April 14, 2019
The Chemical Data Reporting (CDR
) rule requires manufacturers (including importers) of certain chemical substances listed on the TSCA Chemical Substance Inventory to report data on chemical manufacturing, processing, and use every four years. EPA uses the data to help assess the potential human health and environmental effects of these chemicals. States, tribes, other agencies, industry, NGOs, and the public can use CDR data to understand chemicals in commerce.
In a new proposal
, EPA incorporated input from the meetings of a 2017 negotiated rulemaking committee that disbanded due to an inability to reach consensus recommendations, a subsequent public comment period related to the negotiated rulemaking, as well as from manufacturers submitting CDR data and the public using the data. The agency seeks to reduce burden while maintaining its ability to receive the information needed for effective TSCA implementation.
According to EPA, the amendments to the CDR rule will better support Agency data collection efforts, align reporting with the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act by requiring that confidentiality claims be substantiated, and make chemical reporting easier by streamlining complex submissions.
“CDR not only supports the Agency’s TSCA activities, but can be a helpful tool for states, tribes, industry, nongovernmental organizations and all stakeholders,” said Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “This is a continuing effort in every aspect of our program to ensure that the public has information on chemicals in commerce, that EPA has the information necessary to conduct our chemical reviews, and that reporting burden is minimized and simplified.”
In addition, the proposed amendments would:
- Update the definition of small entities (small manufacturers) that are exempt from reporting
- Add exemptions for specific types of byproducts
- Simplify reporting, including allowing manufacturers to use certain processing and use data codes already in use as part of international codes developed through the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
- Remove outdated rule text and consolidate exemptions
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New EPA Environmental Compliance Website for the Crude Oil and Natural Gas Sector
Many small and medium-sized oil and natural gas owners and operators want to comply with environmental requirements but don’t have the expertise to fully understand them,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Susan Bodine. “The portal has put much of the information they need in one place to help them comply.”
The portal was developed in collaboration with the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations (STRONGER), and the EPA. Funding is provided through the EPA Compliance Assistance Centers (CAC) program. The portal serves as a “first stop shop” for information on federal and state environmental regulations that affect the exploration and development, extraction, production and processing of crude oil and natural gas. Compliance information is organized by statute and technical topics (e.g., well production, processing). In addition, the portal provides information on engaging in oil and natural gas extraction activities in Indian Country.
Recycling Executive Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison for Scheming to Landfill and Re-Sell Potentially Hazardous Waste
A recycling executive has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for illegally landfilling potentially hazardous electronic waste as part of a scheme to re-sell the materials and avoid paying income taxes.
Brian Brundage owned Intercon Solutions Inc. and EnviroGreen Processing LLC, which purported to recycle electronic waste on behalf of corporate and governmental clients. Brundage represented to the clients that the materials would be disassembled and recycled in an environmentally sound manner. In reality, from 2005 to 2016, Brundage caused thousands of tons of e-waste and other potentially hazardous materials to be landfilled, stockpiled, or re-sold at a profit to companies who shipped the materials overseas. Brundage evaded $743,984 in federal taxes by concealing the income he earned from re-selling the e-waste and from paying himself funds that he falsely recorded as Intercon business expenses. Brundage spent the purported expenses for his own personal benefit, including wages for a nanny and housekeeper, jewelry purchases, and payments to a casino in Hammond, Ind.
Brundage, 47, of Schererville, Ind., pleaded guilty last year to one count of wire fraud and one count of tax evasion. U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow on Thursday imposed the three-year prison sentence and ordered Brundage to pay more than $1.2 million in restitution to his victims.
The sentence was announced by John C. Kocoras, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jennifer Lynn, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division; Gabriel L. Grchan, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division; James M. Gibbons, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; and Jeffrey Ryan, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of Inspector General, Great Lakes Regional Investigations Office. The Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department provided valuable assistance in the investigation. The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean J.B. Franzblau and Kelly Greening of the Northern District of Illinois, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Crissy Pellegrin of the EPA.
Brundage admitted in a plea agreement that he caused employees of Chicago Heights-based Intercon and Gary, Ind.-based EnviroGreen to sell some of the e-waste and other materials to vendors who Brundage knew would ship the materials overseas. Some of the materials contained Cathode Ray Tubes, which are glass video display components of computer and television monitors, and which contain potentially hazardous amounts of lead. Brundage admitted causing multiple tons of CRT glass and other potentially hazardous materials to be destroyed in environmentally unsafe ways and later landfilled.
“Improper management of cathode ray tubes can pose risk to human health and the environment, as they contain significant quantities of lead,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Lynn. “This case demonstrates that EPA and our law enforcement partners are committed to protecting the environment and ensuring that companies follow the law.”
“The GSA Office of Inspector General will aggressively pursue contractors who make false representations in order to obtain federal business,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Ryan.
“This sentence should serve as a reminder that HSI will continue to work with its federal, state and local partners to pursue offenders who endanger others by engaging in fraud and deceit,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Gibbons.
Three Companies and Executives Charged with Tampering with Emission Control Devices on Diesel Truck Fleet
A federal grand jury in San Diego returned a six-count indictment charging three San Marcos companies, two managers and a technician with various felonies related to tampering with emission control devices on heavy-duty diesel trucks.
Diamond Environmental Services LP, Diamond Maintenance Services, LLC and Diamond Solid Waste, Inc. (collectively “Diamond”) of San Marcos, California, plus owner and manager Arie Eric De Jong III, manager Warren Van Dam and technician Jorge Leyva Rodriguez of ECM Diesel Programming were charged with conspiring to manipulate the electronic control module (ECM) on Diamond’s fleet of heavy duty diesel trucks. The alleged manipulation was designed to disable the monitoring system that would otherwise cause the truck to effectively become non-operational if the diesel emissions filter became too dirty with diesel particulates.
Since model year 2008, EPA regulations required all heavy-duty diesel trucks to be equipped with a computerized system of electronics and sensors that monitored all emission-related engine systems and components. If a malfunction or problem occurred within the emission system - for example, the diesel particulate filter, or DPF, became dirty with soot that needed to be regenerated or burned off - the monitoring system would cause a Malfunction Indicator/Check Engine Light to be illuminated in the truck’s cabin. If the hardware emission system problem was not resolved, the monitoring system could limit the top speed of the truck to as low as five miles per hour (an effect commonly referred to as “limp mode” or “power reduced mode”), providing an incentive for the truck’s operator to repair the truck.
The indictment alleges that the defendants agreed to reprogram the ECMs to avoid the costs associated with the need to regenerate the diesel particulate filters (DPFs) on the heavy-duty diesel trucks in the fleets operated by defendant Diamond Environmental Services, LP and Diamond Solid Waste Services, Inc., and maintained by Diamond Maintenance Services, LLC. According to the indictment, employees removed the ECMs from trucks in their fleet and shipped them out of California to be reprogrammed, and, in addition, defendant Jorge Martin Leyva Rodriguez travelled from Mexico to Diamond locations in San Marcos and San Diego to reprogram the ECMs.
The indictment alleges that, in order to keep trucks operating with DPFs that had not been cleaned by regeneration, employees punched holes through the honeycomb cores of the DPFs on some of the heavy-duty diesel trucks to allow the free flow of air through this portion of the emission system, without filtration. It is further alleged that in order to conceal the fact that the emissions systems on some of the heavy-duty diesel trucks were not operating properly, employees prepared false opacity (smog) test results for such trucks, using an entirely different truck to achieve passing results. According to the indictment, when the co-conspirators learned that action by the authorities was imminent, defendant Rodriguez returned to the Diamond facilities to reprogram the software of the ECMs on the truck fleet in order to conceal the 2016 alterations. Defendants Diamond Environmental Services, LP, Arie Eric De Jong III and Jorge Levya Rodriguez are charged with evidence tampering, based on the later alterations to the ECMs.
“We are all the victims of environmental crime,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “We aren’t going to allow companies to take shortcuts and pollute the environment.” Brewer praised prosecutor Melanie Pierson and investigators from the FBI and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, for protecting the public.
San Diego FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner noted, “Today’s indictments underscore the FBI’s continued commitment to our law enforcement partners in combatting environmental crime in San Diego County. The alleged activity impacts every citizen and visitor to San Diego by contributing to declining air quality and increasing public exposure to airborne pollutants. The FBI will continue to work diligently to protect the citizens of San Diego County from entities engaged in illegal business practices which result in environmental harm.”
“The defendants have been charged with conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act and tampering with the emissions control equipment on their commercial diesel trucks,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Jay M. Green of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in California. “The alleged crimes would increase air pollution linked to respiratory illnesses and environmental degradation. Today’s indictment serves as a reminder that EPA and our partners are steadfast in our commitment to protect human health and the environment.”
GSA Engineering Fined $90,000 for UST Fraud Allegations
The California Water Resources Control Board announced a settlement with GSA Engineering Inc. (GSA) over allegations that it submitted inflated invoices to the Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund and made kickback payments to a laboratory that conspired to falsify reports.
“Reimbursement of actual costs and submittal of reliable analytical data are essential to our Cleanup Fund program,” said Yvonne West, director of the Office of Enforcement. “The Office of Enforcement will vigorously investigate and prosecute unscrupulous firms and individuals who falsify or otherwise compromise documents and data for financial gains.”
The State Water Board alleged that GSA, an environmental consulting firm based in Pacific Palisade, made misrepresentations with reimbursement requests that included hidden kickback payments in padded laboratory invoices and directed the laboratory to revise results to an expected value rather than resample and rerun questionable results. The laboratory was Paramount-based Cal Tech Environmental Laboratories, LLC and its owner, Mr. Roobik Yaghoubi. Yaghoubi pleaded guilty
to a felony false data charge in Los Angeles County (Case No. BA450757) in November 2017.
As part of the February 2019 settlement between GSA and the State Water Board, GSA will pay a $90,000 penalty, and the company and its principal, Daniel Louks, will be disqualified from participating in any State Water Board reimbursement program, including the Cleanup Fund.
For more information on the State Water Board’s efforts to prevent, investigate and prosecute cases of fraud, waste and/or abuse against the Cleanup Fund, see the fact sheet
. The State Water Board maintains an online list of disqualified businesses
and persons banned from working for the State of California.
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