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News Archive: January 2010

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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 Also, please be aware that the information in any particular article may be outdated or superseded by additional information.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 29
Notification of Two Public Teleconferences of the Chartered Science Advisory Board
EPA announces two public teleconferences of the Chartered Science Advisory Board to discuss EPA's requested research budget for Fiscal Year 2011. The teleconference dates are February 19, 2010 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) and February 24, 2010 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Eastern Time).

January 28
Fuel and Farm Supply Facility Fined for Violating the Clean Water Act
EPA has fined a Waurika, Oklahoma bulk storage facility $1,450 for violating federal Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations outlined under the Clean Water Act. A federal inspection of the facility revealed that it had no SPCC plan and inspection records were not maintained for three years as required by regulations. Personnel working at the site had no training on the operation and maintenance of equipment to prevent discharges, no training on discharge procedure protocols, no training on applicable pollution control laws, rules and regulations and spill prevention briefings were not scheduled and conducted periodically. The inspection also found the facility was not fully fenced and entrance gates were not locked and/or guarded when the site was unattended. As part of an Expedited Settlement Agreement with EPA, the facility has provided certification that all identified deficiencies have been corrected.

Proposed Registration Decision for S-Abscisic Acid Opened for Public Comment
EPA’s proposed registration decision for S-Abscisic acid is available for public comment (Docket ID# EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0127). The proposed product labels are also available for comment. Comments will be accepted through February 25, 2010.

January 27
EPA Requests Comments on Draft Test Guidelines for Public Health Uses of Antimicrobial Agents
EPA is announcing the availability of four draft test guidelines for Product Performance of Public Health Uses of Antimicrobial Agents for public review and comment. These draft guidelines are part of a series of test guidelines established by the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances (OPPTS) for use in testing pesticides and chemical substances to develop data for submission to the Agency under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and/or the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). Data from these studies are used to support the labeling claims for public health related to antimicrobial agents. Comments must be received on or before March 29, 2010.

January 26
EPA Orders Illinois Dairy To Stop Unauthorized Waste Discharges
EPA Region 5 has ordered an Illinois dairy to stop all unauthorized waste discharges and to comply with the Clean Water Act. EPA also ordered the facility to apply to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for a permit to discharge wastewater. The facility is a medium-sized concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) in the Kaskaskia River watershed in central Illinois with approximately 700 mature dairy cows. EPA inspected the facility in April and found that it was not using best management practices to prevent the discharge of manure and other animal production waste. EPA also discovered that the facility did not have a state wastewater discharge permit.

EPA Region 2 Strategic Agricultural Initiative Grant Opportunity
EPA Region 2 is seeking applications from eligible organizations that will promote the transition to reduced-risk pest management practices in agriculture to protect human health and the environment. The Strategic Agricultural Initiative (SAI) program focuses financial resources primarily on minor agricultural crop production. The total estimated funding for this competitive opportunity is approximately $200,000. EPA Region 2 anticipates awarding 2 grants from this announcement, subject to the availability of funds, the quality of proposals received, and other applicable considerations. Applications are due April 12, 2010.

January 25
EPA To Cancel All Registrations for Spirotetramat
On December 23, 2009, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated all registrations issued by EPA for pesticide products containing the active ingredient spirotetramat, due to a lack of opportunity for comment on the applications for those registrations before the Agency granted them. The vacatur is currently stayed until February 16, 2010; when the stay is lifted, the spirotetramat registrations will cease to be valid under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). When that happens, EPA intends to issue a cancellation order that will establish provisions governing the disposition of existing stocks of previously-registered spirotetramat pesticide product already in the channels of trade. As a result of the Court’s decision to vacate the registrations, EPA intends to treat the registrant’s earlier-filed applications for registration as now pending before the Agency. The Agency intends to publish a new notice for comment in the Federal Register in the next few weeks.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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January 21
EPA Increases Transparency on Chemical Risk Information
As part of Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s commitment to strengthen and reform chemical management, EPA today announced a new policy to increase the public’s access to information on chemicals. Starting today, EPA intends to reject claims of Confidential Business Information (CBI) on the identity of chemicals. The chemicals that will be affected by this action are those that are submitted to EPA with studies that show a substantial risk to people’s health and the environment and have been previously disclosed on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Inventory. This action represents another step to use the Agency’s authority under the existing TSCA to the fullest extent possible, recognizing EPA’s strong belief that the 1976 law is both outdated and in need of reform.

January 20
EPA Issues Amendment to Reregistration Eligibility Decision for Sulfometuron Methyl
In 2008, EPA issued a Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for the herbicide, sulfometuron methyl. In response to comments and mitigation proposals submitted by the technical registrant, user groups, and individuals, EPA conducted a reassessment of the sulfometuron methyl RED. Based on the new information received, and in a continuing effort to mitigate risk, the Agency has made certain modifications to the sulfometuron methyl RED. The Agency's response to comments is available for viewing in docket ID# EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0129.

Partnership Grants Demonstrate Integrated Pest Management
EPA has awarded grants totaling nearly $1 million for projects that promote agricultural and community-based Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approaches to pesticide risk-reduction. IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. The grants will support a number of diverse activities, including: research, demonstration of innovative IPM practices, technologies, training of new IPM coaches, outreach, and multilingual education programs.

January 19
Call for Data for Illinois River Watershed Model
EPA Region 6 is developing a watershed model for the Illinois River watershed in Oklahoma and Arkansas to address nutrient water quality impairments. The results of this watershed model may be used to develop one or more total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for the Illinois River Watershed. EPA requests that the public provide any water quality related data and information that may be relevant to the development of the Illinois River Watershed model and TMDL by March 3, 2010. In addition, EPA requests that all data submissions include the quality assurance and quality control documentation. This watershed model will serve as a tool to effectively identify nutrient reductions needed to ensure that water quality standards for phosphorus are protected in both states; and, to devise varying allocation and load reduction scenarios needed to guide appropriate point and non-point source controls.

January 15
EPA Proposes Standards To Protect Florida’s Waters
EPA is proposing water quality standards to protect people’s health, aquatic life, and the long term recreational uses of Florida’s waters, which are a critical part of the state’s economy. In 2009, EPA entered into a consent decree with the Florida Wildlife Federation to propose limits to this pollution. The proposed action, released for public comment and developed in collaboration with the state, would set a series of numeric limits on the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen that would be allowed in Florida’s lakes, rivers, streams, springs, and canals. Nutrient pollution can damage drinking water sources; increase exposure to harmful algal blooms, which are made of toxic microbes that can cause damage to the nervous system or even death; and form byproducts in drinking water from disinfection chemicals, some of which have been linked with serious human illnesses like bladder cancer. Phosphorus and nitrogen pollution comes from stormwater runoff, municipal wastewater treatment, fertilization of crops, and livestock manure. Nitrogen also forms from the burning of fossil fuels. The proposed action announced today also introduces and seeks comment on a new regulatory process for setting standards in a manner that drives water quality improvements in already impaired waters. The proposed new regulatory provision, called restoration standards, would be specific to nutrients in the state of Florida. EPA will hold three public hearings on the proposed rule to obtain input and comments on the direction of EPA’s rulemaking. These hearings are scheduled for February 16, 17, and 18, 2010 in Tallahassee, Orlando, and West Palm Beach, respectively. Comments must be received on or before March 29, 2010.

January 13
Strategic Agricultural Initiative Grant Opportunities Announced
The Strategic Agricultural Initiative (SAI) is EPA's outreach program to facilitate the adoption of pest management practices that help growers reduce use of high-risk pesticides. Through its grant program, SAI helps growers adopt pest management practices that are safer and more environmentally sound, that better serve commodity groups and growers locally, and that support the implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) nationally. EPA Regions 7 and 9 are seeking applications from eligible organizations that will promote the transition to reduced-risk pest management practices in agriculture to protect human health and the environment.

EPA Announces New Regional Administrators
Today, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced President Barack Obama’s selection of Karl Brooks to be the Agency’s Regional Administrator for EPA Region 7, and Dennis J. McLerran to be the Agency’s Regional Administrator for EPA Region 10. Regional Administrators are responsible for managing the Agency’s regional activities under the direction of the EPA Administrator. They promote state and local environmental protection efforts and serve as a liaison to state and local government officials. Regional Administrators are tasked with ensuring that EPA's efforts to address the environmental crises of today are rooted in three fundamental values: science-based policies and programs, adherence to the rule of law, and transparency.

January 11
EPA To Initiate Rulemaking on CAFOs To Reduce Water Pollution in Chesapeake Bay Watershed
EPA is initiating new federal rulemaking on stormwater and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to reduce water pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Today’s action complements ongoing work by EPA and the states to strengthen regulatory controls on major sources of pollutants consistent with shared commitments to implement the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), the limit on the amount of pollution that can flow into the Bay and its tidal creeks and rivers. EPA is taking this action to improve performance standards for controlling pollutant runoff from urban, suburban, and agricultural lands. EPA prefers to work closely with the six states in the Bay watershed and the District of Columbia to establish stronger state programs for stormwater and CAFOs to meet the pollutant reductions necessary to achieve the objectives of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. To assist the states with permitting, enforcement, and other key regulatory activities, EPA will provide an additional $11.2 million for 2010, which more than doubles 2009 funding levels. The rulemaking will consider expanding the universe of CAFOs and requiring more stringent permit standards to control nutrients. Options for streamlining the designation process and improving off-site manure management may also be considered for the Chesapeake Bay or nationally. EPA intends to propose its rule in 2012 and to take final action by late 2013.

Source Reduction Assistance Grants Available
EPA’s Regional Pollution Prevention Program Offices (Regions) anticipate having up to $130,000 per Region to issue Source Reduction Assistance (SRA) awards in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 to support pollution prevention/source reduction and/or resource conservation projects in FY 2011. The purpose of issuing SRA awards is to support environmental projects that reduce or eliminate pollution at the source. Collectively, the Regions are interested in funding proposals that encourage greenhouse gas reduction, toxic and hazardous materials reduction, resource conservation, efficient business practices and pollution prevention integration activities. The Regions will issue the awards in the form of grants and/or cooperative agreements. Proposals are due Thursday, February 4, 2010.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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January 6
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: February Webcast: Mitigating Air Quality Issues Using Vegetative Environmental Buffers; LPE Learning Center FAQs Expanded; New Publications & Newsletters Released; Greenhouse Gases and Animal Agriculture Conference Call for Papers; and Don’t Blame Cows for Climate Change. The next live webcast, scheduled for January 15, 2010, is entitled “Coupling Manure and Cover Crops.” The speakers are Tim Harrigan, Michigan State University and Jeremy Singer, USDA ARS. They will discuss recent research on how cover crops can capture and recycle manure nutrients as well as research that mixed seed right into manure slurry to make planting/manure application in a single trip over the field.

EPA Proposes Revisions to Pesticide Tolerance Crop Grouping Regulations
EPA is proposing revisions to its pesticide tolerance crop grouping regulations, which allow establishment of tolerances for multiple related crops, based on data from a representative set of crops. The present revision would create a new crop group for oilseeds, expand existing crop groups by adding new commodities, establish new crop subgroups, and revise the representative crops in some groups. EPA expects these revisions to promote greater use of crop groupings for tolerance-setting purposes and, in particular, will assist in making available lower risk pesticides for minor crops both domestically and in countries that export food to the United States. This is the second in a series of planned crop group updates expected to be proposed over the next several years. EPA is also proposing to delete 40 CFR 180.1(h) which addresses when tolerances apply to post-harvest uses. Comments must be received on or before March 8, 2010.

Registration Review Proposed Decision Available for Bacillus Subtilis
This notice announces the availability of EPA's proposed registration review decision for the pesticide Bacillus subtilis (case 6012) and opens a public comment period on the proposed decision. The Bacillus subtilis case consists of four strains: Strain GB03; Strain MBI 600; Strain QST 713; and var. amyloliquefaciens Strain FZB24. All four strains occur ubiquitously in the environment. Comments must be received on or before February 28, 2010.

Pesticide Registration Decisions Opened for Public Comment
EPA is making its proposed registration decisions available for the following biopesticides:

Also available for comment are the draft final exemptions from the requirement of a tolerance for each biopesticide in or on all food commodities. Comments will be accepted through January, 29 2010 for Trichoderma asperellum and Trichoderma gamsii; and through February 4, 2010 for Laminarin.

January 4
Public Comment Requested on Candidate National Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Priorities for Fiscal Years 2011-2013
EPA is soliciting public comment and recommendations on enforcement and compliance national priorities to be addressed for fiscal years 2011-2013. EPA selects these priority areas every three years in order to focus federal resources on the most important environmental problems where noncompliance is a significant contributing factor. Priority candidates such as Air Toxics, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), Wetlands, Worker Protection Standards, and more are listed on EPA's National Priorities for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Web page. Comments must be received on or before January 19, 2010.

EPA Releases Annual Enforcement Results and Mapping Tool
EPA has released enforcement results for fiscal year 2009, and has developed a new Web-based tool and interactive map that allows the public to get detailed information by location about the enforcement actions taken at approximately 4,600 facilities. In FY2009, EPA concluded enforcement actions requiring polluters to invest more than $5 billion on pollution controls, cleanup, and environmental projects. Civil and criminal defendants committed to install controls and take other measures to reduce pollution by approximately 580 million pounds annually once all required controls are fully implemented. The new mapping tool allows the public to view the locations of facilities that were the subject of those enforcement actions on interactive maps of the U.S. and territories. The maps show facilities where civil enforcement actions were taken for environmental laws for air, water, and land pollution, and a separate map shows criminal enforcement actions.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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