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News Archive: December 2007

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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 Also, please be aware that the information in any particular article may be outdated or superseded by additional information.

December 28
Comment Period Extended for Draft List of Initial Pesticide Active Ingredients and Pesticide Inerts To Be Considered for Screening
EPA issued a notice in the Federal Register of June 18, 2007, concerning the draft list of the first group of chemicals that will be screened in the Agency's Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP). The draft list was produced using the approach described in the September 2005 notice, and includes chemicals that the Agency, in its discretion, has decided should be tested first, based upon exposure potential. The June 18, 2007 Federal Register notice provided for a 90-day public comment period. EPA extended the comment period an additional 60 days in the Federal Register of September 12, 2007, and later extended the comment period for 45 days in the Federal Register of November 15, 2007. This document is extending the comment period for a third time for an additional 42 days. Comments must be received on or before February 11, 2008.

Comment Period Extended for Draft Guidance, Pesticide Registrants on Label Statements Regarding Third-Party Endorsements and Cause Marketing Claims
In the Federal Register of October 31, 2007, EPA issued a draft Pesticide Registration Notice (PRN) to describe EPA’s framework for evaluating label statements regarding third-party endorsements and cause-marketing claims. The Agency has opened a docket (Docket ID # EPA-HQ-OPP-2007-1008) to receive comments on this draft PRN. Comments on the draft PRN were initially due by December 31, 2007. In response to several requests, EPA has decided to extend the comment period for 90 days. The Agency is particularly interested in assuring that its state partners in pesticide regulation and other stakeholders have adequate opportunity for comments. The extended comment period ends March 27, 2007.

Solicitation of Information for the Development of Risk Management Evaluations to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
This notice solicits information relevant to the development of risk management evaluations pursuant to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) (hereafter Convention) for various chemicals that are being reviewed for possible addition to the Convention's Annexes A, B, and/or C as POPs. This notice alerts interested and potentially affected persons of these proposals and the status of their review under the Convention, and to encourage such persons to provide information relevant to the development of risk profiles and risk management evaluations under the Convention. Comments must be received on or before January 22, 2008.

December 27
EPA Approves Plan by Northeast States To Lower Mercury Levels in Fish
EPA announced the approval of a Northeast states plan designed to lower mercury levels in fish throughout New England and New York. The plan calls for a 98-percent reduction from 1998 levels of mercury from atmospheric sources.  This would make mercury levels in fish low enough for the states to lift fish consumption advisories. For several years the Northeast has experienced elevated levels of mercury in certain fish species that has resulted in thousands of fish consumption advisories at lakes and rivers across the region. The approved plan addresses the requirements of the Clean Water Act that require states to develop pollution budgets, or Total Maximum Daily Loads, for polluted waters.

States Chosen for Unique Source Water Protection Project Exit EPA
The Trust for Public Land, the Smart Growth Leadership Institute, the Association of Drinking Water Administrators, and River Network have announced that Maine, New Hampshire, and Ohio have been selected for the first round of demonstrations under a unique project to align state water quality protection and land use programs and policies to better protect drinking water sources. A second call for entries is planned for summer 2008, after which the team expects to select three additional states. The EPA-funded project, Enabling Source Water Protection: Aligning State Land Use and Water Protection Programs, will provide the selected states with recommendations and a support network.

December 21
EPA Proposes Better Approach To Reporting Hazardous Substances from Farm Animal Waste
EPA has proposed a rule change to provide an administrative reporting exemption for air releases of hazardous substances -- primarily ammonia and hydrogen sulfide -- from animal waste at farms. EPA is proposing a rule enabling response authorities to better focus their attention on hazardous substance releases that require emergency response while reducing reporting burdens on America’s farms. EPA’s proposed rule provides an administrative reporting exemption for air releases of hazardous substances -- primarily ammonia and hydrogen sulfide -- from animal waste at farms. Release notifications must still be made to emergency response authorities when hazardous substances are released to the air from sources other than animal waste (e.g., ammonia tanks), as well as releases of hazardous substances to soil and water. Comments on this proposed rule must be received on or before March 27, 2008.

Final Determination to Terminate Special Review of Dichlorvos (DDVP)
On September 26, 2007, EPA issued in the Federal Register, a notice proposing to terminate the Special Review of dichlorvos (DDVP) because the risks that were the basis of the Special Review are no longer of concern. The Agency offered an opportunity to provide comment on the proposal. The Agency received no substantive comments in response to the proposal and EPA is announcing its final determination to terminate the Special Review of DDVP.

Reregistration Eligibility Decision for Polypropylene Glycol Available for Comment
This notice announces the availability of EPA's Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for the pesticide polypropylene glycol, and opens a public comment period on this document. The Agency's risk assessments and other related documents also are available in the polypropylene glycol Docket. Butoxypolypropylene glycol (BPG) is the only active ingredient in the polypropylene glycol chemical case with any registered products. BPG is a repellant that is used to control flying and crawling insects. BPG can be applied to animals such as pets or horses directly, or to areas where animals live, like animal housing, bedding, or other areas animals may occupy. Comments must be received on or before January 22, 2008.

Pesticide Inert Ingredient Web Page Available
EPA has reorganized and updated its pesticide inert ingredient listings to make it easier for stakeholders to access and make use of the information. Stakeholders can more easily find listings for inert ingredients permitted in 1) non-food pesticides, 2) minimum risk pesticides exempted under Section 25(b) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, and 3) pesticide products that qualify for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program. The Web site also contains instructions for accessing the electronic Code of Federal Regulations for inert ingredients that may be used in pesticide products applied to food commodities.

Global Summit Promotes Building Capacity, Reduced Risk Pest Control Practices
Meeting in Rome earlier this month, participants at a Global Minor Use Summit developed key recommendations aimed at meeting farmers’ pest control needs while promoting high levels of consumer and environmental protection.  Among the conclusions of the conference was a recommendation for building capacity in developing countries, especially with respect to biological and reduced-risk pesticides and integrated pest management (IPM) systems. EPA joined with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to sponsor the conference, which brought together leading authorities from around the world to explore ways to address specialty (“minor”) crop issues on a global basis and exchange information about use of safer pesticides and other pest control practices.

EPA's Office of Emergency Management's Redesigned Web Site
EPA's Office of Emergency Management is launching a redesigned Web site about EPA's prevention, preparedness and response programs. The goal is to ensure that the Web site continues to provide relevant, up to date, and accessible information to all of the users.

December 20
EPA Authorizes Critical Uses of Methyl Bromide for 2008
In accordance with the Clean Air Act and Montreal Protocol, EPA has issued final methyl bromide production and import critical use exemptions for 2008. EPA also authorized uses that qualify for the 2008 critical use exemption. The exemptions for continued production and import of methyl bromide will honor the U.S. commitment to obtain methyl bromide for American farmers, in a manner consistent with the Montreal Protocol, while protecting the ozone layer.

December 19
Siduron Risk Assessments and Risk Reduction Options Available for Comment
This notice announces the availability of EPA's risk assessments, and related documents for the pesticide siduron, and opens a public comment period on these documents. The public is encouraged to suggest risk management ideas or proposals to address the risks identified. EPA is developing a Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for siduron through a modified, 4-Phase public participation process that the Agency uses to involve the public in developing pesticide reregistration decisions. This is Phase 3 of a 4-Phase process. Comments must be received on or before February 19, 2008.

Revised Reregistration Eligibility Decision for Aliphatic Solvents Available for Comment
This notice announces the availability of EPA's Revised Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for the pesticide aliphatic solvents, signed on November 29, 2007, and opens a public comment period on this document, related risk assessments, and other support documents. EPA had reviewed the low-risk pesticide aliphatic solvents through a modified, streamlined version of the public participation process that the Agency uses to involve the public in developing pesticide reregistration and tolerance reassessment decisions, and following the receipt of comments, EPA is now issuing a revised RED. Comments must be received on or before February 19, 2008.

Pesticide Registration Review Dockets Opened for Various Pesticides
EPA has established registration review dockets for various pesticides and has opened the public comment period for these registration reviews. Registration review is EPA's periodic review of pesticide registrations to ensure that each pesticide continues to satisfy the statutory standard for registration. Comments, identified by the docket identification number for the specific pesticide of interest, must be received on or before March 18, 2008. The chemicals are:

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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December 17
EPA Settles With California Company for $95,000 for Distributing Export-Only Pesticides
EPA has fined the Clorox Company $95,000 for allegedly distributing an unregistered and mislabeled Chinese version of Clorox Disinfectant Bleach, in violation of federal pesticide law. The Oakland, California, company's Los Angeles production facility donated the illegal disinfectants to Los Angeles charities in 2005 and 2006. The products were intended for Asian export, so the labels lacked adequate English-language directions for use, hazard and precautionary statements, and the required statement "Not Registered for Use in the United States of America."

December 13
EPA Orders Texas Dairy To Stop Permit Violations
EPA has issued a cease and desist administrative order to Moo Town Dairy near Sulphur Springs, Texas, for violations of the Clean Water Act, including failure to properly design, operate, and maintain wastewater lagoons. The dairy is a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO). The facility has been given 14 days to update its pollution prevention plan, 30 days to follow proper animal carcass disposal requirements, and 30 days to lower the liquid levels in its wastewater lagoons to ensure adequate freeboard is available. The dairy has also been ordered to ensure that all process-generated wastewater from its commodity barns and silage bunkers drains into the lagoons.

Comments Sought for Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program Draft Procedures
EPA is calling for comments about draft policies and procedures for the initial screening of pesticide chemicals under the Agency's Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP). The comments should focus on the specific policies and related procedures that EPA will follow to impose data requirements, minimize duplicate testing, promote equitable cost-sharing, and protect confidential business information. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires EPA to develop a screening program to identify pesticide chemicals that may affect the endocrine systems of humans, domestic animals, and fish and wildlife species. Comments must be received on or before February 11, 2008.

Corps of Engineers Invites Comments on Clarification of CWA Exemptions for Irrigation Ditches, Drainage Ditches Exit EPA
The Army Corps of Engineers has issued a regulatory guidance letter (RGL 07-02) to further explain certain regulatory exemptions for irrigation ditches and drainage ditches consistent with the Clean Water Act (CWA) and implementing regulations. Specifically, the RGL clarifies when CWA Section 404(f) exempts from permitting requirements the discharge of dredged or fill material associated with the construction and maintenance of irrigation ditches and maintenance of drainage ditches. The RGL also clarifies certain terms in the regulations and provides a framework for determining the applicability of the exemptions. This RGL was effective July 4, 2007. Comments must be received on or before February 11, 2008.

December 12
EPA Amends Notice of Hearing Concerning Pre-Harvest Interval for Ethylenbisdithiocarbamate (EBDC) Fungicides on Potatoes
EPA is amending its July 11, 2007, Notice of Hearing document (July notice) concerning a request to reduce the pre-harvest interval for the use of EBDC fungicides on potatoes. The July notice set forth EPA's determination, the rationale for that determination, a description of the issues of fact and law to be adjudicated in the hearing, and a schedule for the hearing. This amendment consolidates the issues of fact and law into two relevant questions that must be determined by the administrative law judge. EPA believes the amended statement of issues provides necessary clarifications that will allow for a more efficient and effective hearing.

Reregistration Eligibility Decision for Para-dichlorobenzene Available for Comment
EPA has released its Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for the low-risk pesticide para-dichlorobenzene and has opened a public comment period on this document, related risk assessments, and other support documents. Para-dichlorobenzene is a fumigant insecticide registered for use on indoor sites only. EPA has reviewed para-dichlorobenzene through a modified, streamlined version of the public participation process. Comments must be received on or before February 11, 2008.

Pesticide Registration Review Dockets Opened for Three Antimicrobials
EPA has established registration review dockets for three antimicrobial pesticides and has opened the public comment period for these registration reviews. Registration review is EPA's periodic review of pesticide registrations to ensure that each pesticide continues to satisfy the statutory standard for registration. Comments, identified by the docket identification number for the specific pesticide of interest, must be received on or before March 11, 2008. The chemicals are:

Registration Review Docket Opened for Biopesticide Nosema Locustae; Dried Blood To Be Cancelled
EPA has established a registration review docket for the biopesticide Nosema locustae and has opened a public comment period on this review. In addition, EPA has announced its intent not to open a registration review docket for dried blood, which is undergoing a voluntary cancellation process and therefore is not scheduled for registration review. Comments on the Nosema locustae review, identified by docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2007-0997, must be received on or before February 11, 2008.

December 11
EPA Offers Grants for Puget Sound Watershed Protection
EPA is soliciting proposals to support the protection and restoration of high-value Puget Sound aquatic resources, especially in areas facing rapid population growth, increased development, or other environmental pressures. The grant program emphasizes local, holistic watershed protection and management approaches. Grant funds will assist local and tribal governments in managing land uses while protecting watershed functions and values. EPA plans to award up to ten grants, ranging from about $250,000 to $625,000, totaling $2.5 million. Local governments, special purpose districts, and federally recognized Indian tribes in the greater Puget Sound Basin are eligible to apply.

December 10
EPA, Farmers Cooperative Agree on Emergency Notification Violations
The Farmers Union Cooperative Association in Gretna, Nebraska, will purchase emergency response equipment valued at more than $27,000 for the Gretna Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, and will pay a $5,650 penalty as settlement for violations of EPA's emergency notification laws in April 2006. The cooperative, an anhydrous ammonia dealer in Gretna, failed to immediately notify emergency responders after a release of 3,880 pounds of anhydrous ammonia to the air. The association willingly negotiated with EPA to settle the case. The equipment to be purchased for the Gretna fire department will help protect emergency responders and the public in the event of a future hazardous substance release.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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December 7
EPA Denies NRDC Petition To Cancel Dichlorvos (DDVP)
In response to a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), EPA has concluded that certain DDVP (dichlorvos) pesticide products still can be used safely around the home if directions on product labeling are followed. No further safety improvements are needed beyond the use deletions and label amendments that are being implemented as a result of the Agency's 2006 Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for dichlorvos. NRDC's June 2006 petition asked the Agency to conclude special review, reregistration, and tolerance reassessment processes and to revoke all tolerances and cancel all product registrations for DDVP. Based on the decisions reflected in the RED, EPA is denying the petition.

Final Rule Eases Regulatory Burdens, Expands Opportunities for Minor Crop Producers
Minor crop producers and consumers will be the primary beneficiaries of EPA's final revision of its pesticide tolerance crop grouping regulations, which allow the establishment of tolerances (maximum residue levels) for multiple, related crops based upon data from a representative set of crops. The revision, published in a December 7, 2007, Federal Register notice, creates a new crop group for edible fungi (mushrooms), expands existing crop groups by adding new commodities, establishes new crop subgroups, and revises the representative crops in some groups. These changes reflect the global competition for new or ethnic commodities. EPA expects these revisions to promote greater use of crop groupings for tolerance-setting purposes and, in particular, to assist in retaining or making available pesticides for minor crop uses. This is the first in a series of regulatory crop group updates.

December 6
EPA Orders Idaho Wetlands To Be Restored
Two residents near Priest Lake, Idaho, have been ordered by EPA to restore damaged wetlands on their property near Lamb Creek, Bonner County, Idaho. EPA issued the residents an administrative compliance order to resolve a Clean Water Act violation for unauthorized dredge and fill activities that occurred in spring 2007. The order requires the violators to either remove fill, return wetland soil, and replant the site with wetland vegetation no later than April 30, 2008, or pay fines as high as $32,500 per day.

Up to $7 Million in Grants Adds Fuel to "Methane to Markets" Partnership
EPA has made up to $7 million available through a grant solicitation for innovative international projects and activities as part of the Methane to Markets Partnership. The Agency expects to award about 40 cooperative grants agreements ranging from approximately $100,000 to $700,000. EPA is requesting proposals for projects that directly identify, characterize, or implement methane capture-and-use projects. Examples include technology transfers and demonstrations, feasibility studies, training and capacity building, and databases of potential sites. Proposals are due by February 22, 2008, at 4 p.m. EST.

December 5
Comments Invited on Amended Reregistration Eligibility Decision for Naphthalene Acetic Acid
EPA has released its amended Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for the low-risk pesticide naphthalene acetic acid, its salts, ester, and acetamide, and has opened a public comment period on these documents, related risk assessments, and other support documents. EPA has reviewed naphthalene acetic acid through a modified, streamlined version of the public participation process. Comments must be received on or before January 4, 2008.

December 4
National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center December Newsletter and Webcast Exit EPA
The December edition of the National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center (LPELC) newsletter is available. Topics include: Dry Manure Housing Systems for Beef and Dairy Featured in the January, 2008 Webcast; Survey To Determine Air Quality Webcast Topics; Report Outlines Policy Changes To Clean Up the Chesapeake Bay; and Virginia Project Offers Incentives for Improved Feed Management on Dairy Farms. The next Webcast will be on December 14, 2007, and will feature Dick Hegg, USDA CSREES; Tom Herlihy, RT Solutions; and Mike Serio, Advanced Fuel Research.  They will discuss the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and innovative manure treatment technologies being developed through the program.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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December 3
Integrating Water and Waste Programs To Restore Watersheds: A Guide for Federal and State Project Managers
EPA has released a manual titled "Integrating Water and Waste Programs To Restore Watersheds: A Guide for Federal and State Project Managers." This manual is targeted primarily to project managers in water and waste programs who are working on assessment or cleanup projects in watersheds contaminated by hazardous materials or waste. The manual is also a helpful reference document for stakeholders involved in watershed cleanup efforts. The goal of the manual is to enhance coordination across EPA and state waste and water programs by identifying opportunities for streamlining requirements, leveraging resources, and implementing restoration activities more efficiently.

December 14 Deadline for Submitting Comments on Proposed Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures Rule Amendments
On October 1, 2007, EPA proposed revisions to certain regulatory requirements for facilities subject to the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure rule. The revisions will tailor and streamline requirements to particular industry sectors and facility owners or operators subject to the rule. Nothing in this proposed rule removes any regulatory requirement for owners or operators of facilities in operation before Aug. 16, 2002, to develop, implement and maintain an SPCC plan in accordance with the SPCC regulations then in effect. These facilities are required to maintain their plans until the applicable date for revising and implementing plans under the new amendments. Stakeholders should submit their comments to Docket #EPA-HQ-OPA-2007-0584 on or before December 14, 2007.

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