Administrator Christie Whitman announced President Bush's proposed Fiscal Year 2003 budget request of $7.7 billion to support EPA's mission of protecting human health and the environment. The budget request includes more than a 100 percent increase in funding for Brownfields, significant increases for watershed protection, and a $200 million overall increase over last year's request.
Included in EPA's grant figure is a $15 million state enforcement grant program. These additional grant resources will help states and tribes take on greater responsibility of the enforcement of environmental laws and regulations and will allow them to prioritize their enforcement needs.
The budget request for fiscal year 2003, which begins Oct. 1, provides $200 million for the Brownfields program. This program to reclaim abandoned industrial sites and convert them to new uses within communities is a top environmental priority of the Bush Administration and is a cornerstone of EPA's partnership efforts with states, tribes and localities.
Whitman announced that the Administration's request includes several innovative programs to build and strengthen partnerships and ultimately build healthier communities.
The budget includes $21 million for a new program where EPA will work with its environmental partners to target 20 specific watershed projects for improvement. This public-private partnership effort will replicate successful approaches of watershed restoration projects, such as the Charles River Initiative in New England.
To help recognize and reward innovative technologies that produce more effective and lower cost solutions to environmental problems and to stimulate development where major technology gaps exist, the request provides $10 million for the new National Environmental Technology Competition. This competition builds public-private partnerships, fosters technological innovation through competition and promotes the development of new, cost-effective technologies.
EPA is investing an additional $124 million for homeland security. Combined with resources provided in the Emergency Supplemental Appropriation Act of 2002, this represents a two-year total of $300 million in new resources. EPA plays a critical role in preparing for and responding to terrorist incidents because of its unique expertise and experience in emergency preparedness and response to hazardous material releases.
Included in this figure is $20 million to address threats to the nation's drinking water supply. EPA plays a significant role in working with state governments and local utilities to protect drinking water supplies. EPA already has begun working with states and local utilities to assess this vulnerability. The additional $20 million being requested in FY 2003 will augment $88 million appropriated as part of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriation Act of 2002, which together will ensure that utilities have developed a comprehensive assessment of these vulnerabilities and emergency operations plans using the most current methods and technologies.
Also included in the $124 million request for homeland security
is $75 million so that the Agency can research better techniques
for cleaning up buildings contaminated by biological agents.
TANKER OFFICER INDICTED FOR CAUSING DEATH OF CREW MEMBER DURING TANK CLEANING OPERATION
A grand jury indictment charges the Chief Officer of a tanker with causing the death of a man under his command during a tank cleaning operation through misconduct, negligence and inattention to his duties aboard the ship. The defendant allegedly directed a crewmember to enter a cargo tank despite the fact that the defendant knew the atmosphere in the tank contained dangerous levels of combustible gas.
Charged in the grand jury indictment is Gilbert Thurston, the Chief Officer of the S.S. TRINITY and a resident of Naples, Florida. The Sabine Transportation Company of Cedar Rapids, Iowa employed Thurston. The decedent, Frederic Albert Cambra, Jr., was the pumpman aboard the ship and was working under the command of the defendant. Mr. Cambra was a resident of St. Helene, Oregon.
On May 16, 2000, the American flag tanker completed the discharge of its cargo of methyl tertiary butyl ether ("MTBE") in the port of New York and sailed for Houston to load its next cargo. MTBE is an ether-based petrochemical used as a gasoline additive.
According to the indictment, on May 18, 2000 Chief Officer Thurston was the officer in charge of a tank cleaning operation that was undertaken to remove the residual quantities of the ship's prior cargo of MTBE from the cargo tanks. As the Chief Officer in charge of this operation, the defendant had the responsibility and duty to ensure that the tank cleaning operations were conducted in a safe and proper manner and that no crewmember be permitted to enter a cargo tank unless the ship's precautions and procedures for closed space entry were complied with fully. Specifically, it was the defendant's responsibility and duty to ensure that no crew member be permitted to enter a cargo tank unless the tankÆs atmosphere was thoroughly tested and a zero reading for combustible gas was obtained.
The indictment charges that the tank cleaning operation was supposed to involve the flushing of the cargo tanks with a small amount of sea water, the pumping out of the resulting sea water and cargo residue mixture, the ventilation of the tanks and, once the atmosphere in the tanks was tested and found to be within safe parameters for manned entry, the entry of crew members into the tanks to mop out the remaining cargo residue.
After entering the tank, Mr. Cambra failed to respond to efforts to contact him by radio. Other crewmembers equipped with rescue equipment found him collapsed and not breathing at the bottom of the tank. Mr. Cambra failed to respond to resuscitation efforts administered by members of the ship's crew.
An indictment represents charges brought by a grand jury and must
be proved beyond a reasonable doubt by the United States in a
jury trial. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven
guilty. If convicted, the defendant could face up to 10 years in
prison and up to a $250,000 criminal fine (or up to twice the
gross gain or loss from the crime).
3M TO PAY $15.5 MILLION FOR KREJCI DUMP SITE CLEANUP
The Justice Department and the National Park Service (NPS) announced a settlement under which Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M) will pay $15.5 million for government cleanup work at the Krejci Dump Site and for injuries to natural resources in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in northern Ohio. The cleanup effort, which other defendants will continue under a prior settlement, will ultimately restore the 47-acre former dump and salvage yard for integration into the rest of the Park.
3M, along with a number of other defendants, was originally sued in 1997 under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (Superfund law) by the Justice Department on behalf of NPS. 3M and its corporate predecessor Di-Noc Chemical Arts, Inc. arranged for the daily disposal of wastes from a printing operation in Cleveland at the Krejci dump during the 1950s and 1960s. These wastes included thousands of drums of discarded inks, solvents and photographic emulsions, along with other wastes containing hazardous substances.
The United States reached agreements with all of the defendants other than 3M by June 2000, but 3M refused numerous settlement offers made at or subsequent to that time. In September 2001, the United States District Court ruled that 3M was jointly and severally liable under the Superfund law for the cost of cleaning up the Krejci Site.
"In settling its liability for the Krejci cleanup after years of litigation and a trial, 3M will pay considerably more than it would have paid if it had joined the other defendants in agreeing to settle on the terms offered earlier in this case," said Thomas L. Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for Environment and Natural Resources at the Justice Department. "This outcome should send a message that the Department of Justice will vigorously pursue those parties that refuse to take responsibility for cleaning up their hazardous wastes."
According to the settlement, 3M will pay $14.7 million to reimburse the United States for costs incurred by the Department of the Interior in cleaning up hazardous substances at the former dump. 3M will also pay $800,000 for injuries to natural resources in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
"The good news is that this money will be put into a revolving fund to help clean up other hazardous waste sites on Department of the Interior properties," said National Park Service Director Fran P. Mainella. "The natural resources damages component of this settlement will be used to restore or replace resources inside the Cuyahoga Valley National Park."
Congress created the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in 1974. It preserves 33,000 acres of pastoral valley along 22 miles of the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron. Over 3.5 million visitors use the Park each year, and it has more recreational users every year than Yellowstone.
The government purchased the property containing the Krejci Dump Site in 1980. In 1986 the Park Service discovered the former salvage yard contained large quantities of hazardous wastes, much of which was covered over by abandoned junk and vegetation.
To date, the cleanup has involved the removal of thousands of drums and pails of hazardous substances and millions of pounds of contaminated soils and debris. Future cleanup efforts will address residual contamination in site soils that would otherwise pose long-term risks to human health and the environment. Upon completion of the cleanup, the site will be restored to natural conditions consistent with surrounding Park habitat, and restrictions on public access will be removed. Total past and future cleanup costs could be as much as $55 million.
As a result of this settlement with 3M and the agreements reached with other responsible parties, the United States will recover approximately $21 million in cash, which includes $1.3 million for natural resource damages, and obtain an agreement for nearly $30 million in cleanup work. Cleanup reimbursement received from the 3M settlement will be placed in the Department of Interior Central Hazardous Materials Fund, a revolving fund established by Congress for use at contaminated DOI properties throughout the country.
The settlement was lodged in the U.S. District Court in Akron.
The decree is subject to public comment for 30 days before it
will be presented to the court for approval.
- March 1, 2002 - Annual Tier I and Tier II Inventory Reports due
- March 1, 2002 - Biennial (or annual in some states) reports due from hazardous waste generators and treatment, storage, or disposal facility owner/operators.
- March 1, 2002 - Annual reports due from primary exporters of hazardous waste
- March 1, 2002 - Annual groundwater monitoring reports due
- March 15, 2002 - Annual report due from facilities conducting treatability studies