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News Archive: February 2008

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 Also, please be aware that the information in any particular article may be outdated or superseded by additional information.

February 28
EPA Completes Cleanup of Warehouse in Maine

EPA has completed the successful removal of thousands of 5-gallon-or-smaller containers present at a location in Freedom, Maine. The Agency spent $368,000 to identify and properly dispose of a variety of substances leftover from a family-run retail operation. Initial site inspections that led to this cleanup effort were a result of coordination between EPA and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Solvents, thinners, pesticides, herbicides, and adhesives were found stored in significant quantities in a warehouse on the property. The dilapidated building had unrestricted access; therefore, it was determined that the containers of hazardous substances posed a risk to human health from potential exposure.

February 27
Sulfometuron Methyl Risk Assessments Available for Comment

EPA has released its risk assessments and related documents for the pesticide sulfometuron methyl 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. Sulfometuron methyl is a non-selective herbicide used primarily for weed control in forestry and for vegetative management in rights-of-way, roadways, and railroads. EPA is developing a Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for sulfometuron methyl through a modified four-phase public participation process. Comments must be received on or before April 28, 2008.

Tetramethrin Risk Assessments, Risk Reduction Options Available for Comment
EPA has released its risk assessments and related documents for the pesticide tetramethrin 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. Tetramethrin is a broad-spectrum, first-generation synthetic pyrethroid insecticide. EPA is developing a Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for tetramethrin through a modified four-phase public participation process. Comments must be received on or before April 28, 2008.

Permethrin RED Modified in Response to Comments
In response to public comments, EPA has reassessed the 2006 Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for the pesticide permethrin and has released several modifications to the RED label requirements, including: Clarification of application rates to mushroom houses; revised droplet sizes for wide-area mosquito abatement products; and mandatory label statements for canine spot-on products, pre-construction termiticide applications, and spray drift language for agricultural products. Additionally, the Agency has revised data requirements and added a statement to Section IV of the RED to address concerns regarding residential use of outdoor pesticide misting systems.

February 26
Home Depot Settles Storm Water Violations

Home Depot has agreed to pay a $1.3 million penalty and implement a nationwide compliance program to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act, the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency announced. The settlement resolves alleged violations that were discovered at more than 30 construction sites in 28 states where new Home Depot stores were being built. The settlement, joined by the state of Colorado, requires that Home Depot implement a comprehensive, corporate-wide program to prevent storm water pollution at each new store it builds nationwide. Home Depot must develop improved pollution prevention plans for each site, increase site inspections, and promptly correct any problems at its sites. The company must properly train its construction managers, as well as contractors and their personnel, on the federal storm water requirements. Home Depot must also implement a management and internal reporting system to improve oversight of on-the-ground operations and appoint a high-level company official to oversee compliance at all company construction sites.

Gulf Program Seeks Entries for 2008 Gulf Guardian Awards
The Gulf of Mexico Program -- a consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States -- is soliciting entries for the 2008 Gulf Guardian Awards Program. The Gulf of Mexico Program partnership developed the Gulf Guardian Awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful, and productive. The program recognizes a first, second, and third place winner in each of seven categories:  business; government; civic/nonprofit organizations; youth/education; partnerships; individual; and binational (U.S/Mexico partnership programs and projects). The deadline for applications is May 1, 2008.

TMDL Knowledgebase Clearinghouse Exit EPA
Virginia Tech's Center for Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and Watershed Studies has developed an on-line database to house selected TMDL-related information and documents in one central location. The searchable clearinghouse contains three types of resources: TMDL guidance documents; reviews and summaries of TMDL-related technical and trade literature; and state-by-state summaries of TMDL programs across the nation. State summaries are updated regularly for all 50 states and include the approach and methodology used to develop TMDLs in that state.  In total, about 500 documents are available within this database, which was funded, in part, by an EPA grant.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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February 22
USDA, EPA, FDA Release Statement on Genetically Engineered Corn "Event 32"
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), EPA, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are coordinating efforts following notification by Dow AgroSciences that the company detected extremely low levels of an unregistered genetically engineered (GE) pesticide product known as a plant-incorporated protectant (PIP) in three of its commercial GE hybrid corn seed lines. The unregistered product produces proteins that are identical to a registered product. USDA, EPA, and FDA have concluded that there are no public health, food, or feed safety concerns. Additionally, USDA and EPA have determined that the unregistered GE corn PIP poses no plant pest or environmental concerns.

Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee To Meet March 13-14
EPA's Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee (FRRCC) will hold a public meeting March 13 and 14 in Washington, DC. The purpose of the FRRCC is to provide advice to EPA Administrator on environmental issues and programs that impact, or are of concern to, farms, ranches, and rural communities. The FRRCC is a part of EPA's efforts to expand cooperative working relationships with the agriculture industry and others who are interested in agricultural issues and to achieve greater progress in environmental protection. Names of the 30 members appointed to the new advisory committee were announced on February 20. Members were selected from a pool of more than 200 applicants generated from a request for nominations published in the November 15 Federal Register. The new members represent: large and small farmers, ranchers, and rural communities; rural suppliers, marketers, and processors; academics and researchers who study environmental issues impacting agriculture; and environmental and conservation groups.

February 20
New Members of First-Ever Agricultural Advisory Committee Announced
Continuing efforts to strengthen relations with the agriculture community, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson announced the appointment of 30 citizens to serve on a newly-formed Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Advisory Committee.

EPA Seeks Public Comment on Possible Drinking Water Contaminants
EPA is asking for public comment on a list of 104 possible drinking water contaminants that may need to be regulated in the future to ensure the continued protection of drinking water. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA includes on the draft Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) currently unregulated contaminants that are known or anticipated to occur in public water systems and that may require regulation. This draft CCL, which is the third such listing, lists 93 chemical contaminants or groups and 11 microbes, and describes the process and basis for selecting these contaminants. The draft list includes chemicals used in commerce, pesticides, biological toxins, disinfection byproducts, and waterborne pathogens. Comments must be received on or before May 21, 2008.

Six New England Companies Settle With EPA for Pesticide Violations
Six New England-based companies that produce pesticide products have settled with EPA for failing to properly submit annual production reports to the Agency, as required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. According to EPA complaints, each of the six companies has failed on at least one previous occasion to properly submit this information. The companies have addressed all violations and have paid fines of up to $5,400. Penalties were based on several factors, including the type of violation and size of the business.

Reregistration Eligibility Decision for Ammonium Thiosulfate Available for Comment
EPA has released its Reregistration Eligibility Decision for the pesticide ammonium thiosulfate, and has opened a public comment period on this document, related risk assessments, and other support documents. Ammonium thiosulfate is an inorganic thiosulfate herbicide used to kill oxalis and spurge weeds on lawns in the western United States. EPA has reviewed ammonium thiosulfate through a modified, streamlined version of the public participation process. Comments must be received on or before April 21, 2008.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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February 15
New NIH / EPA Plan for Safety Testing of Chemicals Includes Reduced Reliance on Animal Testing

Testing the safety of chemicals ranging from pesticides to household cleaners will benefit from new technologies and a plan for collaboration, according to federal scientists from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and EPA, who announced a new toxicity testing agreement. The concept behind this agreement is highlighted in the February 15, 2008, issue of the journal Science. Two NIH institutes have formed a collaboration with EPA to use the NIH Chemical Genomics Center's high-speed automated screening robots to test suspected toxic compounds using cells and isolated molecular targets instead of laboratory animals. This new transagency collaboration is anticipated to generate data more relevant to humans; expand the number of chemicals that are tested; and reduce the time, money, and number of animals involved in testing.

Outdoor Burn Ban Called for Yakama Indian Reservation
EPA Region 10 called a burn ban on all outdoor burning on the Yakama Indian Reservation beginning Saturday, February 16, until further notice because weather forecasts call for stagnant air conditions in the upper and lower Yakima valleys. This predicted stagnation may cause PM2.5 concentrations to increase to levels that are unhealthy for sensitive individuals. The burn ban applies to all outdoor and agricultural burning, including camping and recreational fires within reservation boundaries. Ceremonial and traditional fires are exempt from the outdoor burn ban.

February 13
EPA Notifies Pesticide Producers of March 1 Reporting Deadline
EPA is notifying pesticide producers to file annual pesticide production reports as of March 1, 2008. This pesticide information will provide EPA a reliable source of production volume and location of pesticide products. The following information for each pesticide produced must be filed in the annual reports: types and amounts produced in the past calendar year; types and amounts sold or distributed in the past calendar year, regardless of when the product was produced; and an estimate of the amount expected to be produced in the current year.

Second Workshop To Discuss Draft Policies and Procedures of Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program
EPA is convening a half-day public workshop to discuss the Agency's draft administrative policies and procedures for completing initial screening and testing under the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program. The deadline for comments on the draft policies and procedures has been extended until March 12. The first workshop was on December 17; this followup session is being held to provide another opportunity for the public to ask questions. The meeting will be held in Arlington, Virginia, on Thursday, February 28, 2008, from 9 a.m. to noon.

February 12
EPA Approves Washington State's Water Laws
EPA has approved recent revisions to the Washington Water Quality Standards (WQS) regulations. EPA believes these new standards will significantly aid in the protection and recovery of salmon, trout, and other aquatic life in the state. EPA is approving the main elements of Washington's WQS package, which includes standards specifically identifying where salmon are spawning and rearing. It also identifies new temperature criteria to protect salmon and other aquatic life.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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February 8
EPA Settles With Animal Products Distributor for $56,200 Following Pesticide Violations
EPA has fined Modesto, California, company Veterinary Service, Inc. $56,200 for selling its California-registered pesticide outside the state, a violation of federal pesticide law. The pesticide, Tomcat Ground Squirrel and Gopher Bait, was registered specifically for use in California, and did not go through the full registration process required for federally registered pesticides.

February 7
Washington Company Fined Over $17,000 for Clean Air Act Violations
EPA announced that Cowiche Growers, Inc. (CGI) has agreed to pay $17,538 for alleged federal Clean Air Act emergency prevention and planning violations. As part of the settlement with the EPA, CGI has corrected all alleged violations, and has agreed to pay the penalty and spend at least $43,615 on implementing two Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) within the next 6 months. One SEP involves installation of new equipment that will store the company's anhydrous ammonia in a safer and more secure location. The other involves the purchase of communications equipment for the local fire district. CGI owns and operates a cold storage warehouse in Cowiche, Washington, where it utilizes more than 10,000 lbs of anhydrous ammonia. At that level of use, section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act requires CGI to implement a Risk Management Program at the facility.

February 6
Comment Period Extended for Draft Policies and Procedures for Initial Endocrine Disruptor Screening
EPA issued a notice in the Federal Register of December 13, 2007, announcing the availability of and soliciting public comment on EPA's draft policies and procedures for initial screening under the Agency's Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP). The notice provided for a 60-day public comment period ending February 11, 2008. In response to several requests from the public, EPA has extended the comment period for an additional 30 days. Comments must be received on or before March 12, 2008.

Tribal Pesticide Program Council Meeting
The Tribal Pesticide Program Council will meet March 5-7, 2008, in Arlington, Virginia. The Federal Register notice includes details of meeting site and times, and also lists tentative agenda topics.

National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center February Newsletter and Webcast Exit EPA
The February edition of the National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center (LPELC) newsletter is available. Topics include: Potential Pharmaceutical Impacts on Water Quality Is the March Webcast Topic; LPE Learning Center To Be Part of the National Launch of eXtension; 2008 Value-Added Producer Grants Can Assist With Manure Marketing; and USGS Releases Findings on the Sources of Nitrogen and Phosphorus in the Gulf of Mexico. The next Webcast will be on February 15, 2008, and will feature Galen Erickson, University of Nebraska and Joel DeRouchey, Kansas State University.  They will discuss the "Ethanol Co-Products Impacts on Manure Management."

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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February 4
EPA Establishing Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Advisory Committee
EPA is establishing a Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Advisory Committee (FRRCC) to provide advice to the EPA Administrator on environmental issues and programs that impact, or are of concern to, those groups. The FRRCC is a part of EPA's efforts to expand cooperative working relationships with the agriculture industry and others who are interested in agriculture issues and to achieve greater progress in environmental protection. The committee will consider: impacts of Agency agriculture-related programs, policies, and regulations regarding climate change and renewable energy; a comprehensive environmental strategy for livestock operations; and a constructive approach or framework to address areas of common interest between sustainable agriculture and protection of the environment. Topics covered may include issues relating to water, air and radiation, solid waste and emergency response, pesticides and toxics, enforcement and compliance assistance, and research and development.

Training on Animal Waste Management on Small Livestock Farms Exit EPA
On March 11 - 13, 2008, EPA Office of Wastewater Management and Region 2, in partnership with Rutgers University, North Carolina State University, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, and several other participants will be hosting the Animal Waste Management on Small Livestock Farms training course. The course, which will include classroom training, farm site visits and discussion panels, is being directed to state regulators and technical assistance providers in New Jersey. It is also being designed to serve as a national model for similar training sessions in other states.

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