U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta announced that Samuel G. Bonasso, a former secretary of transportation for the state of West Virginia, has been named deputy administrator of the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA).
As deputy administrator of RSPA, Bonasso will have significant responsibilities for safe and secure movement of hazardous materials to industry and consumers by all transportation modes, including the nation's pipelines; rapid response to emergencies by government agencies; training for transportation safety professionals; and applying science and technology to meet national transportation needs.
Bonasso has more than 35 years of experience as a professional engineer, as an adjunct professor of civil engineering at West Virginia University, and as West Virginia's secretary of transportation from 1998 to 2000, with responsibility for seven agencies, boards and commissions with authority across all major modes of transportation. This intermodal background fits perfectly with the broad range of transportation programs managed by RSPA.
Bonasso began his career as a professional engineer in 1967 and was president and founder of Ski Lift International, a ski lift manufacturing and construction company. Later, he was president, founder and managing principal of Alpha Associates, a regional architectural and engineering design firm in Morgantown, WV. Bonasso received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Miami, FL, in 1962 and a master's degree in civil engineering from West Virginia University in 1964. Most recently, he was chairman of Literati Information Technology, a West Virginia consulting firm.
For additional information, go to the RSPA website http://www.rspa.dot.gov/
or contact James.Mitchell@rspa.dot.gov or Gordon.Delcambre@rspa.dot.gov.
CLEAN AIR ACT (CAA)
- November 14, 2002 - Each producer, importer, or exporter of a Class II controlled substance must submit a report to EPA providing information on the production, imports, and exports of such chemicals during the previous quarter.
- November 19, 2002 - Sources subject to organic hazardous air pollutant emission controls under 40 CFR 63, Subpart G, for synthetic organic chemical manufacturing industry production processes must submit semiannual report.
EPA FILES COMPLAINTS AGAINST THREE UNIVERSITIES FOR HAZARDOUS WASTE VIOLATIONS
Columbia University, Long Island University and New Jersey City University face a total of $1.1 million in penalties for alleged violations of hazardous waste regulations. EPA, as part of its ongoing efforts to ensure the protection of those working at and attending institutions of higher learning, has issued civil enforcement actions against the three universities alleging violations of federal and state laws that provide for the safe handling and disposal of hazardous wastes.
"These complaints and penalties highlight the real benefits of the self-audit and disclosure programs that EPA is promoting at colleges and universities," said EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny. "EPA encourages colleges and universities to take advantage of these programs, but they should also keep in mind that we will continue to inspect institutions that are not taking part in them."
The civil complaints, the basis for the proposed penalties, charge the universities with violations of state laws and the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which ensures that hazardous waste is managed in an environmentally sound manner from "cradle to grave." All three complaints include orders requiring the universities to promptly address the alleged deficiencies and to comply with all appropriate federal and state hazardous waste laws.
The complaint against Columbia University carries a total penalty of $797,029. Most of the penalty, $584,158, is the result of charges that Columbia failed to minimize the risk of fire, explosion and/or the release of hazardous chemicals into the environment. Additional charges allege that Columbia failed to determine whether the solid waste it generated was hazardous; did not obtain a permit to store hazardous waste or comply with the regulations that would exempt such storage from the permit requirements; failed to close, safely handle, and store hazardous waste containers; did not have an adequate hazardous waste contingency plan or maintain records on having responsible staff trained to implement the plan; failed to make appropriate emergency arrangements with local hospitals to familiarize them with the hazardous waste Columbia handles and the injuries or illnesses that could result from them; and did not comply with hazardous waste tracking requirements. The complaint is based upon inspections at Columbia's Morningside Heights campus and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in Palisades, New York, in March and July, 2001, and upon information Columbia provided in response to EPA requests for information.
Long Island University's $219,883 penalty is the result of a civil complaint charging the university with violations of federal and New York State laws that govern the identification and storage of hazardous wastes. The complaint charges that Long Island University failed to determine whether several solid waste streams it generated were hazardous wastes; stored hazardous wastes without a permit; failed to adequately respond to EPA's requests for information about its hazardous wastes; and did not minimize the risk of fire, explosions or release of hazardous waste into the environment. Hazardous wastes that are the subject of the complaint include mercury, organic solvents, picric acid, spent fluorescent light bulbs, used computer monitors and other wastes primarily generated by or used in Long Island University's teaching and research laboratories and maintenance facilities at its Brooklyn campus. The complaint is based upon inspections EPA conducted in November 2001 at the university's Brooklyn campus.
New Jersey City University faces a penalty totaling $88,344 for violations of state hazardous waste and tank regulations. The complaint alleges that New Jersey City University failed to determine if wastes generated at its facility met the criteria for being hazardous; did not minimize the possibility of a fire, explosion or any unplanned release of hazardous waste or hazardous waste constituents; failed to keep release detection records for two underground storage tanks (which have since been removed); and did not train employees in proper hazardous waste management and emergency procedures. The complaint is based on inspections EPA conducted in November 2000 at the university's Jersey City campus.
Each university is ordered to take steps, if they have not already done so, to comply with applicable federal and state requirements and to submit a written notice of such compliance. If not in compliance, the university must state the reasons for the noncompliance and provide a schedule for achieving prompt compliance. Each of the universities has the option to contest the facts alleged in the complaint, request a hearing on the issues raised by the complaint and compliance order, and/or enter into negotiations to reach a settlement agreement with EPA.
EPA continues to encourage participation in its Colleges and Universities Initiative, which has been in place since 1999. EPA established the initiative because it found that many such institutions were not aware of their responsibilities under various environmental laws. As part of the initiative, EPA sent letters to 365 colleges and universities in New Jersey, New York, and Puerto Rico; held free workshops to help colleges and universities comply; set up a Web site that provides information about their duties under the law; and warned them that EPA inspections of their facilities - with the risk of financial penalties - were imminent. EPA attempted to make the institutions aware of the agency's Voluntary Audit Policy through which institutions can investigate and disclose hazardous waste violations to the agency and, if the necessary conditions are met, receive a partial or complete reduction in financial penalties.
To date, 48 colleges and universities in the region have come forward to disclose violations to EPA. More than half of those schools have been granted a 100% waiver of certain penalties while the other cases are still under review. EPA has signed self-audit agreements with Rutgers University and the State University of New York (SUNY) in which those schools have committed to long-term audit, disclosure and remediation schedules in exchange for the benefits of the Voluntary Audit Policy. Previous complaints with penalties totaling $433,669 have been filed in 2002 against Pratt Institute, Manhattan College and Princeton University. The Colleges and Universities Initiative is an ongoing program with additional investigations anticipated.
More information on EPA's Voluntary Audit Policy is available at
http://www.epa.gov/region02/capp/cip/. The web site for the Colleges and
Universities Initiative is http://www.epa.gov/region02/p2/college/
AMERICA RECYCLES DAY
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman met with the heads of the nation's leading aging organizations to announce that the agency is developing a new Aging Initiative that will result in a national agenda designed to examine and prioritize environmental health threats to older persons.
The Initiative will examine the impact that a rapidly growing aging population will have on ecosystems as well as encourage older persons to volunteer in their own communities to reduce hazards and protect the environment for future generations. This will be the first coordinated approach by the agency to address environmental hazards that affect the health of the elderly. Thirty-five different organizations were represented at the meeting.
Currently there are 35 million people in the United States 65 years of age and older, and that number is expected to double over the next 30 years. In 2011, the first of the baby boomers will begin to turn 65. Among older Americans there is an increasing number who are at risk of chronic diseases and disabling conditions that may be caused or exacerbated by environmental conditions. Hazards that may adversely impact the health of older Americans are lead, indoor and outdoor air pollution, microorganisms in water and pesticides. As part of the Initiative, the agency will build on ongoing projects.
In December, the National Academy of Sciences will hold a workshop in Washington, D.C., to examine the susceptibility of older persons to environmental health hazard, and what interventions can be undertaken to reduce the exposure to environmental hazards.
The Aging Initiative will draw on the expertise of professionals and
researchers at the federal, state and local levels in the fields of
environment and health. EPA will also work with the public and service
provider organizations dealing with the aging population. Whitman announced
that public meetings to get input for the Initiative would be held in the
spring in California, Florida, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington,
NEW DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION WEBSITE TO AID AMERICAN SHIPPERS
The U.S. Maritime Administration's Office of Cargo Preference has developed a website that makes it easier for exporters and importers to locate U.S.-flag ships to carry cargo to designated points around the world.
"This site is of great value not only to exporters and importers, but also to a variety of government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of Defense, who are charged with booking government-impelled cargoes bound for overseas destinations," stated Maritime Administrator Captain William G. Schubert.
He continued, "We have a responsibility at the Maritime Administration to encourage and promote the use of U.S.-flag vessels in international trade because these ships provide critical jobs to skilled American seafarers and licensed officers. Further, these U.S.-flag vessels offer a vital presence in important international trade lanes."
Arranging for shipping around the world can be a complex undertaking. Even identifying U.S.-flag carriers can be time-consuming and difficult. With the web-based system, the shipper simply selects from a drop-down menu the country of final destination of its cargo. Once the country has been identified, a database appears of U.S.-flag carriers who serve that trade route, containing the carrier's name, frequency of calls and points of contact with web site information. Click on http://www.marad.dot.gov/usflag/ to view which carrier is available to service specific needs.
The U.S. Maritime Administration is the agency within the Department of Transportation that promotes the use of an effective and efficient U.S.-flag merchant fleet. The Office of Cargo Preference is responsible for monitoring and ensuring adherence to the U.S. cargo preference laws and regulations. These laws are part of the overall statutory program that supports the privately owned and operated U.S.-flag merchant fleet and requires that a certain percentage of Government-impelled cargo be carried on U.S.-flag vessels.
To learn more about the cargo preference laws, regulations, and programs,
visit http://www.marad.dot.gov/offices/cargo_pref.html; or via email at
firstname.lastname@example.org; or telephone (202) 366-4610 or 800-9US-FLAG.
EPA ANNOUNCES $3 MILLION ENFORCEMENT SETTLEMENT WITH ALLIED WASTE SYSTEMS
United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan and Robert W. Varney, Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency's New England Office, announced that the United States has reached a settlement with a Boston trash hauler, Allied Waste Systems, Inc. ("Allied") which resolves the government's claims that Allied violated the Clean Air Act. The proposed Consent Decree requires the company to pay a $782,550 civil penalty and spend $2.3 million on an environmental project that will improve Boston's air quality at Allied's Howard Transfer Station in Roxbury. A civil complaint was also filed simultaneously with the Consent Decree.
The settlement stems from violations of provisions of the Clean Air Act that are intended to protect the stratospheric ozone layer from the harmful effects of certain chemicals, known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These chemicals, commonly found in coolants, are known to cause the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer, which protects the earth's surface from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Under EPA regulations, waste haulers who dispose of household appliances that may contain CFCs or HCFCs, including refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners, must take steps to ensure that these chemicals are not released to the atmosphere.
According to the civil complaint, between July 1997 and August 1998, Allied compacted or crushed discarded appliances collected under the trash pick-up contract with the City of Boston, without either recovering any remaining refrigerant from the appliances, or verifying that the refrigerant was previously evacuated from the appliances. Upon learning of EPA's inspections, Allied corrected the improper disposal practice.
U.S. Attorney Sullivan noted that a similar enforcement case against Waste Management of Massachusetts, Inc., also involving improper handling of CFCs and HCFCs, was settled and announced in April of this year.
In addition to requiring payment of a substantial civil penalty, the Consent Decree requires Allied to spend at least $2.3 million on a Supplemental Environmental Project as described below; to comply with Section 608(c) of the Clean Air Act; to conduct appropriate training of employees who are engaged in activities concerning the collection and disposal of appliances; and to implement a tracking system for all appliances picked up by Allied in the City of Boston in order to ensure future compliance with the regulatory requirements.
The Supplemental Environmental Project involves the construction of a new building at Allied's Roxbury transfer station and installing state-of-the-art emissions control technology capable of reducing dust, odors, and volatile organic compounds. This will improve aesthetics and provide for more efficient waste transfer operations.