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News Archive: April 2009

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This information is provided for reference. Over time, links to news items may become unavailable, in these cases the item will remain listed, but no link will be provided. Also, please be aware that the information in any particular article may be outdated or superseded by additional information.

April 30
EPA Announces Availability of Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) Regional Grants
EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) in coordination with the EPA Regional Offices, is soliciting proposals to further the pesticide risk reduction goals of the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP). Proposed projects must address implementation of integrated pest management approaches that reduce the risks associated with pesticide use in an agricultural or nonagricultural setting and demonstrate the importance and relevancy of the project to the goals of PESP. The estimated amount of funding for FY 2009 is approximately $500,000.

Methyl Bromide Critical Use Exemptions for 2009
Under the Clean Air Act, methyl bromide consumption and production was phased out on January 1, 2005, apart from allowable exemptions, such as the critical use exemption and the quarantine and preshipment exemption. With this action, EPA is authorizing the uses that will qualify for the 2009 critical use exemption as well as specific amounts of methyl bromide that may be produced, imported, or sold from pre-phaseout inventory for proposed critical uses in 2009.

April 28
Oregon Pest Control Company Reaches $4550 Settlement with EPA for Illegal Pesticide Use
Swanson’s Pest Management, Inc., of Eugene, Oregon, has reached a $4550 settlement with EPA resulting from a pesticide exposure event that led to a woman’s death near Florence, Oregon. The original Complaint, filed following a review of Swanson’s use of two pesticides, named multiple violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). One of the most serious violations was linked to a death at a treated home in Florence, Oregon. According to documents associated with the case, six more people, including the responding paramedics, experienced respiratory distress or became ill when they entered the treated home.

Asplundh Tree Company Fined Over $4,000 for Over-Applying Herbicide at Operations
Asplundh Tree Expert Company has agreed to pay $4,200 to settle eight alleged violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act for operations in Sweetwater and Orofino, Idaho, located on the Nez Perce Reservation. An inspector working on behalf of EPA from the Tribal Pesticide Circuit Rider Program found evidence that Asplundh may have improperly applied an herbicide, Dow AgroSciences Garlon 4, to control right-of-ways on at least eight occasions in 2006. In some instances, the herbicide was applied at more than eleven times the maximum rate allowed by the label. The case was referred to EPA for further investigation and enforcement.

April 27
EPA To Review Three New Source Review Rules
EPA notified petitioners of its intent to reconsider portions of three rules under its New Source Review (NSR) permitting program. The rules under review determine when and how facilities are required to:

These reconsiderations are the most recent in a series of actions EPA has taken to ensure the NSR program protects clean air. EPA is reconsidering these rules to ensure that the public has an opportunity to fully review any recent changes that would impact the implementation of NSR. Soon, EPA will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register requesting comment on certain aspects of each of these three rules.

EPA Announces Availability of Source Reduction Assistance Grant
EPA annually awards grants and cooperative agreements under the Source Reduction Assistance (SRA) Grant Program to support pollution prevention/source reduction and/or resource conservation projects that reduce or eliminate pollution at the source. The grant program does not support projects that rely on reducing pollution by using recycling, treatment, disposal or energy recovery activities. Nine of EPA’s Regional Pollution Prevention Program Offices anticipate having up to approximately $130,000 per region, or up to approximately $1,170,000 in total award funding to issue SRA awards in FY 2009 – FY 2010. EPA will issue the award funds in the form of grants and/or cooperative agreements. All funding will be awarded and managed by the nine EPA Regional P2 Program Offices participating in this announcement.

SAB Requests Nominations of Experts for Nutrient Criteria Development
EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB) Staff Office is requesting nominations of non-EPA experts to augment the SAB Ecological Processes and Effects Committee (EPEC) for the review of EPA's draft Technical Guidance on Empirical Approaches for Numeric Nutrient Criteria Development. EPA has specifically requested advice on: the practical use of field data; addressing confounding variables and uncertainty; addressing indirect pathways of adverse effects; and the strengths and limitations of proposed approaches for deriving numeric values for nutrient endpoints. This advice will be provided by the SAB EPEC augmented with experts who have specialized knowledge of the effects of nutrient enrichment on freshwater, marine, and estuarine ecosystems. Nominations should be submitted by May 18, 2009.

April 24
EPA Solicits Applications for Assistance To Support the Tribal Pesticide Program Council
EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) is soliciting proposals for an Administrator to support the Tribal pesticide Program Council (TPPC). The TPPC is a forum for tribal pesticide and environmental officials to raise pesticide program implementation issues to EPA, offer input on national pesticide policy that affects tribes, offer a network for tribal pesticide officials to share information, and promote and enhance tribal pesticide program development. The estimated amount of funding for the cooperative agreement for the five year period is $1,000,000. $195,000 is expected to be available in fiscal year (FY) 2009.

April 22
Clomazone and Fomesafen Registration Review Draft Ecological Risk Assessments Available for Comment
EPA is conducting its registration review of clomazone (Docket ID# EPA-HQ-OPP-2006-0113) and fomesafen (Docket ID# EPA-HQ-OPP-2006-0239) to ensure that they continue to satisfy the FIFRA standard for registration -- that is, that these pesticides can still be used without unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment. Clomazone is a broad spectrum herbicide used to control annual grasses and broadleaf weeds in a wide variety of crops and locations. Fomesafen is a pre-plant, pre-emergence and post-emergence herbicide used on soybeans, snap beans, dry beans, and cotton to control broadleaf weeds, grasses, and sedges. It is also registered for use on agricultural fallow/idle land, nonagricultural uncultivated areas/soils, pine (forest/shelterbelt) and pine (seed orchard). EPA has completed comprehensive draft ecological risk assessments, including endangered species effects determinations for all clomazone and fomesafen uses. Comments must be received on or before June 22, 2009.

April 21
EPA Administrator Reinstates Full TRI Reporting Requirements
EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson signed a final rule to reinstate stricter reporting requirements for industrial and federal facilities that release toxic substances that threaten human health and the environment. The final rule reinstates Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements that were replaced by the TRI Burden Reduction Rule in December 2006. The 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act, signed by President Obama on March 11, 2009, mandated that prior TRI reporting requirements be reestablished. These changes will apply to all TRI reports due July 1, 2009. TRI is a publicly available EPA database that contains information on toxic chemical releases and waste management activities reported annually by certain industries as well as federal facilities. For more information, see EPA's TRI Program Web page.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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April 17
EPA Proposes Findings that Greenhouse Gases Pose Threat to Public Health, Welfare
After a thorough scientific review ordered in 2007 by the U.S. Supreme Court, EPA issued a proposed finding Friday that greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare. The proposed finding, which now moves to a public comment period, identified six greenhouse gases that pose a potential threat – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. The science clearly shows that concentrations of these gases are at unprecedented levels as a result of human emissions, and these high levels are very likely the cause of the increase in average temperatures and other changes in our climate. The scientific analysis also confirms that climate change impacts human health in several ways. Findings from a recent EPA study titled “Assessment of the Impacts of Global Change on Regional U.S. Air Quality: A Synthesis of Climate Change Impacts on Ground-Level Ozone,” for example, suggest that climate change may lead to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone, a harmful pollutant. Additional impacts of climate change include, but are not limited to:

The public comment period will be open for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. Additional information on the proposal is available on EPA’s Proposed Endangerment Findings Web page.

April 16
EPA Seeks Comments on E15 Request
EPA is seeking public comments on a waiver application to increase the amount of ethanol that can be blended into a gallon of gasoline to up to 15 volume percent (E15). Since 1978, the limit has been at ten volume percent ethanol (E10) for conventional (non flex-fuel) vehicles. Additional information is available in the Federal Register notice. Comments must be received on or before May 21, 2009.

April 15
EPA To Begin Testing Pesticides for Endocrine Disruption
EPA has issued the first list of pesticides to be screened for possibly disrupting the endocrine system. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interact with and possibly disrupt the hormones produced or secreted by the human or animal endocrine system, which regulates growth, metabolism and reproduction. “Endocrine disruptors can cause lifelong health problems -- especially for children,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Gathering this information will help us work with communities and industry to protect Americans from harmful exposure.” EPA will issue test orders to the manufacturers of 67 pesticide chemicals this summer to determine whether their chemicals may disrupt the endocrine systems (estrogen, androgen and thyroid). Testing, conducted through the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP), will eventually be expanded to cover all pesticide chemicals. The list was developed on the basis of exposure potential and should not be construed as a list of known or likely endocrine disruptors. The listed pesticide chemicals were selected because there is high potential for human exposure through food and water, residential activity, or agricultural pesticide application.

EPA Publishes Annual U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report
EPA has released the national greenhouse gas inventory, which finds that overall emissions during 2007 increased by 1.4 percent from the previous year. The report, Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2007, is the latest annual report that the United States has submitted to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change.

EPA Withdraws NPDES Voluntary Permit Fee Incentive
EPA is taking final action on withdrawal of a regulation revising the allotment formula contained in EPA's Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 106 Water Pollution Control grant regulations. The current regulations include a financial incentive for States to voluntarily collect adequate National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit fees. This final rule withdraws the financial incentive for States to voluntarily collect permit fees. At a time when State budgets are already strained, EPA continues to encourage States to develop sustainable programs that share the cost with those who benefit from NPDES permits. The Agency applauds the 42 States that already collect some form of fees for NPDES permits.

OPPTS Issues Revised Test Guidelines
EPA announces the availability of several revised or updated test guidelines for the unified library of harmonized test guidelines issued by the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances (OPPTS). The OPPTS Harmonized Test Guidelines are for use in the testing of chemical substances or pesticides where appropriate to develop data for submission to EPA under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), or the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

Science Advisory Board Integrated Nitrogen Committee Announces Public Meeting
The SAB INC will conduct a public meeting on May 14-15, 2009 in Washington, DC. The purpose of the meeting is for the SAB INC to discuss the committee's draft report addressing the environmental problems presented by reactive nitrogen and providing recommendations related to an integrated nitrogen management strategy. At the global scale, reactive nitrogen from human activities now exceeds that produced by natural terrestrial ecosystems. Reactive nitrogen both benefits and impacts the health and welfare of people and ecosystems. Scientific information suggests that reactive nitrogen is accumulating in the environment and that nitrogen cycling through biogeochemical pathways has a variety of consequences.

April 10
EPA Proposes Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases
In association with a March 10, 2009 news release, EPA has published the Federal Register notice proposing a regulation to require reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors of the economy. The rule would apply to fossil fuel suppliers and industrial gas suppliers, as well as to direct greenhouse gas emitters. The proposed rule does not require control of greenhouse gases, rather it requires only that sources above certain threshold levels monitor and report emissions. Comments must be received on or before June 9, 2009.

Exposure Modeling Public Meeting Scheduled
EPA has scheduled an Exposure Modeling Public Meeting (EMPM) on May 3, 2009, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Current issues in modeling pesticide fate, transport, and exposure in support of risk assessment in a regulatory context will be discussed. Specific topics will include analysis of vegetative filter strip models; pyrethroid turf runoff and building material washoff studies; and the Kow-based aquatic bioaccumulation model (KABAM).

April 9
Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee To Hold Public Teleconference
The FRRCC will hold a public teleconference on Tuesday, May 19, 2009, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The purpose of this teleconference is to discuss and approve the draft FRRCC Land Use advice letter to EPA. A copy of the meeting agenda will be available on the FRRCC Web page.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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April 6
National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center April Newsletter and Webcast Exit EPA
The April edition of the National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center (LPELC) newsletter is available. Topics include: May Webcast Highlights a Proposed Ruling That Would Require Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Annual Survey Will Be Arriving Soon; Biogas Presentations from AgSTAR Conference Available Online; and EPA Seeks Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The next Webcast, April 17, 2009, is entitled, "What to Expect when You’re Inspected" and will feature a panel discussion including federal and state regulators and permitted producers. The discussion will focus on what inspectors are looking for when they conduct an inspection and tips from producers that have been through the process.

April 1
EPA Issues CWA Violation Notice to a Northern California Farm
EPA issued a violation notice and compliance order to P.R. Farms, following the discovery of the grower’s illegal expansion into the Fresno River. The farmer bypassed flood control levees, illegally filling an area approximately 2,300 feet long and 45-250 feet wide and encroaching more than seven acres into the Fresno River. EPA has ordered the farmer to immediately remove all unauthorized fill material and restore the levee in accordance with the specifications of the Fresno River flood control project. The Fresno River forms the southern boundary of the property and is an integral part of a flood control project overseen by multiple federal, state, and local authorities. Inspectors observed that earthen material had been placed within the Fresno River to create a new levee and fill area along the northern bank of the River, and that an asphalt road and an orchard had been placed on top of the fill area. The farmer placed dredged and fill material into the Fresno River without a Clean Water Act (CWA) section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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