Updated EPA Audit Policy

February 22, 2021
EPA’s Audit Policy provides major incentives for regulated entities to voluntarily discover and resolve violations of federal environmental laws and regulations. To take advantage of these incentives, regulated entities must voluntarily discover, promptly disclose to EPA, expeditiously correct, and prevent recurrence of future environmental violations.
Self-disclosure of violations has the following benefits
  1. Reduction of 100% of gravity-based penalties if all nine of the Policy’s conditions are met. EPA retains its discretion to collect any economic benefit that may have been realized as a result of noncompliance. This highest level of penalty waiver is available for entities that discover the violation through systematic discovery, such as an environmental audit (contact Environmental Resource Center for audit assistance).
  2. Reduction of gravity-based penalties by 75% where the disclosing entity meets all of the Policy’s conditions except detection of the violation through a systematic discovery process.
  3. No recommendation for criminal prosecution for entities that disclose criminal violations if all of the applicable conditions under the Policy are met. “Systematic discovery” is not a requirement for eligibility for the criminal prosecution benefit, although the entity must act in good faith and adopt a systematic approach to preventing recurring violations.
On February 5, 2021, EPA posted updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Audit Policy Program. The updated FAQs were developed as part of EPA’s renewed emphasis on its self-disclosed violations policies.
As part of its renewed emphasis on the self-disclosed violation policies, EPA also:
  • Made user-friendly enhancements to the eDisclosure system.
  • Clarified several features of its self-disclosure policies in response to some common misconceptions in the regulated community.
  • Developed a New Owner Clean Air Act Audit Program tailored to the oil and natural gas sector.
  • Expanded its outreach and education efforts to the regulated community and other stakeholders concerning its New Owner Audit Policy.
Upcoming Training
To help you get the training you need, Environmental Resource Center has a number of upcoming live webcast training courses. Stay in compliance and learn the latest regulations from the comfort of your office or home. You’ll receive the same benefits as our seminar attendees including expert instruction, comprehensive course materials, one year of access to our AnswerlineTM service, course certificate, and a personalized user portal on Environmental Resource Center’s website.
Environmental Resource Center training is the best way to learn about the environmental, safety, and hazardous materials transportation requirements that apply to your site. Learn from the experts and get your site-specific questions answered at these sessions this week:
Protect Yourself During the Catastrophic Winter Storms
As catastrophic winter storms continue to rage across the United States, millions of consumers are without power in dangerously low temperatures. If you use portable generators or other combustion devices for sources of power and heat, you are at increased risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and fire. Dozens of storm-related fatalities have been reported, including deaths from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, after consumers operated generators or charcoal grills inside their homes, or ran cars inside their garages trying to stay warm.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warned consumers to protect themselves against carbon monoxide poisoning and fires. Poisonous carbon monoxide from a portable generator can kill you and your family in minutes. CO is an invisible killer. It’s colorless and odorless. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 400 people die each year in the United States from CO poisoning. CPSC estimates about 70 consumers die each year from CO poisoning caused by portable generators.
Follow CPSC’s safety tips below to help keep your family safe:
Portable Generators:
  • Operate portable generators OUTSIDE ONLY, at least 20 feet away from the house; and direct the generator’s exhaust away from the home and any other buildings that someone could enter.
  • Never operate a portable generator inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace, shed, or on the porch. Opening doors or windows will not provide enough ventilation to prevent the buildup of lethal levels of CO.
  • CO poisoning from portable generators can happen so quickly that exposed persons may become unconscious before recognizing the symptoms of nausea, dizziness or weakness.
Smoke and CO Alarms:
  • Press the test button to make sure CO and smoke alarms in your home are working properly, and replace batteries, if needed.
  • Install battery-operated CO alarms or CO alarms with battery backup in your home, outside separate sleeping areas, and on each floor of your home.
  • Never ignore carbon monoxide and smoke alarms when they sound. Get outside immediately. Then call 911.
Charcoal Danger:
  •  Never use charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal in an enclosed space can produce lethal levels of carbon monoxide. Do not cook on a charcoal grill in a garage, even with the door open.
  • Use caution when burning candles. Use flashlights instead. If you must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire. Never leave burning candles unattended. Extinguish candles when you leave the room and before sleeping.
Remember, as you deal with the storm’s havoc, stay informed, take action and be safe!
Air Purifiers May Do More Harm Than Good in Confined Spaces with Airborne Viruses
The positions of air inlets and outlets in confined spaces, such as elevators, greatly affect airborne virus transmission. In Physics of Fluids, by AIP Publishing, researchers from University of Nicosia in Cyprus show while air purifiers would be expected to help, they may actually increase the spread.
Installing an air purifier inside an elevator alters the air circulation significantly but does not eliminate airborne transmission. In contrast, an air purifier may increase the droplet spread because the air intake integrated inside the purifier equipment induces flow circulation that can add to the transport of contaminated saliva droplets in the cabin.
Air quality in small spaces can quickly degrade without ventilation. However, adding ventilation will increase the rate at which air, possibly laden with viruses, can circulate in the small space. Elevator manufacturers have added air purifiers to take care of this problem, but the systems have not been designed to account for their effect on overall air circulation.
Air purifiers use ultraviolet radiation to kill viruses and other microbes, but they also circulate air, sucking it in and exhausting cleaned air. This adds to overall circulation, an aspect that has not been considered in previous research. Previous work from the scientists indicated droplets of saliva can travel 18 feet in five seconds when an unmasked person coughs. The authors extended the same model to examine the effects of face masks and weather conditions.
Investigators carried out calculations for a 3D space equivalent to an elevator capable of holding five people. A mild cough was simulated at one position in the space, and air inlets and outlets were added in various locations to study their influence on circulation. An air purifier was also included in the simulation.
“We quantified the effect of air circulation on airborne virus transmission and showed that installing an air purifier inside an elevator alters the air circulation significantly but does not eliminate airborne transmission,” said author Dimitris Drikakis.
The investigators found the risk of airborne virus transmission is lowest for low ventilation rates. “This is due to reduced flow mixing inside the elevator,” said author Talib Dbouk. “Regulatory authorities should thus define the minimum ventilation required depending on the type of building.”
The study looked at the role of an air purifier, considering only the air intake and exhaust associated with the purifier, but not the mechanism inside the purifier that kills the virus. Even with an air purifier in place, airborne virus transmission is still significant.
“Our results show that installing an air purifier may increase the droplet spread,” Drikakis said. “The air intake integrated inside the purifier equipment induces flow circulation that can add to the transport of contaminated saliva droplets in the cabin.”
The observed effect increases with the number of infected persons in the elevator. Restricting the number of people allowed in an elevator would minimize the spread of the virus as would better design of air purifier and ventilation systems.
Changes to EPA’s TSCA Systematic Review Process Recommended
The EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) should make changes to its systematic review process under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to ensure it is comprehensive, workable, objective, and transparent, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Recent changes to TSCA require EPA to establish a standard process for chemical risk evaluations and complete those evaluations under a strict timetable. OPPT’s 2018 document Application of Systematic Review in TSCA Risk Evaluations details the agency’s new standard approach for systematic reviews used in TSCA chemical risk evaluations. The committee that wrote the National Academies report reviewed this document and other materials to analyze OPPT’s approach.
The report recognizes OPPT’s challenge in meeting the strict statutory schedule for completing assessments, but says OPPT’s systematic review does not meet state-of-practice standards. It offers recommendations to improve the process, including the following:
  • OPPT staff should engage in ongoing cross-sector efforts to develop and validate new tools and approaches for exposure, environmental health, and other areas where systematic review is applied. TSCA evaluation approaches would benefit from the substantial external expertise available as well as acceptance from outside stakeholders as the approaches are developed.
  • The decision to develop a wholly original approach to hazard assessment, rather than starting with other extant protocols as a foundation, is one source of the process’s problems. OPPT should consider incorporating components of methodologies from the National Institute of Environmental Health Science’s Office of Health Assessment and Translation and EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System and Navigation Guide.
  • Documentation of the process is incomplete and hard to follow. OPPT should assemble a handbook for TSCA review and evidence integration methodology to detail steps in the process.
  • The terms “weight of evidence” and “systematic review” are used interchangeably. The report urges OPPT to use standard descriptors for the strength of evidence instead.
The study — undertaken by the Committee to Review EPA’s TSCA Systematic Review Guidance Document — was sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The National Academies are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine. They operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln.
PHMSA Safety Advisory Notice: Special Permits for Composite Gas Cylinders
On March 3, 2020, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) conducted an Investigative Hearing in response to incidents and roll-over crashes associated with operations using packagings authorized under certain Hazardous Materials Special Permits for the manufacture, mark, sale and use of non-DOT specification fully wrapped fiber reinforced composite gas cylinders. The gas cylinders are used for the transportation of compressed natural gas (CNG) and other hazardous materials.
As a result of the information presented at the hearing and subsequent evaluation, PHMSA has published a Safety Advisory Notice with recommendations to help facilitate the safe transportation of CNG under the terms of each related special permit.
Emergency Fuel Waiver for Approved by EPA Texas
EPA Acting Administrator Jane Nishida has issued an emergency fuel waiver for Texas, effective immediately. Acting Administrator Nishida determined that extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances exist in Texas as a result of severe winter weather conditions.
EPA issued a temporary emergency fuel waiver of the Texas Low Emission Diesel (TxLED) and El Paso oxygenate requirements that apply in Texas through March 5, 2021.
The Clean Air Act allows Acting Administrator Nishida, in consultation with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Acting Secretary David Huizenga, to waive certain fuel requirements to address emergency fuel shortages.
As required by law, EPA and DOE evaluated the situation and determined that granting a short-term waiver was consistent with the public interest. EPA and DOE are continuing to actively monitor the fuel supply situation, and will act expeditiously if extreme and unusual supply circumstances exist in other areas.
To mitigate any impacts on air quality, the Clean Air Act provides strict criteria for when fuel waivers may be granted, and requires that waivers be limited as much as possible in terms of their geographic scope and duration.
More information about fuel waivers: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/fuel-waivers
Maryland’s Bold New Plan to Achieve Climate Goals
The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has released a comprehensive plan that sets a clear and unifying path for the state to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, while also growing jobs and the economy for Marylanders.
The 2030 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act (GGRA) Plan, which MDE is submitting to Governor Larry Hogan and the Maryland General Assembly, meets — and exceeds — the goals required under current state law.
The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act calls for a reduction of emissions of 40% by 2030 (from 2006 levels), while pursuing more ambitious goals recommended by the independent, bipartisan Maryland Commission on Climate Change. The newly released GGRA Plan calls for a new goal: 50% reductions by 2030. The 2030 GGRA Plan also includes a longer-term goal of net-zero GHG emissions by 2045.
“This plan is ambitious and achievable, bold and balanced with over 100 actions that underscore the urgency for real and lasting climate solutions,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. ”Maryland’s long standing leadership is shown by being ranked the No. 1 state in the nation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions while growing the economy, according to the World Resources Institute. As the United States rejoins the Paris Agreement, the Hogan administration intends to keep the momentum going in Maryland with a bipartisan plan that builds upon our success and adds new measures across all sectors of the economy and levels of government.”
After incorporating feedback on the 2019 draft plan from the public and stakeholders as required by law, MDE and partner agencies established new climate solutions addressing GHG emissions from electricity generation, transportation, building energy use, natural gas infrastructure, and natural and working lands. MDE’s emissions analysis shows that the implemented 2030 GGRA Plan will come very close to achieving a 50% reduction by 2030 without accounting for anticipated new federal government policies to reduce emissions. As the Biden administration takes action to address climate change through federal policies — including rejoining the Paris Agreement — Maryland expects to be able to achieve a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
The plan incorporates a comprehensive set of over 100 programs and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These include investments in energy efficiency and clean and renewable energy solutions, clean transportation projects and widespread adoption of electric vehicles, planting more than seven million trees, and improved management of existing forests and farms to capture and contain more carbon in trees and soils.
It also supports new industries and technologies and “green” jobs by encouraging investment in the modernization of electricity, transportation and buildings sectors, the largest sources of GHG emissions in Maryland. MDE estimates as much as $5.3 billion in increased economic output in the state by 2030, and the creation of more than 6,000 jobs as a result of these proposals.
The major elements of the plan also include thoughtful implementation of programs and measures that address environmental and climate justice, recognizing that disadvantaged communities can be disproportionately affected by climate change and environmental pollution. In addition to mitigating the impacts of climate change by reducing greenhouse gases, the plan will improve public health by reducing air pollutants that contribute to ground-level ozone and fine particle pollution. It also will improve water quality through reductions in nitrogen pollution to the state’s waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay.
MDE developed the plan in coordination with nine state agencies and the Maryland Commission on Climate Change’s Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Working Group, Science and Technology Working Group, Adaptation and Resiliency Working Group, and Education, Communication, and Outreach Working Group, as well as extensive input from citizens and stakeholders. The Maryland Climate Change Commission working groups were instrumental in modeling scenarios based on current science for the plan. Under the GGRA law, MDE will provide a progress report to the General Assembly next year, and the General Assembly will then act to maintain the goals, revise them, or let them expire in 2023.
Texas Flip N Move TV Show Cited for Alleged Lead-Based Paint Violations
EPA has reached a settlement with Flipnmove Productions and EQ Media, Inc. to resolve alleged violations of federal regulations intended to reduce the hazards of lead paint exposure during renovations. The companies are affiliated with the home renovation television programs “Texas Flip N Move.”
The alleged violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule) depicted on the shows include performing home renovations for compensation without obtaining EPA renovation firm certification and failure to comply with several work practice standards required for the safe handling and disposal of lead-based paint.
“Renovating older homes comes with the responsibility of safeguarding residents from exposure to dust from lead-based paint, and that means following regulations and using proper guidelines,” said Acting Regional Administrator David Gray. “Through this settlement, Texas Flip N Move is ensuring the safety of their renovation work and helping to protect children from and educate the public about exposure to lead-based paint.”
Under the terms of the settlement, the companies have agreed to pay civil penalties and take steps to ensure compliance with the RRP Rule in future renovation projects. Further, the companies have agreed to complete projects to educate the public about lead-based paint hazards and the importance of using a certified renovator, including banners on existing episodes of Texas Flip N Move, developing informational webpages on their respective websites and adding links to the EPA Lead and RRP webpages, and integrating elements of the RRP Rule into future programing. The companies will also use a third-party entity to perform lead abatement in low-income target-housing residences or child-occupied facilities within the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
Lead-contaminated dust generated from deteriorating chipped or peeling lead-based paint in homes built prior to 1978 or disturbance during renovation work is one of the most common causes of elevated blood lead levels in children. Infants and children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults do, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. They can be exposed from multiple sources and may experience irreversible and lifelong health effects.
About 3.6 million American households have children under 6 years of age who live in homes with lead exposure hazards. According to the CDC, about 500,000 American children ages 1-5 have blood lead levels at or above the CDC blood lead reference value (level at which CDC recommends public health actions begin).
Salinas, California Company Fined for RMP Violations
EPA announced a settlement with GreenGate Fresh, LLC for violating the Clean Air Act. GreenGate Fresh will pay a penalty of $80,000 and restore its Salinas facility to compliance with federal law on an established schedule. This facility chills and stores produce-related products for the food service industry using anhydrous ammonia for refrigeration.
On July 23, 2019, EPA performed an inspection of the facility and found violations of the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Plan regulations, including:
  • Evaporators and piping in some parts of the facility lacked adequate protection from forklift strikes.
  • Inadequate and inconsistent labeling and signage for process piping, equipment and fencing throughout the facility.
  • Safety information inaccurately reflected the technology of the process at the facility, which is used to identify hazards and to make necessary repairs.
“It is paramount that facilities properly manage the handling of hazardous substances to prevent accidental releases to the environment and to the surrounding community,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Jordan. “The food production industry needs to properly manage chemicals like anhydrous ammonia or face significant Clean Air Act penalties.”
When properly implemented, risk management plans help prevent chemical releases and minimize their potential impacts at facilities that store large amounts of hazardous substances. Thousands of facilities nationwide make, use, and store extremely hazardous substances, including anhydrous ammonia. Catastrophic accidents at these facilities—historically about 150 accidents each year—result in fatalities and serious injuries, evacuations, and other harm to human health and the environment.
Delaware Companies Settle Alleged Clean Air Act Violations Involving Aftermarket Devices for Diesel Trucks
EPA announced two settlements with vehicle repair shops in Delaware that were involved in the illegal sale and installation of aftermarket devices that were designed to defeat the emissions control systems of heavy-duty diesel engines.
The companies – Delaware Speed and Custom LLC in Milton, and Bo Daddy’s Diesel and Auto Repair in Seaford – allegedly violated the Clean Air Act’s prohibition on the manufacture, sale or installation of so-called “defeat devices,” which are designed to bypass, defeat or render inoperative a motor vehicle engine’s air pollution control equipment or systems.
Illegally modified vehicles and engines contribute substantial excess pollution that harms public health and impedes efforts by EPA, tribes, states and local agencies to attain air quality standards.
Delaware Speed and Custom LLC paid a $12,529 penalty for allegedly selling defeat devices, and Bo Daddy’s paid a $6,000 penalty for allegedly selling and installing defeat devices.
Clean Air Act penalties take account of various factors such as the seriousness and duration of the violations, size of the business, the penalty’s impact on the business, compliance history, good faith efforts, and economic benefit of past non-compliance.
As part of the settlements, the companies have certified that they are now are in compliance with applicable requirements.
Today’s vehicles emit far less pollution than vehicles of the past. This is made possible by careful engine calibrations, and the use of filters and catalysts in the exhaust system. Aftermarket defeat devices undo this progress and pollute the air we breathe. EPA testing has shown that a truck’s emissions increase drastically (tens or hundreds of times, depending on the pollutant) when its emissions controls are removed.
Western Bee Supply Inc. Fined $264K for Serious, Willful Violations Following Finger Amputation
When OSHA inspectors arrived at Western Bee Supply Inc. in Polson to investigate a recent incident that resulted in a partial finger amputation, they found a workplace with unguarded saw blades, rotating machinery, belts, pulleys and chains. Machine operators were cleaning saw blades and other machinery without locking out and tagging out equipment to prevent sudden starts, as required. A review of recent work logs by inspectors found the amputation wasn't the only serious injury to occur on the machine involved, just the first one that had been reported to them.
"One worker suffered a serious injury and another required hospitalization in an incident unreported previously at Western Bee. Both incidents were completely preventable had the company simply installed proper safeguards," said OSHA Area Director Art Hazen in Billing, Montana. "Employers are required to provide workers with a safe and healthful place of employment."
OSHA cited Western Bee and its staffing contractor, LC Staffing Service, for a range of serious and willful violations, and assessed a collective $264,478 in proposed penalties. OSHA cited Western Bee for failing to install guards on various equipment; control hazardous energy; test workers for hearing damage due to noise overexposure; and report the amputation within 24 hours as required.
The agency cited LC Staffing for failing to train employees in lockout and tagout procedures, and fully power down a machine before maintenance and cleaning to prevent sudden starts and movement of machine parts. Staffing agencies have a duty to train and protect the temporary workers assigned to workplaces.
After an informal conference, the employer, Western Bee Supplies, Inc., signed an informal settlement agreement accepting all citations as issued with a minor penalty reduction. Alternative Staffing Corp., LC Staffing Service, also signed, accepted the issued citations, and settled at the informal level with the same minor penalty reduction.
OSHA's machine guarding page provides resources that address protecting workers from unguarded machinery, including "Safeguarding Equipment and Protecting Workers from Amputations."
Based in Ronan, Western Bee Supplies Inc. has manufactured and supplied bee-keeping equipment for more than 53 years. The company employs approximately 49 employees. Since 1985, LC Staffing Service in Kalispell has provided temporary employees to businesses as one of Montana's largest independently owned employment services providing staffing services to Western Bee Supply since 2006.
The companies have 15 business days from receipt of citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
MassDEP Fines Abide, Inc. for Asbestos Violations
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) announced it has fined Abide, Inc. of East Longmeadow, a Massachusetts-licensed asbestos abatement contractor, $26,100 for asbestos violations that occurred during asbestos abatement activities at a commercial property at 320 Riverside Drive in Northampton.
On December 4, 2019, MassDEP inspectors performed an unannounced inspection at the property and observed that Abide personnel had failed to completely isolate the work area and were not properly operating the high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration system correctly by venting the air into a water-filled sump within the work area. Inspectors also noted punctures in polyethylene sheeting wrapping asbestos-containing pipe insulation that had been removed from the work area and was stored in a truck outside. Abide personnel were ordered to correct the violations on that date.
On December 5, 2019, a second unannounced inspection was performed. Although the violations observed the prior day had been corrected, it was noted that Abide personnel had failed to file a revised asbestos abatement notification form to extend work activities at the site, failed to fully decontaminate all surfaces adequately within the work area, and had taken the HEPA system out of operation prior to meeting visual inspection requirements that ensure complete removal of the asbestos-containing materials.
“Asbestos is a known carcinogen and following required work practices is imperative to protect workers, as well as the building tenants and the general public,” said Michael Gorski, director of MassDEP's Western Regional Office in Springfield. “We are pleased that damaged asbestos- containing flooring will be removed from Pittsfield High School as part of this enforcement action.”
MassDEP issued the $26,100 penalty, and the company must pay $6,525 of the penalty and perform a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) valued at $11,470. The SEP proposed by Abide involves abatement of damaged asbestos-containing floor tiles at Pittsfield High School at no cost to the City of Pittsfield. The balance of the penalty is suspended provided Abide complies with Massachusetts asbestos regulations at its future abatement projects.
Shire to Pay $600,000 to Settle Allegations of Clean Air Act Violations
A consent judgment, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, settles allegations that Shire Human Genetic Therapies, Inc. (Shire) violated the state’s Clean Air Act and its regulations when Shire’s Lexington facility exceeded applicable emissions limits for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) established by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).
VOCs are dangerous air pollutants that pose severe risks to public health, including through their contribution to the formation of harmful ground level ozone, or smog, which can increase susceptibility to and exacerbate respiratory ailments and illnesses including asthma. Ozone also causes toxic effects in plants and degrades materials such as rubber and fabric.
Under the settlement, Shire is required to apply for a new permit that will cap VOC emissions from the Lexington facility at a level that will both allow expansion at the facility and help keep the public safe from dangerous pollutants. In addition to imposing $400,000 in civil penalties, the settlement requires Shire to pay $200,000 to fund a project being conducted by GreenRoots, Inc., a community-based organization dedicated to improving and enhancing the urban environment and public health in Chelsea and surrounding communities.
These communities face “significantly compromised” indoor air quality, in part due to VOC emissions. GreenRoots will use the funds to purchase air filters for more than 500 homes in Chelsea. In collaboration with health institutions and private and public partners, baseline and long-term air monitoring will be conducted to evaluate improvements, and the project could be implemented in other areas in the future.
13 Penalties in January for Environmental Violations in Oregon
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued 13 penalties totaling $253,668 in January for various environmental violations. A detailed list of violations and resulting penalties is at https://go.usa.gov/xEQJn.
Fines ranged from $1,575 to $41,405. Alleged violations included a tiny homes manufacturer operating without an air quality permit, contractors violating proper asbestos abatement protocols and a construction company failing to implement stormwater controls at multiple development sites.
DEQ issued civil penalties to the following organizations:
  • 20 Twenty Sustainable Manufacturing, $19,618, Salem, air quality
  • Advanced American Construction, $28,120, Portland, stormwater
  • City of Powers, $2,500, Powers, wastewater
  • Coastal Housing Solutions, LLC, $32,817, Garibaldi, stormwater
  • GeoDesign, Inc., $3,300, Salem, heating oil tanks
  • Icon Construction & Development (Hamilton Acres), $14,767, Canby, stormwater
  • Icon Construction & Development (Redwood Landing), $38,112, Canby, stormwater
  • Industrial Harbors USA, LLC, $41,405, Gardiner, solid waste
  • Kenneth Thomas dba Ben Bailey Carpet & Upholstery Steam, $5,400, The Dalles, wastewater
  • Rose City Contracting, Inc., $13,254, Portland, asbestos
  • Skyline Homes, LLC, $32,800, Portland, asbestos
  • Tieton Homes, LLC and N. Willis Apartments, LLC, $20,000, Portland, asbestos
  • Vision International Petroleum, LLC, $1,575, Gresham, air quality
Organizations or individuals must either pay the fines or file an appeal within 20 days of receiving notice of the penalty. They may be able to offset a portion of a penalty by funding a supplemental environmental project that improves Oregon’s environment. Penalties may also include orders requiring specific tasks to prevent ongoing violations or additional environmental harm.
New CT DEEP Regulations Aim to Speed Pollution Cleanup
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced the adoption of significant changes to two sets of regulations that govern the cleanup of pollution – the Remediation Standard Regulations (RSRs) and the Environmental Use Restriction Regulations (EURs).
The adoption of the RSR and EUR amendments will accelerate the pace of the cleanup of pollution that threatens human health and the quality of our land, water and other natural resources, and often poses an impediment to redevelopment. These changes fulfill goal #5 set out in DEEP’s 20BY20 initiative, a set of 20 goals that focus on improving the predictability, efficiency, and transparency of DEEP’s regulatory processes.
These regulatory amendments provide flexibility and cost savings for property owners engaged in the remediation of polluted soil and groundwater, while maintaining or increasing the degree of protectiveness of cleanup efforts in Connecticut.
“Businesses and environmental leaders have been calling for the reform of our Property Transfer Act and cleanup regulations for many years. These amendments, combined with the release-based regulations in development, will protect our environment and our communities while enabling environmentally informed, efficient, and affordable clean-up and redevelopment,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes.
These regulatory amendments are an important step in the implementation of Public Act No. 2-9 of the September Special Session and the move away from the law known as the Transfer Act (a transactional and property-based cleanup program) to a release-based cleanup program.
Under this Act, DEEP and the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) are working with legislative leaders, and a variety of stakeholders to chart a new path for Connecticut’s cleanup program. DEEP and DECD have co-convened a working group to receive advice and feedback for regulations to be adopted by DEEP. More information about on-going stakeholder opportunities can be found on DEEP’s webpage here.
These newly-adopted regulations feature some important improvements. Key changes include:
  • Faster completion of remediation through the authorization of licensed environmental professionals (LEP) to use Engineered Control or Widespread Polluted Fill Variance without Commissioner approval.
  • Expanded opportunities for compliance based on environmental and human health risk through the consideration of a broader range of release-specific remedies. For example, alternative surface water protection criteria using the new aquifer dilution calculation as a release-specific remedy that will drive faster cleanups.
  • The RSRs and EURs allow, for the first time, use of Notices of Activity and Use Limitation, an environmental use restriction that can be implemented by an LEP without approval from the Department.
  • The EURs create a category of minor excavations called “allowable disturbances,” which can be authorized by LEPs to quickly authorize minor site-work that would otherwise be prohibited by a recorded restriction.
Leading Cardiovascular Organizations Call for Urgent Action to Reduce Air Pollution
Air pollution is a key risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and a major contributor to the global burden of disease. Long-term exposure to air pollution has also been linked to an increased risk of death from COVID-19. This dangerous “triple threat” of air pollution, COVID-19 and cardiovascular disease should be taken seriously, warn major health authorities.
Four leading cardiovascular organizations – the American College of Cardiology (ACC), World Heart Federation (WHF), American Heart Association (AHA) and European Society of Cardiology (ESC) –released a joint statement urging the medical community and health authorities to mitigate the impact of air pollution on people’s health.
In 2019, an estimated 6.7 million deaths, or 12% of all deaths worldwide, were attributable to outdoor or household air pollution. As many as half of these were due to cardiovascular disease. Air pollution also increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and respiratory diseases, which are known to raise a person’s risk of experiencing some of the more severe consequences of COVID-19.
“Clinicians have a responsibility to educate their patients, their colleagues and their communities at large on the connection between air pollution and cardiovascular disease risk,” said Richard Kovacs, MD, MACC, senior author of the joint statement and ACC Immediate Past President. “By advocating for recognition of air pollution as a health factor, working individually with our patients to reduce exposure and associated risks, and integrating air pollution into broader disease management approaches, the health care community can provide support for larger pollution mitigation efforts.”
The statement calls for structural actions to reduce emissions of air pollutants and harmful exposure. It also highlights the important role that healthcare providers play in preventing illnesses related to air pollution, including:
  • Advocating for air pollution mitigation as a health measure, further research on air quality and its impact on CVD, and interventions to reduce air pollution and its effect on NCDs
  • Providing patients with personal measures to reduce exposure, such as room air filtration systems
  • Integrating air pollution into disease management approaches, for example through the use of air quality indices
  • Participating in the development of guidelines on air pollution and CVD
  • Supporting ministries of environment, energy, and transportation in their mitigation efforts
  • Working to educate and raise awareness on the cardiovascular benefits of clean air
  • Collaborating with senior decision-makers in national, regional, and global governmental institutions to make air pollution related heart disease a priority
The statement was published simultaneously in the flagship journals of all four organizations: the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA), the European Heart Journal(EHJ) and Global Heart.
New Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Appointed in NC
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced that Dionne Delli-Gatti will replace EPA Administrator Designate Michael Regan as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality.
“Dionne Delli-Gatti is an experienced leader and champion for a safer, healthier environment. I’m confident that she is the right person to continue the progress we've made over the last four years with cleaner energy, air and water,” said Governor Cooper.
“I’m deeply honored and humbled to be nominated by Governor Cooper to lead this critical state agency. I’m ready to get to work for the people of North Carolina, digging in on the tough environmental issues our state is facing,” said Delli-Gatti.
Delli-Gatti most recently served at the Environmental Defense Fund as the Director of Southeast Climate and Energy following six years at the Atlanta EPA Regional office as Congressional and Governmental Liaison. Her environmental experience includes government service at the Ohio EPA and the City of Dallas, as well as an Environmental Specialist at Turner Collie & Braden, Inc. An Air Force veteran, Delli-Gatti holds a B.A. from Wright State in Environmental Geology and a Master of Science from the University of North Texas in Environmental Science.
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 Management: The Complete Course is available via live webcasts. If you plan to also attend DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course, call 800-537-2372 to find out how you can get your course materials on an Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet at no extra charge.
Job Openings at Environmental Resource Center
Environmental Resource Center has openings for EHS consultants and trainers. If you are looking for a new challenge, send your resume and salary requirements to Brian Karnofsky at brian@ercweb.com.
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