October 31, 2022
In this report, findings show that Maryland is on track for meeting its 2030 greenhouse gas (GHG) targets and has more than achieved its statewide reduction goal for 2020 (25% from 2006 levels by 2020). In fact, by 2020, statewide emissions were 30% below the 2006 baseline.
“Under Governor Hogan’s leadership, Maryland is a national leader in combating climate change,” said MDE Secretary Horacio Tablada. “This progress report tells the story of our state’s progress and highlights the important need for continued and sustained action and support to meet our goals.”
Maryland’s GHG emissions reduction plans advance each of its measures with an eye toward how they can best benefit overburdened and underserved communities and address long-standing injustices. Additionally, the GHG emission reduction plan underscores the importance of ensuring a positive impact on Maryland’s economy that protects existing manufacturing jobs and creates new jobs in the state.
MDE, in partnership with the University of Maryland and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, pioneered the use of high-resolution LiDAR data, ecosystem modeling, and satellite imagery to measure annual change in forest carbon. Building on research from the NASA Carbon Monitoring System, this best-available science improves Maryland’s progress tracking and allows for targeted planning to grow the state’s forest carbon sink. Maryland is the first state in the nation to use a remote sensing-based forest carbon monitoring system.
The 2030 GGRA Plan
will be in effect until MDE drafts a new plan in June 2023. The new goals aim to reduce GHG emissions to 60% by 2031, and to achieve net zero by 2045.
NC Moves to Adopt Zero-Emission Truck Regulation
Governor Cooper recently signed an executive order for North Carolina to initiate an Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) rule, a policy that will help to achieve widespread electrification of vehicles ranging from delivery vans to tractor trailers. A recent report
shows that by adopting the ACT rule, lives will be saved, respiratory illnesses avoided, and harmful greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution will be reduced. North Carolina’s transportation sector currently accounts for over one third
of greenhouse gas emissions. The recent announcement is part of Governor Cooper’s commitment from 2020 when fifteen states signed a Memorandum of Understanding
to clean up transportation pollution.
Oregon DEQ Issues 15 Penalties in September for Environmental Violations
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued 15 penalties totaling $173,926 in September for various environmental violations. A detailed list of violations and resulting penalties is at https://ordeq.org/enforcement.
Fines ranged from $1,700 to $13,600. Alleged violations include construction activities that caused sediment to run into a nearby creek and an industrial facility failing to collect monitoring samples. Additionally, DEQ fined an electric charging company $2.7 million
for selling fraudulent clean fuel credits and fined a potato processing facility $127,800
for causing nitrate groundwater contamination in the Lower Umatilla Basin. DEQ announced these penalties separately and the fines are not included in the total.
DEQ issued civil penalties to the following organizations:
- Alsea Quarries I, LLC, $1,700, Alsea, air quality
- Central Coast Clean Water - Otter Rock, $2,250, Otter Rock, wastewater
- City of Pendleton, $11,400, Pendleton, wastewater
- Clackamas Water Environment Services (Hoodland STP), $7,500, Welches, wastewater
- Del Monte Fresh Produce, $9,322, Portland, stormwater
- Henseler Family Real Estate Oregon LLC, $13,600, Eugene, stormwater
- Hurtco LLC, $19,135, Astoria, stormwater
- Interstate Meat Distributors, Inc., $6,778, Clackamas, stormwater
- R. Simplot Company, $6,800, Portland, stormwater
- Odell STP, $2,700, Hood River, wastewater
- Oldcastle West APG, Inc., $2,200, Portland, air quality
- Richard and Virginia Sorem, $8,400, Portland, water quality
- Roseburg LFG Energy, LLC, $3,600, Roseburg, air quality
- Trimble - Triple Creek, $68,929, Sandy, stormwater
- YRC Freight, Inc., $9,612, Portland, stormwater
Organizations or individuals must either pay the fines or file an appeal within 20 days of receiving notice of the penalty. They may be able to offset a portion of a penalty by funding a supplemental environmental project that improves Oregon’s environment. Learn more about these projects at https://ordeq.org/sep.
Penalties may also include orders requiring specific tasks to prevent ongoing violations or additional environmental harm.
Washington State Fines City of Everett After Discharge of Incompletely Treated Wastewater
After a malfunctioning pump at the City of Everett’s wastewater treatment facility allowed 9.9 million gallons of incompletely treated wastewater to flow into the Snohomish River in June, the Washington Department of Ecology has fined the city $13,000.
During the incident, a pump malfunctioned that was supposed to inject sodium hypochlorite to disinfect wastewater after other treatment steps. The malfunctioning pump meant that partially treated wastewater was discharged from the facility without disinfection for 19 hours over June 4-5. The issue was similar to an earlier malfunction, and the city was in the process of installing a new sensor to detect such problems. However, when the pump failed in June, backup systems including the new sensor did not work.
The city’s wastewater permit requires disinfection as a step in the treatment process. The lack of disinfection allowed harmful bacteria and viruses to enter the river and flow into Puget Sound. Bacteria and viruses can cause illness to humans and wildlife, as well as interfere with recreational and cultural activities and shellfish harvesting.
Because of these potential public and environmental health impacts, the City of Everett’s wastewater permit requires the facility to send immediate notification of disinfection failures to Ecology, the Washington State Department of Health’s Shellfish Program, and the local health district. When the pump failed, though, the city did not report this event until the morning of June 7, days after the disinfection system failure was discovered. The city also failed to collect a required sample in order to determine fecal coliform bacteria levels in the partially treated, non-disinfected wastewater.
In its penalty, Ecology cited the city for the unauthorized discharge, a delay in making required notifications to Ecology and public health authorities, and failure to sample the unusual discharge.
“The City of Everett could have prevented this serious incident by ensuring their systems were functioning properly,” said Rachel McCrea, Water Quality section manager for Ecology’s Northwest Region. “In addition, we need timely reporting and sampling when something does go wrong, so we have an accurate picture of water quality, and health agencies know to warn the public to avoid contact with the water. These are longstanding requirements that help to protect human and environmental health.”
The city has installed a new backup sensor system, has standardized additional inspection and testing of the hypochlorite feed system pump, and has also trained their staff on the correct notification procedure and timeline. “We believe these are important steps to reduce the likelihood of similar incidents,” McCrea said.
Water quality penalty payments to Ecology are placed into the state’s Coastal Protection Fund,
which provides grants to public agencies and Tribes for water quality restoration projects.
Ohio Manufacturer Faces $1.2M in Penalties After 7th Worker in 5 Years Suffers Severe Injuries
An Ohio vinyl tile manufacturer faces $1,232,705 in proposed penalties after OSHA inspectors responded when a worker suffered severe injuries as a result of being caught in a machine on April 28, 2022.
The incident marks the seventh injury at the NOX US, LLC plant in Fostoria since February 2017 related to the company’s failure to follow required machine safety procedures. Since 2017, the company also recorded at least 13 serious injuries at the plant caused by exposure to burn and amputation hazards. OSHA placed the Fostoria plant in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program
The April inspection found that the injured worker’s finger was first caught in a rotating spindle on a plastic winding machine and then their body was pulled around the machine’s spindle. The worker, who had been on the job just six weeks, suffered multiple severe injuries that required surgery.
“NOX US, LLC’s continued failure to correct previously identified hazards has led to another worker suffering severe and potentially life-altering injuries,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Bill Donovan in Chicago. “When an employer fails to ensure dangerous machines are guarded or de-energized properly, they show an indifference to worker safety, and the risk of serious injuries multiplies.”
Specifically, OSHA issued willful violations after inspectors noted the company frequently exposed workers to caught-in and amputation hazards by failing to prevent them from coming into contact with operating machine parts. NOX US failed to establish, test and require the use of machine lockout/tagout procedures or train workers on hazards. They also operated unguarded rollers and other equipment and exposed workers to trip and fall hazards from oil residue on floors and non-uniform stair risers.
“NOX US, LLC continues to put profit before safety, and the company’s efforts when it comes to worker safety are unacceptable,” said OSHA Area Office Director Todd Jensen in Toledo, Ohio. “We will use all means necessary to hold this company accountable and to protect workers’ rights to a safe and healthy workplace.”
Based in Seoul, South Korea, NOX Corp. opened the Fostoria plant in November 2015. The company supplies luxury vinyl flooring to customers in more than 50 countries. The plant has about 200 employees.
Pennsylvania Poultry Processing Facility Failed To Pay $162K in Penalties, Address Safety Violations
A federal court has found Birdsboro Kosher Farms Corp. in contempt for failing to pay $162,359 in penalties after an inspection by OSHA found numerous safety hazards, including willful, serious and repeat violations.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's Oct. 19, 2022, decision is the latest legal action spurred by two separate 2016 safety and health inspections at the Birdsboro, Pennsylvania, poultry processing facility. The inspections led OSHA to issue citations for violations related to federal lockout/tagout, hearing conservation and personal protective equipment standards.
The company contested the citations with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Following a full hearing on the citations' merits, an administrative law judge affirmed the initial citations in a Sept. 23, 2019, decision that became the commission's final order on Oct. 22, 2019. Birdsboro Kosher Farms petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for review, and the Secretary of Labor filed a cross-application for enforcement.
"OSHA's safety and health standards protect workers and ensure their jobs don't expose them to needless risks," said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. "Employers who ignore their responsibility to provide a safe work environment or who deny their legal obligations will be held to account by the U.S. Department of Labor."
In December 2020, the Court of Appeals denied Birdsboro's petition for review and granted the Secretary's cross-application for enforcement. The court ordered Birdsboro Kosher Farms to abate any unabated violations from the citations, submit abatement documentation to OSHA, and pay the remaining penalties.
Birdsboro ignored the court's order, failing to pay the penalties or provide abatement certification. A subsequent OSHA inspection revealed violations of some of the same standards underlying the court's 2020 order and enforcement decree.
In response, the Secretary of Labor filed a petition on March 18, 2022, for judgment of civil contempt. The court granted the petition and ordered Birdsboro to pay the outstanding penalties of $162,369 plus interest and fees or agree to a payment plan, and certify abatement of the violations, all within 20 days. Failure to comply will subject Birdsboro to sanctions the court deems necessary to compel compliance with its judgment.
"The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has reaffirmed that Birdsboro Kosher Farms' actions violated federal law," said Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda. "The Department of Labor will continue to use every resource available to ensure workers are safe on the job, including holding employers accountable when they violate laws intended to protect workers."
EPA to Propose Requiring Wrangell Wastewater Plant to Disinfect Sewage Discharges
The EPA is proposing stricter limits on the amount of pollution Wrangell’s wastewater treatment plant will be allowed to release to Zimovia Strait.
The discharges from the Wrangell facility are not consistently disinfected, contain high levels of fecal coliform and enterococcus bacteria, and require large mixing areas to meet Alaska’s water quality standards for bacteria.
The new EPA permit will contain more stringent bacteria limits that will require upgrades to the existing plant. The plant will have five years to comply with the new requirements.
About waivers under Section 301(h) of the Clean Water Act
Most municipal wastewater treatment plants in the U.S. are required to conduct “secondary
” treatment, which is a combination of physical and biological treatment requirements; the effluent quality for secondary treatment is defined in terms of biological oxygen demand, total suspended solids, and pH.
However, in limited circumstances, Section 301(h) of the Clean Water Act authorizes EPA – with concurrence from the state – to issue discharge permits requiring less than secondary treatment.
Congress mandated that the last year communities could apply for a waiver from secondary treatment requirements under Section 301(h) was 1982, with re-application required every five years. To qualify for renewal of a 301(h) waiver, applicants must satisfy specific criteria designed to maintain and protect the receiving water and ensure compliance with state water quality standards.
Since the 1980s, EPA has issued permits modified by 301(h) waivers for several other southeast facilities, including Haines, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Sitka, and Skagway. The permits were last reissued between 2000 and 2002.
Over the next several months EPA also will propose new Clean Water Act permits for Haines, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Sitka, and Skagway that would require their treatment plants to also significantly reduce releases of bacteria to local waters within five years.
Free Amazon HD 10 Tablet with RCRA and DOT Training
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