September 09, 2019
EPA is proposing
the results of a residual risk and technology review (RTR) of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Miscellaneous Coating Manufacturing (MCM NESHAP) facilities, as required by the Clean Air Act (CAA). EPA has proposed to find risks due to emissions of air toxics to be acceptable from the MCM source category and to determine that the current NESHAP provides an ample margin of safety to protect public health. The EPA identified no new cost-effective controls under the technology review to achieve further emissions reductions from process units subject to standards under the NESHAP.
EPA has also proposed revisions related to emissions during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM), including clarifying regulatory provisions for certain vent control bypasses; provisions for electronic reporting of performance test results, performance evaluation reports, compliance reports, and Notification of Compliance Status (NOCS) reports; and provisions to conduct periodic performance testing of oxidizers used to reduce emissions of organic hazardous air pollutants (HAP).
Free Amazon HD 10 Tablet with RCRA and DOT Training
Annual training is required by 40 CFR 262.17(a)(7). Learn how to complete EPA’s new electronic hazardous waste manifest, and the more than 60 changes in EPA’s new Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule. Environmental Resource Center’s Hazardous Waste Training
is available at nationwide locations, and via live webcasts. If you plan to also attend DOT hazardous materials training
, call 800-537-2372 to find out how can get your course materials on a new Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet at no extra charge.
States Fight to Hold Polluters Accountable to State and Local Laws
New York Attorney General Letitia James joined a coalition of attorneys general in filing an amicus brief
supporting Baltimore City in its lawsuit, Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. BP P.L.C, et al.,
to hold fossil fuel companies accountable under state law for actions contributing to climate change and its resulting harms. In their brief, the attorneys general argue that all levels of government have a shared interest in addressing the impacts of climate change and the district court was correct when it sent the case back to state court.
“Polluters are not immune from being held accountable to state laws,” Attorney General James said. “Cities and states are committed to protecting the health and wellbeing of their residents, including fighting against the increasingly devastating impacts of climate change. To that end, we refuse to abdicate our duty and our right to seek legal recourse against those who violate our local and state laws.”
Baltimore originally filed its case in state court, and the companies removed the suit to federal court in July 2018. In June 2019, the federal district court for the District of Maryland remanded the City’s lawsuit back to state court, rejecting the companies’ argument that federal common law governed the City’s claims. The companies have appealed that decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
In their brief supporting the City, the attorneys general argue that the district court was correct to reject the companies’ argument that the City’s claims are inherently federal-law claims and belong in federal court. The attorneys general also argue, among other things, that the effects of climate change often are felt at the state and local level, and that state and local efforts to address the problem are essential.
Joining Attorney General James in filing the brief are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
EPA, Delta Western Reach Settlement Over Federal Clean Air Act Violations at Juneau Fuel Terminal
EPA has settled with Delta Western, LLC for alleged federal Clean Air Act violations at the company’s bulk petroleum storage and distribution facility in Juneau, Alaska. Delta Western distributes diesel and gasoline to commercial customers in Alaska from its facility on Mt. Roberts Street.
According to Ed Kowalski, Director of EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division in Seattle, Washington, the scope and scale of Delta Western’s operation required them to install adequate air pollution control equipment and technology at their facility. “When terminals handle a certain volume of petroleum, more sophisticated pollution controls must be installed to reduce emissions of hazardous pollutants and better protect people and the environment. We’re glad to hear that the required equipment to reduce harmful air emissions is either now installed or will be shortly,” said Kowalski.
After issuing an information request to the facility in April 2018, EPA alleged that Delta Western violated the Clean Air Act’s New Source Performance Standards
for storage vessels and gasoline distribution terminals. EPA also alleged that the company failed to comply with the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants that apply to bulk gasoline distribution and dispensing facilities. Examples of volatile organic compounds related to bulk petroleum facilities include benzene, toluene and xylene.
In addition to paying a $400,000 penalty, the company also committed to install internal “floating roofs” to control emissions from three high capacity gasoline storage tanks and install additional controls to reduce emissions from gasoline delivery trucks loading at their terminal. These upgrades are scheduled to be completed by Oct. 31, 2019. Installation of these controls will significantly reduce the emissions of toxic vapors from the terminal.
Minimizing and controlling airborne emissions from bulk fuel terminals, especially those in populated areas, helps protect communities by reducing harmful vapor exposure and preventing harm to sensitive lung tissue. By installing available air pollution control technology, companies like Delta Western can fuel the American economy while helping surrounding neighborhoods or workers at nearby industrial sites breathe easier.
JBER Cited for Hazardous Waste Violations
EPA announced that it has settled a case it brought against Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson
for violations of federal laws governing the handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous wastes.
EPA alleges that between 2016 and 2018 JBER personnel violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act when they failed to evaluate and categorize two waste streams as hazardous waste; failed to conduct required weekly inspections of hazardous waste accumulation areas; improperly implemented container management and labeling requirements; and failed to ensure personnel took part in annual review of training.
“Managing hazardous waste correctly is critical to the health of workers, to neighbors, and to the environment,” said Ed Kowalski, Director of EPA Region 10’s Enforcement and Compliance Assistance Division. “We’re pleased that JBER leadership took immediate action when we discovered the problems at the base.”
Performing timely and accurate hazardous waste determinations is the keystone of the RCRA program. Only after evaluating the hazards posed by a waste stream can a generator properly manage the waste to prevent releases that endanger human health and the environment. Managing hazardous waste in accordance with the conditions for storage without a permit minimizes the potential for release to the environment. Failure to label containers makes it difficult to maintain an inventory of wastes stored for proper waste management.
JBER promptly corrected the violations and instituted new measures to prevent their recurrence. The base and its contractor have each agreed to pay a combined penalty totaling $78,919.
MPG Industries Warehouse Fire
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow filed a lawsuit against MPG Industries, Inc. (MPG) following a massive fire at the company’s Will County facility that resulted in air contamination and water pollution.
Raoul and Glasgow filed the lawsuit in Will County Circuit Court following an Aug. 3 fire at the company’s warehouse located in New Lenox, Ill. MPG manufactures chemicals using petroleum and oil-based products. According to the complaint, the fire caused smoke, odors, and unknown chemicals and materials to be released into the air. Additionally, water and foam used to extinguish the fire mixed with unknown chemicals, seeped into soil and also drained into a drainage ditch, storm sewers and a farm field. Raoul and Glasgow allege that the released and burned materials remaining at and around the site continue to significantly jeopardize the environment and public health.
The case is being prosecuted by the Attorney General’s office in cooperation with the Will County State’s Attorney’s office, based on a referral from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
“The fire at MPG’s New Lenox facility continues to impact the community even after the flames were extinguished,” Raoul said. “I appreciate the continued partnership between my office and the Will County State’s Attorney’s office as we work to protect the environment and residents of Will County.”
“We need to vastly improve oversight and coordination among local, state, and federal authorities regarding businesses like MPG that are dealing with highly toxic chemicals. Tragedies like this chemical fire, resulting in both immediate risks to community safety and the very real possibility of longer-term health concerns to those exposed, cannot be allowed to occur,” Glasgow said. “We must work together as a community to ensure that all current safety regulations are being followed, and enact any additional safeguards necessary to prevent future environmental tragedies like the MPG catastrophe.”
“The company’s failure to retain an environmental contractor to properly remediate the impacted areas resulted in Illinois EPA seeking assistance from U.S. EPA to stabilize the areas,” said Illinois EPA Director John J. Kim. “MPG Industries is the responsible party and must be held accountable, including the completion of the necessary investigation and related remediation activities for both on and off-site environmental impacts.”
According to the lawsuit, MPG stored up to 72 different types of liquid chemicals at its New Lenox facility. Approximately 20 fire departments, including several with trucks specially equipped with foam spray for putting out petroleum-based fires, worked to extinguish the fire even as firefighters observed multiple explosions inside the flame-engulfed buildings. The fire was so large that officials were forced to shut down a portion of Interstate 80. At least one firefighter was admitted to the hospital with suspected lung and liver damage, and all responding firefighters were required to undergo blood testing.
In the lawsuit, Raoul and Glasgow allege that, while the fire caused the release of chemicals into the air, the water and foam used to fight the fire mixed with chemicals at MPG resulted in an unknown amount of chemicals migrating into storm sewers and reaching a soybean field north of I-80. The runoff that reached the soybean field impacted an area of approximately 2,000 feet by 20 feet, and Raoul and Glasgow allege that all of the affected soybeans died.
Raoul and Glasgow are seeking a preliminary injunction that requires MPG to act immediately to correct the situation. The lawsuit also seeks to require MPG to remediate any remaining contamination, as well as civil penalties, the maximums of which are defined in state statute.
Sport Dimension, Inc. Case Settles for $39,499
Sport Dimension, Inc. (Sport Dimension) a Carson, California, based company, sold or offered for sale underwater vehicles in California, from February 2013 to March 2018. An investigation performed by California Energy Commission (Energy Commission) found that Sport Dimension was manufacturing and offering for sale underwater vehicles containing a small battery charger system that failed the marking requirement and was not certified to the Modernized Appliance Efficiency Database System (MAEDbS).
To settle this matter, Sport Dimension executed a Settlement Agreement
with the Energy Commission on August 23, 2019, for $39,499.00. The penalty monies are deposited into the Appliance Efficiency Enforcement Subaccount established by SB 454 of 2011 (Pavley). Sport Dimension has also agreed to a compliance plan to add the appropriate marking and certify all models to MAEDbS before continuing to sell in California.
Newair, LLC Case Settles for $285,458
Newair, LLC (Newair) is a Cypress, California, based company that manufactures wine coolers. Newair sold or offered for sale wine coolers in California, from July 2015 to September 2018. An investigation performed by California Energy Commission (Energy Commission) found that Newair was manufacturing and offering for sale wine coolers that were not certified to the Modernized Appliance Efficiency Database System (MAEDbS).
To settle this matter, Newair executed a Settlement Agreement
with the Energy Commission on August 23, 2019, for $285,458.00. The penalty monies are deposited into the Appliance Efficiency Enforcement Subaccount established by SB 454 of 2011 (Pavley). Newiar has also agreed to a compliance plan to certify all models to MAEDbS before continuing to sell in California.
$32,500 Penalty for Stormwater Violations
The State of Colorado’s Water Quality Control Division announced a Compliance Order on Consent (COC)
with Pueblo-based Tony J. Beltramo and Sons, Inc. resolving stormwater violations alleged in a Notice of Violation/Cease and Desist Order (NOV/CDO). The NOV/CDO, filed July 30, 2018, alleged that Tony J. Beltramo and Sons violated the Water Quality Control Act and permit requirements at the Cesar Pit Sand and Gravel Facility in Pueblo County. Under the COC, Tony J. Beltramo and Sons will pay a $32,500.00 civil penalty, which will be distributed to the State of Colorado’s Water Quality Improvement Fund. Tony J. Beltramo and Sons completed all required corrective actions and returned to compliance. The COC, filed on June 28, 2019, was subject to a 30-day public comment period.
Electric Motor Warehouse Case Settles for $10,000
Electric Motor Warehouse (EMW), a Burton, Michigan, based company sells residential pool pump and motor combinations (pool pumps). EMW sold 127 pool pumps in California, from July 2015 to February 2019.
A California Energy Commission’s investigation found that EMW was offering for sale pool pumps that did not meet the design standard and were not certified to the Modernized Appliance Efficiency Database System (MAEDbS).
To settle this matter, EMW executed a Settlement Agreement
with the Energy Commission on August 8, 2019, for $10,000.00. The penalty monies are deposited into the Appliance Efficiency Enforcement Subaccount established by SB 454 of 2011 (Pavley). EMW has also agreed to a compliance plan to implement measures to restrict the sale of single speed products for use in residential pool applications in California.
NHTSA Snuffs Carbon Monoxide Safeguards
More than 1,500 people die annually from motor vehicle-related carbon monoxide poisoning, yet the nation’s transportation safety watchdog has taken no preventative actions, according to documents obtained through a lawsuit
brought by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Compounding its inaction, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA
) has blocked efforts to require carbon monoxide detectors in cars with keyless ignitions, the latest source of CO-induced deaths and injuries.
Millions of cars on U.S. roads are equipped with keyless ignition systems that allow cars to continue running even after the fob is removed, resulting in many accidental poisonings. In addition, vehicles venting CO into passenger compartments have been the cause of major recalls.
In 2018 without explanation, NHTSA rejected a PEER petition for rule-making to require CO detectors in all new gas-powered motor vehicles and built-in engine cut-offs when the gas reaches dangerous levels inside a vehicle. Last fall, PEER submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking both an explanation for this denial and to learn the outcome of other steps the agency promised to take. In January, PEER filed suit to compel production.
Confronted in court, NHTSA says it has no responsive records it is willing to release. In an email to PEER, the Assistant U.S. Attorney, Diana Valdivia, representing the agency indicates –
- It is withholding its explanation for denying the PEER petition “as deliberative”;
- It never completed a 2016 review of dangers from keyless ignitions in automobiles; and
- It has no records reflecting its response to a similar regulation proposed in 2011 by the Society of Automotive Engineers or its announced 2013-14 investigation of seven automakers concerning their safety features for keyless vehicles.
“NHTSA will not explain why it has done nothing for the past decade to prevent vehicular carbon monoxide deaths and injuries,” stated PEER Executive Director Tim Whitehouse. “From these records, NHTSA can best be described as a supremely sleepy safety sentinel.”
A number of U.S. Senators have also pressed NHTSA for action on the issue and received this reply
: “NHTSA is evaluating a range of options to determine the best path forward to address safety concerns related to keyless ignitions…NHTSA is also evaluating the best ways to quantify the safety problem as it is difficult to accurately obtain reliable data because these cases fall outside NHTSA’s normal data acquisition channels.”
“Our lawsuit reveals that even this bland response to Congress is simply not true,” added Whitehouse, noting that absent seven years-old fatality reports, the NHTSA produced no evidence of any effort to collect data
, let alone evaluate options. “While carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, its mounting body count is hard to overlook.”
Trivia Question of the Week
Environmental News Links