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News Archive: January 2011

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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 Also, please be aware that the information in any particular article may be outdated or superseded by additional information.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 31
Fiscal Year 2011 Pollution Prevention Grant Program
EPA is announcing the opportunity to submit proposals under the Pollution Prevention (P2) grant program. Under the authority of the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990, EPA anticipates that approximately $4.1 million will be available to support P2 projects proposed by state agencies, state colleges or universities, federally-recognized tribes, and intertribal consortia during FY 2011. The Regions will award P2 grants and/or cooperative agreements to support state and tribal technical assistance programs that address the reduction or elimination of pollution by businesses across all environmental media: air, water and land. Applicants may submit a proposal by mail or electronically through Grants.gov by Monday, March 28, 2011.

January 28
EPA Seeks Applicants for $1.2 Million in Environmental Justice Grants
EPA is accepting grant applications for $1.2 million in funding to support projects designed to research, educate, empower and enable communities to understand and address local health and environmental issues. Eligible applicants from non-profit, faith-based and tribal organizations working in the community of the proposed project are encouraged to apply. Environmental Justice Small Grants funding is available for two categories of projects: 40 grants of up to $25,000 each to support projects that address a community’s local environmental issues through collaborative partnerships; and four grants of up to $50,000 each to gather better science on the environmental and health impacts of exposure to multiple sources of pollution in communities. Applications must be postmarked by March 31, 2011.

Draft Report: Biofuels and the Environment - Notice of Peer Review Meeting and Public Comment Period
EPA is announcing that it will convene an independent panel of experts to review the external review draft document titled, Biofuels and the Environment: The First Triennial Report to Congress. The EPA also is announcing a 30-day public comment period for the draft document. The draft document was prepared by the National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) within EPA's Office of Research and Development. The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) mandates increased production of biofuels (fuels derived from organic materials) from 9 billion gallons per year in 2008 to 36 billion gallons per year by 2022. EISA (Section 204) also requires EPA to assess and report to Congress every three years on the current and potential future environmental and resource conservation impacts associated with increased biofuel production and use. Biofuels and the Environment: First Triennial Report to Congress is the first report on this issue. The public comment period and the external peer review meeting are separate processes that provide opportunities for all interested parties to comment on the document. EPA intends to forward public comments that are submitted in accordance with this notice to the external peer review panel prior to the meeting for their consideration. When finalizing the draft document, EPA intends to consider any public comments that EPA receives in accordance with this notice. The peer review panel meeting will begin on March 14, 2011, at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. in Arlington, VA. The 30-day public comment period begins January 28, 2011, and ends February 28, 2011. Technical comments should be in writing and must be received by EPA by February 28, 2011.

January 26
EPA Proposes To Declare a Prion a Pest
EPA proposes to declare a prion (i.e., proteinaceous infectious particle) a "pest" under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and to amend its regulations to expressly include prion within the regulatory definition of pest. EPA currently considers a prion to be a pest under FIFRA, so a product intended to reduce the infectivity of any prion on inanimate surfaces (i.e., a "prion-related product") is considered to be a pesticide and regulated as such. Any company seeking to distribute or sell a pesticide product regulated under FIFRA must obtain a section 3 registration, section 24(c) registration, or a section 18 emergency exemption before it can be distributed or sold in the United States. This proposed rule would codify the Agency's current interpretation of FIFRA, and provides interested parties the opportunity to comment about how it is adding prion to the list of pests in the regulatory definition of pest. This amendment, together with the formal declaration that a prion is a pest, will eliminate any confusion about the status of prion-related products under FIFRA. Comments must be received on or before March 28, 2011.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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January 21
EPA Region 7 and 8 Host Meeting with State Agriculture Directors in Denver
EPA officials today hosted a meeting with the directors of state agriculture departments of Iowa, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. The meeting, held at EPA’s Region 8 building in Denver, Colo., provided a forum for dialogue on EPA programs and regulations as well as specific issues, interests and concerns of the agriculture sector. EPA recognizes that agricultural producers are on the frontline of environmental stewardship and are affected by many EPA programs. Frequent meetings with state agriculture directors are a critical way for EPA to provide outreach and receive feedback on current issues and concerns. Specific topics of Friday’s meeting included Clean Water Act permits for pesticides, oil spill prevention and countermeasure rules, and air quality standards for particulate matter. Additional subjects included nutrient management and water quality and concentrated animal feeding operations.

January 20
EPA Seeks Applications for Community-Based Environmental Grants
EPA is making $2 million available in 2011 to reduce pollution at the local level through the Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program. CARE is a community-based program that works with county and local governments, tribes, non-profit organizations and universities to help the public understand and reduce toxic risks from numerous sources to protect people’s health. EPA will award CARE cooperative agreements in two levels. Level I awards range from $75,000 to $100,000 and will help establish community-based partnerships to develop local environmental priorities. Level II awards, ranging from $150,000 to $300,000 each, will support communities that have established broad-based partnerships, identified the priority toxic risks in their communities, and are prepared to measure results, implement risk-reduction activities and become self- sustaining. Applications for the CARE grants are due March 22, 2011, 4:00 p.m. EST. EPA will conduct three webcasts to answer questions from prospective applicants about the application process on February 8, February 23, and March 2 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

January 14
EPA Requests Facilities To Report TRI Information Electronically or Complete Fill-and-Print Reporting Forms
EPA strongly recommends that facilities that are required to report to the Toxics Release Information (TRI) program use TRI-MEweb to prepare and submit their TRI reporting forms to the Agency. TRI-MEweb provides useful features to facilitate the submission process and validates data to help ensure accuracy. Recognizing that some facilities are still using paper forms rather than TRI-MEweb, EPA is providing a new electronically fillable version of Form R, Form R Schedule 1, and Form A to make it easier for respondents to complete these forms and for EPA to read and process the submitted forms. The use of TRI-MEweb (the preferred method) or, alternatively, the Fill-and-Print TRI Forms will help ensure data accuracy, while also reducing the amount of time it takes for EPA to process TRI submissions and make valuable toxic chemical release and other waste management data available to the public.

January 13
Emissions Data from Animal Feeding Operations Study Now Available / EPA Solicits Additional Information To Further Understand Emissions
EPA is making data publicly available from a two-year study of air emissions from animal feeding operations (AFOs). AFOs, which house large numbers of animals for production of meat, dairy products and eggs, were monitored for the following air pollutants: ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds. The data available today are from the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study, which resulted from a 2005 voluntary compliance agreement between EPA and the AFO industry. The study was funded by industry and conducted by Purdue University researchers with EPA oversight. Throughout the studies, participating AFOs made their operations available for monitoring and worked closely with the researchers, industry experts and EPA. At the request of the agriculture industry, EPA also is issuing a Call for Information seeking data from other monitoring studies of AFO emissions. Submitting this information is not required; however, it will help the agency ensure that its emissions estimating tools are based on the best scientific data available. Once the Call for Information is published in the Federal Register, there will be a 45-day comment period.

Massachusetts Company Fined for Pesticide Violations
A Billerica, Mass. company has agreed to pay $526,500 in civil penalties to settle allegations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it distributed and sold an unregistered pesticide and imported pesticides and pesticide devices without submitting the required forms to the EPA, in violation of federal environmental law. This is one of the largest settlements in an EPA pesticide law case in New England.

January 12
EPA To Defer GHG Permitting Requirements for Industries that Use Biomass
By July 2011, EPA plans to complete a rulemaking that will defer greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting requirements for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from biomass-fired and other biogenic sources for three years. The agency intends to use this time to seek further independent scientific analysis of this complex issue and then to develop a rulemaking on how these emissions should be treated in determining whether a Clean Air Act permit is required. CO2 emissions from biomass-fired and other biogenic sources are generated during the combustion or decomposition of biologically based material. Sources covered by this decision would include facilities that emit CO2 as a result of burning forest or agricultural products for energy, wastewater treatment and livestock management facilities, landfills and fermentation processes for ethanol production.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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January 10
EPA Proposes To Withdraw Use of Pesticide Sulfuryl Fluoride on Food
EPA has re-evaluated the current science on fluoride and is taking steps to begin a phased-down withdrawal of the pesticide sulfuryl fluoride, a pesticide that breaks down into fluoride and is commonly used in food storage and processing facilities. Sulfuryl fluoride is currently registered for the control of insect pests in stored grains, dried fruits, tree nuts, coffee and cocoa beans, and for use in food handling and processing facilities. Although sulfuryl fluoride residues in food contribute only a very small portion of total exposure to fluoride, when combined with other fluoride exposure pathways, including drinking water and toothpaste, EPA has concluded that the tolerance (legal residue limits on food) no longer meets the safety standard under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) and the tolerances for sulfuryl fluoride should be withdrawn. Since sulfuryl fluoride is an important alternative to the ozone depleting pesticide methyl bromide, EPA is proposing to phase out uses of sulfuryl fluoride over a period of three years. EPA will work with users of sulfuryl fluoride to identify potential alternatives. To ensure transparency in this action, EPA is making the proposed order responding to the Fluoride Action Network’s objections, the draft assessment, and the draft impact assessments available for a 90-day public comment period. The documents are available in docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2005-0174.

EPA's Watershed Academy Announces Webcast on Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution and Harmful Algal Blooms in Lakes
On Wednesday, January 26, 2011, EPA's Watershed Academy is pleased to sponsor its 56th free webcast seminar. This webcast will highlight an emerging issue of nutrient enrichment leading to harmful algal blooms in lakes. The webcast will explain the connection between nutrients and harmful algal blooms such as blue green algal blooms. These algal blooms are causing loss of recreational uses including fishing, swimming and in some cases are resulting in increasing costs for drinking water treatment. The webcast will provide an overview of the issue and will present case studies on Grand Lake St. Mary's in Ohio and Lake Waco in Texas. This Webcast is a first in a series of Watershed Academy Webcasts on the important issue of nutrients and their impact on water resources.

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 now available. Topics include: February webcast is TBA; March webcast is "How Nature, the Supreme Farmer, Manages Manure"; Environmental Leaders Award; Farm Greenhouse Gas Estimation tool; Manure Application in Winter; Animal Welfare and Consumer Demand for Meat; Manure Expo and more. The next webcast is scheduled for January 21, 2011, and is entitled "Utilizing Liquid Livestock Manure as a Top-dress to Wheat and Side-dress to Corn." The webcast will discuss five years of on-farm research plots where liquid swine and dairy manure has been applied to soft red winter wheat fields and compared to urea as a spring top-dress nitrogen source. Research plots have utilized a Veenhuizen toolbar and a Peecon toolbar to incorporate liquid manure into standing wheat and more recently a dragline has been utilized to make manure application more efficient and reduce soil compaction. Future research will include fall application of manure to meet the entire fertility needs of the soft red winter wheat crop and the use of cover crops to hold manure nutrients for a corn crop the following season. Anyone interested in applying manure to growing crops in order to reduce nutrient losses and improve water quality are encouraged to tune in. The presenter will be Mr. Glen Arnold, Ohio State University. It broadcasts at 2:30 Eastern (1:30 pm Central, 12:30 pm Mountain, 11:30 am Pacific).

Washington Fertilizer Distributors Fined Over $33,000 for Failing To Properly Plan for Chemical Releases at Eight Facilities
Two Washington ammonia fertilizer distributors have agreed to pay over $33,000 for failing to update their plans for preventing chemical releases at eight facilities throughout Washington. In October 2009, EPA discovered that the facilities failed to update their risk management practices at least every five years as required by the Clean Air Act (CAA). The facilities store more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia, which exceeds the threshold quantity that triggers federal planning requirements.

January 5
EPA Announces Pesticide Registration Notice Regarding the Residential Exposure Joint Venture
EPA is announcing the issuance of a Pesticide Registration Notice (PR-2011-1) that addresses the data development efforts of the Residential Exposure Joint Venture (REJV). When registering or periodically reviewing an existing registration, the Agency evaluates the potential risks to people from exposure to the pesticide in and around the home. The REJV was formed to develop information on the actual use patterns of residential pesticides that can be used by EPA and other regulatory agencies responsible for assuring the safety of pesticides. The purpose of the PR Notice is to describe what data the REJV plans to generate, to describe how EPA expects to use the data, and to inform registrants of the opportunity to join REJV.

January 4
New Enable the Label On-line Discussion Forum Topic
EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs has posted an update to Enable the Label, our online discussion forum that’s used to improve clarity and usefulness for Label Review Manual users. Chapters 6 and 7 are the discussion topics for January, with a particular focus on labeling requirements for restricted use pesticides, determining precautionary labeling, and labeling options. After the discussion thread closes at the end of January, we will review comments received and incorporate useful ones into future revisions of the Label Review Manual.

EPA Approves Historic Salmon Restoration Plan for Klamath River
EPA has approved California’s water quality improvement plan for restoring salmon fisheries and water quality in the Klamath River. The plan calls for massive pollution reductions for the California portion of the river, including a 57% reduction in phosphorus, 32% in nitrogen, and 16% in carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand (CBOD). The plan also calls for annual reductions in the river's reservoirs of more than 120,000 pounds of nitrogen, and 22,000 pounds of phosphorus. The Klamath River, a federally protected "Wild and Scenic River," flows 255 miles southwest from Oregon through northern California, and empties into the Pacific Ocean. The Klamath River drains an extensive watershed covering over 12,600 square miles, and has been called the "Everglades of the West.” TMDLs for several water bodies in the Klamath Basin - the Trinity River, Scott River, Shasta River, Lost River, and the Klamath Straits Drain - are also being implemented to address impairments due to excessive pollution.

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