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News Archive: November 2007

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 Also, please be aware that the information in any particular article may be outdated or superseded by additional information.

November 30
Environmental Protection in China Gets Legal Support from New Web Site
In an effort to strengthen the legal framework for environmental protection in China, EPA launched an EPA - China Environmental Law Initiative Web site. The Web site, announced by EPA General Counsel Roger R. Martella, will provide a forum for sharing information and fostering an ongoing dialogue with China on environmental law. China suffers severe environmental problems. Strengthening environmental laws and their implementation are seen as vital steps in improving the environment in China.

FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel To Hear Preliminary Review of Atrazine Monitoring Program
On December 4-7, 2007, EPA will present to the FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) its preliminary review and interpretation of the results of a three-year atrazine monitoring program conducted in small streams and creeks associated with corn and sorghum production. As a condition of reregistration, atrazine registrants were required to develop a monitoring program to determine the extent to which atrazine concentrations in streams may be exceeding levels that could affect aquatic communities. If the thresholds were exceeded, a watershed-based mitigation program could be required. In this meeting, EPA will ask the panel to comment on the Agency's approach and methodologies for interpreting the results of this ecological monitoring program.

November 28
Chlormequat Chloride Reregistration Eligibility Decision Available for Comment
EPA has released its Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for the low-risk pesticide chlormequat chloride and has opened a public comment period on the RED, related risk assessments, and other support documents. Chlormequat chloride is a plant growth regulator registered for use on ornamental plants grown in greenhouses, nurseries, and shadehouses. No food or feed uses or U.S. tolerances are associated with its use. EPA has reviewed chlormequat chloride through a modified, streamlined version of the public participation process. Comments must be received on or before January 28, 2008.

Fall 2007 AgSTAR Online Digest Available
The fall issue of the AgSTAR digest is available on the EPA's Web site. The AgSTAR Program is a voluntary effort jointly sponsored by EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Energy. The program encourages the use of methane recovery (biogas) technologies at confined animal feeding operations that manage manure as liquids or slurries. These technologies reduce methane emissions while achieving other environmental benefits. This quarterly newsletter provides information about the AgSTAR program, the latest news regarding anaerobic digestion technology, grant opportunities, and other related news.

Mefluidide Reregistration Eligibility Decision
EPA has released its Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for the pesticide mefluidide. The Agency's risk assessments and other related documents also are available in the mefluidide docket. Mefluidide is a plant growth regulator that is applied postemergence when needed. Using the modified four-phase public participation process, EPA worked extensively with stakeholders and the public to reach the regulatory decision for mefluidide. Since all issues related to this pesticide were resolved through consultations with stakeholders, the Agency is issuing the mefluidide RED without a further comment period.

EPA, Army Corps Extend Public Comment Period for Joint Rapanos Guidance
EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) are extending the public comment period for the interagency joint guidance on the scope of Clean Water Act geographic jurisdiction following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Rapanos v. United States. The public comment period has been extended 45 days and comments on the guidance and experiences with its implementation are now due by Jan. 21, 2008. EPA and the Corps issued the guidance in June 2007, consistent with the Supreme Court's decision in the consolidated cases Rapanos v. United States and Carabell v. United States regarding the scope of the agencies' jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.

November 27
EPA Approves $900,000 for Kansas Watershed Basin
EPA presented a $900,000 check to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to improve the health of the Marais des Cygnes Basin. The basin encompasses 3,230 square miles in Kansas and 453 square miles in Missouri. EPA initiated the Targeted Watersheds Grant Program in 2002 to encourage successful community-based approaches to protect and restore the nation's watersheds. More than $40 million has been provided to 46 watershed organizations since 2003.

EPA Announces 2008 Renewable Fuels Standard
EPA is setting a new renewable fuels standard (RFS) of 4.66 percent to meet the 2005 Energy Policy Act's mandate that at least 5.4 billion gallons of renewable fuels be blended into transportation gasoline in 2008. Based on the standard, each party determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must ensure is used in its motor vehicle fuel. The standard for 2007 was 4.02 percent, equating to roughly 4.7 billion gallons. The overall volume target increases every year, reaching 7.5 billion gallons in 2012. The RFS program, which began last September, creates new markets for farm products, increases energy security, and promotes the development of advanced technologies that would greatly expand renewable and alternative fuels.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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November 23
Workshop To Discuss Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program Draft Policies and Procedures
EPA is convening a 1-day public workshop to discuss the Agency's draft administrative policies and procedures for completing initial screening and testing under EPA's Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP) and the burden and cost estimates for related information collection activities. The workshop is scheduled for Monday, December 17, 2007, in Arlington, Virginia. In two forthcoming Federal Register notices, EPA will announce the availability for public review and comment of: (1) the draft policies and procedures EPA for initial screening and testing under the EDSP and (2) the draft Information Collection Request (ICR) for the initial screening and testing. The workshop will give the public an opportunity to ask questions and will allow EPA to provide further explanation about these aspects of the EDSP, which in turn may facilitate the preparation of comments.

November 21
4-Aminopyridine Reregistration Eligibility Decision Available for Comment
EPA has released its Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for the pesticide 4-aminopyridine and has opened a public comment period on this document. The Agency's risk assessments and other related documents also are available in the 4-aminopyridine docket. 4-aminopyridine is an avicide with flock-alarming properties. It is registered in the U.S. to control birds of public health concern around nesting, feeding, loafing, and roosting sites at structures, feedlots, landfills, and airports. 4-aminopyridine has been reviewed through the modified four-phase public participation process. Comments must be received on or before January 22, 2008.

November 20
Campaign by EPA, Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative Targets Air Pollution From Idling Trucks
EPA's SmartWay Transport Partnership program and EPA Region 5's Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative will launch their "Idle Free Quiet Zone Campaign" at a media event Nov. 28 in Detroit. The campaign is designed to promote emission reductions by reducing truck idling and to save energy wasted during idling. EPA will be joined at the event by representatives of Natural Resource Canada's ECOenergy for Fleets program, which originally developed the FleetSmart "Idle Free Quiet Zone Campaign" and launched it in Canada in 2001. Representatives of the two programs signed a memorandum of understanding 2 years ago to promote reductions in truck idling, which is a significant problem at truck stops in both countries. EPA will also recognize a few of its Smartway partners from both countries.

EPA Fines California Pesticide Producer $15,500
In a settlement, EPA and Pioneer Chemical Company, a pesticide producer based in Gardena, California, agreed to a $15,500 fine for the company's alleged failure to submit accurate annual pesticide production reports to the Agency. EPA determined that Pioneer Chemical Company was producing Super 60 PYM Foamer, a disinfectant and fungicide for hospital, institutional, and industrial use, and not reporting it to EPA.

FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel To Review Draft Notice of Intent To Cancel Carbofuran
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (FIFRA SAP) will meet February 5-8, 2008, in Arlington, Virginia, to consider and review the scientific issues associated with the EPA's notice of intent to cancel carbofuran. The Agency invites written comments as well as presentation of oral comments at the meeting. In addition, EPA is accepting nominations for the approximately 12 to 15 ad hoc scientists who will be selected to serve on the FIFRA SAP for this meeting. Nominations should be submitted before December 3, 2007.

November 19
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Compliance Monitoring Strategy Released
EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance has issued its "Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Compliance Monitoring Strategy for the Core Program and Wet Weather Sources." This new strategy, which takes effect in 2009, outlines inspection and compliance goals for the entire NPDES program, including major and minor NPDES facilities, pretreatment programs, biosolids, CSOs, SSOs, stormwater, and CAFOs. It places increased emphasis on wet weather issues, particularly stormwater sources, and sets ambitious targets for audits and inspections of Phase I and II MS4s, construction sites, and industrial facilities.

EPA Orders California Farm To Restore Two Sites Along Creek
EPA has ordered Muranaka Farm, Inc. to restore two sites along the Calleguas Creek in Ventura County, California, where they had discharged dredged and fill material -- including rock, soil, and debris -- into the creek without U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits, a violation of the Clean Water Act. Failure to comply with the order could result in fines of up to $32,500 per day, per violation.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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November 16
Registration Service Fees Workshop Offered for Pesticide Registration Applicants
EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs will hold a workshop on the Pesticide Registration Improvement Renewal Act of 2007 (PRIA 2) on November 27 in Arlington, Virginia. Interested parties may participate in person or through Web conference. Topics include changes to PRIA, decision tree for identifying PRIA categories, payment timing and process, waiver process, content/application completeness review, interpretations of new categories, and other implementation issues. During breakout sessions with the registering divisions, fee categories and other issues specific to each type of pesticide will be discussed. The public is invited to submit by November 20 any PRIA 2 issues they would like discussed during a breakout session.

November 15
Polluters Agree To Spend Record $10.6 Billion on Environmental Controls and Cleanup
EPA's enforcement program achieved historic results to protect the nation's air, water, and land in fiscal year 2007. Industries, government agencies, and other regulated entities agreed to spend a record $10.6 billion in pollution controls and environmental projects, exceeding the previous record of $10.2 billion set in 2005. Over the last 5 years, EPA's enforcement program has sustained a steady track record of pollution reductions and commitments from regulated entities to install pollution controls. Since 2003, EPA's enforcement activities have required companies to invest over $33 billion in pollution control equipment to achieve pollution reductions of nearly 4.5 billion pounds.

Comment Period Extended for Draft List of First Pesticides To Undergo Endocrine Disruptor Screening
EPA issued a notice in the Federal Register of June 18, 2007, concerning the draft list of the first group of chemicals that will be screened in the Agency's Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP). That notice provided for a 90-day public comment period. EPA extended the comment period an additional 60 days in the Federal Register of September 12, 2007. The comment period has now been extended for a second time, for 45 days. Comments must be received on or before December 31, 2007.

EPA Seeks Nominations to Agricultural Advisory Committee
Continuing efforts to strengthen relations with the agriculture community, EPA announced in the Federal Register a request for member nominations to the first-ever Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee. The committee is being formed under the guidelines of EPA's National Strategy for Agriculture, and it will advise the EPA Administrator on environmental policy issues impacting farms, ranches, and rural communities. It will operate under the rules of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). EPA expects to make a decision on membership by early January.

November 14
Endosulfan Updated Risk Assessments Available for Comment; Usage Information Requested
EPA has released updated human health and ecological effects risk assessments for the organochlorine pesticide endosulfan, based in part on data recently submitted by endosulfan registrants as required in the 2002 Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED). The Agency is seeking comment on these updated risk assessments as part of EPA's post-RED process. In addition, the public is invited to comment on EPA's analysis of endosulfan usage information since the 2002 RED and its preliminary determinations regarding endosulfan's importance to growers and the availability of alternatives. Comments must be received on or before January 16, 2008.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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November 8
EPA Booth Planned for National Association of Farm Broadcasting Trade Talk Event
EPA officials will be available for news interviews at the Agency's booth during the annual National Association of Farm Broadcasting Trade Talk event in Kansas City on Thursday, Nov. 15. Interview topics include national and regional updates on concentrated animal feeding operations, biofuels, pesticides, preventing anhydrous ammonia accidents, partnerships with agriculture stakeholders, and air and water issues. EPA representatives at the event include: Jon Scholl, Counselor to the EPA Administrator; John B. Askew, Region 7 Administrator; Kris Lancaster, Public Affairs Specialist; Karen Flournoy, Associate Regional Administrator for Agriculture and Environmental Priorities; and Alan Banwart, Environmental Protection Specialist.

November 7
Association of American Pesticide Control Officials / State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group Sets Public Meeting
The Association of American Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO)/State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group (SFIREG) will meet December 3-4, 2007, in Arlington, Virginia. The November 7 Federal Register notice announcing the meeting includes a list of tentative agenda items.

Prometon Risk Assessments and Risk Reduction Options Available for Comment
EPA has released its risk assessments and related documents for the pesticide prometon, 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. Prometon is a nonselective "bare-ground'' herbicide used to manage annual and perennial grasses and broadleaf weeds. EPA is developing a Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for prometon through a modified four-phase public participation process. Comments must be received on or before January 7, 2008.

November 6
EPA Takes Steps To Better Protect Farm Workers in Puerto Rico [En Español]
EPA has cited four Puerto Rico farms for multiple violations of the worker protection provisions of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). According to complaints issued by the Agency, owners at Finca Roman Farm, Anthuriums de Puerto Rico, and the Javier Quiles Farm, all in Adjuntas, and the owner of Finca Los Tres Picachos in Jayuya failed to display specific pesticide application information for agricultural workers and pesticide handlers and provide these workers with training. Nor did the farm owners provide protective equipment and a way to wash off pesticide residues before leaving the work site. In addition, the farm owners failed to provide medical care information to workers and pesticide handlers and did not follow the pesticide label instructions for proper pesticide use and disposal. The four farming operations average fewer than 10 employees and do not exceed 100 acres in size. Each faces thousands of dollars in penalties.

National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center November Newsletter and Webcast Exit EPA
The November edition of the National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center (LPELC) newsletter is available. Topics include: December Webcast Showcases Innovative Manure Treatment Technologies from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program; New and Improved LPELC Web Site Set for March 2008 Launch; EPA AgSTAR Program Encourages Use of Anaerobic Digesters; and National Air Mitigation Conference Call for Papers Closes December 1. The next Webcast will be on November 16, 2007, and will feature Rick Koelsch and Chris Henry of University of Nebraska, and Lara Moody of Iowa State University, speaking on "Vegetative Treatment Systems for Barnyard and Open Lot Runoff."

November 5
Hypoxia Task Force Completes Assessment, Invites Comments on Revised Action Plan
The Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force has completed its assessment of progress to reduce the size of the Gulf hypoxia zone. At its 15th meeting, October 29-30 in Cincinnati, the task force approved draft revisions to the 2001 action plan and authorized release of the draft for public comment. The comment period is open until January 4, 2008.

Tier2*Submit Software Available for 2007 Chemical Inventory Reporting
EPA's Office of  Solid Waste and Emergency Response has announced that the Tier2*Submit 2007 software is now available for use by facilities in the preparation of their annual electronic chemical inventory report. Twenty-nine states are accepting Tier2*Submit from facilities for the 2007 reporting year.

EPA Issues Schedule for Next Four Years of Pesticide Registration Review
EPA has issued an updated schedule for the pesticide registration review program, the periodic review mandated by FIFRA for all registered pesticides. This program began in fiscal year (FY) 2007; the updated schedule provides the timetable for opening dockets for the next four years (FY 2008 to 2011) and includes information on the FY 2007 cases.

Pesticide Registration (PR) Notice of Labeling Revisions for Pesticide Containers and Containment (PDF) (16 pp, 218K)
This notice provides instructions for implementing the new pesticide product label language and provides guidance to pesticide registrants on revising their product labels in order to implement the new requirements.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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November 2
Acrolein Human Health Risk Assessment Available for Comment
EPA has released its human health risk assessment and related documents for the pesticide acrolein, 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. Acrolein is primarily used in irrigation canals and reservoirs to treat aquatic weeds, such as pondweed. EPA is developing a Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for acrolein through a six-phase public participation process. Comments must be received on or before January 2, 2008.

Settlement Reached in Virginia Wetlands Case
The U.S. Department of Justice lodged three consent decrees settling a civil action by EPA against six defendants for alleged violations of a wetlands protection section of the Clean Water Act. The settlement, reached with Sea Bay Development Corp., Beechtree Park, Inc., Green Sea Farms, LLC, Elwood H. Perry, Frank T. Williams' Farms, Inc. and Ferrell's Backhoe Service, Inc., resolves allegations that the defendants discharged and/or controlled and directed the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States at an approximately 1,560-acre property in Chesapeake, Virginia, without a permit.

November 1
EPA Reaches Agreement With Indiana Corn Mill Company on Clean Air Violations
EPA Region 5 has reached an agreement with Tate & Lyle North America on alleged clean-air violations at the company's wet corn mill in Lafayette, Indiana. The agreement, which includes a $188,100 penalty, resolves EPA allegations that Tate & Lyle made major modifications at the mill that significantly increased emissions of carbon monoxide without getting a permit requiring best available emission controls.

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