EPA has opened new library facilities at its Federal Triangle complex in Washington, D.C. The new libraries will house the Agency's four important collections in one central location to provide the American public with easier access to environmental information resources.
The four collections are Headquarters Environmental Management and Policy, the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics Chemical Library, Pollution Prevention Information Center and the INFOTERRA/USA international environmental resource. There are study carrels, Internet terminals and staffed information desks to assist the public in each library. The new libraries hold 40,000 volumes and are just a portion of the over 300,000 volumes that EPA has in its National Network of Environmental Libraries.
For more information on library locations and times, see
EPA PROPOSES GRANTING TWO PETITIONS FOR EXEMPTIONS TO IMPORT FOR DISPOSAL
EPA is proposing to grant two petitions submitted by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) seeking exemptions to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which bans the import of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the United States. The petitions address shipment of PCB-containing items generated at U.S. overseas military installations and would enable shipment to the U.S. solely for the purpose of disposing of the items under strict TSCA safety guidelines.
Polychlorinated biphenyls are man-made (synthetic) chemicals that were used as coolants and lubricants in transformers, capacitors, fluorescent lighting fixtures and other electrical equipment. Since the late 1970s, the United States has been removing PCBs from use and disposing of remaining materials.
One petition is to import and dispose of PCBs stored by DLA on Wake Island, a United States territory in the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii. The second is to import PCBs from several U.S. military bases in Japan. EPA believes DLA has demonstrated in its petitions both that import of these materials poses no unreasonable risks to human health or the environment and that good faith efforts to find alternatives have been sought.
For additional information, see the Federal Register notice at:
EPA CELEBRATES 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF INTERNATIONAL OZONE-PROTECTION TREATY
EPA marked this week the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement designed to protect the ozone layer, which protects the earth from the sun's ultraviolet rays. EPA is the federal agency responsible for ensuring the United States' phase out of ozone-depleting substances.
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed by the United States in 1987 under President Ronald Reagan, and to date has been ratified by 183 countries. Through active participation in negotiation and implementation of the Protocol, the United States has taken a leadership role in the global effort to protect the ozone layer. In the early 1990s, President George H.W. Bush was responsible for accelerating the phase out of ozone-depleting substances and for expanding the list of regulated substances to include hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and methyl bromide.
The United States has implemented key parts of the Montreal Protocol faster and at less cost than originally anticipated. The phase out of high-priority "Class I" substances such as CFCs has been accomplished four to six years faster, has included 13 more chemicals and cost significantly less than was predicted at the time the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments were enacted. EPA has also worked with industry to promote development of and ensure a smooth transition to alternatives to ozone depleting substances. During 2000 and 2001 alone, EPA helped bring to market 31 new, environmentally friendly alternatives to ozone depleting substances.
In the 1980s, scientists began accumulating evidence showing that the ozone layer was being depleted. Depletion of the ozone layer results in increased ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching the Earth's surface, which can lead to a greater chance of overexposure to UV radiation and the related health effects of skin cancer, cataracts, and immune suppression. Continued compliance with the Montreal Protocol will ultimately lead to reduced incidence of skin cancer, eye damage and other health effects related to exposure to the sun's UV rays.
For more information about the Montreal Protocol and EPA's Stratospheric
Ozone Protection Programs, see
LOUISIANA CORP., FORMER MANAGER PLEAD GUILTY
PCS Nitrogen Inc., which operates a chemical plant in Geismar, La., pleaded guilty on Sept. 10 to violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) and its former environmental manager, Michael Patterson of Prarieville, La., pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). In its plea, PCS admitted that employees at its Geismar facility failed to include 20 sources of air pollution in the company's CAA Title V air permit. If the court accepts the federal plea, PCS will pay $1.75 million in fines to the federal government and $250,000 in fines to the state of Louisiana. PCS will also serve five years probation and complete the installation of over $9 million in additional pollution control equipment at its Geismar facility.
Patterson admitted that he violated the limits of the wastewater discharge permit for the gypsum stacks at the PCS facility. When sentenced, he faces a maximum sentence of up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000.
EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI investigated the case with
assistance from EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is
being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's office in Baton Rouge.
CLEAN AIR ACT (CAA)
- October 21, 2002 - Existing and new pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities
subject to the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants for
pharmaceuticals must comply with 40 CFR 63, subpart GGG.
- October 22, 2002 - Existing sources subject to organic hazardous air
pollutant emission controls under 40 CFR 63, subpart H, for equipment leaks
from Groups II and IV chemical process units must submit a semiannual report
CLEAN WATER ACT (CWA)
- September 30, 2002 - Owners or operators of industrial facilities located in
EPA Region 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, or 10 subject to terms and conditions of
EPA's NPDES storm water multi-sector general permit must calculate average
concentrations for the pollutant parameter that it monitors.
- October 28, 2002 - Owners and operators of industrial facilities in EPA
Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, or 10 subject to the terms and conditions of
EPA's NPDES storm water multi-sector general permit must submit compliance
monitoring results from the second year of the permit to EPA.
SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT (SDWA)
- October 10, 2002 - Unfiltered public water systems must submit a summary report to the state for the previous year.
NEW, EASIER WEB ACCESS TO CLEAN AIR MARKETS EMISSIONS DATA
EPA has a powerful new query tool on its Clean Air Markets web site. This user-friendly tool provides faster and easier public access to emissions and facility data for the thousands of units affected by the Acid Rain Program and the NOx Budget Program (a nitrogen oxides emissions reduction program to mitigate ozone problems in the Northeast).
This is the latest e-government product in the ongoing efforts of the Agency to conduct business on-line and better serve the public. The new approach allows users to define the exact data they want from EPA's extensive records, and to receive it in an easy-to-use format. Users can select from a number of predefined emissions data reports or create their own queries. Also available are characteristics of units located at each facility, including fuel type and pollution control equipment. Users can even download prepackaged files with hourly emissions data.
This new tool is available at http://www.epa.gov/airmarkets, under Data and Maps.