June 25, 2018
EPA has issued guidance
to improve transparency with the public and with companies seeking Agency review of their new chemical substances under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The guidance, titled “Points to Consider When Preparing TSCA New Chemical Notifications,” promotes early engagement and communication, and enhances overall understanding of EPA’s technical review and analysis to better move chemicals through the evaluation process.
“Through early engagement with industry and by being clear and specific about what information we require from them in their new chemical submission, we increase manufacturers’ certainty, improve submissions, and get new, safer chemicals on the market faster and more efficiently,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
anyone who plans to manufacture (including import) a new chemical substance to provide EPA with notice before initiating the activity. This notice is known as a premanufacture notice (PMN). The guidance provides the general public, including new chemical submitters, with important information on:
- General guidance relating to new chemical notices;
- Preparation of pre-manufacture notices (PMNs), Significant New Use Notices (SNUNs), and exemption notices;
- EPA scientific approaches used in conducting PMN assessments; and
- Best practices.
EPA has incorporated comments from a December 2017 public meeting and feedback received on a November 2017 draft of the document. EPA expects that use of this guidance will result in more robust submissions to the Agency.
EPA encouraged companies to contact EPA’s new chemicals program to set up a pre-submission (or pre-notice) meeting before submitting their PMN. The pre-submission meeting is an opportunity to discuss the planned new chemical submission and to understand the Agency’s approach to reviewing new chemicals for potential risks early in the process.
Hazardous Waste Training
Annual hazardous waste training is required for anyone who generates, accumulates, stores, transports, or treats hazardous waste. Learn how to manage your hazardous waste in accordance with the latest state and federal regulations. 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 HD10 tablet.
Study Finds Natural Gas Climate Advantage Nixed by Methane Loss
Methane leakage from the U.S. oil and natural gas supply chain is 60% higher than EPA estimates, according to a new study (Science
2018 DOI: 10.1126/science.aar7204
The impact of the leakage is significant particularly in the short term because methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, has more than 80 times the climate warming potency of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years in the atmosphere.
A multi-institution effort led by Ramón A. Alvarez of the Environmental Defense Fund, the study attempted to resolve wide differences in methane emissions estimates
. The researchers coupled ground-based, facility-specific measurements with aircraft observations in nine basins that account for some 30% of U.S. gas production.
The study found that methane loss is 2.3% of gross U.S. natural gas production. Natural gas has been touted as cleaner in terms of climate impact than coal when burned to generate electricity. However, the study concludes that over those first 20 years after emission, natural gas loses its climate advantage since the impact of methane leakage equals the climate benefit of substituting natural gas for coal. Most of the newly identified leaks came from natural gas production operations, particularly leaks from vents and hatches in tanks holding hydrocarbon liquids.
Electronic DMRs Required for MSGP Stormwater Permittees in Texas
Starting Sept. 1, 2018, Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) discharge monitoring reports (DMRs) must be submitted electronically using the NetDMR system, unless the permittee requests and obtains an electronic reporting waiver. Only facilities who obtain a waiver will be allowed to continue submitting paper DMRs after Sept. 1, 2018.
Samples for MSGP DMRs must be collected before Dec. 31, 2018, and the sampling results must be reported to the TCEQ by March 31, 2019. Permittees are required to submit MSGP DMRs for:
- Facilities in sectors A, C, D, E, J, O, and S, and;
- Facilities in all sectors required to meet numeric effluent limits for hazardous metals, when sample results indicate an exceedance of any constituent listed.
The TCEQ may grant a Temporary Waiver from the electronic reporting rule in limited cases. If you are unable to report electronically, you can submit a Request for Electronic Reporting Waiver
form (TCEQ-20754). A separate waiver form is required for each permit or authorization. Waiver forms may also be obtained by contacting the Stormwater Permitting Program at 512-239-3700.
To submit your DMRs electronically, you must access the NetDMR system through the EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX). Please visit the NetDMR Support Portal webpage
to find information on how to create an account. Facilities can also contact EPA’s eReporting help desk at 1-877-227-8965, or send an email to email@example.com
to receive assistance with creating a CDX account.
Recycling plastic water bottles has never been more convenient, with bins available almost everywhere. Although Americans are recycling in record numbers, millions of tons of plastic trash continue to accumulate in the environment. Solving this problem will require new solutions for breaking plastics down and reusing them, according to a three-part cover story in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly news magazine of the American Chemical Society.
Globally, only about 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling, writes Assistant Editor Sam Lemonick. And of the plastic that does get recycled, most ends up in a lower-quality product than the starting material. Current recycling technology mechanically shreds, melts and reforms plastic, which partially degrades the polymers and reduces quality. Scientists are trying to develop new recycling methods that use chemical or biological approaches
On the chemical side
, some researchers are identifying new reactions to break down plastics to make the building blocks for new polymers and other high-value products. Others are working on making new types of plastics that degrade easily, writes Lemonick. According to Senior Correspondent Carmen Drahl, still others are looking at biological approaches, such as plastic-munching microbes and worms
. Although some media outlets have exaggerated the usefulness of these organisms – most are very slow, inefficient and degrade only the most fragile plastics – researchers are making progress in this field. However, they face many challenges, such as identifying the critters’ enzymes that break down plastic, producing large quantities, and making them faster and more efficient through biotechnology.
New CT Law on Climate Change Resiliency and Renewable Energy
Governor Dannel P. Malloy held a bill signing ceremony in Hartford to commemorate the final passage of two pieces of legislation he introduced that will further Connecticut’s role as a national leader in environmental protection and put the state on a more sustainable path by decreasing statewide greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the usage of renewable energy.
“The time to act is now,” Governor Malloy said. “The effects of climate change, which is unquestionably man-made, can be felt in Connecticut and poses a threat to our residents. Rising sea levels are putting our coastal communities in harm’s way. While President Trump, EPA Administrator Pruitt, and their Republican allies in Washington roll back critical environmental protections, Connecticut is stepping up. These two new laws demonstrate, once again, Connecticut’s determination and leadership in combating climate change to keep our planet and residents safe, all while still being economically advantageous.”
“I applaud Governor Malloy and Commissioner Klee for their tireless work to better prepare the state for the impacts of a changing climate,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said. “National leadership requires continued effort, and these bills will ensure Connecticut’s ongoing progress to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our impact on the climate.”
“In his farewell address to the nation, President Obama called for bolder action to address the issue of climate change,” Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Rob Klee said. “With the passage and signing of these two transformational pieces of legislation, Connecticut is taking that bolder action. While the current federal administration continues to deny human induced climate change as real, it is incumbent upon states to take action. For the sake of future generations to follow, I encourage other states to look at what we have done as a state and follow our lead.”
The environmental bill – Public Act 18-82
, An Act Concerning Climate Change Planning and Resiliency
– contains a number of provisions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare the state for the ongoing effects of climate change and sea level rise, including:
- Implementing an interim target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45 percent from a 2001 baseline by 2030 as recommended by the Governor’s Council on Climate Change;
- Updating current statutory references to sea level rise to reflect the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation’s (CIRCA) planning recommendation of nearly two feet by 2050; and
- Requiring all future state projects located in the Coastal Boundary that are either undertaken by a state agency or funded by a state/federal grant or loan to meet CIRCA’s projections.
The energy bill – Public Act 18-50
, An Act Concerning Connecticut’s Energy Future
, takes bold action in the development and deployment of affordable clean energy by:
- Increasing the Renewable Portfolio Standard to 40 percent to deploy more renewables of all sizes for all customers;
- Creating “successor” programs for commercial, industrial and residential programs to provide sustainable growth of renewables in Connecticut with the expiration of programs such Low-Emission Renewable Energy Credits, Zero-Emission Renewable Energy Credits, and Solar Home Renewable Credits;
- Expanding opportunities for municipalities, state agencies, and agricultural customers to deploy renewables under an auction structure;
- Revising net metering so Connecticut pays a more affordable rate per kilowatt-hour basis; and
- Creating a statewide shared clean energy program that targets low moderate income customers.
EPA Decides No New Spill Reporting Rules are Needed
There are thousands of hazardous substance spills from industrial facilities each year that are not subject to any hazardous substance spill prevention rules, according to United States Coast Guard data. Health effects from exposure to these hazardous substances are experienced disproportionately by residents of low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, where facilities that manufacture, store, and use hazardous substances tend to cluster.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a proposed rule
that, if finalized, would impose no new regulatory requirements under the Clean Water Act (CWA) section 311(j)(1)(C) authority for CWA hazardous substances discharges prevention. EPA determined that additional regulatory requirements for CWA hazardous substances are unnecessary and would impose undue burden on approximately 100,000 facilities in the U.S. already subject to the existing framework.
In July 2015, the Environmental Justice Health Alliance (EJHA), People Concerned About Chemical Safety and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) sued the EPA for failing to prevent hazardous spills from onshore and offshore vessel facilities. In February 2016, EPA agreed to a court-ordered settlement to propose “hazardous substance spill-prevention rules” for industrial vessel sites by June 2018 and to issue a final rule in 2019. Last fall, EPA proposed requesting information from states about state-level spill-prevention regulations, the frequency of hazardous substances spills, and the effects of those spills. EPA never finalized its request for that information.
This proposed action
in the June 25 Federal Register is in response to the consent decree by addressing a statutory requirement in CWA section 311(j)(1)(C) and provides an opportunity for public notice and comment on EPA’s proposed approach.
“After engaging the public and analyzing the best available data, EPA believes that additional regulatory requirements for hazardous substances discharges would be duplicative and unnecessary,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “If finalized, the proposed rule would give the regulated community the clarity and certainty they need to continue to uphold the law and ensure the nation’s waterways are protected."
U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), issued the following statement in response to the proposal:
“Not only does President Trump want to drill off the coast of Delaware, his EPA now wants to make it even less safe to do so. Delaware is home to 28 miles of coastline that includes beautiful beaches and businesses that are the backbone of our state’s economy – from fishing, to tourism and recreational activities, all of which depend on a healthy coast. Delaware’s beaches alone bring in $6.9 billion each year and support 10 percent of our state’s workforce. An oil spill off our coast would be devastating to both the health of our waters and our economy.
“We all remember the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and we saw that oil spills do not respect state boundaries. A spill anywhere along the East Coast is a threat to Delaware’s coast. Today’s decision is a reminder that those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.
“This is more of the same from an EPA Administrator who time and time again dismisses the law and sides with polluters over the health and safety of the American people. The EPA should honor the court order issued to it, which called on the agency to propose rules that would prevent devastating oil spills and protect vulnerable coastal communities and the public’s health.”
EPA will consider all relevant comments received during a 60-day comment period following publication in the Federal Register.
Delaware has Extended Popular Clean TransportationIncentive Program
DNREC’s Division of Climate, Coastal & Energy announced that the state’s popular Clean Transportation Incentive Program will be extended through Dec. 31, 2019 in response to Delawareans’ rising demand for cleaner fuel and electric vehicles. Rebate amounts will remain the same, but eligibility requirements will be updated slightly for clarity and flexibility. Changes will take effect July 1.
“The Clean Transportation Incentive Program has been well-received across Delaware,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “When DNREC started this program, we hoped to assist at least 100 drivers in making the cleaner, more cost-effective vehicle choice. Three years later, we have exceeded that target seven times over. Electric and cleaner fuel vehicles are a smart choice for citizens and businesses alike.”
Launched in July 2015, the Clean Transportation Incentive Program has provided rebates to more than 750 Delaware drivers across all three counties for the purchase or lease of electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The program has also provided more than 200 rebates for electric vehicle charging stations at residential and commercial properties and workplaces. The program was designed to help Delaware drivers choose vehicles that produce less or no tailpipe emissions, reducing both unhealthy pollution and the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change.
Rebates for the purchase or lease of cleaner fuel vehicles are:
- $3,500 for battery electric vehicles under $60,000 MSRP
- $1,500 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles with gasoline range extenders under $60,000 MSRP
- $1,000 for battery and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles over $60,000 MSRP
- $1,500 for dedicated propane or natural gas vehicles
- $1,350 for bi-fuel propane or natural gas vehicles
- $20,000 for heavy-duty dedicated natural gas trucks
Rebates are also available for electric vehicle charging stations for homes, businesses, and workplaces.
Delaware’s Clean Transportation Incentive Program is made possible through Delaware’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). For more information, see de.gov/cleantransportation
Minor Changes to DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations
On June 18, 2018, the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a final rule in response to appeals submitted to a previously-published final rule. On June 2, 2016, PHMSA published a final rule that made miscellaneous amendments to the Hazardous Materials Regulations. This final rule
responds to appeals to extend the effective date of certain nitric acid packaging and emergency response telephone number amendments as previously adopted. This final rule also clarifies amendments associated with the trigger date of the 10-year test period for certain MC 331 cargo tanks in dedicated propane service and corrects editorial errors.
Torrance Refining Company Fined for Illegal Hazardous Waste Storage
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced
that it will require Torrance Refining Co. to pay $150,000 in penalties for illegally storing hazardous waste at its oil refinery in Torrance.
The Los Angeles-based company will face additional penalties unless it meets deadlines for recycling or disposing of the hazardous waste. The penalties and recycling and disposal requirements are included in a settlement agreement between DTSC and Torrance Refining.
“We take these violations extremely seriously. This agreement puts in place strict deadlines to ensure that the hazardous waste is removed in a timely manner,” said DTSC Director Barbara A. Lee. These actions are necessary to protect public health and the environment.
A joint inspection by DTSC and the EPA found that Torrance Refining had illegally accumulated 364 bins of hazardous waste, each with 20-cubic yard capacity, among more than half a dozen violations of state and federal hazardous waste laws.
The refinery did not have the necessary equipment to recycle or process the hazardous waste, and it stored the bins without a permit or authorization from DTSC. The Department ordered the company to remove or recycle the hazardous waste in March.
Under the agreement, the contents of at least 179 of the bins must be recycled or disposed of by July 31, 2018 and at least 92 more bins must be recycled or disposed of by Oct. 31, 2018. The contents of the remaining bins must be recycled or disposed of by Dec. 31, 2018.
If Torrance Refining does not meet each of the three deadlines, the refinery will be required to pay a penalty of $6,000 per bin.
DTSC, in coordination with the California Attorney General’s Office, is preparing to take further enforcement action to address additional violations found during the joint inspection with EPA, including storage of hazardous waste in containers and tanks without a permit or authorization, and failure to make a determination that the wastes were hazardous.
PBF Energy Inc., which owns Torrance Refining, purchased the facility from ExxonMobil in July 2016. The facility is capable of processing an average of 155,000 barrels of crude oil daily and producing 1.8 billion gallons of gasoline a year. The operations of the facility include the blending of gasoline and the production of diesel fuel, jet fuel, liquefied petroleum gases, coke, and sulfur.
House Farm Bill Weakens Environmental Rules
The farm bill
that squeaked through the House of Representatives contains provisions that the National Resources Defense Council says would threaten public health, harm bees and endangered species, and pollute the environment.
Examples of potentially harmful provisions in H.R. 2:
- Repeals the Clean Water Rule’s safeguards for critical water bodies, including streams that help supply one-third of Americans with drinking water.
- Exempts companies that spray dangerous pesticides into waterways from Clean Water Act permitting requirements.
- “Poisoned Pollinators Provision” exempts dangerous pesticides from protections to safeguard endangered or threatened species, including some species of bees.
- Exempts chemical makers from enforcement when pesticides harm or kill endangered species. (Read more here.)
- Prohibits local governments from adopting pesticide laws that are more protective than federal rules and gives state pesticide agencies a secret chance to block EPA protections.
- Exempts public lands from important land, wildlife, and water conservation safeguards.
- Disallows states from enforcing their own laws against out of state products that are dangerous or unsanitary.
Although the House press release
mentions nothing about the riders, you can read more them here
EPA Proposal to Strengthen Dust-Lead Hazards t
Title IV of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires EPA to establish hazard standards for lead-contaminated dust. Lead dust can be a major source of lead exposure in children. Lead dust can be generated when lead-based paint deteriorates or is disturbed (e.g., during renovation or repainting work).
In 2001, EPA set standards for lead in dust for floors and window sills in housing. Since 2001, the best available science has evolved to indicate human health effects at lower blood lead levels than previously analyzed. During the same period, the number of children with elevated blood lead levels has continued to decline; the median blood lead level in children ages 1-5 years is now below 1µg/dL.
Lead exposure can cause a range of adverse health effects and is particularly dangerous for young children, because their nervous systems are still developing. Lead exposure continues to pose a significant health and safety threat to some children, preventing them from reaching the fullest potential of their health, their intellect, and their future.
EPA has released a proposal
to lower the dust-lead hazard standards for public comment. The proposed standards for lead in dust for floors and window sills will be an important step to reduce lead exposure.
The Agency has proposed to change the dust-lead hazard standards from 40 µg/ft2 and 250 µg/ft2 to 10 µg/ft2 and 100 µg/ft2 on floors and window sills, respectively. These standards apply to most pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities, such as day care centers and kindergarten facilities. In addition, EPA is proposing to make no change to the definition of lead-based paint because the Agency currently lacks sufficient information to support such a change.
After publication of the Federal Register notice, EPA will accept comments on the proposed rule for 45 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2018-0166.
Ohio to Revise Permits-to-Install and Operate Rules
Ohio EPA is performing a review of OAC Chapter 3745-31
to fulfill the requirements of ORC 106.03
(5-year review). This chapter provides requirements for installation and modification of all new and existing air contaminant sources, as well as operation of those sources, where their operation is not subject to Title V requirements in OAC Chapter 3745-77.
The Agency is aware of a need for significant changes in OAC rule 3745-31-03
, pertaining to Permanent Exemptions and Permits by Rule. Ohio EPA also anticipates making minor changes to other rules in the chapter, for formatting purposes and to add clarity and correct typographical errors.
A list of potential changes can be found in the ESO fact sheet
. Comments are due by end of business, Friday, July 27, 2018.
Heiser Edition LLC Fined for Stormwater Violations June 20, 2018
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has fined Heiser Edition LLC $12,000 for water quality violations
at its construction site in McMinnville. The company has appealed the penalty.
According to the DEQ, the company failed to place adequate erosion and sediment controls required under its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Stormwater Discharge Permit for its Heiser Addition development.
On Jan. 23 and Jan. 24, 2018, a DEQ inspector found sediment-laden stormwater running off un-stabilized soil at the construction site into a number of unprotected stormwater catch basins and into an unprotected stormwater detention basin outlet. Sediment from the site was clearly visible in an unnamed stream nearby.
Controlling erosion and containing sediment is an important way to ensure sediment does not reach waterways. Sediment can harm aquatic life and adversely affect the beneficial uses of waterways.
When determining the fine, DEQ considered actions the company took to implement erosion and sediment controls after the inspection.
DEQ Fines Owner for Underground Storage Tank Violations
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has fined Karen Frackowiak
of Canby $1,959 for underground storage tank violations at a property she owns off Grant Street in Woodburn.
Frackowiak acquired the property in June 2017. Within 60 days of a change of ownership, owners are required to submit an application for a registration certificate. Additionally, the petroleum tanks are equipped with a corrosion protection system. Such systems must be inspected and tested at least every three years. The last inspection and test occurred in 2006.
Such regulations are in place to safeguard against leaks that can harm the environment and threaten human health.
Frackowiak has until June 29 to appeal the penalty.
Environmental News Links