In the largest fleet transaction yet for its environmentally friendly Prius hybrid-electric car, Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., will deliver nearly 300 units to the city and state of New York.
"Prius, the world's first mass-produced hybrid sedan, produces up to 90 percent less harmful emissions than the average car on the road today," Jim Press, TMS executive vice president and chief operating officer, said. "In some cities, like New York, that means the exhaust coming out of the Prius is often cleaner than the air going into it."
The City of New York will buy 231 Prius hybrids for use by a variety of municipal agencies including the Department of Buildings, Parks and Recreation, the Department of Health and the Department of Transportation.
New York State's MTA NYC Transit has agreed to buy 56 vehicles and will use them for a number of programs, including bus road control, route planning and management and support operations. In addition, the State of New Jersey will purchase 33 vehicles for use by the State Central Motor Pool and the Port Authority.
Press presented the keys to the city's first Prius to Lawrence G. Reuter, president of MTA NYC Transit, which is North America's largest public transit agency. It carries close to 7 million daily passengers and provides nearly one-quarter of all mass transit trips in the U.S.
Reuter, who became MTA president in 1996, has been instrumental in pursuing aggressive emission reduction and clean fuel programs for the city's mass transit needs. Under his leadership, for example, the MTA has developed a fleet of hybrid-electric buses for use on city streets and converted to ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel for its fleet of 4,400 buses, years in advance of federal regulations.
"It is our goal to make our fleet of buses and support vehicles the cleanest, most efficient big-city fleet in the world and the acquisition of the Toyota Prius is yet another step towards achieving that goal," Reuter said.
Prius is a technological breakthrough in combining an efficient, powerful gasoline engine and a clean, quiet electric motor. It automatically switches between the gasoline engine and electric motor, depending on driving needs and is ideal for city use.
Configured as a roomy five-passenger sedan, Prius has an EPA fuel economy rating of 52 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway. It also is certified as a super ultra low emission vehicle.
Prius went on sale in the U.S. last summer. Since then, more than
9,000 units have sold or leased to retail and fleet customers.
Toyota expects to sell approximately 12,000 a year.
FAA PROPOSES $60,000 PENALTY FOR COOLER SENT AS CHECKED BAGGAGE
The FAA has proposed to assess a $60,000 civil penalty against Overspray Removal Systems Corp. of La Mirada Calif., for allegedly violating Department of Transportation hazardous materials regulations.
FAA alleges that Overspray Removal Systems improperly offered a cooler containing wax, polishing compounds and solvent, hazardous materials, as checked baggage aboard Southwest Airlines for transportation by air. Southwest Airlines ground handling employees at Nashville International Airport discovered the shipment emitting a strong odor.
Overspray Removal Systems offered the hazardous materials for
transportation when they were not properly packaged, labeled,
marked, classed, described, documented, or in condition for
shipment as required by regulations. Overspray Removal Systems
also failed to ensure employees were trained to properly package
and handle hazardous materials, and did not make available at all
times the required emergency response information.
FAA PROPOSES $60,000 PENALTY AGAINST HOME DEPOT FOR TRANSPORTING GENERATOR IMPROPERLY
The FAA has proposed to assess a $60,000 civil penalty against Home Depot Corp. of Atlanta, for allegedly violating Department of Transportation hazardous materials regulations.
FAA alleges that Home Depot improperly offered a fiberboard box containing one portable generator that contained gasoline, a flammable liquid, to UPS for transportation by air. Ground handling employees at the UPS sort facility in Louisville, Ky., discovered the shipment leaking.
Home Depot offered the hazardous materials for transportation when they were not packaged, labeled, marked, classed, described, documented, or in condition for shipment as required by regulations. Home Depot also failed to ensure employees were trained to properly package and handle hazardous materials, and did not make available at all times the required emergency response information.
Home Depot has 30 days from receipt of the FAA notice to submit a
reply to the agency.
KOCH PLEADS GUILTY TO COVERING UP ENVIRONMENTAL VIOLATIONS AT TEXAS OIL REFINERY
Koch Petroleum Group, L.P. pled guilty on Monday to covering up environmental violations at its oil refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Under the plea agreement, Koch will pay a total of $20 million dollars: $10 million in criminal fines and $10 million for special projects to improve the environment in Corpus Christi - a record amount imposed in an environmental prosecution. The plea agreement, filed in U.S. District Court in Corpus Christi, also requires that Koch successfully complete a five-year term of probation and adhere to a strict new environmental compliance program.
Federal grand juries returned an indictment against the company in September 2000 and a superceding indictment in January 2001, and a jury trial on the federal charges was scheduled to begin April 9, 2001 in Corpus Christi. The company was charged with criminal violations of the Clean Air Act as well as conspiracy and making false statements to the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission.
The company's West Plant refinery is subject to Clean Air Act regulations that limit emissions of benzene, a hazardous air pollutant. Under the Act, the West Plant was required to comply with the federal benzene standards by April 1993, but Koch applied for and received a compliance waiver until January 1995. According to the original indictment, a whistleblower revealed that Koch's West Plant had at least 91 metric tons of uncontrolled benzene in its liquid waste streams in 1995, some 15 times greater than the 6 metric ton limit that applied to the refinery.
Koch admitted that it concealed its noncompliance with the requirements of the Clean Air Act in 1995 by, among other things, failing to control emissions from certain waste management units at the refinery. Specifically, in January 1995, Koch certified that it had installed equipment necessary to control benzene-contaminated wastewater and then, without notifying the State of Texas or the U.S. EPA, disconnected a critical oil-water separator used to control benzene emissions. Koch then constructed a line to bypass the control equipment and built a stack to vent benzene vapors from the oil-water separator into the atmosphere. In addition, in April 1995, Koch filed a report that concealed the fact that the separator was venting benzene vapors to the atmosphere and falsely stated that the company had tested for benzene in certain waste streams.
The case was investigated by the Texas Environmental Enforcement
Task Force, comprised of federal and state agencies, including
the FBI, the EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, and the
TNRCC's Special Investigations Unit. The case was prosecuted by
the Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section and the
U.S. Attorney's Office.
PRESIDENT'S BUDGET SHOWS INCREASE IN STATE PARTNERSHIP FUNDING
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman said the President's budget provides the funds the Agency needs to carry out its mission, "efficiently and effectively."
The $7.3 billion fiscal year 2002 proposal is a $56 million increase over the budget request from last year. "It reflects this Administration's commitment to build partnerships across America to make our air cleaner, our water purer and our land better protected," Whitman said at an EPA Headquarters press conference
Whitman stressed that environmental experience and expertise are being developed every day in America's communities and the sharing of that information in partnerships will help the agency to fulfill its mission.
The Administrator indicated state and tribal programs are the recipients of about half of EPA's budget because they are the innovators and the energizers. "Our proposed budget provides almost $3.3 billion in grants for states, tribes and other EPA partners. That is a half-a-billion dollars more than was requested for these grants in FY 2001" (water infrastructure and categorical grants combined).
Included in that figure is a new $25 million program of state grants--money to improve and bolster enforcement efforts in the states in a way that reflects individual state priorities. "In some cases, that will mean prosecution. In others, it will mean compliance assistance," said Whitman. "But no matter which course is chosen, it will produce the best possible result in each individual situation."
A second $25 million grant program is aimed at improvements to the states environmental information systems. This information partnership will allow states to produce more accurate and useful environment assessments. Whitman explained, "When it comes to cleaning the environment, information is power-the power to make the right decisions to achieve the best results."
To continue to ensure an abundant supply of safe clean water in every American community, this budget invests $2.1 billion in grants to states for water infrastructure needs. There is also funding for sewer overflow control. "This is good news indeed for every community that now has to deal with the messy results that can follow periods of heavy rainfall," said the Administrator.
The grants include:
- Clean Water State Revolving Fund: $850 million
- Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: $823 million
- Sewer Overflow Control Grants: $450 million
The budget continues funding for the Energy Star program that fosters energy-efficient building design and technologies for industry and school buildings.
The Agency also participates in the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, a ten-year research and development program to develop the technology for a mid-sized family sedan that achieves 85 miles per gallon with low emissions and is safe, practical and affordable.
Finally, the President's budget increases resources available for
local brownfields rehabilitation to $97.7 million from the $92.6
million enacted in FY 2001. "These funds will help turn abandoned
environmental eyesores into community assets all across America,"
EPA ISSUES NEW TOXICS REPORT, IMPROVES MEANS OF REPORTING
EPA has released its annual report on the amount of toxic releases discharged by facilities throughout the country. The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 1999, the year of the most recent data, shows decreases in emissions in several industries. The Agency also announced steps being taken to make it easier for industry to meet reporting requirements.
"This inventory is a powerful tool for helping to protect public health and the environment. I am pleased at the significant progress being made as trends continue downward. We continue to have high quality information to analyze and provide to citizens," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. "Americans are reaping considerable benefits from the TRI program. We're seeing constant decreases of emissions to air, land and water, especially in the manufacturing industries where there has been a 46 percent decrease over the 12-year history of the program."
To facilitate industry reporting requirements, EPA has introduced a new computer software product, "TRIAL," which provides reporting facilities easier access to all TRI reporting regulations and guidance on interpreting those regulations. This system is available on EPA's TRI website (http://www.epa.gov/tri)and is included in the software package provided to companies for the reporting process required by Congress under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA).
The EPCRA law requires industrial facilities each year to publicly report the quantities of toxic chemicals released into the air, water and land. EPA analyzes the submitted data. Overall, the TRI includes information on releases and other wastes for 644 toxic chemicals and chemical compounds.
There has been a chemical emissions decrease of 46 percent in the manufacturing industries, about 1.5 billion pounds over the 12-year history of the program. The one-year decrease from 1998 to 1999 was 2.5 percent.
TRI data include chemicals released as waste into the air, water or land, and other types of waste management, such as the chemicals that are recycled, burned for energy recovery or treated, both on-site and off-site.
Looking at all types of wastes, the total quantity increased by five percent or almost one billion pounds since facilities began reporting other waste management data in 1991. The one-year increase from 1998 to 1999 was 323 million pounds or 1.4 percent.
Of those industries which began making TRI reports beginning for 1998 emissions, coal mining facilities reported a 9.7 percent decrease in releases from 1998 to 1999 and petroleum terminals and bulk storage facilities a 5.5 percent decrease in releases.
The largest increase in total releases from 1998 to 1999 was reported by metal mining-an increase of 416.3 million pounds or 11.7 percent.
For chemical wholesale distributors, total releases from 1998 to 1999 increased by 28.3 percent (435,000 pounds), waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities by 2.7 percent (7.5 million pounds) and electric generating facilities by 2.2 percent (24.9 million pounds).
The largest volume of chemical releases for all industries was reported by facilities in Nevada, followed by Utah, Arizona, Alaska, Texas, Ohio, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Illinois, in that order.
The TRI program, adhering to the EPCRA law, began by covering the manufacturing industry and subsequently adding other industries. TRI annual reports reflect releases and other waste management activities of chemicals, not exposures of the public to those chemicals. The release estimates alone are not sufficient to determine exposure or to calculate potential adverse effects on human health and the environment. The determination of potential risk depends upon many factors, including toxicity, chemical fate after release, release location, and population concentrations.
The 1999 Toxics Release Inventory data and background information on the TRI program are available at: http://www.epa.gov/tri.
A special research tool, TRI EXPLORER, is available on a link
from the web page. It provides county-by-county assessments of
the data. The public also can sort the data by facility,
chemical, geographic areas or industry, and at the state or
national level. The availability of these data make it possible
to gauge a facility's progress in reducing toxic chemical
Be sure to check here first to find out what to add to your to do list for the next few weeks. (While helpful, please note that this list may not be inclusive of all deadlines affecting your facility and should not be relied upon as your only source of information.)
April 16, 2001: Deadline for compliance with NESHAP standards for existing sources in the pulp and paper industry. (40 CFR 63.440(d))
April 22, 2001: 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 semiannual report to EPA. (40 CFR 63.175(e)(7)(ii) and 63.175(e)(8))
April 30, 2001: Fossil-fuel fired steam generating units subject to new source performance standards for electric utility steam generating units must submit quarterly reports for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and opacity emissions. (40 CFR 60.49a(i)-(j) and 60.49b(v))
May 4, 2001: Existing sources subject to the hazardous organic NESHAP for the synthetic organic chemical industry must comply with 40 CFR 63 Subparts F and G by this date (40 CFR 63.100(p)(1) and 63.100(p)(1)(ii), and 63.100(p)(2))
May 15, 2001: Producers, importers, and exporters of Class II controlled substances must submit a report to EPA on the production, import, and export of those chemicals during the previous quarter. (40 CFR 82.13(n))
May 19, 2001: Semiannual reports are due for sources subject to organic hazardous air pollutant emission controls under 40 CFR 63, Subpart G, for synthetic organic chemical manufacturing industry production processes. (40 CFR 63.152(c)(1) and 63.152(d)(1))
May 26, 2001: Employers subject to process safety management
standards must update and revalidate the hazard analysis of their
process conducted pursuant to 29 CFR 1910.110(e)(1). (29 CFR
FAA PROPOSES $82,500 PENALTY FOR SHIPMENT OF DENATURED ALCOHOL
The FAA has proposed to assess an $82,500 civil penalty against J&M Products Corp. of Little Rock, Ark., for allegedly violating Department of Transportation hazardous materials regulations.
FAA alleges that J&M Products improperly offered eight fiberboard boxes containing 14.25 liters of denatured alcohol, a flammable liquid, to UPS for transportation by air. UPS ground handling employees at Louisville, Ky. discovered the shipment leaking.
J&M Products offered the hazardous materials for transportation when they were not packaged, labeled, marked, classed, described, documented, or in condition for shipment as required by regulations. J&M Products also failed to ensure employees were trained to properly package and handle hazardous materials, and did not make available at all times the required emergency response information.