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News Archive: March 2008

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March 31
Army Corps and EPA Improve Wetland and Stream Mitigation
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and EPA released a new rule to clarify how to provide compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts to the nation's wetlands and streams. The rule will enable the agencies to promote greater consistency, predictability, and ecological success of mitigation projects under the Clean Water Act.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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March 28
Secretary of Agriculture Notified About Proposed Rule on Pesticide Container Recycling
EPA has forwarded to the Secretary of Agriculture a draft proposed rule on pesticide container recycling. This procedure is required by section 25(a) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. As described in the Agency's semi-annual regulatory agenda, the draft proposed rule would require that manufacturers of agricultural and professional specialty pesticides support (either by managing and operating, or contracting with another organization) a container recycling program that meets the standards of the American National Standards Institute. The draft proposed rule is not yet available to the public.

Pesticide Registration Improvement Act Process Improvement Workgroup Sets Public Meeting
The Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee's Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA) Process Improvement Workgroup will hold its 10th public meeting on April 29, 2008, in Arlington, Virginia. The agenda, which will include recent process improvements to implement PRIA 2, will be posted on EPA's Web site. The workgroup is developing advice and recommendations on topics related to EPA's registration and, as of this meeting, registration review process.

Pesticide Registrants Get Time-limited Opportunity To Review Their Toxicity Data for Accuracy
EPA is developing a new database that will help organize toxicity data and make it more useful for research and other applications. The Toxicological Reference Database (ToxRefDB) is being developed as part of EPA's ToxCast research program. ToxCast will help predict toxicity for new chemicals that have limited or insufficient risk or hazard data. ToxRefDB captures existing data submitted by pesticide registrants into an electronic database that supports ToxCast and other analyses. To make sure that all data in ToxRefDB are accurate, the Agency is now offering data submitters an opportunity to review toxicity data records based on their submissions and offer corrections. Only the submitters of data will be able to review their own records. Data will be available for review from April 15 through June 15, 2008.

March 27
EPA Issues Imminent and Substantial Endangerment Order to Agrifos Fertilizer, Inc. and ExxonMobil
EPA has issued an administrative order on consent to Agrifos Fertilizer, Inc. and ExxonMobil Oil Corp. to address long-term wastewater management and prevent future imminent and substantial endangerment to human health and the environment. Agrifos operates a mineral processing facility, originally constructed and operated by the Mobil Corporation, that extracts phosphorus from mineral ores for use in commercial fertilizer. Byproduct wastes include phosphogypsum, which is accumulated in large piles of gypsum stacks, and process wastewater. The EPA order requires the companies to complete side slope closure of the gypsum stacks over the next two years and develop a corrective action plan to address soil and groundwater contamination. They will also build a new wastewater treatment plant and demonstrate, through modeling, a five year plan for managing water balance during closure activities at the site.

Mongolia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand Join "Methane to Markets" Partnership
Mongolia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Thailand are the newest partners in the Methane to Markets program, which aims to reduce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas and clean energy source. Methane to Markets now numbers 25 partners. By 2015, Methane to Markets has the potential to deliver annual reductions in methane emissions of up to 50 million metric tons of carbon equivalent, which is roughly equal to the carbon dioxide emissions from the energy use of about 4.4 million American homes for one year. As demonstrated by the partners, Methane to Markets focuses on reducing methane emissions from four sources: animal waste management, coal mines, landfills, and oil and gas systems.

March 26
EPA Awards Two Colorado Small Businesses $210,000 in Innovation Research Contracts
EPA has awarded a total of $210,000 in Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts to two small companies in Colorado. Eltron Research, Inc., Boulder, is receiving a total of $140,000 for two projects. In the first project Eltron will apply the company's new catalytic technology for nitrogen oxides abatement to off-road diesel engine exhaust, demonstrating the feasibility of a zero ammonia diesel exhaust after-treatment technology for mobile engines. In the second project, Elton will develop an ion-selective, polymer membrane electrode capable of detecting perchlorate in water at low parts-per-billion concentrations. During this phase, the destruction of perchlorate will be demonstrated. TDA Research, Inc., Wheat Ridge, is receiving $70,000 for the development of a chemical production process for producing low-cost biodiesel using high free fatty acid vegetable oil and animal fat feedstocks, which are much less expensive than those being used today. The new process, in addition to reducing fuel costs, will be more energy efficient and not produce the aqueous waste that results from conventional processes.

U.S., Mexico Collect Unwanted Pesticides in Imperial County and Mexicali
With the goal of eliminating an estimated 37,000 pounds of harmful pesticides from local farms and communities, environmental agencies from the U.S and Mexico announced plans to collect obsolete or unwanted pesticides from area growers on March 26 and 27. On the first day, pre-registered growers will bring in unwanted pesticides to the Allied Waste Facility in Imperial County, California. The next day, pre-registered growers will do the same at a collection site near Mexicali, Mexico. The collected pesticides will be disposed of at a licensed hazardous waste facility.

Several Pesticide Registration Review Dockets Available for Comment
EPA has opened new registration review dockets for several pesticides and has opened the public comment period for these reviews. Registration review is EPA's periodic review of pesticide registrations to ensure that each pesticide continues to satisfy the statutory standard for registration. Registration review dockets contain information that will help the public understand the types of information and issues that the Agency may consider during the course of registration reviews. The new dockets include:

EPA Offers $3.6 Million in Grants for Innovative Diesel Emissions Reduction Projects
EPA Region 4's Southeast Diesel Collaborative announced the availability of approximately $3.6 million in grants to fund projects within the Southeast to demonstrate effective emission control technologies and strategies, methods, or approaches to reducing diesel emissions. EPA is accepting proposals for funding from regional, state, local, or tribal agencies or port authorities with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality. Proposals will also be accepted from nonprofit organizations or institutions that represent or provide pollution reduction or educational services to persons or organizations that own or operate diesel fleets or that have, as their principal purpose, the promotion of transportation or air quality. School districts, municipalities, metropolitan planning organizations, cities and counties are all eligible provided they fall within the definition above.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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March 24
EPA Encourages May Events in Observance of American Wetlands Month
EPA will once again celebrate American Wetlands Month in May with federal, state, tribal, local, nonprofit, and private sector organization partners. This annual celebration is a time to recognize and highlight the ways wetlands enrich the environment and human society. EPA encourages individuals and groups to plan activities and events that raise awareness of the critical role wetlands play in the environment and build support for their protection and restoration. Planners of local, regional, or national events are strongly encouraged to share event information by completing a form on EPA's Web site.

"Indicator Development for Estuaries" Manual Available
The "Indicator Development for Estuaries" manual, released by EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds, is designed to improve the measurement of progress for estuaries in the National Estuary Program, as well as other estuaries. It is organized to provide the user with a logical, stepwise process for developing and implementing indicators for the estuarine environment. Indicators can provide cost-effective information on the status and trends of a system, show the effectiveness of management actions, and allow for mid-course corrections. Indicators also provide information to inform diverse audiences about the status and progress of restoration efforts.

March 19
EPA Releases Amended Cypermethrin Reregistration Eligibility Decision

EPA is modifying certain risk mitigation measures that were imposed as a result of the 2006 Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for the pesticide cypermethrin. EPA reassessed the cypermethrin RED in response to public comments directed towards product labeling, risk mitigation, and the upcoming registration review process for pyrethroids, pyrethrins, and synergist chemicals. In response to the commenters and continuing efforts to mitigate risk, the Agency has made several modifications to the cypermethrin RED label requirements for pre-construction termiticide applications, spray drift language for agricultural products, and ventilation for total release foggers.

Nominations to FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel Available for Comment

EPA is selecting two new members to serve on the FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) as a result of membership terms that will expire this year. The Agency has released the names, addresses, professional affiliations, and selected biographical data of persons who have been nominated, and is inviting public comment on the nominations. The comments will be used to help the Agency select the new panel members. Comments, identified by docket ID number EPA-OPP-2008-0045, must be received on or before April 18, 2008.

March 18
Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program Scientific Advisory Panel Meeting March 25-28

As announced in the Federal Register on January 24, 2008, there will be a 4-day meeting of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (FIFRA SAP) March 25-28, 2008, in Arlington, Virginia, to consider the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program Proposed Tier-1 Screening Battery. The FIFRA SAP will be charged with commenting on whether EPA's proposed battery composition fulfills its purpose (i.e., to identify the potential of a substance to interact with the estrogen, androgen, and thyroid hormone systems).

$5.4 Million Available To Cut Diesel Pollution in Northeast and Caribbean
EPA is making nearly $5.4 million in grants available for clean diesel projects under the 2008 Northeast Diesel Collaborative program to reduce harmful diesel pollution. Projects may include a variety of diesel emissions reductions solutions such as add-on emission control retrofit technologies; idle reduction technologies; cleaner fuel use; engine repowers; engine upgrades; vehicle or equipment replacement; and the creation of innovative finance programs to fund diesel emissions reduction projects. All projects must benefit the air quality in the geographic areas that include Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Vermont; and tribal lands belonging to the federally recognized Indian tribes in these regions. The deadline for applying is June 12, 2008.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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March 17
Seven Wetland Stewards Win 2008 National Wetlands Awards Exit EPA
Seven citizens have been recognized nationally for their on-the-ground wetland conservation efforts and decades-long dedication to protecting these important natural resources. A diverse panel of wetland experts assembled at the Environmental Law Institute earlier this month to select the winners of the 2008 National Wetlands Awards. This year's award winners hail from all regions of the country and exemplify the extraordinary commitment and innovation that is so instrumental to conserving wetlands in the nation's communities. EPA is one of the co-sponsors of the wetlands awards program.

Play It Safe, Prevent Poisonings, Lock Up Pesticides
EPA observes National Poison Prevention Week each year to increase awareness of the danger to children of unintentional poisonings from pesticides and household products, and to encourage parents and caregivers to lock up products that could potentially harm children. In observance of this year's National Poison Prevention Week (March 16-22), EPA has launched a poison-prevention segment on Green Scene, EPA's new series of environmental videos. During an interview on Green Scene, Assistant Administrator Jim Gulliford, of the Office of Prevention Pesticides and Toxic Substances, discusses Poison Prevention Week, how to protect children from toxic substances around the home, and how to respond in case of accidental poisoning. EPA is also conducting extensive outreach targeting the Hispanic communities, including television interviews to be aired on "Cada Dia," Telemundo's national morning program and the Telemundo Washington affiliate in DC. Other interviews include Univision TV and Radio and CNN Radio en Espanol.

March 14
EPA To Award $5 Million for Midwest Clean-Diesel Projects

EPA Region 5's Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative announced that it expects to award some $5 million in grants for diesel-emission reduction projects in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Project proposals will be accepted until June 12. Projects may include, but are not limited to, a variety of diesel emission reduction solutions such as retrofit technologies, idle-reduction technologies, cleaner fuel use, engine upgrades, vehicle or equipment replacement, and creation of innovative financing programs for emission reduction projects. Engines and equipment may include school or transit buses, medium or heavy-duty trucks, marine engines, locomotives, and non-road engines or vehicles.

d-Phenothrin (Sumithrin) Risk Assessments, Risk Reduction Options Available for Comment
EPA has released its risk assessments and related documents for the pesticide d-Phenothrin (sumithrin), and has opened a public comment period on these documents. The public is encouraged to suggest risk management ideas or proposals to address the risks identified. Sumithrin is a first-generation synthetic pyrethroid used for the control of adult mosquitoes and other nuisance insects. EPA is developing a Reregistration Eligibility Decision for sumithrin through a modified four-phase public participation process. Comments must be recieved on or before May 13, 2008.

March 12
AAPCO/ SFIREG Sets Public Meeting

The Association of American Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO) / State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group (SFIREG) Working Committee on Pesticide Operations and Management (WC/POM) will meet April 7 and 8 in Arlington, Virginia. A tentative agenda is included in the Federal Register announcement.

March 10
Draft FY 2009 National Water Program Guidance Released for Comment; FY 2008 Final Measures and Commitments Available

The National Water Program has released the Draft FY 2009 National Water Program Guidance for public view and comment. This is the second annual water program guidance to implement the EPA 2006-2011 Strategic Plan. This draft guidance describes water program priorities and strategies, including the suite of water performance measures, for the coming fiscal year.

Options for Expressing Daily Loads in TMDLs Webcast Available
On January 8, 2008, EPA sponsored a webcast on "Options for Expressing Daily Loads in Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)." The webcast was recorded and is available on the TMDL Web site. This webcast for TMDL practitioners highlighted EPA's June 22, 2007, draft document on Options for Expressing Daily Loads in TMDLs. The presenters discussed technical approaches for developing daily load expressions, provided examples and highlighted implementation benefits of identifying daily loads, addressed impacts of the daily loads requirement to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting community, and provided the opportunity for participants to pose questions to EPA staff and program experts.

Public Comments Invited on Inclusion of Captafol, Ortho-nitrotoluene on Carcinogen List
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (part of the National Institutes of Health) invites public comment on recommendations from an expert panel on listing status for captafol and ortho-nitrotoluene in the 12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC), and the scientific justification for the recommendations. The recommendation and scientific justification for each candidate substance are available electronically in Part B of the Expert Panel Report or in printed text from the RoC Office. Written comments should be submitted by April 24, 2008.

"Pesticide Issues in the Works" Explores Emerging Issues
EPA has a new Web page, Pesticide Issues in the Works. The fact sheets on this page are designed to provide information about issues that are under consideration within the pesticide program but that may be early in the development process or for which information is currently limited.  The Office of Pesticide Programs wants to let the public know that the Agency is involved in these issues and to provide as much information as is available. The first two issues are honey bee colony collapse disorder and pesticide volatilization. Subsequent topics will be added as they become available.

Human Studies Review Board Sets Public Meeting in April
EPA's Office of the Science Advisor announces that the Human Studies Review Board will meet in Arlington, Virginia, April 9 and 10 to advise on the Agency's scientific and ethical review of human subjects research. More information on this public meeting, including instructions for submitting written comments, are included in the Federal Register notice.

EPA Conducts Compliance Assistance Outreach to Ethnic Marketplaces
EPA Region 7 has developed a flier in six languages to inform and educate ethnic marketplaces that sell imported products. Often, languages other than English are spoken at these businesses. The flier provides information about the risks involved in selling unregistered pesticide products, which might be hazardous to human health, and about the laws associated with knowingly selling such products. Illegal pesticides are often much more toxic than registered pesticides for use in and around homes. Across the country, EPA has initiated an effort to protect consumers from these products and has increased efforts to raise public awareness of these product dangers.

March 14, 2008 Webcast on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) – Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
EPA is hosting a webcast to provide additional information on the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking for the CAFO NPDES program that was published in the Federal Register on March 7, 2008. Participants will be able to submit questions about the supplemental proposal to the EPA presenters during the webcast to gain a better understanding of this rulemaking effort. This webcast is intended to support the public comment period for this proposed rule, which closes on April 7, 2008.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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March 7
Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking of Revised National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Regulations for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

This action is a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) to EPA's June 30, 2006, notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) revising the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting requirements for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), in response to the order issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Waterkeeper Alliance et al. v. EPA, 399 F.3d 486 (2d Cir. 2005). In the June 2006 NPRM, EPA proposed to require only CAFOs that discharge or propose to discharge to seek coverage under a permit. In this SNPRM, EPA is proposing a voluntary option for CAFOs to certify that the CAFO does not discharge or propose to discharge based on an objective assessment of the CAFO's design, construction, operation, and maintenance. Comments must be received on or before April 7, 2008.

March 5
EPA Fines Southern California Technology Company $208,000 for "Nano Coating" Pesticide Claims on Computer Peripherals

EPA has settled with ATEN Technology, Inc., of Irvine, California, acting for its subsidiary IOGEAR, for selling unregistered pesticides and making unproven claims about their effectiveness. EPA maintains that IOGEAR made unsubstantiated public health claims regarding unregistered products, and their ability to control germs and pathogens -- a violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

Notification of Data Requirements for Antimicrobial Pesticides and Revisions to Product Chemistry Data Requirements for Conventional Pesticides
This document notifies the public that the Administrator of EPA has forwarded to the Secretaries of Agriculture, and Health and Human Services a draft proposed rule under sections 21 and 25(a) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). As described in the Agency's semi-annual Regulatory Agenda, the draft proposed rule updates the data requirements in 40 CFR part 158 for the registration of antimicrobial pesticide products. Besides providing the regulated community with clearer and more transparent information, once finalized the data requirements will enhance the development of health and environmental data to conduct scientifically sound chemical/hazard risk assessments to protect human health and the environment.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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March 4
National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center February Newsletter and Webcast Exit EPA
The March edition of the National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center (LPELC) newsletter is available. Topics include: Managing Potential Risks from Antibiotics and Hormones in Animal Manure Is the April Webcast Topic; The New LPE Learning Center Web site Is Now Live; California Panel to Evaluate Manure Treatment Technologies for Dairies; University of Missouri Professor Remembered as a Mentor; and Impact on Manure Management from Feeding Ethanol Co-Products. The next Webcast will be on March 28, 2008, and will feature David Norris, University of Colorado, Amy Pruden, Colorado State University, and Paul Ebner, Purdue University.  They will discuss the "Antibiotics and Hormones in Animal Manure: Potential Environmental Impacts."

EPA Proposing Additional Options for Animal Feeding Operation Rule
EPA is proposing additional options to a 2006 proposal for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) under the Clean Water Act. This supplemental proposal will be published soon in the Federal Register and open to public comment for 30 days. Under current law, if CAFOs do not discharge pollutants to waters of the United States they do not need a Clean Water Act permit. The proposal would, for the first time, allow CAFOs to certify that they do not discharge. EPA is also proposing three different approaches for nutrient management plans (NMPs) that could be used by permitting authorities and CAFOs to determine application rates of manure, litter and wastewater to be incorporated into the permit. An NMP specifies the amount of manure that can be applied to crops so nutrient runoff to water bodies is minimized.

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