal Green Challenge encourages federal agencies throughout the nation to lead by example by conserving energy and resources, cutting waste, reducing pollution, and saving money.

Environmental News Links

EPA Retains NAAQS for Lead, Without Modification

As RCRA Turns 40, EPA Looks to the Future of National Solid Waste Policy

EPA Calls for Nominations for 2017 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

Michigan Office of the Great Lakes Releases Final Part of State Water Strategy

On A Roll: The World Agrees to Mandatory Phase-Out of Climate Forcing HFCs

EPA Releases New Oil and Gas Pollution Guidelines

There Are About 90 University of Maryland Buildings with Asbestos

Potentially Hazardous Substance Recovered from FBI's Lehigh Search

Hazardous Material Removal Closed Montana Street

I-95 Reopened Following Crash that Released Toxic Smoke

Germany to Ban Fracking

Trivia Question of the Week

HFCs are how many times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat in our atmosphere?

a. 100

b. 1,000

c. 10,000

d. 100,000