Civil settlements mandate air pollution reductions for ethanol manufacturers ,"The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state of Minnesota announced civil settlements with 12 Minnesota ethanol plants for alleged violations under the Clean Air Act's New Source Review program. The settlements, the first to mandate air pollution reductions in the ethanol manufacturing industry, call for the plants to install thermal oxidizers to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from feed dryers by 95 percent. They also require the plants to meet new, more-restrictive emission limits for NOX, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and hazardous air pollutants. In addition, each facility will pay a civil penalty. EPA said the required pollution controls will slash annual air emissions of VOCs by 2,400 tons to 4,000 tons, NOX by 180 tons, particulate matter by 450 tons and hazardous air pollutants by 250 tons. For more information, visit the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Web site at www.pca.state.mn.us/air/ethanol-settlement.html.
EPA resolves pesticides lawsuit ,"EPA said it has entered into a consent decree that resolves a pesticides-related lawsuit brought against the agency in 2000 by the Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs), the Environmental Protection Information Center and the Humboldt Watershed Council. In their suit, the groups alleged that the agency failed to comply with sections of the Endangered Species Act and the Fish and Wildlife Act by not consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service on the potential effects of certain pesticides to specific endangered or threatened plant and salmonid species in California. The consent decree establishes deadlines for EPA to consult with these services. To view the consent decree, visit www.epa.gov/oppfead1/cb/csb_page/updates/catsdecree.pdf.
Agency issues pesticide security reminder ,"EPA said those who manufacture, distribute, transport or store pesticides should continue to be vigilant about the physical security of these substances ," despite Attorney General John Ashcroft's late-September announcement that terrorist attack "threat conditions" had been lowered from "high" to "elevated." According to the agency, managers who have not already reviewed EPA's "Pesticide Safety and Site Security" chemical safety alert might wish to do so now at www.epa.gov/pesticides/citizens/pest_secu_alert.htm.
OSHA forms alliances with industry associations ,"The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) announced the establishment of alliances with both the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. (SPI) and the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA). The OSHA/SPI alliance aims to assist in providing member employers with information and guidance that will help them protect employees, particularly in the identification and elimination of significant hazards. A joint team of representatives from OSHA and SPI will meet regularly to develop and action plan, identify goals, and share information about activities and alliance results. The OSHA/ABSA alliance will address biological safety issues facing employers and workers today. OSHA and ABSA will work together to identify emerging occupational biological safety issues and develop methods to address them.
ExxonMobil to pay $4.7 million for pipeline spill ,"DOJ, together with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA and the California Department of Fish and Game announced a settlement under which ExxonMobil Oil Corp. will pay the United States and the state of California $4.7 million. The money is to compensate for a Valencia, Calif., crude oil spill from a pipeline operated by the former Mobil Oil Corp. The bulk of the money will go toward restoration of natural resources ," including a 15-mile stretch of the Santa Clara River between Los Angeles and Ventura Counties ," affected by the spill. For more information, visit DOJ's Web site at www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2002/September/02_enrd_548.htm.
Agency to hold greenhouse gas workshops ,"EPA and the U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture announced the first series of workshops and meetings to allow interested persons to help improve the guidelines now governing the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Voluntary Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program and related programs. The workshops will seek to assist the participating agencies in enhancing greenhouse-gas-emission and emission-reduction reporting. Specific dates and locations ," as well as additional workshop information ," can be found at www.pi.energy.gov/enhancingGHGregistry/index.html.
EPA announces security plan ,"EPA Administrator Christie Whitman introduced the agency's Strategic Plan for Homeland Security. Designed to support President Bush's National Strategy for Homeland Security, as well as the efforts of the new Department of Homeland Security, the plan identifies agency goals in four areas: critical infrastructure protection; preparedness, response and recovery; communication and information; and protection of EPA personnel and infrastructure. As part of its overall plan, EPA said it would work with states, tribes and other partners to enhance security in the chemical and oil industries. For more information, visit www.epa.gov. CP