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 Also, please be aware that the information in any particular article may be outdated or superseded by additional information.

January 30
Effective Date of the SPCC Final Rule Extended
Consistent with the Office of Management and Budget’s January 21, 2009 memorandum regarding regulatory review, EPA is extending by 60 days the effective date of the December 5, 2008 Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) final rule. The amendments will now become effective on April 4, 2009. In addition to extending the effective date, EPA is also providing a 30-day public comment period for the December 5, 2008 SPCC final rule. While the agency will accept public comment on all aspects of this rule, EPA is particularly interested in comment on the requirements for produced water containers at oil production facilities and the criteria for identification of qualified oil production facilities eligible to self-certify their SPCC plans. Comments must be received on or before March 5, 2009.

Extension of Comment Period and Meeting Announcement on Formaldehyde Emissions from Pressed Wood Products
EPA issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) in the Federal Register of December 3, 2008, describing EPA's initial steps to investigate and request comment, information, and data relating to formaldehyde emissions from pressed wood products. The ANPR also announced five public meetings that EPA scheduled in order to obtain additional stakeholder input. One additional public meeting has been scheduled to enable more complete public participation. The meeting will be held on March 4, 2009, from 1 p.m. until the last speaker has spoken or to 5 p.m. Additionally, the comment period has been extended 45 days. Comments, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2008-0627, must be received on or before March 19, 2009.

Comment Period Extended on Amendment to the Universal Waste Rule
EPA is announcing the extension of the comment period until March 4, 2009, on the proposed rule entitled, Amendment to the Universal Waste Rule: Addition of Pharmaceuticals published on December 2, 2008. The Agency is soliciting comments as described in that document on the proposed addition of hazardous pharmaceutical wastes to the federal universal waste program. Comments must be received on or before March 4, 2009.

January 29
Judge Rules Against Behnke Lubricants on Pesticide Violations
An administrative law judge has decided in favor of EPA Region 5 by assessing a $55,055 penalty against Behnke Lubricants Inc., Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, for violations of federal pesticide rules. According to the judge's decision, Behnke sold or distributed five unregistered pesticides. The products, JAX Poly-Guard FG-2, JAX Halo-Guard FG-2, JAX Poly-Guard FG-LT, JAX Halo-Guard FG-LT and JAX Magna-Plate 74, were distributed by Behnke with claims that the lubricants provide antimicrobial protection against listeria, E. coli, salmonella and other organisms.

January 28
Center of Excellence for Watershed Management Announced
EPA will designate Alabama A&M University (AAMU) as a Center of Excellence for Watershed Management. This is only the fifth Center of Excellence to be designated in the Southeast, and the first historically black college or university (HBCU). Started in 2007, the EPA Region 4 Centers of Excellence for Watershed Management Program works with colleges and universities from across the Southeast to provide hands-on, practical products and services for communities to identify watershed problems and solve them. More information about priority watersheds in the Southeast is available online.

January 26
Oregon CAFO Owner Agrees To Pay Penalty To Settle Clean Water Act Violations
A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) owner in Ontario Oregon agrees to pay an $8,000 penalty to settle Clean Water Act (CWA) discharge violations. During an inspection of Bezates Feedlot operations in January 2008, EPA and Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) inspectors documented animal wastes flowing from confinement pens into Jacobsen Gulch Creek, a tributary to the Snake River. This discharge violated a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued to Bezates by the State of Oregon. This was the first known violation of the CWA at this feedlot, and the owner has since corrected the discharge problem with the help of ODA.

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January 21
EPA Seeks Comment on New Mexico CAFO Permit
EPA Region 6 is proposing a general permit regulating concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) located on State lands in New Mexico. The proposed CAFO general permit continues many requirements already in place including nutrient management plans, manure and wastewater storage design, waste storage closure provisions; and incorporates new requirements established in 2008. Comments must be submitted in writing to EPA on or before February 20, 2009.

Strategic Agricultural Initiative: FY09 Request for Applications
EPA Region 6 Pesticide Program is seeking applications from eligible organizations that will facilitate the implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA). The program supports efforts to reduce the exposure to toxic pesticides through the adoption of pest management practices that transition away from the use of high-risk pesticides. The in-field adoption by farmers of already identified potential low-risk integrated crop or pest management tools and strategies is a priority. The project or projects selected for funding will work towards achieving the adoption of reduced-risk alternatives and/or ecologically-based IPM or biologically integrated farming approaches that are economical. Full announcement (PDF) (28pp, 98KB)

EPA Excludes Propylene Carbonate and Dimethyl Carbonate from List of Volatile Organic Compounds
This action revises EPA's definition of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for purposes of preparing state implementation plans (SIPs) to attain the national ambient air quality standard for ozone under Title I of the Clean Air Act. This revision adds the compounds propylene carbonate and dimethyl carbonate to the list of compounds which are excluded from the definition of VOC on the basis that these compounds make a negligible contribution to tropospheric ozone formation. This final rule is effective on February 20, 2009.

Change in Application Requirements for Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) Grants
Local governments and community groups eligible to apply for funding from EPA's Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) grant program are being alerted to a significant change in the 2009 grant application process. An amendment to the 2009 application process has reduced the acceptable Narrative Proposal page limit to 13 pages, which includes a title page and budget information. The application deadline for 2009 CARE Cooperative Agreement Requests for Proposals (RFPs) is March 16, 2009. Applicants who submit Narrative Proposals longer than 13 pages will still be eligible for consideration, but any pages beyond 13 will not be considered. Details about the 2009 CARE grant application process, including the schedule for a series of free informational Webcast presentations scheduled for February 3, 24 and 27, can be found online.

January 15
EPA Region 10 Releases Columbia River Basin State of the River Report for Toxics
The first comprehensive look at toxic contamination throughout the Columbia River Basin has been released by EPA. The Columbia River Basin State of the River Report for Toxics compiles currently available data about four widespread contaminants in the Basin and identifies the risks they pose to people, fish, and wildlife. Four identified contaminants were: Mercury, Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and its breakdown products, Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants. Another issue highlighted in the Report is a general lack of monitoring for toxics in many locations, making it difficult to know if toxics are increasing or decreasing over time. The report concludes with six broad Toxics Reduction Initiatives intended to improve our understanding about the health of the Basin and strengthen coordination for ongoing and new efforts to reduce toxics.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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January 14
Final Rule to Amend Compliance Dates for the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule
EPA is extending the compliance dates for all facilities and establishing new compliance dates for farms subject to the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule. This amendment extends the dates by which the owner or operator of an SPCC regulated facility must prepare or amend and implement its SPCC Plan, and also establishes the dates by which the owner or operator of a farm must prepare or amend and implement its SPCC Plan.

January 9
EPA Proposes to Exempt Milk Containers from Oil Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Requirements
EPA is proposing to exempt from Oil Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure requirements milk containers and associated piping and appurtenances. The containers, piping, and appurtenances must be constructed according to current applicable 3-A Sanitary Standards, and are subject to the current applicable Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) or a state dairy regulatory requirement equivalent to the current applicable PMO. The capacity of these milk containers would not be included in a facility’s total oil storage capacity calculation. Additional information on the milk container exemption is available from the Emergency Management website.

National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center January Newsletter and Webcast Exit EPA
The January edition of the National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center (LPELC) newsletter is available. Topics include: 2009 Webcast Schedule, USDA Announces Office of Ecosystems Services & Markets; and a study showing benefits of using poultry litter as fertilizer. The next Webcast on January 16, 2009 is entitled, "Targeted Feeding Strategies to Reduce Air Emissions from Animal Agriculture" will feature Scott Carter, Oklahoma State (swine), Andy Cole, USDA ARS (beef) and Mark Hanigan, Virginia Tech (dairy) and Alex Hristov, Pennsylvania State (dairy).

January 8
Agricultural Producer Agrees To Pay U.S. EPA Fine and Plans To Restore Damaged Creek
EPA signed an agreement with Muranaka Farms, Inc., requiring the Moorpark, Calif., firm to pay a fine of $75,000 for discharging dredged or fill materials into the Calleguas Creek without a Clean Water Act permit. EPA issued an administrative order on November 7, 2007, requiring Muranaka Farms, Inc. to restore the area that it cleared and graded, which resulted in the unauthorized discharges into Calleguas Creek. To date, Muranaka Farms, Inc. has complied with the order and has submitted a plan to restore nearly 18 acres in Calleguas Creek to be implemented later this year.

January 7
Correction to the Civil Monetary Penalty Inflation Adjustment Rule
This action contains a minor correction to the final Civil Monetary Penalty Inflation Adjustment Rule and will be effective on January 12, 2009. As mandated by the Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA), the rule adjusts for inflation the statutory civil penalties that may be assessed for violations of EPA-administered statutes and their implementing regulations.

January 6
Agreement with Perdue Supports the Protection of Southeastern Waters
EPA Regions 3 and 4 announce an agreement with Perdue Farms, Inc. to help poultry producers growing for Perdue protect our nation’s waters. The parties signed a Memorandum of Agreement to implement the Perdue Clean Waters Environmental Initiative, an effort to provide training, assessments and other assistance to reduce the environmental impact of poultry farms. Under the program, Perdue, EPA and other partners will provide training and assistance to poultry farmers so that they can learn how to achieve or exceed compliance with guidelines on controlling runoff and managing litter disposal.

Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee Meeting February 23-24
The next Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee Meeting will be February 23-24 in Washington DC. The purpose of the meeting is to further advance: (1) Discussion of the impacts of Agency agriculture-related programs, policies, and regulations regarding climate change and renewable energy; (2) identification and development of a comprehensive environmental strategy for livestock operations; and (3) development of a constructive approach or framework to address areas of common interest between sustainable agriculture and protection of the environment. A copy of the meeting agenda will be posted online.

January 2
Identification of Non-Hazardous Materials That are Solid Waste
EPA is seeking comment on which non-hazardous materials are or are not solid waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The Agency is also seeking comment on a number of specific questions concerning the meaning of “solid waste” under RCRA, as it applies to non-hazardous waste programs. Comments must be received on or before February 2, 2009.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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