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 Also, please be aware that the information in any particular article may be outdated or superseded by additional information.

February 27
Bayer Crop Science To Pay Penalty for Environmental Violations
Bayer CropScience will pay a $112,500 penalty and spend more than $900,000 for environmental projects to settle a wide range of environmental violations at its chemical plant in Institute, West Virginia. EPA inspectors identified violations of five different environmental laws designed to limit air and water pollution and protect the public from hazardous chemical leaks and spills. These violations included 35 instances between 1999 and 2001 when chemicals discharged through water violated permitted limits. The company also failed to properly monitor water discharges and failed to update equipment in accordance with best management practices. Environmental improvement projects under the settlement require Bayer CropScience to donate equipment and funding to the Kanawha Valley Emergency Preparedness Center and three local fire departments to support training and emergency response. The agreement also requires Bayer CropScience to upgrade its wastewater treatment facilities to improve monitoring and reduce pollution discharges. As part of the settlement, Bayer CropScience neither admits or denies the allegations.

February 26
EPA Announces Public Meeting To Discuss Mohr Orchard Testing Results
EPA will hold a public meeting March 2, in Coplay, Pennsylvania, to present information on the results of soil sampling and analysis in relation to the investigation of the former Mohr Orchard Site in North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. EPA officials will also update residents on the status of the private well testing and progress in determining the source of lead in drinking water. Link to the original Mohr Orchard story, reported on November 7, 2008.

STAR Program Accepting Grants that Enhance Ecosystem Services from Agricultural Lands
The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as part of its Agricultural and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Competitive Grants Program and EPA, as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, are seeking applications proposing research on the ecosystem services provided by agricultural lands. Ecosystem services are the goods and services derived from natural and managed ecosystems upon which human welfare depends. Because of the global intensification of land use, these services are in decline, especially in agricultural ecosystems. Ecosystem services are essential in maintaining both human welfare as well as ecological integrity, yet these services can be affected by natural changes and management actions. In addition, agricultural lands are experiencing significant land use changes as demonstrated by the rapid conversion of these lands from traditional farming use, to alternate farming practices, to urban development, and to non-agricultural use. All proposals must be received on or before May 26, 2009.

February 25
Environmental Quality Issues and Pesticides Operations Management Working Committee Announces Meeting
The Association of American Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO)/State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group (SFIREG) Working Committee's on Environmental Quality Issues and Pesticides Operations Management will hold a meeting on April 27-29,2009 in Arlington, Virginia. The meeting will address the following topics: state updates and issues, NPDES permitting of pesticides, soil fumigant updates, ground and surface water advisories, PRN 87-1 chemigation paper, food safety, non-agricultural pyrethroid advisories, endangered species update, recent NOAA biological opinion, Region 5 Community Level benchmark development, and labeling issues.

February 24
Christian Brothers Construction Company Ordered To Restore Wetland and Stream
Michael Rodriguez and his company, Christian Brothers Construction, of Meridian, Idaho have been ordered by EPA to restore the wetland and stream that his company illegally filled and channelized without a Clean Water Act permit. According to EPA, in October 2008, Mr. Rodriguez illegally filled 1.7 acres of wetlands and filled and channelized 1,680 feet of Tenmile Creek, located in Meridian, Idaho. Mr. Rodriguez failed to obtain the required Clean Water Act Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Walla Walla District.

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February 20
FIFRA SAP Schedules Meeting To Review Ecological Effects of Atrazine in Surface Water Streams
There will be a 4-day meeting of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (FIFRA SAP) to consider and review "The Ecological Significance of Atrazine Effects on Primary Producers in Surface Water Streams in the Corn and Sorghum Growing Region of the United States (Part II)." The meeting will be held on May 12-15 in Arlington, Virginia. The Agency encourages that written comments be submitted by May 4, 2009, and oral comments be submitted by May 8, 2009. All submitted comments should be identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0104.

February 17
EPA Awards Grant To Improve Toxicity Testing of Genetically-Engineered Foods
EPA's National Center for Environmental Research has awarded a $372,982 grant to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for a research project designed to improve the testing of genetically-engineered foods. The university's grant for Exploratory Investigations in Food Allergy comes from EPA's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program. Through the grant, University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers will improve toxicity testing for pesticide proteins introduced into foods through genetic engineering. Results of the research are expected to aid in the understanding of food allergies and the safety assessment of new proteins incorporated into foods, such as those for pest resistance.

February 13
EPA Orders City of Pacifica To Comply with Sewage Sludge Requirements
EPA has ordered the city of Pacifica, California, to comply with federal sewage sludge requirements after the discovery that the city failed to meet federal pathogen requirements before sewage sludge was applied to land. EPA found that, between January and June 2007, sewage sludge from Pacifica's wastewater treatment plant, the Calera Creek Water Recycling Plant, exceeded limits for fecal coliform. The sewage sludge was land-applied to fields in Sacramento County, Solano County, and Merced County for growing grasses, such as ryegrass. The order also requires the city to report its self-monitoring results to the EPA on a monthly basis for one year.

February 11
Tribal Pesticide Program Council Meeting Scheduled
The Tribal Pesticide Program Council (TPPC) will hold a 2-day meeting beginning on Thursday, March 12, 2009 and ending on Friday, March 13, 2009 in Davis, California. The meeting topics include environmental protection, tribes, and pesticides.

February 10
EPA Issues Administrative Orders to Arkansas Egg Company
EPA has issued administrative orders to three Arkansas Egg Company facilities in Arkansas for violations of the Clean Water Act. The facilities, Blair Farm in Benton County, Summers Farm and Appleton Farm, both in Washington County, were found to be out of compliance with their Clean Water Act discharge permits. In February 2008, EPA and Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) inspectors observed that all three facilities had used chicken litter in amounts exceeding those designated in their waste management plans. The facilities had also failed to operate their liquid animal waste collection and containment systems properly. Arkansas Egg Co. has also been ordered to provide maps of all owned or leased liquid animal waste or solid waste application fields showing field locations, soil sample analyses for the last five years, cropping schemes, copies of calculations used for waste application, applications records, and liquid and solid manure sample analysis.

EPA Reaches Agreement with Organic Arsenicals Manufacturers
EPA has reached an agreement in principle with the technical registrants of the organic arsenicals MSMA, DSMA, CAMA, and cacodylic acid and its sodium salt. This voluntary agreement steadily removes all organic arsenical pesticide product uses, except the use of MSMA on cotton, from the market and implements new restrictions to better protect drinking water resources. Phasing out these uses is expected to accelerate the transition to new, lower risk herbicides. Under the agreement, many uses, including use on residential lawns, will be canceled by the end of 2009 and mitigation measures to protect water resources will be implemented quickly.

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February 5
National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center February Newsletter and Webcast Exit EPA
The February edition of the National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center (LPELC) newsletter is available. Topics include: March Webcast (Ammonia and Particulate Emissions on the High Plains), Resources on Manure Value and Economics, Background on EPA's EPCRA Final Ruling, and Upcoming Events and Resources of Interest. The next Webcast, February 20, 2009, is entitled, "Nitrogen Conservation in Animal Housing" and will feature Wendy Powers of Michigan State University and Galen Erickson of University of Nebraska.

February 3
Largest FIFRA Settlement in the Pacific Northwest
EPA reached a $325,700 settlement with A-Dec Inc., for 116 violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). To date, this is the largest FIFRA settlement in the Pacific Northwest. The settlement follows an Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) inspection of A-Dec's Newberg, Oregon facility on April 17, 2007. The ODA inspection was in response to a tip received by EPA, which stated that A-Dec was selling an unregistered pesticide. EPA's subsequent investigation found that A-Dec was selling its product, "ICX," without EPA registration. ICX is a dental waterline cleaner, which claimed to control bacterial contamination. A-Dec applied for registration in 2006; however, A-Dec sold the product before the product was registered. EPA put a stop-sale on ICX in September 2008. This stop-sale was in place until the product was registered later that month. EPA had information showing that A-Dec sold ICX from 2006-2008 before the product was registered.

Jack Frost Fruit Company Settles with EPA for Risk Management Program Violations
The Jack Frost Fruit Company of Yakima, Washington, has agreed to pay $20,554 for alleged violation of EPA's Risk Management Program requirements. EPA found the company lacked a prevention program to protect the public and the environment from an off-site release of anhydrous ammonia. As part of the settlement, Jack Frost has corrected all alleged violations, and agreed to spend at least $85,000 to implement two Supplemental Environmental Projects within the next twelve months. The Projects involve taking steps at its facility to reduce the risk of release of anhydrous ammonia from its pipes and providing communications and rescue equipment to local area fire departments to improve the departments' capabilities in responding to hazardous material emergencies in a safe and effective environment.

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